What I Learned From The Ultimate Blog Challenge

Well, I made it! 31 continual days of blogging. The question is – did I learn anything and in particular will I make any changes to my blogging routine? What will I do more of, less of or not at all?!

Ladyhiker in Cyprus blog

Today I’ll cover a little of what I discovered and in my next post I’ll detail what I intend to do about it (more of, less of, stop doing altogether!)

I embarked on the Ultimate Blog Challenge on 1st January 2013 in the hope of kick starting my desire to write after experiencing huge resistance just before Christmas to opening up my blog dashboard. I described the experience here

Here’s what I found…

The first week was hell. I struggled to think of topics I wanted to cover (even with the help of daily emails from UBC which were full of ideas). Some days I only managed to get something written down with the threat of bedtime (and another day) looming. Phew. Just made it.

I persevered.

After around 6-7 days, I sensed a change. I must have primed my mind by then as nuggets of ideas would pop into my head all throughout the day, not just when I sat down and opened up my blog. I felt the first fleeting sense of enjoyment – I began to look forward to creating my next post.

My attitude towards daily blogging early on in the challenge can be described thus:

Resistance … Acceptance … Enjoyment

From week 2 onwards, the process was much easier.

My posts became shorter – not because I struggled to write more but because when I was trying to read posts from others, my task was made much easier if the posts were fairly short. I decided to encourage others to read my posts by posting in brief.

By the third week I was really enjoying posting every day. I had also ‘met’ some lovely friends via the challenge and looked forward to our interactions each day. My only reservations concerned my subscribers – my blog inevitably became less focussed as I expanded the topics I blogged about. Some of these were prompted by UBC’s useful daily suggestions. Would my subscribers still be interested? Would they get fed up of daily posts dropping into their inbox? “Oh no – not her again!” Would they ‘unsubscribe’ en masse? Luckily, subscriber numbers did not drop (actually went up a little) during January so I obviously didn’t drive anyone totally mad!

There are several factors I could have looked at in determining the effect of a month’s daily blogging on my blog stats. Today, I’ve chosen to focus on comments.

I was delighted with all the blog comments (thank you everyone!) and also interested to discover which posts drew the most comments. Overall, I think it is true to say that the more personal my post, the more comments I received. It’s also interesting to note that the only day when I received no comments at all, I was on aeroplanes the entire day and unable to promote my post much or interact on social media. There’s a message there…

Here are my post titles throughout January along with the number of comments received (includes my replies).

Date Comments Title
Jan 1 8 Blogging And You: How Is It Going?
Jan 2 10 We’re Smarter Without Our Smartphones
Jan 3 10 The Most Beautiful Trees I’ve Ever Seen
Jan 4 16 The Most Powerful 3 Minute Message I’ve Seen In A Long Time
Jan 5 16 How I Get My Blogposts Written On Time
Jan 6 6 Am I Missing Something?
Jan 7 6 Scribblings On Blog Promotion
Jan 8 12 Prime Your Mind And Promote Your Blog
Jan 9 12 How To Write The Very Best Title For Your Blogpost
Jan 10 22 In Photos – My Favourite Places To Write. How About You?
Jan 11 0 My All Time Favourite ‘Cheer Me Up’ Image
Jan 12 4 Enter The Canon Powershot G15
Jan 13 2 Learning About Fruit Tree Grafting
Jan 14 2 One Million Pounds For a Fish!
Jan 15 8 Women and Wine!
Jan 16 2 Book Club Choice: The Secret Life Of Bletchley Park
Jan 17 12 103 Year Old Says: To Stay Alive, You Have To Move
Jan 18 6 My Favourite Walking Quotes
Jan 19 6 As Nimble As Mountain Goats
Jan 20 8 The World’s Most Dangerous Hike
Jan 21 2 Unbeatable Dorset Apple Cake!
Jan 22 22 A Fruitful Day
Jan 23 20 7 Random Facts About Me
Jan 24 2 Book Club Choice: Still Alice
Jan 25 2 How To Instil Kids With A Love Of Hiking
Jan 26 6 3 Of My Favourite Recent Sunsets In Cyprus
Jan 27 2 Walkie Talkie?
Jan 28 14 Winter Warmers: Celery, Leek And Potato Soup
Jan 29 24 Why Do I Want You To ‘Like’ My Facebook Page?
Jan 30 2 The Ultimate Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet
Jan 31 We shall see! What I Learned From The Ultimate Blogging Challenge

On the subject of comments – I’ve talked a lot about my own here, but I think it’s essential to get stuck in and comment on other people’s blogs. Yes – it will direct a few eyeballs towards your own blog but the real key lies in making a point of trying to add value to that person and their post with your comments. Try it. Make it a discipline. It’s impossible to read many on a regular, daily basis of course but aim to add your thoughts to a few a week.  Be sure to interact. Blogging is social.

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  • Cher

    Hi Karen, I so relate to and agree with what you say here, what an experience – a good one! I too felt a bit of gloom about my site before Christmas and was actually thinking of giving up – and yes found a reborn love and excitement – I didn’t start til the 7th as I didn’t know about it and was a little half hearted, I hate starting things late – but I wasn’t counting just kept going and I actually did more than 31, and now don’t want to stop hehe- how cool is that! I learned & enjoyed so much from reading others work and promise myself to interact with other blogs more often.
    Blessings and best wishes Karen
    Cher :)

    • KarenGuttridge

      Hi Cher – I too now feel like I don’t want to stop blogging! (Maybe I won’t be able to, haha!) Looking forward to reading more of your posts :-)


    Huzzah for us all completing this challenge…it has been great fun sharing, commenting, writing, and making new friends…

    • KarenGuttridge

      Big group pat on the back for us all! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/amycakes6 Amy Young Miller

    This is a great post, Karen. I’ve learned so much from the UBC, too, though I think you’ve put it better than I ever could. I especially like your observation: “the real key lies in making a point of trying to add value to that person and their post with your comments. Try it. Make it a discipline.” It’s an old lesson: focus on the needs of others, and you’ll be blessed. Thanks so much for being my friend!

    • KarenGuttridge

      Glad you’ve enjoyed the month Amy – delighted to be friends! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/anitaclare.field Anita-Clare Field

    Hi Karen, this is my second UBC challenge and it’s been a joy, so many fabulous people this year present company included. I am really sad it’s all finished maybe there should be an IronMan version for a year ???? It’s been an honour to read your blogs! See you at the next one !

    • KarenGuttridge

      A year of daily blogs? Wow that IS a challenge…but I’m seriously tempted! Good to meet you ;-)

  • Bonnie Gean

    This was my 2nd UBC and while I enjoyed the first run, I didn’t finish. I was 9 posts shy of completing the challenge, though I did continue to post on the blog afterwards.

    This challenge, I actually finished. A feat in itself and something to pride myself for… and now finding I have a bunch of ideas to write for the next month since I didn’t use any of the ideas Michelle provided.

    Congratulations on finishing the challenge. You should be proud!

    • KarenGuttridge

      Thanks Bonnie – I do feel quite pleased with myself! Funnily enough I thought I’d be relieved when it ended but I find I want to carry on! :-)

  • Janice

    Hi, another one across the finish line here. I didn’t expect too, and found it so hard at first. But I wanted to create a habit and think I have done just that. Glad to have found so many great blogs along the way, yours included, best wishes, Janice

    • KarenGuttridge

      Congratulations Janice! I feel quite comfortable with frequent blogging now (though perhaps not every day) and I’m determined to keep the habit going. I’m going to commit to a set number of times a week and stick to it! Good luck with your plans :-)

  • http://twitter.com/CumbrianRambler Beth Pipe

    Enjoyable read. I did a 30 day writing challenge a year or so ago and learned many of the same lessons. I’m amazed at how much I can learn about writing every day if I take the time to slow down and see what other folks are doing.

    • KarenGuttridge

      I did learn a lot and never thought I’d say this but I may do another later in the year! I know I could simply set myself the challenge of blogging every day but it just seems more of a commitment in an organised event – I’m much more likely to see it through :-)