Friday, October 24, 2014

Thoughts on blogging - 200th post!

As my 200th post I want to share my thoughts on blogging and how to behave in the blogosphere. After analyzing my statistics and reading many different blogs, blogging styles and checking what other blogs do (and don't do) my mind started working and after giving it a second and a third thought I feel now the urge to write some more personal view on this whole blogging stuff. The article is already some weeks in the pipe and I never felt it ready. But as my 200th post I think it is allowed to be seen :)

As you perhaps know, this blog started roughly 2 years ago as a test balloon because I just wanted to write more in English and thus practice the language. I had the choice between a tech-blog about my work or a more fun thing about the war-gaming hobby (which at this time started anew for me). I decided to combine both experiments and write about the hobby since work stuff I don't want to do in my spare time. Meanwhile I had lots of ups and downs and I even think about opening a bi-lingual hiking blog together with my wife and writing some tech based articles about my work on the blog of a good friend of mine. So blogging taught me to gather my thoughts and put them into words and practiced my English (even though it is not as good as it should be). And the most important fact: It helped me to keep at the hobby, even with longer brakes and stuff.

Please remember, these are just my personal thoughts about the topic and not some unwritten rules or so:

Be yourself

No matter how or what you write on your blog there is one thing you should always be aware of: Be yourself! There is nothing worse than reading stuff of a person who tries to be someone else or write in a different (and thus artificial) style. Just don't do it. Most of the time people will follow you, because your blog (thus YOU) have a personality and aren't a clone of someone else.
To achieve this you also have to think of another thing:

Don't be afraid!

We all are humans (or so I believe) and no one is perfect. English isn't your mother-tongue? So what?! Most of the time it really doesn't matter if your English is perfect or not, as long as the things you want to explain are understandable. I'm also not a native speaker and have to look up stuff quite frequently. But the more you write, the more practice you get and at some point while writing a post you get "into the flow".

Find a niche

Don't be the onehundredandfiftiest blogger who shows the cover of a well known magazine or miniature box and just let it be. If you want to do a review or an unboxing or something like that, write your own stuff to it. State your opinion and show what YOU think about the product. That's why your readers are on your blog (except you are running just a news collection blog) and not to read another clone blog.
Otherwise find stuff you already do or are interested and write about it. I for an example started with my "Terrain out of junk stuff" or with other stuff for building cheap terrain and my Gaming Table series. Don't do stuff just because you think it has to be done (or it is hip at the moment) but because you have fun doing it. If you want to hop on the train of current unboxings/reviews and ride on the wave of first posts, do it YOUR way (see above). Being a copycat doesn't pay out most of the time and definitely not in the long run..

Post in your own rhythm

Try to find a rhythm for your postings. Even if you are having a run, split your posts and don't publish them all in one single row. For one this will keep you on top of all those blogrolls not only on one day but on some more and it will also give the search engines a bit time to index and find something new after a while. SEO is a complete topic for itself, I don't want to dive into that one today (most likely never, because that would be a work topic ;) ).
But for example: I can see a jump of requests from Google in my statistics after every post. And this will also provide you with a baseline of requests hitting your blog. If you are a "fulltime" blogger and have many posts a day this will surely not apply, but if you post on an unregular base (like me) it helps to stay in the mind of your readers. But page-hits and a steady flow lead me directly to the next statement:

Don't care too much about page hits

Really! Don't do it. The statistics of blogger are a mess. You can get a rough feeling of what is happening on your blog and with your posts. But Google filters so much stuff and many readers will block those tracking cookies and stuff, so that those numbers are just meh. If you have another tracker like e.g. Analytics the numbers can be even more frustrating because these are directly connected to ad-blockers and most of the people surf while having them activated (like me, I only disable it on pages I want really to support with the ads). There are ways to get precise numbers and a VERY good idea what your users are doing on your page, but for that you would need your own webserver and a deeper understanding of logfiles. Again technical stuff I don't want to dive into here :)
The most important message here: Don't get demotivated when you haven't too much page hits. If you have followers, most of them will read your stuff quite regularly. As soon as you get listed in blogrolls, bloglists and have some content running, traffic will come by itself.

Sharing is caring

This one is a bit more personal one: If you have a blogroll and someone follows you: Do him the favor and follow him too. Maybe even add him to your blogroll. Especially small blogs will really appreciate the help to get a bit more known and for the chance to appear on some bigger blog. Most of the time this can be a win-win situation because readers on both blogs will get to know the other one. And you can help smaller blogs alive and their authors motivated. If I hadn't feedback and support in the beginning this blog would not exist anymore. So if you like what someone writes: Please tell him/her!
Comments are the one thing which you can't really fake (spammers I don't count in here) and really show what your readers are into. For me the most motivation to continue this blogging madness comes from nice comments.
And in a selfish way: With sharing/commenting you show that you exist and maybe other bloggers will find your comment interesting and take a peek at your blog.

I hope you are still awake after this big wall of text. If you found this article interesting, boring or if you have a completely different opinion on the topic: Please leave a comment. Lots of thoughts and work went into this article and I would be very happy if I get some feedback on it. If it hits a nerve, I maybe doing a second part, covering some other topics I skipped now because the article is already long enough :)

So long,


  1. Great post! I would like to stress the last 'Sharing is caring' part. It is a great way for your readers, who are probably quite a lot like you, to find new and great blogs. The get the tip from someone they like.
    I also try to give a shout-out to new followers. A 'Hi!', a pointer to their blogs if they have any and a short note on what I find interesting on their blogs.
    I find the community part on blogging to be amazing. Well worth the effort of blogging.

    1. Thanks Joakim. Glad that you liked the post.
      I also try to do shout-outs and say welcome to new followers (although I got no new ones a longer time now). For blogs with thousands of followers tis is surely something different :)

  2. As I tried to comment before (and the WWW swallowed my comment):

    Nicely written article!
    My two cents regarding sharing and publishing: I have made the experience that using tools like Related Posts or internal links also help to popularize your blog because visitors are guided deeper into your website :)

    Another additional feature should be publishing your content on social networks simultanously. This will increase your popularity even further ;)

    We should have a coffee and a chat again about these topics ;)
    BR Labschi

    1. Jep, its coffee/warhammer time again! *throws the gauntlet* New project is already primed, the drill is soon finished, so maybe a "Malkränzchen" would be nice.

      Socialmedia, mechanics to crosslink posts, SEO optimisation etc. pp. I left out here. Maybe I will do a second post about that (although I want to keep away from work topics) :D

  3. Nice post mate. You have come quite a way since you started blogging, and it is always nice to see your posts. Really have to echo the personalized aspect of blog posts. If you can put a bit of yourself out there, then people can connect back to you better than if it was just full of text and facts.
    Now onwards to the next 200 posts!

    1. Thanks Mr. Lee :) Having found the "mood" again for miniatures and all around helps quite a lot to get to the PC and write some posts.

  4. Very nice post. Agree on all the points. I also feel that something that really should be stressed is the whole sharing/commenting. We get into this blogsphere to share what we are working on, learn new techniques, and experience the different perspectives everyone takes with their models and miniatures.

    If you are lucky, some of those experiences will turn into actually making some friends. We all share the same passions, so it's inevitable!

    But ya. Want to make someone feel great? Leave a comment on their blog. I feel as if a single blog comment is worth a thousand page views.

    1. Exactly! One comment is even better than a follower since someone took HIS time to answer to something you posted.
      Thanks for your comment Greg.

  5. Very many congratulations on reaching 200 posts and what a splendid post to mark it. I wholeheartedly endorse your points and have thoroughly enjoyed 'growing' my own blog and have been surprised just how much I have come to enjoy maintaining it. Here's to many more posts.

    1. Thanks Michael and good luck with the Zomtober :)

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks :)
      This post was my most successful one ever. Over the weekend it had more views than the former one in one year...


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