Blogging FAQ, Part 2: Content

I need to confess. In Part 1, I was wrong.

In Part 1, I said this FAQ would be divided into two parts because I was too chatty. I was wrong. Because I’m that chatty, this FAQ will actually be divided into three parts: the basics, content and building your community.

So here is part 2, with my (personal, selfish) answers to the most common questions I notice and receive on blog content.


1- How do I pick a name for my blog and for myself?

This actually isn’t a question new bloggers ask. It’s a question many established bloggers wish they’d asked.

When picking a screen and a blog name, you want to go for something that is:

- Easy to remember.
– Unique.
– Eye Catching.
– Relevant to who you are as a blogger.

Look around the WoW Blogging community to get a feel for which names are taken (and which are overused!). You don’t want to end up stuck in someone’s shadow or worse, constantly confused with another blogger. You also want a name that eases your introduction to your readers, that gives them an idea of what to expect when browsing through your blog for the first time.

Some examples of blogs who have excellent names: The Pink Pigtail Inn, Greedy Goblin, The Stories Of O (although I wonder how many people other than me got the reference without having to google it ;D), World of Warcraft Philosophized, Life in Group 5.

On the topic of screen names, some bloggers use their character name. It’s a great thing to do if you want to be recognized in game (you know you’re famous at last when you get recognized in game), but if you want avoid random strangers stalking your armory, consider making up a new name.

2- What topics can I talk about/How strictly should I stick to my niche?

It’s your blog and you can talk about whatever you want. A lot of blogging guides will tell you to pick a niche and stick with it, but my experience is that a niche is something that happens naturally. There are topics you’ll love to talk about and topics that will bore you to death. Posts on certain topics will seem to write themselves while posts on other topics will be impossible to finish. As you get to know yourself and become comfortable with blogging, your blog will end up with a voice of its own and will revolved around certain topics.

It’s also ok for your writing to evolve over time. Blogging guides say “your audience will change”, but your audience will change continuously whether you do or not. People come and go from WoW, their interests shift, their reasons for reading blogs change.

If you’d like a hand in discovering your blogging self, I highly recommend taking part in the Shared Topics at Blog Azeroth for a few consecutive weeks. You’ll be encouraged to write about a variety topics, all while getting some link love and meeting other bloggers.

3- Can I talk about my guild and my friends?

Oh, the big question! The answer is that there’s no absolute right and no absolute wrong.

There are, however, consequences to your actions. As a general rule, people don’t like being slandered on the internet or having their family secrets exposed to strangers. If you rub a friend, a guildie or a guild the wrong way on your blog, you just might burn your bridges with them forever.

Personally speaking, I’ve experimented with a few approaches and these days I like these two rules:

1) Ask the people involved in the potential post if they’re ok with it going on the blog. If you’re worried about stepping on toes, asking for permission prevents misunderstandings and waking up to cold showers. In cases of conflict, it also forces you to resolve problems instead of using blogging as an escape route.

2) Ask yourself: “If I were applying to a new guild, would I want them to read this?” Regardless of who’s right or wrong, potential guilds see a troubled blogger and label them “drama hazard”. Anything you publish can be held against you in the future. If it’s not something you’d want to advertise to a future guild, don’t publish it.

4- Can I be myself on my blog?

Absolutely.

You can be yourself, or you can be whoever you always wanted to be, as long as you’re credible in your persona. A common mistake I notice from newer bloggers is that they try too hard to sound professional. Their posts end up looking like college homework assignments and their interest in blogging goes out the window.

It might take awhile for you to find your voice, but writing in a way that feels “right” to you will sound better to your readers and will be more fun for you. Those bloggers from past and present that we love (or in some cases, love to hate)? Larisa, Big Red Kitty, Phaelia, Gelvon, the guys from Righteous Orbs, Big Bear Butt, etc? What makes us feel so strongly about them is that each has such a distinct voice that if you found an unsigned version of one their posts, you’d figure out pretty fast who wrote it.

5- What limits are there in terms of sharing personal information?

Like most aspects of blogging, how much information you volunteer about yourself is up to your personal comfort level and on the image you want to portray. Don’t post your credit card information or WoW account info on your blog (just email them to me instead!)… Maybe leave out your address and phone number too. If you have an uncommon name or live in a town with a population of 10 or less, you’ll probably want to keep those pieces of information to yourself.

Anything else is dependent on your comfort zone. There was a blogger some time back who intended to build their entire persona around anonymity (unfortunately they got tired of blogging before we could see how it would play out). Then you’ll occasionally see bloggers who use their real name, have pictures of themselves on their main page and who are pretty specific with details of how to find them in the real world.

Just remember that anything published on the internet is published forever. Don’t give away anything about yourself you wouldn’t want your roommate, your mom or your boss to know about.

Stay Tuned For Part 3!

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14 Comments on “Blogging FAQ, Part 2: Content”

  1. Will Says:

    Choosing a name for my blog was the biggest obstacle when I finally decided to make one. I like the one that I settled on; it’s unique, and describes in its simplicity a memorable moment in my WoWing. I wasn’t as worried about my handle; my Twitter name seemed as appropriate as any (and it wasn’t already taken), and most of the people whom I’d expect to read it already know my real first name.

    I knew from the start that it wouldn’t be a WoW-only blog; I’ve had posts describing my real-life endeavors as well as a couple semi-serious ones. My favorites, though, have been the short stories about my death knight. I’ve had a lot of fun writing those.

    I’ve enjoyed blogging for the few months that I’ve been doing it. I wouldn’t mind a slightly increased frequency of comments or other feedback, but all in all, I can’t complain. :)

    • Ophelie Says:

      Next part will be about comments!

      Names are pretty hard to come up with. I got lucky with a stroke of inspiration for mine, i doubt I could name a blog again! I didn’t think to mention it in the post, but I think choosing a name that you’re enthusiastic about can be a great motivator for keeping up the posting. Choosing a name related to a memorable experience in WoW is a fantastic idea!

  2. Soph/Elsen Says:

    oo I was looking forward to part two!
    I think there’s a couple of things that really ring true here. When I took the step of going self hosted and choosing a domain, I actually pointedly tried to avoid the word “tree”.
    There are so many tree bloggers out there, or ones with it in the title, it was something I really wanted to avoid. There is also the fact I don’t actually contribute anything sensible to healing discussions as well! XD
    The name you use is also a big thing I think. I’m particularly informal, and like being called Soph, mainly because the only people that call me Sophie are my boss and sometimes my mum. I like the edge of friendliness it brings to it, but I’m equally as happy with Elsen, or Els’, which a lot of friends call me.

    I think the base line is, as you said, finding a place you personally are comfortable with – finding a place where you can set your own boundaries and it isn’t possible for them to be crossed, as it were!

    Great post :)

    Soph

    • Ophelie Says:

      I did feel like I kept writing “do whatever feels right” over and over again. But, really, blogging is such a personal art- how you tackle it just depends on what you want to do.

      I like your blog name. Now that I think about it, it fits you well. You’re very graceful and have a lot to talk about, but you’re not one to compete for the limelight. So your writing often does seem like you’re peaking out through the branches, sharing what you see.

  3. Oestrus Says:

    What’s a nice girl like you doing knowing about things like “The Story of O?”

    I am really glad you’re doing this series, because I’m even learning some things about myself or tips/tricks from these posts. Please keep the coming.

    Thanks for the link love, too.
    :P

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’m French Canadian ;). “The Story of O” is typical CEGEP required reading. (Actually, I don’t know if it is, but I’ve read other literature in the genre in my CEGEP lit classes. ) We’re taught to appreciate all forms of art.

      • Oestrus Says:

        That’s crazy that literature of that genre would be required reading in your college courses. It’s a wonderful read and certainly inspire a lot of discussion, but even I had to take a step back from some of the sections to let them things sink in.

        Wow – my school experience seems kind of boring in comparison, with having “The Iliad” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” as required reading!

        • Ophelie Says:

          I haven’t read L’Histoire d’O, I’m kind of worried that the ending will turn me off and make me sad. I have read some Marquis de Sade, but his writing is so extreme and exaggerated that it just makes me go: O.o (There was one part where the characters were sewing each other and I was all “really, really! This is ridiculous!”)

          I like that our CEGEP system pushes boundaries and forces us to think, but it can get a little weird. I remember doing a one-on-one verbal dissertation of an erotic poem to a teacher who was kind of pervy. The entire time I was thinking “Yes, I know what the author means by ‘ferns tickling our thighs’, no, I don’t want to tell you.“)


  4. I must admit, picking a blog name was a bit of a weird spot. I tend to main as a Warlock, but I have this wonderfully sordid love-affair with my Paladin alt, so I wanted something to represent that. I thought Infernal Glory sounded about right, and so I went with that.

    I did do some moderate searching to see if anyone had taken it, but it seemed free of any prior use. Here’s hoping that doesn’t come back to bite me in the arse.

    I’ve heard some of the ‘how to start that WoW blogging!’ guides say it was absolutely necessary to have a blog Twitter and/or Facebook going. Right now I’ve got it set up to pull from my personal twitter (which happens to share the same name as my author name, go me), but I’m wondering if it’s necessary to set up a completely new twitter account specifically for blog followers and shameless self-promotion. Or do you think running with what I have is the best bet?

    • Ophelie Says:

      As far as I know, your blog is the only Infernal Glory out there!

      Promotion tools like Twitter and Facebook can help get the word out about your blog and alert your readers to new updates, but whether you need them or not depends on your goals. You don’t need them to have a decent sized, interactive audience, but if your goal is to see how popular you can make your blog, then the more advertising you do, the better.

      Do you need to set up a Twitter account just for your blog? Of course not. Whether you should or not depends on you. Do you think your readers will be turned off by your personal tweets? Do you want your offline friends to know about your blog and read tweets about WoW? If none of that matters to you, you can use the same account for everything. In the WoW community, Twitter is more for socialization than anything else. Just make sure you have some info about your blog in your website and “about you” fields so the people you add to your follow list will know you’re Gabriel from Infernal Glory.

      As for Facebook, it’s not used much by WoW bloggers. The podcasters seem to use it quite a bit, but not us bloggers. I think we tend to be a bit more private than other blogging communities. Even the World of Matticus facebook page, and Matt’s really big on the marketing game, only has 26 “likes”.

  5. Nube Says:

    I found the post enlightening in many ways. really the part where “can i be myslef on my blog?; Absolutely”, I really think is what gives each blog its personality.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Definitely. Blogs with no personality get really boring, really fast. It’s ok to be serious if that’s how you are, but pretending to be serious when you’re not just doesn’t sound right.

  6. theerivs Says:

    Great couple of write ups….but I’m still looking for those nudez. LOL!

    Tobold once told me don’t paint yourself into a corner with being to specific with your site. You may start off into WoW, but one day you might not play WoW at all.

    I started off video gaming blogging with Warhammer online, had a pretty popular site called Way of the Chosen. (Mythic even included me in a live event), then one day I wasn’t play WAR anymore.

    So I made a more general site…thus High Latency Life was born, cause I wanted it to be more about Geek Lifestyle then just one or two video games.

    • Ophelie Says:

      That’s how I keep my readers, promise them nudes some day…just have to keep checking….

      What you say is really true, and I see the point come up on WoW blogging guides quite a bit. I would feel like somewhat of a hypocrite to give that advice myself, though, since I have a distinct pally-wow name and I love it. I know I’m not going to change my class in my time playing WoW, and if I change games, I’ll probably abandon this blog.

      But if I were planning to write about a variety of games, I’d choose a name that reflects that. I’d probably just be the Bossy Giant Spoon or something…


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