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Blogging Every Day for 2 Months

I can’t believe how time has just flown by while blogging. I issued myself a challenge to blog every single day for 31 days straight during the month of August, and I had so much fun and rejuvenated by passion for blogging so immensely that I decided to up the stakes and push for 100 days of blogging. We’re now 62 days in, and I can’t even fathom stopping.

As promised, each month of successful blogging I want to look back on the top posts, trends, and comments and analyze things a little bit.

Top Posts Written in September by Readership

As you can see, the month’s readership numbers were dominated by PUBG and Fortnite discussions. These brought in a lot of organic readers and searches from Google for people looking up the topics.

The Numbers

Traffic took a slight down turn in September, but only slight. Despite being a small percentage, that turn represents thousands of readers. It’s something I want to watch for sure, and over time try and evaluate what types of articles resonate more with our readers.

Despite being a low month than August, September 2017 vs. September 2016 was up by over 20%, and up several thousand readers from July. Still a great month overall.

What Worked Well

Despite not being a major traffic boost for the blog, the video I did for Epic Tavern seemed to go over well. I received five messages (not on the blog) from you guys saying how much you liked the video and would like to see more of those preview / gameplay videos in the future.

I enjoyed making it! I’m going to continue making gameplay videos

So overall a great month of blogging, and looking forward to next month!

 

5

31 Days of Blogging: Huge Success!

I did it! I blogged every day, 7 days a week, for 31 days.

When I first started my self-imposed challenge of reinvigorating my blogging, I hoped I would feel different in the end. My goal was to breathe new life into what it meant to write this blog, interact with my readers, stay current on news, and once again focus on growing something that brings me immense joy.

I'm happy to report it was all a success.

I Feel Excited About Blogging Again

This is the best outcome of all. I'll go into some stats and numbers in a minute and why those are great and all, but most important of all I once again feel like I can sit down and just write. I lost that somewhere along the way. I really don't know how or why; It just happened. 

It wasn't 100% all roses this month. There were times this month when 8:00pm would roll around and I'd think, "Ugh I want to sleep or watch TV but I have to write a blog." On more than one occasion I felt like I had nothing to say. Despite that, I pushed through.

Now as a result, blogging is easier. Coming up with topics is easier. The desire is just there.

Continue reading

New Review System

We have reviewed games here on our blog now for over a decade. During this time, we've had various methods for review games ranging from stars and numbers, even a seal of approval back in the day.

I think it's time for another change; This time to reflect a more modern and realistic approach to our video game commentary.

Our previous review systems (that we kept for over five years) rated games from 1-10:

0: *slits wrists*
1 to 4: Absolutely horrible.  Avoid this game at all costs.  We even regret playing it.
5 to 7: Average (5) to Good (7).  There may be no reason  to run out and buy this title right away, but it has some redeeming qualities. See review for more details.
8 to 9: Great! This game is highly recommended.
10:  Absolutely phenomenal.  No game is perfect, not even a 10, but this comes close.  We not only enjoyed this game immensely but we will be playing it over and over.  You absolutely must buy this title.

The problem with a review system based on numbers is that people tend to compare game scores. Game X may get a 10, but Game Y got a 9. They think that Game X is better, when that's not the case at all. We always feel games should be judged against their own potential, value, playability, and fun.

Another problem with a number system is that there's no universally accepted guidelines for how you can rank a game. Some sites use a skewed system where 7 or 8 is considered average and anything below that is failing, but that makes 0-6 worthless on the scale.

While our system of ranking was more accurate and fair than most, we feel there's now a better way.

Our system of reviewing a game will now simply be whether we recommend it or not. We'll include a thumbs up or down (from both of us if we both have an opinion) as well as a pros/cons summary of bullet points.

The point of our reviews is not to focus on a score, whether arbitrary or not. It's to focus on the content of our review and the discussion. This new system will facilitate that goal.

P.S. Thank you to all who participated in my Twitter poll. A vast majority of you indicated you preferred this system.

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31 Day Blogging Challenge

We're kicking off our 31 Day Blogging Challenge which means that during the month of August there will be a new post on the blog each and every single day.

When we first started Keen and Graev's Gaming Blog, we published practically every day. During those early years (can you believe it's been 10 years guys?) our traffic soared. Our reach expanded. Our coverage was more comprehensive, personal, minute-by-minute, and true to our mantra.​

Why a challenge?

These past few years, the blogging has become... let's just say it's not what it used to be, and for that reason it's time to see if we can change things.​

Proving We Can Do It

No one issued this challenge to us. This isn't a fad or a meme or whatever the social media world is calling it these days. I came up with this idea only a few days ago and decided August would be the month and it happened to have 31 days.

I'm doing it to prove we can do it. If I end up writing them all and Graev writes none, then I'm proving that I alone can do it.​

Impact on traffic and growth

Traffic ain't what it used to be. Video killed the blogging star. Yes it did. Lack of consistency also kills. I'm going to measure the change in traffic over 31 days to settle my curiosity and act as a case study for a few other web related projects.

Impact on Comments​

Does engagement change? This will be a fascinating one. I think comments are directly correlated with traffic and activity, which is directly related to the number of posts in a month. This will be measured.

What kind of posts are we going to write to satisfy the challenge?

I know this goal isn't going to be easy. In fact, it's going to be a bit of a stretch. In the past ten years, I think I can count on two hands the total number of posts we actually wrote and completed BEFORE the publish date. In fact, 99.9% of our thousands of posts were written the day of publication in one sitting.

To make this work, some posts will have to be batched -- and that's totally okay. In fact, I want to get better at creating a content calendar for both this website and my other sites.

Commenting on the video game industry lives in the here and now due to the nature of the industry, but I think there has to be some editorial flexibility that will allow for batching.

Here's a brief list of the types of posts we'll publish:

  • ​Anything - Hah, I love cheating
  • Reviews
  • Day-to-day commenting on what we played or what we did in a game (I don't care if it's 50 words or 5,000)
  • Photos posts with lots of screenshots
  • Video posts with a youtube video we took of playing 
  • Stream posts that we're live streaming (with the VoD added after)
  • List posts (5 reasons we like...  etc.)
  • How-to posts
  • Philosophizing posts (my old school favorite)
  • Link posts with links to various educational places or things we want to link to
  • A lot more follow-through and followup on topics we bring up in one or two posts but then fail to follow up with more (Examples: FFXIV, Ark, etc)

I'll reiterate the "anything." I've come to learn over the years that how you publish is just as important as what you publish.

You'll play a role in our 31 Day Blogging Challenge

As I sit here now I can promise you we need ideas. What do you want to read about? What do you want to watch? What content can we publish for YOU, our readers? I used to heavily subscribe to the idea that "I don't care what other people want, I'm going to publish what I want to publish!"

I'm easing off that idea as I learn and grow as a blogger. Even after 10 years I have a lot to learn.​ As the the industry changed -- perhaps MMOs dwindled a bit into obscurity -- it has become harder to fill the void with theorycrafting and discussion.

So please comment and let us know what you want, and get ready for a month of gaming blogs!

P.S. This counts as post #1!​

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Should We Add a Homepage?

Today I want to ask you a question about how our website is laid out and serves our readers. Our goal over the years has always been to provide a quick and seamless way for our readers to find our content; More specifically, the content they are looking for when they are looking for it.

Our blog was created over ten years ago. That’s back when blogs were really only getting started, and not yet a mainstream type of site. Back then it was the normal for a blog or website to land you right on the blog feed. In other words, like our site. When you load our keenandgraev.com you see our current “homepage” which is nothing more than the most recent post excerpts and a sidebar. What if we added a new or real homepage?

Defining the User Experience on the Homepage

What if when you loaded keenandgraev.com you were presented with a homepage instead? One that contained:

  • An active header section (not a slider) that contained a call-to-action for that month
  • A section about us for new readers to quickly learn what Keen and Graev are about (a “Start Here” page of sorts)
  • Our most recent blogs presented horizontally
  • Our main categories or “silos” of content for users to quickly jump to the types of posts they want to see most
  • Featured Content below that which we think our readers would like to see

Creating Better Funnels

From the homepage there would be a number of ways for you to get to the content. At the top in our navigation you could simply click “blog” and be taken to the same exact page you’ve always seen. That would be our “blog”.

You could click on particular categories to only see blog posts from those categories. Example: if you want to only see MMORPG posts you could click into that category. Each category would have a custom designed landing page themed and tailored to the needs of a MMORPG reader.

Focusing on New and Existing Readers Equally

The main goal is to provide a better, more custom tailored user experience for our new readers who haven’t visited us before while enhancing the experience for our long-time readers. Right now our website heavily favors the reader who has been with us for years. You guys already know how we think. Our posts build upon each other. A new reader has to jump right into the fray without any context. What if we provided context for that new reader?

Your feedback is wanted. All I ask is that you think with an open mind about it. If you’re like me, you resist change. Oh my gosh I hate change. But look past the change. Do you see more value in having a homepage for our readers or would you prefer things to stay exactly the way they are where you load right to the blog feed? if you want to stay the same, why? The goal is to always serve you best.

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