15 October, 2013
In grand Psychochild's Blog tradition, I'm here to tell you news waaaaaaay after the fact. Anyway, this post is about the return of the Newbie Blogger Initiative! Do you write about game stuff, particularly MMOs, and want to get some attention to your writing? Want some experienced bloggers to lend some guidance while you explore the crazy world of blogging? Then this is the initiative for you!
Anyway, I signed up to be a mentor, so I should probably post something, right?
An awesome origin story
As some of you might know, the brilliant Syp over at Bio Break created the Newbie Blogger Initiative. It introduced a bunch of new bloggers to the MMO space. This year the brand new Newbie Blogger Initiative mantle was taken up by Doone over at T.R. Red Skies and Contains Moderate Peril.
Since I've worried about the health of MMO blogging in the past, I obviously whole-heartedly support this endeavor!
Is Blogging Outdated?
Encouraging people to blog might seem like encouraging people to memorize the locations of pay phones and use them exclusively while away from home. As I said in my post about blogging earlier this year, social media is taking up a lot of what used to be the domain of blogging. But, as I said, I think there's a lot of value in blogging. It allows for a lot more insight, you get a better sense of community, and you have a lot more control over your blog posts than you do over your social media streams.
Of course, an important part of writing a blog is participating in the community by reading blogs. (Bonus tip: insightful comments are a great way to get people to go visit your blog!) With the death of Google Reader, it's a bit harder to keep up. I've found a home with CommaFeed; it's like me, a bit rough around the edges, maybe a bit slow at times, but it does the job fairly well. I still read a few hundred different blogs, and although I'm horribly behind, it helps me keep abreast of what is important to some of the most active MMO enthusiasts.
Some practical advice
So, I think the best advice I can give is to consider the question: what did I know how that I wish I had known back when I started blogging? I think the most important thing for me was just taking the plunge and start writing. If you go back and read my early blog posts, I really had no focus and no real voice. I enjoyed participating in forums and I certainly had quite a bit to say, but I didn't know what I wanted for my blog. I eventually settled into what I did on most forums: discussing issues from the point of view of a developer who is also an enthusiastic player. Perhaps with a bit less trolling. ;)
I think the other thing I've learned over the years is that unless you have aspirations of making a living at blogging (even I flirted with that, but let me tell you: don't do it), it really doesn't matter how many "hits" you get. I'll take 10 enthusiastic readers and and regular comment writers over 1000 people who just skim my posts. Hell, I regularly don't post for... (checks post dates).... a month (?!?!) at a time. But, there are still people that stop by and read my writing and leave terrific comments.
But, while you shouldn't worry too much about how many people visit your blog, I think it is important to value and respect your readers. Cultivate the type of community you like, and participate in the comments as much as you can. In the end, the readers really do make this whole blogging thing worthwhile. :)
Got questions about blogging, suggestions for newbie bloggers, or any other question? I'll answer them in the comments below.