Blogging Tips for Gamers #5

blogging tips for gamersTip #5: How to get More Readers

You have your blog all set up, you know you’re in it for the long-haul with a purpose, you have a topic, and now you’re thinking to yourself, “How do I get people to read my blog?”  This is quite literally the million dollar question.  I think if there was a definitive answer, and you had it all figured out, you could make quite a bit of money.  Lucky for you, I can share what has worked for me.

When I started blogging I was writing for IGN and moderating their forums.  I knew a lot of people, and a lot of people knew about me, so I had a slight edge.  I could put my blog in my forum signature, and maybe a dozen people per day would click on it and hopefully not bounce off the page in 3 seconds.  This was back in 2007, though, when blogging about games was still somewhat uncommon.  Today, people know what gaming blogs are all about.  That can be an advantage if you’re able to stand out from the crowd, or a disadvantage if you’re just another face.

No matter your circumstances, here’s my advice. [Read more…]

Blogging Tips for Gamers #4

blogging tips for gamers

Tip #4: Hype is Okay

Hype has taken on this horrible stigma lately.  People think any hype it all is unearned, and anyone being excited or enthusiastic about a game must somehow be blinded to reality. I love hype.  I think it’s a powerful tool for marketers to use when they tailor expectations properly.  Hype is a wonderful reason for people to blog about games, and also a tool for bloggers to use to help get their blog off the ground.

I started blogging around the LotRO era.  I talked about the game and my adventures, and a lot of people found that interesting.  I would also write the usual commentary on the industry, as well as my take on how games should be designed.  It wasn’t until WAR, though, that I started to see people swarming our blog in droves. Why? Because I was excited, and I let others share in my excitement.  I would read something about WAR, then share my thoughts.  If it excited me, I conveyed that excitement and gave others an opportunity to come to the blog and share their excitement in a comment.  They found a kindred spirit.

People like the be excited.  People also like to bitch and moan.  Given the choice, I’ll take excited people over curmudgeons.  There’s not a lot to get excited about these days, but if you can find something that excites you or inspires you to write and share — DO IT!  You’ll get the usual people saying “There you go hyping a game again,” but who cares?  You’re blogging about something you enjoy, and hopefully that excitement and hype turns out to be something truly wonderful for you.

There’s always the chance it won’t end up as exciting as you hope.  That was WAR for me.  Turns out I got too excited and ignored the warning signs.  Realize that you also have an opportunity to comment and blog about how a game deceived you.  You can use your blog as a therapuetic process, or as a way of helping people realize the signs you know see plain as day.  People love to follow a story, and you can create an educational, informative, and interesting piece around your realization process.

Manage your expectations, but never be afraid to show and share your feelings with others.

Check out all of Keen’s Blogging Tips for Gamers.

Blogging Tips for Gamers #3

blogging tips for gamersTip #3: Choosing a Blogging Platform

You’ve identified the reasons why you want to start a blog, and you’ve chosen a topic.  Now it’s time to get a little technical and start thinking about the right delivery method.  There are many, many choices to choose from.  Most people are familiar with WordPress and Blogger.  There are dozens of other options, but I recommend you stick with one of these two choices.

We use WordPress for our gaming blog. Specifically, we use a self-hosted installation of WordPress on a virtual private server.  If you’re just starting out, that’s a little more info than you need to know.  WordPress can be installed and hosted through your choice of hosts (if you have questions on that feel free to ask) or you can host through and get a blog up and running there for free.   I’ll break down the advantages of all three options then give my recommendations. [Read more…]

Blogging Tips for Gamers #2

blogging tips for gamers

Time for another one of Keen’s Blogging Tips for Gamers!

Tip #2: Don’t Be a One-Game Blog

The biggest reason why so many gaming blogs flounder is because they fail to select the right topic.  I hope you’re already asking, “How do I select the right topic?”  Let’s look at our blog as an example.  Almost seven years ago we decided we wanted to write our honest opinions about the games we play, and provide running commentary on everything related to the industry.  If you recall from last week’s tip, that’s our purpose.  Does it make sense then for us to make a blog centered entirely around one game? Of course not.  From the beginning we designed our blog to be timeless.  As long as there are video games, there will be Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog.

Back when Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning hype was all the rage, dozens of blogs sprang up with authors wanting to ride the wave.  A lot of those blogs had great content, with eager and dedicated bloggers who had a genuine purpose.  However, they made their entire blogs about one game.  Everything they wrote was dedicated to Warhammer, the name of their blog was somehow related to Warhammer, and when Warhammer inevitably stopped being popular those blogs suddenly became — you guessed it, unpopular.  Most of those blogs shut down, some of their writers went on to write for Massively, and a few re-branded themselves.

Don’t be a blog about one game.  There’s nothing wrong with shifting the focus for a few months to a new game that just launched.  After all, you should always blog about what YOU want, and if that’s one game at a time then go for it.  But you’ll be so happy when you’re able to keep your blog but seamlessly change topics on the fly.

If you’re struggling for a direction to take the topic of your blog, here are some ideas:

  • Reviews – You can focus entirely on reviewing games
  • Screenshot diaries – Whatever game you’re playing, give people lots of screenshots and talk about your adventures
  • Armchair Designer – Talk about how you’d like to see games made
  • Critic – Point out what game designers are doing wrong
  • All of the above in one

There are so many options, and I encourage you to pick one that you’re passionate about.  If you want your blog to last, you can’t burn out, and your topic can’t be here today and gone tomorrow.

Check out all of Keen’s Blogging Tips for Gamers.

Blogging Tips for Gamers

Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog has been around for six and a half years. In that period of time I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge on the subjects of what I like and dislike about games, how to talk about games, and blogging in general.  Our blogging peers have commented recently about the MMO blogging decline.  In the past six years I have watched a lot of blogs officially close or fizzle out  — many of them MMO blogs, and a lot of them under some of the blogging initiatives intended to help bloggers.  I’d like to help those looking for a resource.

I want to provide my insights openly to anyone who might be want to learn about starting a blog, strengthening what they already have going, or simply interested in the subject.  A new blogging tip or insight will be posted every Sunday, so be sure to check back weekly.

Let’s get started with Tip #1!

blogging tips for gamers

Tip #1: Have a Purpose

This tip applies to everyone wanting to start a blog, not just gamers.  You absolutely must have a purpose for starting a blog, and it can’t be “I want to give it a try.”  Even if right now you’re thinking to yourself, “But I really do want to give it a try,” stop and think up a second reason.  When I first decided to start writing a blog I didn’t even know gaming blogs existed.  I was a moderator and writer for IGN at the time, and I was getting tired of having so many things to say about games but nowhere to put them.  Posting them on message boards wasn’t going to preserve them.  I couldn’t write my honest opinions in articles because the editors would throw a fit about pissing off sponsors.  I knew it was time to figure out a solution.  That’s when I decided to start a website, and the rest is history.

Graev and I have strong opinions about games, and our purpose is to share those opinions.  Six and a half years later I’m still standing on a soapbox preaching to anyone who will listen.   Even if we never became known to anyone in the industry, I would still be writing and putting my thoughts onto virtual paper.  I quickly learned that a second purpose exists: I love to write.  My grammar is horrible, and my spelling is worse, but I love to put my thoughts into a place where I can store them and reference them later.  Writing is therapeutic for me.  Yet another purpose developed over time, and that’s my crusade to ‘save’ the MMO industry from itself by using my voice to help keep the memory of what worked alive.

Work your purpose into a tagline for your blog.  Here’s ours: “Two Brothers, One Gaming Blog. Keen and Graev bring you their latest PC/Console views, MMO Adventures, and more from a unique and refreshing perspective.”  We bring you our views, our adventures, and we do it from our unique and (to us) refreshing perspective.

Your purpose will dictate the direction of your blog, your writing, and your success.  Have everything you do revolve around that purpose.  So whether you want to blog about MMOs, cars, or knitting, you need to have a purpose that will stand the test of time, and hopefully it will evolve like mine. A personal, meaningful purpose will keep your blog going when it seems like nothing else will.

Check out all of Keen’s Blogging Tips for Gamers.