** Image used without permission from http://www.newbiesstarterkit.com/ **
I follow a lot of blogs and it always saddens me when I see one get abandoned, especially if it was a relatively new one that had good stuff on it and showed promise. Now, I know that sometimes people leave the hobby and life can get in the way blogging but I think a lot of it is new bloggers getting disillusioned with their blogs and abandoning them to return to the forums of instant gratification. So, I thought I'd put together a post with a few thoughts and tips, and hopefully it'll encourage you guys that are new to blogging to stay around and stick with it. So, lets start at the beginning.
Why do you want to blog?
I imagine a lot of bloggers are much like me, refugees from the various forums after getting fed up with the various 'personalities' that frequent them, seeking a little place of their own on the interweb thingy. Well, if that's you, then welcome to the club, if not, then you're still welcome.
If you are, then there's a few things you need to get your head around, blogging and the blogging community are quite different from forums. Blogs arn't like forums, they're yours to do with what you wish which is great but the downside is that they don't come with the instant traffic that the forums provide. You have to work at it, and it takes time, so if you're after that instant hit, stick with the forums, you're not going to get it blogging.
So, what are you going to blog about?
Most commonly, people just blog about their hobby and the bit's of the hobby they most enjoy. For me, it's my guard, my scenery and campaigns, for others it's painting or tactics. It doesn't matter what you blog about as long as you're passionate about it and enjoy sharing that passion. If you're not sure what you're going to blog about, then for the time being, just stick with posting blogs about your mini's. If you've got no mini's, you don't play games and aren't into the tactics or fluff, then what are you doing in this hobby? lol
Now a lot of people start blogging and try to emulate some of the more popular blogs out there. In most cases, it's a mistake. In the case of hobby news, unless you secretly work for the design studio or have photos of Jervis J in a compromising position involving an actress and a bishop, then leave it alone. If you're sourcing your material from other blogs (Bols etc) or sites (GW etc), then there's a good chance that anyone who reads your blog will have already read it on the original and that means they're not going to be interested in rereading it on yours, and so it'll devalue your blog. Feel free to comment on other postings and news, but don't just copy them. The same goes for all the different aspects of the hobby, remember, the blog is yours, so put your thoughts on it, not others.
How often should I blog?
Well, it really depends on how much you've got to blog about. The main thing is to be consistent, personally I try to post twice a week. It's just the right level for me and lets me get the best out of the communities I belong to (more on those later). It's ok if you miss the odd post, life often gets in the way of our hobbies but if you're going to be taking a big break from blogging, then it's a good idea to put up a post just to let your followers and passing visitors know that you haven't abandoned the blog and that you'll be back.
Also, if you're new to blogging, don't make the mistake I made of posting all your stuff as soon as you start. Once you run out, you'll feel pressured to keep posting at that rate and then get disillusioned with your blog when you can't. Save all that stuff for when life gets in the way of your hobby and then you've got something in the bag to post about. I've been blogging since last March and I still haven't posted any pics of my space marine army.
How do you get visitors to your blog?
The easiest way by far is to get involved in the two main blogging communities out there. First and foremost is From The Warp (All hail the Great Ronissar!) which is a great community of bloggers who support each other and take part in various collaborative posts. After three months of regular blogging, you can then join the Bols Blogging Alliance which is another great source of visitors but lacks the community support of FTW. Both of these bloglists will bring you lots of visitors to your blog.
To get the best out of them, space you posts with at least a day between them to make sure each post gets the maximum exposure. These bloglists only show your latest post and so if you post twice in one day, you won't get any exposure from your first post as it'll disappear when you post your second.
Finally, if you still use forums, make sure you put your blog address in your signature. You won't get a lot of traffic from forums, but unlike the bloglists, your signature will advertise your blog whether you post a blog or not.
On comments and followers ....
'If you blog, they will come', in truth, there's no rhyme or reason to getting comments and followers. I've posted things that I expected to bring in loads of followers and they haven't. Overtime, I've come to realise that it's not about what you post but whether it interests a person as they pass by your blog, and this is something you just don't have any control over. Feel free to post blogs that you think people might find interesting, but don't expect people to like it just because you do.
As long as you keep posting regularly, then they will come in time. If you're after that hit of instant glory, stick with forums because unless you're a golden daemon painter or a tactical genius, you're not going to get it from blogging.
But my stuff ain't good enough ....
Don't ever, ever, ever think that, and if you do, I'll give you a cyber smack around the head. The hobby is about the journey and it doesn't matter what aspect of the hobby it is, we all have something to learn and something to share. Also, remember blogging is actually a two way thing, we've got a great supportive community going, so if you don't think your stuff is good, just ask how you can improve it, the community will be only too glad to help.
Well, that about wraps up this blog, I hope you found it useful. Finally, I'm going to take a bit of my own advice, so guys, what do you reckon? have a missed anything?