Right at the risk of coming across as a complete dick and self righteous ass hat, I'm actually going to write an article about my top tips for writing a successful Blog. Obviously this is not about writing just any old sort of Blog (although hey, many of the ideas are applicable no matter what your Blog is about), but a wargames Blog specifically. Doing this might make me sound really arrogant or even presumptuous, considering I'm not too sure I've actually written a 'successful' wargames Blog or not. Plus more importantly I'm really not all that sure just what the hell 'success' should look like... but I'll return to that later, don't you worry. The reason I'm doing this is because I've actually had an awful lot of people contact me and ask for my secret formula, or advice and tips with certain things. Although interestingly no one has asked me what shade of pink my Blog uses! Honestly my initial response was pure bemusement that somebody would ask for advice off of me, my second response was to say 'well there's no magical formula'.
|Catz iz why yur Blog iz gud!!!|
To an extent I do believe that for me there wasn't actually a magic formula as such, I just did the things that I did, the same sort of things that I always do naturally. So to me it was just normal behaviour, but if contact with other carbon based life forms has taught me anything over the years, it is this one solitary lesson... I really don't think my behaviour patterns could be described as being anywhere near normal, or average, or modal or median in any way shape or form. I do things in my own way and approach tasks with an interesting degree of fastidiousness, possibly bordering on the obsessive compulsive side of human behaviour. Let me explain, for me this isn't a surprise, as from a very early age I was very acutely aware there was something wrong with my brain, despite teachers just thinking I was away with the faeries and that there wasn't anything wrong with me at all. I knew there was something up. To not put too fine a point on it, I was smarter than all of my class mates through infant and junior schools by some margin, but my spelling remained atrocious, appalling, awful, abominable... you get the point.
I was aware that no matter how hard I tried to learn how to spell words, or indeed structure sentences, I was always rubbish at it. The tools to construct the English language in its written form remained illusive to me. My inquisitive mind worked out there was something not quite right, but no one would listen. So I developed an amazing array of coping mechanisms. Chief amongst these was analysis. I dissected everything that came back to me with red pen all over it... which was a lot of work trust me! I started seeing patterns in my writing and spelling mistakes that weren't necessarily anything to do with learning, or indeed memory. I consistently spelled a similar number of words wrong within a set amount of text, but the words I got wrong were different every time. The next trends I spotted were that writing in blue ink upped my failure rate and that words in the middle of a page were more likely to be spelled wrong. Something was amiss, I didn't know what, but it was. This was hit home to me, when in a spelling bee type competition I actually won, yeah the idiot that couldn't spell in class managed to win a spelling contest! Mrs Farringdon at my junior school was the first teacher to pick up on this.
She was also the first teacher to encourage me to do something about it. I explained to her the patterns I'd witnessed and she mentioned something called Dyslexia. The first time I'd heard the word. It wasn't really an accepted learning difficulty or disability here in the UK at the time, some education authorities offered help, but mine... did not. Mrs Farringdon though encouraged me to do some simple things that helped me out:
- Always write in black pen because that seemed to greatly reduce my spelling mistakes. (I latterly worked out white text on black backgrounds was even better for me, hence my Blog layout!)
- She also taught me to slow down, take my time and to concentrate mentally on the word I'm trying to write. There were a number of things she taught me to do to aid this process, but she taught me to take my time and be sure I knew what I was writing before I wrote it.
- She encouraged my analytical ways! She was the first teacher to spot that I had a 'unique' brain shall we say, with a talent for picking apart data of all varieties and sorting it into meaningful chunks that held value and understanding.
These three things have served me really well throughout my life and still do to this very day. Why am I telling you all this? Well I'm trying to give you a bit of background behind the way I write and explain the way I approach my Blog in general. The above three points could help you too, and I've sort of converted them into decent overarching Blogging rules here:
- Think about your text layout and how your Blog will look. Copiously use the preview feature and make sure it looks good and is easy to read. Take your time with layout.
- Slow down, take your time in general. Decide what you want to say in an article and write a skeleton frame down first, maybe jot down some bullet points. Then flesh it out knowing what your ultimate aim for that article is. In short make sure you know what you are going to say before you say it.
- Analyse, analyse and then analyse some more! It's the only way to be with your Blog if you want to improve. You can try to analyse other people's work, but the reality is the one Blog you'll have every piece of data you would need to analyse something properly is your own Blog. Come up with simple hypotheses and then test them.
As I said I call these the overarching principles of good Blogging. I guess they could be summed up as know what you plan to do and then do it, work out if it worked and then do it again if it did, if it didn't try something different. The next few sections will break my own behaviour down even more into further distinct tasks and ideas, as well as adding more detail behind it all. Hopefully some of you will find my own brand of 'meticulous planning' useful! For now I'm still going to happily skirt around 'success' and what it is for now, and discuss the processes that I think have made my Blog what it is, look I promise I will talk about defining success later on, stop hassling me people. Jeez!
Analysis: It's all in the figures
Obviously recently I wrote an article about hitting 300,000 hits in under 10 months, but ultimately that figure is actually meaningless without some form of context. In my case the context provided was that I looked around at other people's Blogs that I respect. I saw that they weren't anywhere near getting as many hits, and in many cases had been going longer than my Blog had been, so it actually impressed me. However, that's not the sort of analysis I'd normally do on my Blog! I am not only by training, but also by nature a researcher, I've always been inquisitive and I've always wanted to learn things about why things are the way they are, not just what they are. A professor once asked a room full of students I was in 'how do we know the things that we know', now he was trying to make a point about epistemology, but me being a rationalist, or possibly more accurately an empiricist I believe that knowledge resides in data. So we know the things we know, because we've tested them and the data tells us that 'they' are true, or it describes what 'they' are. We need to test things to make sure it's not just coincidence that is causing things to happen, or that they stand up to scrutiny.
This is how I've approached making my Blog successful, I've looked at my own internal results in terms of number of hits and comments and built up a damn fine data-set on my own Blog. This might sound insanely intensive, nerdy and lame... BUT... here's some of the things I've done:
- Built up a database using Google Analytics that shows me relative to my own performance, which of my posts have been most successful in terms of hits and comments. Both short term (48 hours), medium term (4 weeks) and long term (3 months or more).
- I then go and review these articles for tone, content and style. In this way I've been able to develop my own style of writing and my own attitudes towards my Blog from the tacit feedback you have all provided me. Interestingly in terms of content or tone, these appear to have a negligible effect on actual hits and overall comments... but it does effect who comments and from what part of the globe! So I rapidly worked out diversity of coverage and writing tone was the way to go.
- I've also been able to discern that for my Blog personally there is a lunchtime rush to read it. People who read my Blog are clearly doing so between the hours of 12:00 and 14:00 in whatever country they reside in. Lunchtime surfers! So globally the average lunch break is 30 to 45 minutes. I try to keep my articles reading time between 5 to 10 minutes and certainly stick try to keep to a 15 minutes maximum as best I can, because I don't want to hog your lunch break!
- Wider than this though my analysis also shows me how various people use my Blog, and what proportion of readers come back or don't, how many read multiple articles in one visit so forth and so on. To make certain visitors life easier I included the LinkWithin Widget, it's been successful I think. Uplifting hits by 9.86%. You should all use LinkWithin regardless of viewing patterns, it works.
- It's also told me that for my specific Blog Monday's and Thursday are without fail my best days in terms of hits, while Wednesday garners the most comments, although not by much. It also told me Sunday was my worst day, this led to me experimenting with my Sunday Sermons, which have increased my Sunday traffic by 45.27% above my Blogs average uplift since I started them roughly 4 months ago.
- It's also told me that regardless of how many articles I write in any given week, it's not necessarily the ultimate number of articles that increases my 'hits' alone. In fact anything above 3 or 4 articles a week is pointless as it doesn't massively increase my traffic. To grow my 'hits' beyond what I'm achieving currently therefore I need to grow my number of readers. I need to promote my Blog somehow, or get others to do it for me.
It's all valuable stuff... for my Blog. Look, for your Blog these patterns might not exist, but approaching your own data in a similar methodical way might uncover some interesting trends and facts about your own Blog that you are currently unaware of. As a starting point the basic stat tools you get with Blogger are actually quite good for the 'headline' stuff, and if you're careful and meticulous enough you should be able to eek out some useful information over time. But, if you are wanting some more useful information you'll be needing Google Analytics and StatCounter, I owe my thanks to Loquacious of House of Paincakes fame and her own Blog, World of Wonder for introducing me to StatCounter's particular delights! These are actually quite powerful little tools if you couple them with a good scientific approach to your Blog, and they can be very handy and help you to understand what's going on and how you can tweak things.
|Tybs number crunching|
There is also another richer more vibrant source of data that many of us overlook as well. It's not always numbers, figures, charts and graphs. Nope sometimes a simple compliment from a reader in the comments section can be worth way more than all the data collected from all the stats software packages in the world. It pains me to say it but quantitative research isn't the be all and end all... and through gritted teeth... qualitative research has its place too. Sorry I need to go wash my mouth out with soap and water. OK I'm back now, that's much better. But, it's true, ask your readers what they think of your Blog and what they like. I recently asked the silent majority who read this Blog to get in touch with me about what they thought of it, well as of this morning I'm 3 responses away from 500! I've been thoroughly pleased and impressed with the level of response I've gotten off of you all, much of it has been encouraging and confirmed my own thoughts on my Blog. One or two people have even helped me formulate and crystalise my ideas for those other types of article I mentioned earlier on, and I'm immensely grateful too them for helping me. So as the last word on analysis, ask your readers opinions and listen to them.
|Die n00bs, DIEEEE!!!!!!|
To quote one of my cinematic heroes, Tyler Durden:
'Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.'
I've always loved that quote from Fight Club, because it's so hate filled and aggressive. It's also charged with so much negative energy, depression, defeat and a subtle hint of truth that it bites hard. Many of us go through life thinking we're a unique snowflake, and maybe to our friends and loved ones we are. But, in the broad scheme of things we are the same decaying organic matter as everything else. Unless we do something about it, unless we step out from under other people's shadows and get a personality, use our voice to say something different. This might seem like a particularly obvious thing to say, but it's by no means an easy thing to achieve. It's taken me nearly 10 months to get to this stage, where I feel comfortable with my persona and identity on this Blog. The language I've used and my own writing style has changed significantly from my first ever Blog, and I'd hope it's changed for the better. I'm not sure I've changed, but what has is that I'm now better at communicating who I am and showing you all more of my personality, I'm more comfortable with it now. But, there are some key things that I think have helped me to remain true to who I am as a person in my writing AND allowed me to develop a unique online voice:
- Know why you're Blogging, and try and stick to it. I have a note book / diary that I write my notes and thoughts in. On the back page are a list of reasons as to why I'm Blogging. Every now and then I read them to give me a gentle reminder of why I'm doing what I do, who I am and what I want to achieve. It keeps me focused as a Blogger and helps people understand and engage with what I write.
- Have fun, whatever fun is to you. Seriously sometimes even I get a bit too serious and wonder why the hell I'm doing all of this... then I stop, re-read that list I mentioned above and remember I'm doing this because it's supposed to be enjoyable.
- Try and write about things you're passionate about. There are a one-hundred-and-one Bloggers out there writing on flavour of the month topics, and doing so in unoriginal and bland ways. So don't join the herd. Find your own way and remember ol' blue eyes and do it your way.
- Don't be afraid to let who you are, the way you speak and anything else about you shine through. I'm told one of the reasons I'm so popular is because I wear my heart on my sleeve and say what I think and then explain why I think it. That's very much who I am in real life. I'd urge you all to do the same, if people don't like you for it, well tough! Don't change who you are to suit others, otherwise what's the point in you Blogging?Who you are and what you like will have a natural audience out there, you just need to find and connect with them.
|Princess Dinah Bear looking regal|
This is honestly very different to personality and image. I'm not a professional print editor or graphics designer, and even if I were Blogger, and to a lesser extent I'm told Wordpress, offer us very limited design tools. that doesn't however mean we should just give up and just ignore presentation. Let's be honest, badly laid out messy Blogs annoy the hell out of us don't they? Well they do me. Hopefully I've kept mine simple and clutter free, but here are some simple rules with regards to presentation:
- Always re-read your articles two or three times before you publish them, and give them a cooling off period. Maybe 24 or 48 hours and come back to them and re-read them, allow them to breathe like a good wine, refine and finesse them to make sure they say what you want them too. A polished article is always easily noticeable and just elevates the Blog that it resides on above the mass of amateur Blogs out there. Rushed crap comes across as rushed crap!
- Proof reading, this isn't the same as above. I was once told by a professional proof reader and editor that she'd never proof read her own work. The reason? We're all a little bit blind to our own faults and mistakes. She's right too, we all know what we think we have said and often gloss over things without really reading them properly. In short if you can find somebody else to re-read your articles, do it. It's not always going to be possible but it will help with your presentation. God only knows I could use more of it myself, but I'm a stubborn bugger, who wants to try and do this myself because of my dyslexia. Don't make the same mistakes as me!
- Try and lay things out with images and make it look presentable, a wall of words can be very, very daunting to read off of a computer screen. Ironic I know given this article is essentially nothing but a huge wall of text!!!
- Keep the look of your Blog and its layout as clean and simple as you can. Don't over clutter it with lots of gadgets that aren't needed and things in weird places.
- Have a decent header / banner. I know my Blog didn't have a proper header for quite some time and it really looked poor because of it. Maybe my banner isn't the best in the world but it's crisp, it's clear and it actually says quite a lot about what me and my Blog are about.
- Use jump breaks, seriously it stops your Blog page just being really difficult to zip around and it just looks prettier with them.
- Don't be afraid to go back and re-edit articles if you've made grammar or spelling mistakes, or even if the page layout looks utterly pants, change it! I view my Blog as a living entity as opposed to a stuffy archive, while I wouldn't necessarily change the meaning of an article, all other things are fair game as far as I'm concerned. Plus often I'll insert 'edits' and make it clear they're an edit.
- Be honest. I like to think that most of us are honest, but I like to make things clear in my Blog when it comes to my opinions and where I'm coming from. The clearest example for me is my reviews of product I've been given for free, I always let you know, and I always will. Honesty goes a long way.
Speaking of my reviews I've been asked by a lot of people for specific guidance on how I approach my reviews, so I'll possibly do an article on that at some point, but for now it's just too big a topic to include here. Now the above list might seem like much of it is the boring things you don't want to do, because it just makes it all seem like hard work, and we all want Blogging to be fun, right? However, much of it you'll only really have to do once, plus with the article presentation stuff once you get into the swing of things and start displaying good habits they'll become second nature. If it looks professional you're half way to being professional in my book.
|Sadly the other cats learned this bum warming trick!|
Honestly, you could arguably do a comparative content analysis and check some menial or nominal (as stats in name only) stats like hit counters, or on Blogger, number of Followers. Truth is though you shouldn't obsess about such things. I don't personally, or I try to avoid it, for me I like to read other people's Blogs and take from them what I like and enjoy, or conversely what I don't! It might be less scientific on the one hand, but the truth is these comparative analyses I've conducted myself have kicked up an alarming none pattern amongst the data. Lack of patterns scares me, because there should always be patterns and order to the universe... and that's quite enough of my neurosis... for now. Content and quality of articles actually has very little to do with, which Blogs become popular and, which Blogs don't. Anyone who says otherwise is talking crap. In many cases it just seems utterly random to me. I've looked at Blog layout too, I've also looked at content analysis like I said and I've looked at many other factors besides. What I have noticed is that those Blogs with quality content tend to have 'firmer' fan bases and therefore are more stable in terms of their hits, comments etc... But beyond that whether a Blog becomes 'big' (relative term I know), or remains obscure, in many respects seems to be down to blind luck... and as us gamers know lady luck can be a fickle mistress! So don't stress about it.
I'm sure I could analyse it some more and find a complex many layered pattern if I really tried, but I'm not too sure that within the sea of data if any pattern did emerge it'd be 'significant'. There I go again with my empirical brain! The one thing that I have noticed though is that many of those Blogs that do seem to get 'big' tend to do so through a number of quite simple tactics:
- Write about populist stuff. Might seem obvious but if all you are after is lots and lots of hits then get yourself onto a bandwagon people. There are a few, which seem to yield good results. Most notably the 40k netlist Blogs. Hey people want to know what works and what doesn't in 40k and if you're good at it like like Kirby and co at 3++ is the new black your site will get noticed very quickly. Just like if you are good at writing painting tutorials, or actually if you are good at anything popular you'll eventually get noticed and people will start seeking you out.
- Network effectively. I'll talk about this in more depth in the section below, but if you're not a mathammer guru or painting savant then the other option open to you is to network like a Beverly Hills hooker!!! Put yourself about baby and shake that ass!!!
But what I take from other peoples Blogs, as I said, is mainly my own enjoyment. Linking back to the whole analysis thing I try to think about what I like about other people articles, and why it is I enjoy them so much. Often there's not much in there that I can actively emulate, and nor would I want to, but it does bring your own writing and Blogging into sharp relief. It helps me understand my own writing and how I fit into the 'ether' so to speak. I would urge people to go out and read other people Blogs and not become isolated in their own little rank, fetid corner of the Internet going stale, because that way lies obscurity and irrelevance.
Network, Network and Network some more.
There are two types of networking I guess that you as a Blogger can do, and they're pretty simple if I'm honest:
- Be part of the community. Sounds obvious, but go out there and read other people's stuff. I do, in fact I do it a lot. You guys who write Blogs give me a lot of personal inspiration so it's good from that aspect, and if you enjoy something leave a comment saying so. It only takes a couple of seconds and it builds a connection to someone else who might come and take a look at your stuff. Don't do the mutual Blog following crap though, that's redundant and ultimately leads to hollow results in terms of upping your follower counter, but does very little to enhance performance of any other stat. Follow Blogs you like and build relationships with Bloggers you like. Help each other out people, create communities that's what this hobby should be about!
- Join a Blogging network. I know, it seems so simple doesn't it? Well why do so many people not bother to do it? Or even only join just the one? Obviously I've joined House of Paincakes and Tabletop Gaming News, but there are others out there that might be better matches for your Blog and personality. Seek them out.
Those are the simple things. The first one though kind of links back to just good old fashioned socialising and maybe even a bit of good social etiquette. What I mean is this, if I write a Blog and somebody takes the time to comment on what I've written that really makes me happy, and two things spring from this for me. Firstly if it makes me feel good about myself and what I have written, then it stands to reason that it would also make others feel good about what they've written too. Just take the time to say thanks or take part in the debate. Secondly if somebody has gone out of their way to engage with something I've written I'm going to be damn sure to try and engage back with them on my Blog. I try to respond to everyone who takes the time to email me or comment, it's not always easy or indeed needed in the thread of discussion, but I still try and respond, be helpful and engage with others. Again it's just good manners in my book and it seems to go a long way to encouraging others to come back time and time again to your Blog.
|Here we can see Dinah and Macca 'networking'|
But there are other good Blogging etiquette issues out there. I personally became rapidly aware that my Blog might actually be receiving a fair old degree of hits compared to some of my peers. I therefore felt it was somehow my duty to include people I followed and liked on my own Blog roll. It's a really simple tool and it's really easy to set up, but it helps share everyone's work. My own Blog roll has arguably gotten so big I might need to split it into two rolls so everyone gets enough 'air time', but I feel it's a really important part of the whole Blog networking thing. I've gone one step further and actually given shout outs to Bloggers I really like, and whose articles I think deserve a wider audience. It's a common courtesy and something we should all perhaps do more of, myself included, and while I don't give shout outs to get reciprocal shout outs, it very often happens that if you give someone a plug they'll plug you right back because... it's just good manners!
|These buttons open up a world of possibilities!|
You can help people get their Blog out there more than just plonking them on your Blog roll though. At the bottom of each Blogger article are a number of tiny little icons that can help disseminate articles in a variety of ways. Read an article you've really liked? Well email it to a friend who might also like it, Blog about, Tweet it on your Twitter account, post it to Facebook or Google+ it. Doesn't take much of you time but helps put other people's work out there. I've used these symbols and I guess I think of it as a way of tacitly supporting someone whose work I appreciate. Another way of networking and promoting what your doing is to take part in other online communities such as message boards and let people in those communities know what you're up to, and what you're doing if it might be interesting to them. Be warned though, do not simply spam sites with a never ending stream of links, it can annoy the hell out of people and thus end up counter-productive. I've had other people link back to some of my articles on forums they're part of and I know who they are and I appreciate it. So network, it'll significantly increase the success of your Blog and may actually be the most important factor in a Blogs success.
Being Organised: Get into a routine
This is something I've actually not quite got down yet myself, even after almost a year of Blogging I guess I still feel there could be way more structure to what I do on this Blog. I think having a more stringent framework would not only help me to organise my time, but would also help my readers to perhaps become familiar with a pattern of posting. This could help them to use my Blog more frugally and efficiently, which given many of you appear to be lunchtime surfers is something I'd like to help with. You know cutting down the time you have to spend checking up to see if I've posted something new. Because you know every Friday is comic post day or something, a bit like I've done with my Sunday Sermons. But, first I have to figure out what is 'right' for me. To aid with this I've been keeping a Blogging diary of sorts, whereby I've been able to monitor my productivity level over the past 12 months... and yep... I've analysed it. I know that even when I was doing a full time job my productivity levels on this Blog were still as high as writing between 3 to 5 decent sized articles a week. It seems I'm able to churn this crap out at an alarming rate right now, but I need to keep monitoring that because it might change.
|Poppy getting organised... or just destroying stuff!!!|
However, what is right for you might be different to what's right for me. We've all got different life pressures and commitments, so what's good for one person might be another's worst nightmare. So I urge you all to get a diary started and just keep track of what you do, it doesn't have to be anything massively detailed. For me I just jotted down what I'd written, when I'd written it and how many words it was. In this way I've been able to build up a good profile of my productivity and understand when I'm actually at my most productive (just before dinner if you must know) and I plan my time around exploiting these moments where inspiration or energy is high with me. It's actually really helped me. What I will say to you all though is that you should try to avoid 'dead air' at all costs, nothing kills a Blog faster than A) getting out of that routine and B) having nothing up for people to read for weeks on end. I try to ensure two things to help me avoid this problem:
- I aim to always publish at least one article a week, but preferably two.
- I aim to keep a store of already completed articles ready to rock and roll in case my productivity levels drop. My arbitrary figure is a store of 10 complete Blogs, if I drop below this I know it's time to step up the productivity levels and get writing.
Those two rules coupled means that 9 times out of 10 I'm normally writing at least one Blog a week. That keeps me in a nice routine. Right now though my stash of 10 completed articles involves a hell of a lot of Sunday Sermons, and I really need to diversify my fall back plan options... but hey as I'm so organised on the Sermons I can afford to neglect them for a few weeks. See routines are useful! As I say though my own Blog could do with more routine, so perhaps I shouldn't labour the point too much as I'm certainly no paragon of orderly routine myself. It's just I think it is important and if you can get yourself into a good one and be disciplined about it, it'll make your life a hell of a lot easier and your Blog more user friendly to engage with.
Offer to help a fellow Blogger out!
Look, it doesn't take too much of our time to offer a little bit of free advice. My door is always open to any of you who want to ask for any hints and tips. I'll always try to help if I can. I'm by no means an expert but if we all give each other a bit of help and advice we'll all become better Bloggers for it, and if we're all getting better we'll all generate more hits. Then if we're all being good little networkers the trickle down will hit us all and we'll get ourselves into a virtuous circle people. This isn't a competition, it's not a dog eat dog thing, it's nerds writing about our hobby and believe it or not there's more than enough of us to go around. So take the time to help a n00b out or even a veteran who is struggling to get more traffic or whatever, why? Because they might attract new people to your own little Blogging network community that you wouldn't have, and once they're locked in they might stumble across your Bog. I don't want to go all hippie on you people, but spread the love man... or woman... don't want to come across as sexist! So there are three things really to remember:
- Ask for advice if you need to. There are loads of Bloggers out there who will give you honest friendly advice. Hopefully I'm one of them, and if you ever need to ask, you know where I am.
- If somebody asks for your advice don't fob them off and try to wriggle out of it. Treat it as a compliment and help them out, I'm not saying write their Blog for them, just take the time to be friendly, courteous and above all else helpful.
- And remember if you're going to ask for advice, never take criticism personally, and always, always be polite. Rude people and sweary angry Blogs and Bloggers get ignored and bypassed very quickly. Take criticism with dignity and learn from it and come back stronger next time.
It's this part that has surprised me the most. I was surprised originally by how many people were willing to offer me some help back when I was taking my first tentative steps onto the world wide web. People like Doctor Warlock, Sorrowshard, Lauby, Jake Thornton, Martin, Eastwood DC, MCT, James S, Papa JJ, Colonel Shofer and Von. If I haven't said so already, I'd just like to say thanks to you all, you've really helped me grow my own Blog and helped me to become a much better Blogger. What they have generated in me with offering their help so selflessly is good will, and interestingly me helping out others has garnered a lot of good will too. Do not underestimate the power of good will, because today's n00b could be tomorrows Blogging superstar, and most people do actually remember those who helped them on their way! Well they do if they're any sort of decent human being.
I told you I'd get around to it eventually. I really don't want to sound all new age again and clichéd, but what the hell... success is really what you make of it. Honestly, when I started doing this Blogging malarkey I set myself some terribly simplistic goals:
- Keep the Blog going for 1 year and still be enjoying it.
- Promote all aspect of the hobby in a positive way.
- Write 100 Blogs in my first year.
- Create a positive friendly community around my Blog that discuss things openly and freely.
- Write at least 1 Blog without a bloody spelling mistake!
Well I've certainly achieved the 100 Blogs in my first year, and I'd like to think I've promoted all aspects of the hobby in a positive way... Dreadfleet aside, but I'm positive it's crap! I also think you guys have helped form a really strong community around this Blog and that's something I'm incredibly proud of. So I've not quite made it to a full year yet, but I am close and I am still enjoying it. The other one I'm not so sure I've achieved yet, bloody defective brain! But I'll strive to get there.
|For a tired Tybs this is a great success!|
For others it's all about the numbers, and I can see why that would become addictive in its own way. However, that way lies madness I feel for a number of reasons. You can't predict the Internet, trust me many smarter people than I have tried too and got it horribly wrong. So don't bother, by all means celebrate a numerical achievement if it feels like one, but don't have them as your goals. Because if you're focused purely on the numbers as a measure of your success you'll be ignoring the things that will actually make your Blog a success... good solid, well written and thought out articles. You should have as your primary goals things that focus on quality and output rather than arbitrary markers in the sand. If you Blog it and Blog it well, trust me the success in terms of numbers will come. As for me I celebrate every comment I get on my Blog the most, because engaging with fellow gamers in a constructive and interesting way was a key reason I started my Blog in the first place. Lets be honest forums can be depressing places at times. So I'd say set your own targets, use mine if you really want to, but whatever you do don't compare yourself to other peoples Blogs as a means of measuring your own success!
So this is it, this is my magic formula. It wouldn't quite fit onto a dry wipe white board and I'm sorry about its length. Not everything will work for everyone and some people will just think that what I have written is a big old pile of crap. That's fine, but this is my contribution to the greater good as it were. Hopefully if any of you think there is anything useful in this Blog you'll all be good citizens and remember to link people to it. I'm also fully aware that I don't know everything, despite rumours to the contrary, so if you guys have any top tips yourself then please either write your own articles and link them back here in the comments sections, or just put your own top tips in my comments section. Hey, perhaps we can make this Blog a repository for all worldly knowledge on Blogging, now that would be a success! Right, I started this Blog talking about little Frontline Gamer who struggled to cope with having a defective brain, and a teacher who helped him. Well there was another teacher who helped me greatly while I was at High School, Miss Pompfrey. She too noticed my problems and got me tested finally for dyslexia, but more importantly than that she told me that everyone had a voice that deserved to be heard, even me. She encouraged me to write, and to express myself not just in music or other outlets, but in the written word, not to shy away from it because I found it difficult. If it wasn't for her I assure you I would not be writing this Blog and thus you would not be reading it. Hopefully this little article can be my way of encouraging somebody else to speak up and be heard. Peace out!