Friday, August 2, 2013

Blogging is for a long term

I've started my blog about WoW and it grown pretty well. But then WoW started to decline in playerbase and for a reason. I also started to lose interest. Found EVE Online and started writing about that. Lost lot of visitors who couldn't care less of EVE. It took more than a year to replace them with EVE-visitors.
Now I can tell that finally my blog is a successful EVE blog. Let me give a few advices to fellow bloggers:
  • Don't be nice! People can watch pretty pictures everywhere. Your only selling point is your unique set of ideas. Tell them proudly.
  • Moderate aggressively! To have a useful comment section, "First", "this is awesome", "I wish you die in cancer" has to go, along with derails and 3 pages long essays why the blog author is Hitler.
  • You are writing to readers and not commenters! 99% of readers never comment.
  • Ignore the "community"! If you are trying to get links from other sites, you will self-censor to impress the other site owners. You don't need links. 90% of my visitors come directly or read from a feed.
  • Don't jump on bandwagons! If everyone writes about "how to get newbies to mining" this month, don't! Bloggers find these banthers cute, readers find it boring.
  • Work on content, not design! I doubt if your blog is uglier than mine.
  • Pre-write posts, give yourself time to think it over again and again!
  • Rather be wrong 10x than silent once! Bad ideas make people think. Empty pages not.
  • No one cares about your feelings. You are writing to your readers, write something they can apply.
  • Be patient! It will take years till you get your own readerbase.

16 comments:

Chris said...

Your blog is far from ugly.
It´s very readable, no distractions from what is important - the content. Your blog layout is simple, but as the Germans say "In der Einfachheit liegt die Genialit├Ąt".
(That rougly translates to 'In simplicity lies the genius'.)

Anonymous said...

"Ignore the "community"! If you are trying to get links from other sites, you will self-censor to impress the other site owners. You don't need links. 90% of my visitors come directly or read from a feed."

that statement seems weird to me - I meet an amazing amount of people who are talking about your articles but have no idea this blog even exists, they think you are employed by EN24 and writing for theme exclusively.

Lucas Kell said...

You realise that the main reason most of us come here is the same reason people slow down in traffic to look at a car crash right? It's not because we like the content, it's because what you write is generally awful.

The crazy thing is, you have an audience. You are right that posting is more important than leaving a blank blog, which is why you have an audience. 95% of EVE blogs are so occasional they aren't worth looking at. If you took just a little longer increasing the quality of your posts over quantity though, you might stand a chance of being a go-to blog for info like Poetic Discourse or Jester's Trek.

I agree with what Anonymous above says too. I never would have heard of your blog if i hadn't seen an article on EN24, though now I direct link to it, so your traffic will show that rather than the original referral.

The look of a blog is generally beside the point. A lot of people will use blog readers, or in my case I use firefox with css, colours and fonts disabled. There's a lot of people just reading your posts on EN24 too, then jumping here just for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Don't be nice! People can watch pretty pictures everywhere. Your only selling point is your unique set of ideas. Tell them proudly.
These 2 things would seem to be unrelated. Surely you can be nice and still put forward unique ideas? I mean, you don't need to be a dick about things to get your point across.

Moderate aggressively! To have a useful comment section, "First", "this is awesome", "I wish you die in cancer" has to go, along with derails and 3 pages long essays why the blog author is Hitler.

Whilst I agree you should moderate offensive and off topic content, you are well known for moderating views which differ from your own. This is contrary to any form of intelligent discourse.

You are writing to readers and not commenters! 99% of readers never comment.

Perhaps - but people who read things and don't engage in your blog are kind of pointless really. Sure lots of people are reading your thoughts but you have no sense of whether they agree with you, disagree, find you useful, find you funny. Surely the satisfaction in the blog is getting something back out of it, not just watching google analytic graphs?

Ignore the "community"! If you are trying to get links from other sites, you will self-censor to impress the other site owners. You don't need links. 90% of my visitors come directly or read from a feed.

Says the guy who is "eve famous" thanks to the EN24 community?

Don't jump on bandwagons! If everyone writes about "how to get newbies to mining" this month, don't! Bloggers find these banthers cute, readers find it boring.

Agreed

Work on content, not design! I doubt if your blog is uglier than mine.

It is true that simplicity is key, but making something look ugly is not a way to delight your readership. Have a look at some design papers on the psychology of good design and why a well designed site can drive your readership up.

Pre-write posts, give yourself time to think it over again and again!

I wish you did more of this...

Rather be wrong 10x than silent once! Bad ideas make people think. Empty pages not.

...But admit you are wrong when you are proven to be. Do not shut down the discourse, move the goal posts, or be a dick about it.

for what its worth, 160k hits a month is not super great. I'd hardly call this a success.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog since early 2008 or so when I clicked a link from Tobold (the only other blog I read). Excellent points that apply to other writing formants than blogging. I don't play EVE or WoW, but enjoy your more 'broad' posts. This is my first time commenting. Almost every day since 2008, without using a reader (I use different computers at work), thats a lot of hits.

maxim said...

@Anon with TLDR post
[i]Surely you can be nice and still put forward unique ideas?[/i]
You can, but then you'll have to apologise to everyone your idea offends or disproves or whatever. Because that's what nice people do :D

[i]you are well known for moderating views which differ from your own[/i]
Gevlon "moderated" a couple of my early posts. I raged a little bit, but upon some reflection realised that these posts were not conductive to intelligent discourse.
I corrected the errors in my posting style and not one post was removed since (despite my views often differing wildly).

[i]people who read things and don't engage in your blog are kind of pointless really[/i]
"People who read The Economist and don't write anything back are pointless really"
^ sounds wrong? Thought so :D

[i]Says the guy who is "eve famous" thanks to the EN24 community[/i]
I don't play Eve and never even heard of EN24 :P

[i]160k hits a month is not super great. I'd hardly call this a success.[/i]
It's more than i ever got :D
I have no idea if it's more than you get, but i reckon it may be.

maxim said...

@Lucas Kell
[[ You realise that the main reason most of us come here is the same reason people slow down in traffic to look at a car crash right? It's not because we like the content, it's because what you write is generally awful. ]]

If that was true, then apparently there is an intersectoin near my home where car crashes happen five times a week, and i watch them every time, occasionally finding some good food for thought in the way the cars blend into each other.

Sugar Kyle said...

I believe I do just about everything on your list incorrectly. Oh well.cn

Chris K. said...

you might stand a chance of being a go-to blog for info like Poetic Discourse or Jester's Trek

While Ripard's blog really is amazing (probably the best in terms of content), Poe is just as biased as Gevlon, just from the goon side of things.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: "ignore the community" =/= "be ignored by the community"

@Lucas: do I need to care why they come here as long as they come, read and think?

@Sugar: Not all of it. You write whatever you want, clearly ignoring what you are "supposed to"

Michael LeBlanc said...

I've never had a comment moderated despite vehemently disagreeing with Gevlon on multiple occasions. He seems more than happy to allow dissent, I'd imagine the moderated comments are relatively contentless and/or exceptionally poorly written, but then I don't really know as it's never happened to me.

The two main points of a blog are to convey ideas and to generate ad income. Both of those are achieved by viewers whether they comment or not, so Gevlon is right in that respect, commenters represent a minority and should not be your primary focus.

On the other hand, for the most part, Gevlon, when your errors are pointed out to you, you usually don't acknowledge them and often continue to make them in subsequent posts. There are exceptions of course, for example you did eventually acknowledge the difference between monthly alliance income and one time member activity, but it seems a rarity that a comment causes you to change your mind, even though many (but certainly far from all of them) raise valid points. Doing so more often could increase the quality of your content. On the otherhand maybe the bulk of your readers are like Lucas Kell, coming here just to see how wrong you are, so this may be bad advice if your primary goal is ad revenue (or just page views, a very Gevlonish metric)

Eaten by a Grue said...

First of all, I would similarly like to say that Gevlon seems happy to include opposing views. If your comment got moderated, it was probably not for the opposing view contained but probably for some other reason.

And Michael, you cannot assume that when you point out an error you have done so convincingly. It may be that Gevlon disagrees, and just has not taken the time to write out a counter argument.

Behnid Arcani said...

@Lucas Kell
"We don't come here for the content, we come because the content is terrible."

So you come for the terrible content then. You're also one of the most prolific commenters. Just admit you like this blog, and you'll be a happier person :)

Same with every post you make Gevlon, I learn a bit, and appreciate the alternative view point. I do wonder how much Buddy account PLEX you make a month though... can you include those stats with your page view data? I remember you once did a post on it.

Lei Merdeau said...

For a long time, my goto blog was essentially dead; it had a really good set of links that kept me coming back. You have some really good posts, the CSM vote analysis was masterful, and a lot of drek.
The gold is what keeps me coming back. Two different reasons.
Volume for volumes sake is pointless, whereas I get that you have something to say even when I have no interest in reading it.

Anonymous said...

Like others say, I come back here for the few gold nuggets in between.

I often disagree with Gevlon. But his viewpoint is also quite refreshing. I am not a-social like him, but overthinking a lot of stuff.

I remember, in the very early days of WoW (I am talking pre-raid time where having even one epic item was special) I questioned the loot rules regarding epic drops that aren't bound on pickup.

The usual loot rule for rares - that those who can wear it roll for it - just didn't make sense to me. For rares that are bound, it's some gold for me or a useful item for the other one. Sure, I forgo my claim in his favor in the hope other do the same for me.

But with an epic everyone can sell for a fortune, why would anyone apply the same rule? The thing is, not only you couldn't start that discussion in a group about an epic that dropped without getting kicked from group. I tried to start a casual discussion in guild chat. Within few sentences the underlying tone became completely hostile and it was obvious if I continued, I would be kicked for being an asshole that tries to screw people over. It felt like religion to me: Some things may not even be discussed.

Well, when I stumbled on this blog, it was so refreshing to see that I am not the only one questioning such things (even though it was for different reasons).

mbp said...

Excellent post Gevlon and congratulations on your ongoing blogging success. I have a question: Do you think your blogging personality reflects you real life personality or do you emphasise certain things for the sake of the blog?

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