The last day of October, and thus the last day of the Newbie Blogger Initiative 2013 today! Also, confession day: I was planning to write several more advice pieces than the single one I have done, and I also had planned to feature three new blogs that I liked each week, but this real life thing came in the way and... ah well, I think the NBI was fun either way, with many new enthusiastic blogs and lots of discussion. I hope it was as much fun for our newbies as it was for me over a year ago, when I was a newbie myself!
Three final blogs for you to check out:
Thinking Play: Pasduil writes clever and thorough posts about gaming in general, but also about his passion, the too little represented (among newbie bloggers) LotRO. I'm hoping for more of these treats soon.
Away from game: Even though this blog is about different games than I play, Lonegun is a passionate writer that knows where to find those spots that interests any gamer. A pleasure to read.
JVT workshop: The blog of the one and only Joseph Skyrim (whom's name was totally stolen by the Elder Scrolls), prolific blogger ánd commenter. The place to be for in-depth posts about game design and you-name-it.
I know, I know, I should've been a good blogger and just posted these as articles themselves (bad Rav!). But late is better than never, no?
Layout: Contrary to what others may have written about this during this NBI event, I firmly believe in that you should make your blog look like how you like it yourself. Don't make it a simple blank page with black letters (read: boring) just because some readers might want to appear reading work stuff at their work. Those one or two readers aren't worth the effort - not to talk about the fact that almost everyone uses readers anyway. It is useful to think about some sort of format of your blog, as a consistent look makes people recognize it. For instance, as you may have noticed, my posts always start with a banner picture - and if I don't have an screenshot available, I torture my readers with homedrawn ones.
Name your games: People like to read blogs about games they play themselves, so there's no better way to catch the attention of a visitor than by making clear what games you write about, especially if you have a multi-game blog. If it's not clear already from your blog's title or layout, a short list of games can do wonders. Otherwise you risk people with short attention spans to just skip over your blog if they don't see anything that interests them right away. Here are some inspirational newbie blogs that did it right: Gamer by design, Part Time Core Gaming, Vagabond Worlds.
Comments: If you want to be part of the community and like interaction with readers, allow these. Make it as easy possible for people to comment and avoid Captcha like the plague. It's super annoying to regular visitors of your blog and I know of commenters that will just not comment at all when confronted with it. If you're afraid of spam, first try how much spam your blog actually receives and base your decision on that. A holding-comments-back-for-approval system is not advisable either if you want a fluid conversation between visitors. I know how frustrated I am when checking a blog I commented on several times a day to see if there are reactions and the owner hasn't seen or approved any yet. I myself use a hybrid system of no-Captcha but approve-comments for posts older than 14 days, because I found that I got spam on my older posts. I have no spam now, and I hope it's not too bothersome for people to select a profile they can comment with.
Blogroll: Again, if you want to be part of the community, take one. A blogroll is a good way of being part of the community and at the same time shows your visitors what sort of blogs you like. Don't be afraid of people leaving your blog faster because you have a blogroll: if they are bored with what they read, they will leave anyway, blogroll or no blogroll. People are usually quite conscious about what they are reading and don't just accidentally click away (that's something for your grandma who never touched a computer, not your average reader). Also, linking to others might mean they'll link you back. If you've just started a new and unknown blog, think about it like this: if you don't have a blogroll yourself, why would people add you on theirs? I prefer blogrolls on the front page myself, but you can always consider having one in a tab page if you think that clutters your page too much.
Oh, and don't write walls of texts. Like the one above (facepalm).
Keep in mind that this is just advice and no more, so you're welcome to disagree, politely shout at me, ignore me and do whatever you want instead. I know you will, anyway.
Okay, this is enough for today. See you at the next NBI event! Or hopefully earlier.