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Interested In Joining The Ranks Of The WAR Bloggers?

August 12, 2008

About a month ago, I had a deep heart-to-heart conversation with Snafzg, the kind punctuated by burps and manly pronouncements to our wives of “Five more minutes, honeeeeeey! Then I’ll come snuggle and watch Grey’s Anatomy! Promise!” The conversation revolved around our predictions of the upcoming blogopalypse, when Warhammer’s imminent arrival would trigger a cascade of “me too!” blogs that would rush over the world and drown us all in RSS feeds.

On one hand, we both were hesitant about its arrival. I’m not putting any new bloggers down here, trust me — I was very very new once, and I still feel quite wet behind the ears when it comes to this level of internet interaction. But we knew that what had been a tiny, tight-knit handful of bloggers and sites would explode into a virtual ocean of blogging fish, who blog with their gills or something. I kinda lost that metaphor. We feared being lost in the masses. We cringed at the prospect of people who’d start up blogs for the sole purpose of trolling and flaming Mythic, since they lacked an official forum to do so. We wondered how we’d ever be able to keep track of them all — just try to get a grasp on all of World of Warcraft’s current blogs, which expand at the rate of at least 10-20 a day.

But really, we couldn’t be too down on the foreknowledge of an influx of blogging wunderkids. There was bound to be some really good, talented, hilarious bloggers to come on the scene to make us all shake our heads in awe and laugh. We looked forward to a time when there’d be an actual community of bloggers that was more than the number of people who can safely number two in your average public restroom. We knew it would be great publicity for the game, and would help to inspire us to do better and write… good…er.

So if you’ll excuse my arrogance in this post, I’d like to talk directly to you future bloggers out there. Yes, you — you know who you are. You’re the one who has an itch in the back of their brain that isn’t parasite-related; you actually think, “Wow, that looks like a lot of fun! And people will read and fawn over my every opinion! I’d be stupid NOT to do a WAR blog!” If that is indeed you, I wanted to share some do’s and don’ts that I’ve learned from personal experience. A lot of these have been said elsewhere, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat them, especially if they help you get a foothold into the blogging community.

WAR BLOGGING: DO’s

  • Spend a decent amount of time thinking about your blog: its name, its theme, what you want to accomplish with it. Good names make highly remembered blogs (and “WAAAGH!” is taken, by the way), and a blog that launches with a strong identity and message is one that makes a great first impression.
  • Figure out whether you want to use Blogger or WordPress or another blog site/program. I have blogs on both, and they both have pro’s and con’s to consider (but nothing major, you can’t really screw up that choice).
  • Make your blog look good. If you’re talented in graphic design and layout, go nuts. If you’re like me and only know rudimentary HTML and graphic clipping, pick a clean, attractive theme and add a few tasteful, bold graphics.
  • Find your own voice — don’t try to imitate others, just be yourself.
  • Write about what interests you the most, and forget everything else. Write always to please yourself, first and foremost. Great novelists don’t write with “best-seller!” in mind, they write a story that they’d love to read themselves.
  • Get to know your neighbors: the other WAR bloggers, WAR sites and WAR forumites. It’s not just a good idea to be friendly and avoid being an island, but it helps your blog out tremendously. Many of us in the WAR community are all about lending a helping hand and a hot link if we like you and think what you’re doing is worthwhile, but we have to know about you first.
  • Give without expectation of getting.
  • Create a decent-sized blogroll with as many solid WAR blogs and sites that you would recommend to your readers. Remember, linking to others never cuts down on your own traffic or drives people away. Blogging is a collaborative experience at the core, not a competitive one.
  • Figure out what you want to write about the most: experiences in game, talk about MMOs in general (theory), breaking down the game features and stats (theorycrafting), humor, lists, comics, unique features, news, commentary, what have you.
  • Get a good handful (3-5) of posts on your blog before you start a mass PR campaign to get people to read your stuff. Remember, first impressions matter, and if someone hits up your site and sees a chunk of articles they like, they’re more likely to return.
  • Once you got your blog up and running, head over to Blog Warhammer, sign up and introduce yourselves to the rest of us.
  • Post on forums and other blogs’ comment sections (making sure to discretely link to yourself, of course).
  • Write consistently. This is different for different people, and nobody’s telling you that you have to post once a day, minimum. But you should be posting frequently enough so that when you do post, people don’t have an initial reaction of “Oh, THEY’RE still around?” Personally, I think you need to handle at least 3-4 posts a week as a bare minimum, or reconsider doing this at all. Consistent content is what builds up a loyal readership.

WAR BLOGGING: DON’Ts

  • Throw together a hasty blog that looks like crap, had a badly misspelled first post, and then tell everyone about it.
  • Be an arrogant jerk who is far too opinionated, rude or crass to be likable.
  • Get into blogging if you can’t handle the time, the hard work (and it is work at times, believe you me), or the patience to become noticed and read.
  • Live or die according to the statistics on your blog — hits, page views, etc. Lots of readers is great, but you will be a very unhappy person if this is the foundation for your blogging happiness. What goes up will come down, and you need to be okay with that when it does.
  • Slam other bloggers. Sure, it’s okay to disagree, or write a rebuttal post — I’ve done that from time to time. But personal attacks, slander or mean-spirited posts need to be solid no-no’s from the get-go. Even if you don’t care what that person will think of your piece, you should care that your readers and other bloggers will cringe away from you when you do so.


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14 comments

  1. Can’t agree with “DON’T: Get into blogging if you can’t handle the time, the hard work (and it is work at times, believe you me), or the patience to become noticed and read.”

    imho it’s a great hobby to get into, even if you can’t dedicate the time and effort “to become noticed and read.” I know plenty of people whose blogs basically never get read by anyone except friends and family, but they’re have a good time writing in them, and stretching their mental and linguistic skills in the process.

    Apart from that, good stuff, well said.


  2. I too feel your fear on the influx on WAR blogs, its going to hit hard and fast for the first couple of months.
    Not too surprisingly, as a new blogger myself, many of the points I had also learned from experience. When I started my blog, I didn’t really know where I was going to go, and a lot of the early posts were slightly hysterical. Now I’m about a month older and wiser and hopefully getting a bit better.
    And I totally agree on the point of enjoying yourself. Write for yourself because if you enjoy what you are doing others will also see this and it will be more personal and interesting.
    Great post, keep it up Syp.

    “making sure to discretely link to yourself, of course”
    was this discrete enough? πŸ˜€


  3. Actually I would start by thinking a bit into the future: Do you want to blog only about WAR, or is it possible that in a few years you play something else, and want to blog about that too without restarting from zero? There is nothing wrong with making a “MMO blog”, and the writing mostly about WAR as long as you play it, giving you the option to write about other games if your interests change.

    If you call your blog “Waaagh! A Warhammer Online Blog”, the lifetime of your blog is limited to the time you are actually interested in this one game. History suggests that this won’t be forever. If you had called in “Blam! A MMO Blog”, you could continue blogging about whatever game you play after WAR, and not lose your Google pagerank and all of your readership.


  4. And that is true, but I have no problem with that. I went into this with the notion of specialization on one game, and if the point ever comes where I take up roots and go elsewhere, well, it’s not too hard to start again πŸ˜€ But good point.


  5. Speaking of limitations, I have often wondered if I’ll really enjoy the archmage or not. =) I feel odds are very, very good…but if I don’t, well…so much for my blog @_@

    On another note, I often wonder how many blogs will persist as the game launches and proceeds. How many will ultimately leave blogging for the game alone, leave the game altogether, or just grow bored with one, the other, or both.


  6. As a new blogger myself, I get more enjoyment out of sending traffic to other bloggers’ sites than having them read my posts.
    I mainly post for myself, but I enjoy the writings of so many others and I want other people to enjoy them too.


  7. I’d have to agree with “The Claw”, not only because he has a great bad guy name but makes a good point. Don’t worry about not blogging if you don’t have the time to commit to it regularly. Blog primarily for yourself, as you mentioned in your “Do’s”, write stuff for you – that you’d like to read.

    Don’t let it become work or it ruins it for you. Keep it a hobby and you’ll blog a lot longer. If you end up posting just to keep your post count high for the week people will start to take notice.


  8. Good tips there Syp. I’ve tried blogging myself (not about WAR, but other interests) and it’s a lot more work than you’d think. Anybody can write a blog, but writing a GOOD blog is tough. It makes me respect those who ARE good at it (like yourself) even more!


  9. Is WAAAAAAGH taken?


  10. Very good reading. Right now were just a bunch of bloggers who can’t actually write about playing the game (release sometimes!) but more about the game. I look forward to release, because then I can start writing about how I play the game, the people I meet, and giving advice.

    Oh and another do not: don’t start blogging for money. I just published a post about that subject (but I hadn’t read this post before it).


  11. Thade, I always liked that you made a blog themed after one class. There’s just so many ways it could all go disastrously wrong and I find that awesome.

    I’m surprised to hear WoW has so many blogs. I know back in the day I’d always try to find WoW blogs and I only ever found a handful. Guess it’s picked up or I was looking in the wrong place.


  12. @boatorious: when I read your comment, I laughed so hard that I almost choked on dinner. No lie. =)

    because it’s true @__@


  13. Claw/Syp, you’re both right to a degree with regards to the time required for a blog. It really just depends up on the type of relationship you want with your readers.

    For example, if I have friend who lives close to me, I’ll probably visit them more frequently and talk more about daily life events with them. In comparison, I might have a friend who lives much farther away and my frequency of visits is much less. However when we speak, it’s often more about very deep and meaningful things in our lives (i.e. transitional moments or patterns in our lives). Now the interesting thing is that one isn’t better than the other. Instead they’re just different types of relationships.

    The same types of relationships apply with a blog though. If you want to have a daily relationship with your readers, more often than not, your entries should be lighter, since extensive entries on a daily basis will burn you out as Syp said. The closest thing I can compare it with is dancing on a stage until you drop dead.

    In comparison though, if you prefer a deeper more meaningful connection with your readers, then you might prefer to have a relationship with less frequency. The benefits are obvious. Not only do you have more time to write a deeper more meaningful article about something of interest to you but you don’t feel as rushed to “perform” on a daily basis.

    From my standpoint, I prefer less frequent but deeper relationships, as they fit with my habits better. And when I started up my Warhammer Gaming Scene site, this is exactly the path I took. Yet of course, over time, I got bit by the bug and wanted to do more and more. Bad choice. As soon as I started doing daily news, my entire site focus changed and the site basically consumed most of my day. That’s why I eventually shut it down, as I just didn’t have the time to commit to it as a “daily news” site.

    Anyways, I think you get the picture. Yes, most definitely you should commit to the site, just like committing to a relationship but be wary of the type of relationship you want before getting into it. To be honest though, if you can’t make things work with the site then I think it’s best just to shut it down, rather than having just a mediocre relationship with your readers.

    PS. BTW like Tobold said, I think my next blog will be on my own site and one focused on gaming in general. Thus it doesn’t force me to come up with articles on just one game but let me talk about any game topic that interests me at the moment.


  14. […] while back I wrote a post to help other WAR bloggers get started. I’m not sure how helpful or not it was, but it’s there. I will say this: as the WAR […]



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