|Power Word: Gold (Circa February 2011)|
If you've ever considered starting a gold-making blog (or blog in general) today's post is for you. After the jump I'll be going over ten tips to help you get you started on the road to blogging.
Here (in no particular order) are a few things I've learned about blogging over the last 7 months.
10. Just Do It
Just do it. Today. This is about the best advice I could give someone interested in creating a gold-making blog. I recommend the Blogger.com platform (uses your google/gmail log in) for those interested in starting a blog. Set it up. Start writing.
The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. This applies to blogging. Don't over-analyze it. Worst-case scenario your blog never goes anywhere. Big whup! If blogging seems like it would be fun then do it. There is always time for adjusting/changing/fixing things later.
9. Pick An Interesting Name
Give the name of your blog some thought. Think it over for a few days. Write down lots of different ideas. A few things I would take into consideration are
- Make it easy to say/spell. Names made up of easy to spell words are highly recommended.
- Don't use numbers in your name. You'll have to specify whether they are numbers or not whenever telling someone your web address verbally (like on a podcast etc.). Eg. "Gold4you with the number 4."
- Make it creative and witty (if that's your style).
- Give it personality.
8. Content First. Readers Later.
Every time I start a blog I like to give myself a good 8 or 10 posts before I really start to fully publicize my blog. There is nothing wrong with getting your name out there earlier than this but (at least for me) I like to know there is a good chance I'll stick with something before shouting it to the world.
(This is one of the reasons we require 6 posts before we add a blog to The World Of Warcraft Gold Blog Directory. I figure at 1-2 posts a week someone who has 6 posts has been doing it for roughly 1 month or so and is fairly well into their gold-making blogging.)
When starting, be sure to focus on writing. Write. Write a lot. Write write write! Things like podcasts and videos is a great addition to any blog but the bread and butter blogging is written content. (Lots and lots of written content.)
7. The 3 Month Hump
It's been said around the gold-making blogging community if you can make it past 3 months there is a good chance be around for a while. As someone who maintains a directory of gold-making blogs I agree that this is a good rule of thumb.
The majority of gold bloggers who discontinue posting seem to hit the wall during their first three months. It is easy to get excited about something and maintain it in the short term. Making it work over the long haul is a bit harder. If you find blogging is just as fun at 3+ months as it was your first month then you'll most likely continue to enjoy blogging.
6. The Points Are Made Up and The Score Doesn't Matter
In blogging things like readers, pageviews and number of comment don't matter all that much. Really. They don't. In the case of increased readers and/or pageviews you should take it as a sign that your blog is connecting with an audience. It's a by-product of good writing and good content. It's a by-product of the energy and effort you've put into your blog.
A special note on blog comment numbers: they don't mean diddly-squat. Don't judge the quality of a post on the number of comments it receives. Many times a helpful post will receive 0 comments simply because you said everything that needed to be said. How often do you yourself comment on a blog post? For me I may comment on 1 out of every 20 gold-making blog posts I read (and I am a heavy blog reader).
For a long time I thought asking "what do you think" type of questions as the end of a blog post would help encourage readers to comment. It didn't. If people have something to say they'll say it regardless of if I ask or not. I've stopped adding "Talking Points" to my posts.
|Power Word: Gold (Circa April 2011)|
5. A Schedules Can Be Useful
One of the things that has helped me the most in my blogging is to start to build a lose structure for posting. Over time you will start to notice when you feel most comfortable posting. While I'm not the type to set a rigid posting schedule I have learned over time when I am at my most creative.
For me posting 3-4 times a week (mostly in the middle of the week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and/or Friday) seems to work best. While that is my general best times to post I've also learned to be flexible. You never know when inspiration for a post will hit you. Many times I've been laying in bed and *bam* an idea will hit me so strongly I'll have to get up and go write the post right then and there.
One rule as far as posting that I do follow is to never post more than once a day. While there have been rare exceptions to this rule, in general one post a day should be your max. As far as a number of recommended posts per week? That is really up to you and your posting habits. Some people can post high quality content 4-5 times a week. Feel free to post as often as you like as long as you are able to maintain post quality. Nobody likes reading crappy "I threw this together in 15 minutes" posts.
4. Quality Always Always Trumps Quantity
Early on I posted nearly 7 days a week for months. At the time I was just getting started in gold-making blogging (and blogging in general) and felt like only thing I really had to offer my readers to prove my worth was frequent high-quality posts. It was a noble goal and one that I think I hit most of the time.
It also almost drove me (and the blog) into the ground. Once the podcast got started I noticed that I was spending so much time blogging/podcasting that it was severely cutting into not only my World of Warcraft play time (the horror!) but also my time with the family.
Once I was able to step back and re-assess how I spent my time I realized that I had been likely hitting the blogging thing a bit too hard. I didn't need to post as often as I had been as long as I maintained the quality I expected for my posts.
We often walk around with what we think are everyone else's expectations in the back or our minds. "What if people think I'm not posting enough?" "What if they don't like what I post." "What if they stop reading my blog?" "What if they think I'm a failure?" Want to know a secret? I doubt anyone even noticed I cut my post count from 6-7 a week to 3-4.
Looking back I was pushing too much content out too quickly. The longer you blog the more you'll start to reach an equilibrium when it comes to how often you should post. This comes with time.
3. Worth a Thousand Words
Always include images with your posts. This is one of the things I think many new bloggers fail at. At least include a nice (related) header image at the beginning of each and every post. A simple screenshot with the UI turned off (ALT+Z) works great for this.
If you're a bit more advanced with image editing then cropping the screenshot helps enhance the image even more. (If you don't have a program like Photoshop I recommend the free image editing program Gimp.) If you are writing tutorials images are even more important.
There are lots of ways to get good WoW related images. WoW screenshots. Your World of Warcraft screenshots are stored in your World of Warcraft >Screenshots folder. Generally the [Print Screen] button takes a screenshot in WoW (If not check your key bindings.)
On Windows hold ALT and press the Print Screen key to copy the contents of the current window into your computer's clipboard which you can then paste into a new image document (in Gimp select File>Create>From Clipboard). Use this for taking screenshots of websites (like Wowhead or The Undermine Journal) or anything else on your computer (WoW Model Viewer, WoW, etc.)
As a graphic designer I's be remiss if I didn't encourage you to always own the rights (or have proper use permissions) to all the images you post on your blog. Simply googling a few word and grabbing the first image you find in Google Image Search and pasting it into your blog post is not only sloppy blogging but disrespectful to the original creator of the image and technically against copyright law. Have proper rights or create the images yourself (perhaps using some of the techniques described in the previous paragraphs).
2. Try Everything and See What Sticks.
Don't be afraid to try lots of different things in your blog. Do videos, tutorials, comics, guides, experiments, projects, podcasts, audio blogs, recaps, Q and As, etc. Try tons of things. Throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. Don't be afraid to abandon things that don't work. Not everything you will do will be solid gold (seewhutididther?). Don't let that deter you from trying. There's always another post.
As you try different things you will start to find your own voice. You will start to find things that you enjoy doing the most. Your readers can tell when you're having a good time with your blogging. Having your personality shine through your posts will help you connect with your readers. Keep it fresh. Find your voice.
(If you've been reading Power Word: Gold for any length of time I'm sure you can think of a few things that have come and gone. Even today I'm still working to find new and interesting ways to share gold-making ideas with the community.)
1. Have Fun!
Blog because love blogging. If you ever get to the point where you stop having fun blogging (this goes for lots of things in life) than stop. Readjust. Reinvent. I believe blogging is one of the most powerful forms of self-expression available today. Blogging about a topic you find fascinating is a great use of your time.
Your voice is unique and wonderful. Your ideas are important. The community wants to hear what you have to say. I want to hear what you have to say.
All you have to do to take the first step...
[PRESS START TO CONTINUE]
Like this post? Get even more Power Word: Gold: Subscribe via our RSS Feed. Subscribe to the Podcast via iTunes or Podcast RSS Feed. Follow us on Twitter. Circle us on Google+. Like us on Facebook. Subscribe on Youtube. Join us on reddit.