18/05/2014

NBI: Specialisation

The Newbie Blogger Initiative has come around again - somewhat to my surprise, considering that I thought it was now an annual event and the last time I recall mentioning it was only eight months ago. Nonetheless, if you're thinking about starting up a blog, I can only recommend checking out the NBI's website, its forums and especially its list of articles about blogging advice.

I'm happy to say that the SWTOR blogging and social media community seems to be thriving as of late anyway. I don't know if it's because all the talk about Episode VII is rejuvenating interest in Star Wars in general, but the last time I updated my blog roll was the first time in a while that I actually added more new blogs than I removed old and dead ones. Keep up the good work, fledgling SWTOR bloggers! I always enjoy hearing new voices chime in about the game, and if you've got an active SWTOR blog that isn't part of my blog roll on the right, feel free to let me know in the comments. If you've got another, not opinion-based type of fan site (news, guides etc.), I'll be happy to add you to my "general SWTOR resources" list instead.

Anyway, in the spirit of the Newbie Blogging Initiative, I also wanted to dispense a bit of blogging advice of my own. Specifically, I want to offer a counter-point to this post by Rivs, in which he quotes Tobold on the subject of how it's supposedly best to keep your blog title and theme as generic as possible, because your interests will change over time and you don't want to be stuck with a name and theme that don't actually match the things you want to write about anymore.

This is such a common piece of advice - I've seen it many times - and it's always made me feel a bit self-conscious about having such a hyper-focused blog. But you know what? I'm done with that. I blog about one game only and I'm proud of it.

The thing is, I don't disagree with the core idea as voiced by Tobold, that your interests will change over time, but I disagree with the conclusion. Making a new blog to write about a different subject is not a bad thing. If you completely change what you write about, you're going to lose a lot of your old readers anyway, whether you keep the same URL or not. And unless you're specifically trying to get internet famous, does your Google page rank really matter?

Scree recently wrote a post about how he's developing a tool to make it easier to sift through gaming blogs for subjects that actually interest him, and that was honestly a bit of an epiphany for me. "Gaming" is such a huge subject that ten different people can write ten different gaming blogs and cover completely different subjects throughout. This can make it very hard as a reader to find new blogs that interest you because their titles are usually completely non-committal and it takes skimming through a lot of posts to find out whether they tend to cover the kinds of subjects that you personally find interesting or not.

To a reader (and I take it as a given that everyone who writes a blog also reads at least a couple of other blogs), specialised blogs are a godsend, because you can tell pretty much instantly whether they are going to contain the kind of content you're interested in or not. So I say: don't be afraid of specialising with your blog, whether that means writing only about your game(s) of choice or only about a certain aspect of gaming in general. Your readers will thank you, and if you eventually lose interest in writing about your chosen subject - oh well. You can start over and still have a good time. Did you know that I used to blog exclusively about WoW? I'm really glad I started a new blog for SWTOR though, because having an archive full of WoW posts would feel weird now. Njessi did the same (she used to run the Murloc Parliament) and I pretty much dare say that she's actually made more of a splash in the SWTOR community than she ever did in WoW - starting over under a completely new name and URL certainly hasn't been a hindrance to her. Recently she also started blogging about Wildstar - and sometimes I even read those posts (even though I don't plan on playing the game) because I enjoy her writing style, but I sure appreciate that she made a new blog for it, so I don't find myself clicking on the link to her "usual" blog and going: "Oh, another post about Wildstar... and I was really hoping to read her opinion on the latest changes in SWTOR."

2 comments:

  1. Ours is a generic name mainly because we kept throwing names at the (Blogger) wall, hoping one was available. And this was the first one that stuck.

    Otherwise, there's no real reason to not have a name what you're comfortable with.

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  2. I appreciate you citing me and, obviously, I share the same opinion. There is nothing that annoys me more than subscribing to a blog and then the entire focus changes and I just... do not want. Many multi-topic blogs considerately and consistently use categories so I can subscribe to a specific category and exclude the other games that I'm not interested in.

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