I neither support nor oppose this New Blogger Initiative thingy. New blogs are a good thing but, honestly, there are so freakin’ many that I’ll be the first to admit I may never even see your blog if it’s new; I barely have time to keep tabs on the ones that are already on my feed. Last week many of my associates (of which I am, I think, the most wayward) dispensed with good advice and words of encouragement. I read over these and thought to myself “gee, Thade, you seem quite the jerk, not chipping in a bit here.”
So, I will give a bit of advice here which you are free to take or leave.
Do the research.
This isn’t as annoying as it sounds; it is in fact as easy as it was for early high school assignments. Hit Google for the proper nouns and see what people are saying; hit Wikipedia and follow a citation or two to learn a bit about a game or company’s history, see who’s on the dev team, blah blah. Definitely read and follow links on other blogs – even if you don’t really care for the blogger in question – as the more you know about different view points on a topic, the more you think about it. This will help you say more interesting things about it.
Read the stuff you want to write.
You want to write a blog on MMOs, so read blogs on MMOs. (You probably already do.) Read as many as you have time for, as doing so will passively refine and bolster your own writing style. There are nuances and accepted formats that you will pick up on and you get to take or leave whatever elements you like, helping you to both fit and break the mold as you need. Also, you should try to keep up to date on memes, because they’re going to come up. A lot.
Get into the community.
As much as you are able to, treat the blog-o-sphere as you would a respectable forum; read other people’s posts, think about them, then respond to them. Either do this directly on their blog with a comment (in which case, make sure you fill out the credentials linking back to your own blog) or do it on your own blog (in which case, you link directly to the relevant post). The latter will in many cases get you a ping-back comment. Real comments foster traffic and thinking on other people’s blogs, while at the same time generating some potential interest for your own blog. On that note…
These get you ping-backs (those automatic comments posting a quote and a link to your blog on other people’s blog posts) and show that what you’re talking about relevant. Get down with citations. I’d be amiss not mentioning that citations do not intrinsically make you correct, but they do show that people out there share (or implicitly do not share) your own opinions. For example, just today Spinks posted some NBI advice on picture editing and handling on your blog, while Syp introduced several new blogs in his post.
Don’t be a troll.
If you are going to post in a way that strongly disagrees with another blogger, do so in a constructive and respectful way. Now, I’m saying this, and I bet you can both think of other bloggers (myself included at times) who seem to throw this very rule to the winds. There are a few notable bloggers out there that make it their shtick to use effrontery and pejoratives in disagreeing with one another; part of the whole sensationalism thing. I do it at times because I have the stupid idea that it’s ironic. It is not really ironic. (Well, perhaps it is recursively ironic.) It has, in fact, been done to death. Let’s try some new stuff to get each of us to stand out.
Don’t sweat the numbers.
Listen to Syp: don’t obsess over traffic. You are writing for you. Keep it that way and you will enjoy it more, for longer.
Grammarz. You can haz.
Strunk & White. Also, Diana Hacker. And the Oxford Comma. Omit needless words. Etc. And don’t start sentences with a conjunctions. (lulz)
Don’t write a single-game blog.
Give yourself leeway on what you’re able to write about. If you name your blog “archmagery – a warhammer online blog about the archmage” and then you find yourself no longer playing an Archmage and not even playing Warhammer Online, suddenly your blog feels like a very awkward place to you. (I have that on good authority.) By now you have a moniker. Use it or something else to name your blog. You can still write almost exclusively about Warhammer and Archmages (just an example) if you like, but then should you find something else interesting you can easily switch gears or mix-and-match.
Google your moniker before you lock it in.
Otherwise you’ll end up sharing a name with this guy.
Welcome and good luck.
You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain. Start writing.