1 June, 2016
Let’s look at what you need to start being a game blogger.
A blog site!
You have a few options here. The most popular is signing up for a blog at http://www.wordpress.com/ and blogging from there. The upside is that it’s free and easy. The downside are the ads, the limited control, and the nagging for you to upgrade. But, if you’re still on the fence, this is a good way to try before you make a larger commitment. You can probably transfer your posts off the site if you decide you want to go somewhere else or host yourself.
If you like WordPress and don’t like the nagging, you can host yourself. Most web hosting plans have one-click installations for WordPress or other blogging software. It doesn’t take a whole lot of technical know-how, but if you are stumped maybe there might be a group of experienced bloggers who are looking to help out newbies…. Somewhere….
Another popular option is Blogger. The caveat here is that Google owns Blogger, and they have so little confidence in blogs that they killed Google Reader. Yes, I’m still bitter. No, I won’t get over it anytime soon.
Or if you’re insane, you could write your own blogging system like Richard Bartle did. Do read Richard’s blog, but don’t write your own system.
A game you like to talk about!
Most bloggers I follow started blogging about MMOs. This was natural, as an MMO can last years. In fact, I suggest that blogging is one of the best ways to learn about an MMO, because you can see what someone does on a regular basis. One friend of mine used blogs as reviews for MMOs, and I thought that was brilliant.
Anyway, you don’t have to write about MMOs, but find some game or type of game you like. Maybe you like computer role-playing games (CRPGs) enough to call yourself an addict. Maybe you’re good at some sort of game. Maybe you’re comically bad at some type of game, but have fun anyway! (Maybe you should stream in that case. Let the rest of us laugh at you in real time.) Try to pick a theme that will last more than the dozens of hours it might take to play one game.
Also, don’t be afraid to experiment. Maybe you like RPGs, then you decide to focus on JRPGs, or indie RPGs, or something else. Maybe you decide RPGs aren’t what you want to write about; that’s fine! Pick something else.
Blogging is a lot better with other people. If you’re going to write a blog, then follow a few like-minded blogs as well!
There are three main reasons to follow other blogs.
1. It gives you topics to write about. Someone wrote a post about how dual wielding is always overpowered in games. Maybe you want to point out that dual-wielding has trade-offs in most games. Or, maybe you agree and want to cite Sword Art Online as proof that everyone knows dual-wielding is BS. Or maybe the post gets you started thinking about weapons and what your favorite weapons are in RPGs.
2. It gives you a chance to pimp your blog. Generally you want to be careful about this. Don’t go on an MMO blog just to pimp your JRPG blog. But, if you write a related post you can leave a comment saying, “Hey, I talked about this same topic! I’d love some comments.” Try to be respectful, and definitely take some time to read the blog instead of doing drive-by comments!
3. It builds friendships. I have a few people I’ve come to know and appreciate over the years, primarily because of MMO blogging. For example, I’m currently gaming with Ysharros, even though she took my money in FFXIV and doesn’t play with me on there anymore. T_T But, she does run a tabletop game for me, so I’ll tolerate her a bit longer.
The right motivation
As I’ve said before, the days of making a ton of money from blogging are long gone. Don’t get into blogging thinking you’re going to make a ton of money.
The best thing to do is write for yourself. Write because you want to write. Write because you have something you want to say. But, understand that it may take a while for people to find your blog and to really pay attention to your posts. You need to have enough motivation to keep writing even if your weekly visitors is in the single digits. But, if you keep at it, then you’ll start to make friends and see your numbers rise.
Who knows? Maybe your writing might get some interesting attention. Or maybe you’ll find a love of writing. Or, most likely, you’ll find that your writing improves in other areas of your life as well.
In summary, GET TO IT!
Don’t dither and wonder if you should blog. If you want to, there is no better time to start than now. Get a free WordPress.com account and go! You have little to lose and a lot to gain. Find our voice, and become another awesome game blogger!
BTW, you can also find some advice I wrote a few years back. Still mostly relevant today.
Got a question or a new blog you want to pimp? Post about it in the comments, or send me an email with a link and I’ll add it.