On Why Your Blog Isn't Any Good

When I started this blog, I figured it was a good old boys club and that I'd never make any headway. I wrote intermittently, worked on some of my resources, released some things, and did ok, having 20 or 30 followers.

Then I read a statement from Cyclopetron, that said blog growth is a function of the quality of the posts, rather then a reflection of your status within community . I took this advice to heart, and in a little over a month, garnered nearly 60 followers. This was separate from the release of things like my treasure, or  empty rooms, tricks, and trap design or psionics documents. The stats on my blog in a short time it has existed (~10 months now) show it as a solid blog in our little community.

So what did I do to garner my followers? What can you do to improve your blog for me? :-)
  • Write posts that are easy to read and concise. Use white space to break things up.You are welcome to write detailed dissertations on a topic, but most people are going through a blog roll or daily reader and don't have time for a review of an in-depth topic. it's best to write that and link to it as a resource for the interested reader
  • Provide some sort of resource on your blog on a regular basis (recipes, a picture, quiz, etc.) So that people will want to mark your blog as one to come back and check
  • Let your personality come through in your posts. People will follow a blog because they like you, not just the content
  • Schedule your posts to come out either around the morning or the evening, when people are going through their blog roll (EDIT: or not as Tim points out in the comments)
  • Be consistent in your posting schedule
  • Use pictures and photographs
  • Write interesting titles that draw interest, like they teach in journalism
  • Oh, 
  • You could always just release an awesome old school rule system - that seems like a pretty sweet way to garner followers for your blog. :-)
There are also a few things you can avoid doing.
  • Don't ever post about what you're going to do or what you're going to post; or for that matter, why you didn't post. If you're writing a post, give us something besides an excuse.
  • Don't consistently rant over and over about the same topics.We got it the first time. You could just link to the original rant. :-)
  • Don't exclusively write a reply to forum post and then return to the forum and post it - unless you have something of consequence (i.e. too big or more permanent) to add, or you wrote the post so you could reference the post to avoid explaining your point of view.
Carl Rogers said what is most personal is most universal, and that's a large part of why blogs are so popular. It's what I want to see in a blog, say, one written by you.

Oh, one more advice, if you want a popular blog - if followers are your priority rather than just writing about something you love, you might want to pick a topic less niche than "out of print tabletop role playing games".

6 comments:

  1. One of the best lessons I learned about blogging over this past year is post at different times. I used to only post in the morning EST, but once I started posting in the afternoon and evening I found I attracted a different group of people. There was no bad time to post a blog. It's a 24 hr world and someone is up somewhere screwing around on the internet.

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  2. That's real interesting - perhaps I'll try slowly cycling my posts and see what happens.

    I will say, that I receive a fairly consistent amount of hits even when I don't post and the peak is always around 9:00 am.

    However there are a number of peaks late at night, so I'll try scheduling for different times and see what happens.

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  3. Thanks for the thoughts. Good ideas, and much obliged. I have been trying to write reasonably good quality posts, and post them in the morning usually, but still, I find that I have only a tiny follower list. Of course that doesn't mean I don't have readers, but I think the number of followers is indicative. I do try to include images of interest or beauty, and do try to make my posts about something relevant to the RPG community. However, where I think I fall down, possibly, is in not keeping things very concise. My posts, like this comment, tend to go a little long. I'll try to make things more concise in the future and see if that helps. Thanks!

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  4. Question: If one isn't blogging in order to gin up a list of guys who'll buy one's product or otherwise put a few bucks in one's pocket, why bother engaging in the time time-consuming activity of raising one's follower count?

    I like watching the number go higher, personally, probably the more so these days because I don't even try. It means I'm being read, which can be gratifying. But in any of the blogs I've had in the last decade, expressly chasing followers - because I've never been trying to sell something or make a second income - is not one of the journeys I've taken that has ever been its own reward, especially when I've had success.

    But that may just mean there's a short in my existential wiring.

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  5. This is all solid advice. While working on amazing content should always be first priority, making sure that people get to see it is worth the effort as well, and there is a right way and a wrong way to do that.

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  6. Or, you know, you could write a blog that lives according to your own agenda, and not the agenda of your readers.

    After all, if journalism is the field for you, then create a paying, functioning instrument that will obey these rules and sell advertising as well. If you are going to work for other people, then you deserve a wage.

    Nothing wrong with the post there, -C. It's sound advice. I suppose it's a question of whether you blog to describe what's important to you, or if you blog to be popular.

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