Something about the fact that I’ve had this blog for over 2 years qualifies me to give advice about how to start and grow a gaming blog of your very own. I’m not sure what it is, exactly – I guess there’s a rather large graveyard of blogs that have died out and lost the plot long before they reach this point – but I’m happy to oblige with things I’ve observed and had to learn myself over time.
Thing the first: Know yourself
You don’t have to start as I did, with a rambly introductory post laying out my “cred, yo” or anything so severe as that. But taking a moment to establish, even if it’s only in your own head, where you’re coming from can do wonders in launching a beacon that directs the content of your blog. If ever you lose focus, it can help to remember where you came from: if you discover you’re heading in a different direction, hey – that’s a blog post topic right there!
Thing the second: Find your niche
(Even if that niche is being rambly and disjointed)
Not every blogger can be everything. I will never be able to collect and aggregate news like Spinks, I will never be able to analyze media like Hunter, I will never be able to come up with comedy like Scarybooster, I will never be able to find and appreciate feats of artistic expression like Nugget. What are you good at? What makes you most prolific? It may take some time before you find that out, before you write something and get a great response and think, “aha! so that’s what I do.” But while you are trying to figure that out, it’s important that you:
Thing the third: Write, always write
Write down everything. Even if it reads like a ranting forum post, even if you don’t know how you’re going to wrap it up in 3500 words or less, write it down. Oh, don’t publish it – not immediately, anyway – but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been stalled on posting to my blog because I wanted to write on some topic somewhere but couldn’t make it work, and after sitting down and writing out my thoughts I’ve been able to let the topic go and move on to something else, something better, something more suited to my own style. Writing is a great way of getting over writer’s block.
Thing the fourth: Link when linked to
I try to make it a point to link to anyone I know of who’s linked to me. If someone found me interesting enough to read and recommend, I can find them interesting too, for at least a month. It’s the circle of life, and it moves us all. Besides, I wouldn’t have half the links on my blogroll if I didn’t read things others recommended, following breadcrumb trails as the Ancient Gaming Noob refers to them, from here to there.
Thing the fifth: Find your own comment/reply comfort level
I would love to advise you to reply to every comment posted on your blog. It’s friendly, it’s engaging, it drives traffic to your site, and it creates friendships in this widespread blogosphere. But I can’t give advice I can’t even adhere to myself. The truth is that not all of us can come up with comment small talk – not easily, anyway – and so my advice is to comment as much as you feel comfortable doing. You’ll get better at it, promise, and even if you still sometimes have moments when your brain seizes up and you go silent, there is always next time.
This has been a public service announcement on the Newbie Blogger Initiative. And here, have some new blogs to om nom nom:
Hipstalotro: Hating Hunters since before it was cool.
Gnomegates: A kinder, gentler Gevlon?
Real Adventures in Fake Worlds: A LOTRO-centric journey
Warcraft Street: Can you tell me how to get…?
The Looney Bin: An eclectic soup of subjects, and a fascinating layout!