The secret of success

Well, success in blogging in this case.

This might sound a little overambitious, writing about the secret of success with just two posts in the history and no reader base that I know of.

..But this is not meant to be a guide, this is more me overthinking the subject. Mind you, I don’t need this to be some top rated blog, no, I’m not good with that kind of pressure! But I don’t want it to be a waste of webspace either, that would just be senseless. What’s the use of having a blog when it reaches 0 people? “None!”, says Loken. I could disagree a little with him, because it still functions as some sort of diary to rant my heart out when I need it, but… Well, I don’t want a diary.

There have probably been many blog posts about the subject. I remember coming across the subject on many blogs I read. I would have linked those posts if I could find them again, but I can’t. One of them even wrote a real guide (ok, losing that one is plain bad). Of course, I’ve also got my own theories. Combining my own and the theories I’ve read, I came up with the following list of items:

Base plan

  • Have something interesting to say: seems like a no-brainer, but it doesn’t have to be every post. At least have something every now and then. This is also “in the eye of the beholder”, so it’s basically out of my control, but it’s about putting effort in. Things that are considered interesting are:
    • News (with sources)
    • Facts (with sources/proof)
    • Theories (well explained)
    • Humor
  • Write guides / Teach: This has some overlap with previous point, but basically: pose as an authority on subjects.
  • Specialize: Write about paladin tanking, priest healing, mage dps, gold making, guild running, end content raiding. I’m not doing this btw, I enjoy doing more then one thing too much. I’m the typical jack of all trades, master of none. I’ll try sticking to a small subset though.
  • Post regularly: preferably every day, but avoid long unannounced pauses of two weeks or more.
  • Keep post easily readable: use good writing skills, spell-checking, no overly long paragraphs, sentences, avoid walls of text, etc. This also means having a good blog layout, fonts, etc. There are two problems I see here, one is that this blog host doesn’t allow changing the themes, and they have very small default fonts. The other is that my native language isn’t english and I was never really good at languages in the first place. I just hope these handicaps will not pose a to big of a problem.

Extra Ideas

Note: I’m writing every possible tactic here, even downright terrible things to do, as long as they’re effective!

  • Advertise: blog plugging, forum linking, etc. This is probably inescapable to get started.
  • Keep the blog clean: I’m not very sure about this one, but it seems to be held high by some bloggers, basically it’s moderating comments (Note to self: check commenting settings) to keep trolls and spam out. Personally I like an open atmosphere, but it’s not good when trolls pester decent folk away.
  • Branch: Take the subject from another well known blog, and write about it yourself. It’s like writing a comment (so it can be supporting/opposing), but on your own blog. It really needs to be an interesting  (or humorous) viewpoint/addition, anything less will have an opposite effect. It also needs one of the previous two points to get noticed. Personally, I’m not that crazy about this tactic, I see it as a filler tactic when you don’t have a subject of your own.
  • Make lists: Top 10’s, best ways to, things like that.
  • Best of the week: Or worst of the month, etc. A collection of funny, or interesting things. It can be anything, from jokes, to screenshot, to news. Kinda like the lists, but it doesn’t have to be ranked, and returns regularly.
  • Cliffhangers: Make posts that have open endings, short previews of what’s coming next, etc. This works best to keep readers, not gain them.
  • Drama: Cause drama, mix in with existing drama, mention names of well known blogs, people, or guilds. Nothing attracts people as much as a good old fashioned conflict. “There is no such things bad publicity” is not a joke, it’s the rock hard truth.

I’m sure there is more to add to this list, this is just what’s in my head right now. Any additional tips would be very welcome. Also, I’m not planning to do all of this, it’s just an interesting subject to think about for me now.

The list makes me realize that having a blog requires much work if done well, and I wonder what the true reward is. And let’s face it, there needs to be a reward for people to do anything. I can fool myself by saying I’ll feel good by helping a large base of people getting entertainted, educated, or up to date, but that good feeling is an indirect result, there’s another reason that lies between. I guess the true reason for people having a blog is a social one: for status, for power, for attention. I’m not sure what’s mine, such things probably lie deep in the human psyche, but I do hope I’ll find out.


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February 2010
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