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Making the World of Warcraft more trivial, one post at a time…

The 10 Basics of Blogging

  1. Write about what you care about – blogging is (largely) an enthusiast's game. If you're not enthusiastic, it really, really shows in your writing. If you're not enthusiastic about what you're writing about, you've just bought a one-way ticket to FAIL.
  2. Learn to link – the basic skill of blogging is to spot something that's interesting. That's where blogging started as weblogs (literally logs of web travels). If you're not linking out to other blogs, you're not joining in the wide conversation that is the blogosphere.
  3. Write in your own voice – blogging is a personal medium. Write in your own voice. Not in that of other bloggers you admire. Not in the voice you think you should have. Write in your voice. This blog is often sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek and flippant, because that's how I feel about WoW most of the time. It's a fun game to me, and I can't take it too seriously. (Except when I do.) Think of your blog as an extension of yourself, and write like you would if talking to a group of friends.That's conversational writing, and that's what attracts readers to blogs.
  4. Know what you're writing about, if you want traffic – Niche blogs do better than generalist blogs, unless the generalist blog has several contributors and loads of posts a day (eg this old thing). It's a fact of blogging life. If you're happy with a small but loyal audience, go general by all means. If you want the big numbers, define yourself a little.
  5. Enjoy yourself - Really, really important. Blogging is a slog, because it takes effort to build an audience. But it should be a fun slog, something you want to do. You should look forward to opening your blog platform and communicating with your readers, and every comment or in-bound link should quicken your pulse a little. You need to be a wee bit obsessed to be a good blogger.
  6. Keep posting - Regular postings build audience. Simple as that. The post doesn't need to be a 2,000 word magnum opus, though. It can just be a link to another post you found interesting. Get into the discipline of sharing interesting stuff you find with your readers, and this become easy.
  7. Vary the pace – Imagine heading to the pub with a friend who only every gave 10 minute speeches, but never did any chit-chat. That's what your 1,000 word posts only blog is like. Vary the pace. Old media publishers have know this forever. Short pieces at the front and back of the mag, longer pieces in the middle. Vary the pace. Make things more interesting for your readers.
  8. Read and comment on other blogs – the best single way to become a better blogger is to read and get involved in the conversations happening in the blogosphere. Leave comments elsewhere if your immediate reaction is short. Link and react on your own blog if your reaction is long. You will absorb by osmosis the best techniques of other bloggers just by reading their work.
  9. Answer comments - Duh. Blogs are a conversation. If you talk to friends down the pub, but ignore everything they have to say, you'll probably find that they stop inviting you.
  10. Remember that you're doing this for fun – You're not going to make a living WoW Blogging, so if you're not having fun, why do it? Oh, and if you're not having fun, the readers can tell. And that'll drive them away.

1 Yes, I am aware of the irony of writing a guide in response to a complaint about all the guides out there. I am a contrary tree.

  • http://tmi.gunlovingdwarfchick.com Bre

    Awesome post Leafy!!!

  • http://www.musingsofaraider.com/ Isisxotic

    Great post. Though to be honest, one of my favorite parts was trying to see if I could say “contrary tree” three times fast.

  • http://destructivereach.com Saresa

    Excellent post Leafy! I am going to say that your post is much more articulate than mine because you get paid to write… and you’re English. Yes, that makes sense.

    I especially love point number 10! I think many people lose sight of the fact that blogging IS meant to be enjoyable. It’s not a job, it’s certainly not a competition, and making it either one of these is a good way to ruin the experience.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/Leafshine Leafy

    You see? I always leave the best bits for last. ;-)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/Leafshine Leafy

    Yeah, there’s a danger in taking advice designed to teach people how to make a living writing a blog (which very, very few people do) and trying to apply that to a hobby blog.

    There’s a whole bunch of other advice I give to my journalist bloggers, but it just doesn’t apply here. So I didn’t include it.

    Horses for course and all that.

  • http://keredria.blogspot.com Keredria

    Nice one Leafy!

    I’m not even sure what my blog is about anymore… but it amuses me and apparently amuses some others too, so I keep up with it.

  • http://reztheweak.wordpress.com xeonio

    I really liked the post Leafy. I want to better my writing for those few who stop by and read. Little things like this go along way to making nubs like me better writers. I might even infuse more of ‘myself’ into my blog via colorful language!

    Thx for the words!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/Leafshine Leafy

    Cursing: it’s the future.

    Or isn’t that the colourful language you meant? :)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1231230184s11765 Chain Trap

    Top stuff, mate. As ever.

    From my limited blog experience, I’d add an 11th. “Don’t worry about the numbers”. Too many bloggers seem more obsessed with hits and stats than they do about producing enjoyable colourful posts. We all want readers, but increasing reader numbers should be a nice side effect of blogging, not it’s raison d’etre.

    Or perhaps that’s just cos I don’t get too many readers

  • http://www.worldofmatticus.com Matt

    Solid post. All very good points no matter what blogging objectives anyone’s going for.

  • Leafy

    Both agree and disagree. I think metrics can actually be hugely important, if only by showing you who has linked to you. (Trackbacks/Pingbacks can be very unreliable.) And knowing who is pointing to you gives you the chance to respond.

    As for traffic levels, well, if you will blog about Eve Online
    (http://gunandcamera.wordpress.com/)… :)

  • http://lady-jess.com Lady Jess

    Leafy…I <3 you!

  • http://wildgrowth.wordpress.com Taz

    Thanks so much for the pointers – it’s really helpful to those of us who are new to the WoW blogging scene (although the rules certainly apply universally to blogging.)

    I particularly like #7 – it’s something I’ve always struggled with in my personal non-WoW blog…