Blogging Advice from the NBI – Criticism, RSS and more

As I’ve mentioned before, MMO bloggers have seemed somewhat diffident about offering blogging advice in the past – but the Newbie Blogger Initiative has really brought a flood of advice from some of the ‘sphere’s top bloggers right to our door.

In today’s roundup, we’ve got pieces both specific and general, but always useful –

  • Criticised or flamed? Syp at Bio Break offers advice on what to do next“I respect those who respond without making it personal, but that’s a hard thing for a critic to do. No matter what, it puts a sour taste in your mouth and can make you say to yourself, “Then why did I spend all this time creating this article if this is the end result?””
  • Njessi of Hawt Pants of the Old Republic offers some great advice on things to include or avoid“I know you want people to come to your site for precious hits or advertising (more on this later), but truncated feeds are not the answer to getting more traffic. Many people read in a feed reader, and don’t want to click through – or can’t if they’re behind a firewall.”
  • Goldenstar of A Casual Stroll To Mordor talks about writing for the Internet“In the first couple seconds of opening your article, your reader will judge if they will actually read your article. They will look at your opening paragraph and scan down the page and see if this is something of interest to them.”
  • Lono of Screaming Monkeys offers his top five tips for blogging“An active blog will grow faster than a rarely active one. Sounds simple when said like that but you’d be surprised how some new promising blog dies simply because the author posted once in a blue moon. Your topics don’t always have to be revolutionary, just talk about what’s on your mind.”
  • And Rowan at I Have Touched The Sky explains RSS and blog lists“The thing about hits—and what is behind at least my own advice not to worry about them—is that not all of your readers will do so by visiting your blog directly. Many do so through RSS readers, including Google Reader, Bloglines, and various smartphone apps. “

A couple of thoughts from me here, too. Firstly, whilst I agree that if possible it’s better to win a critic over, if you’re being criticised or flamed, it is perfectly possible to fight back and win. However, it takes some skill with argument, and it’s definitely important not to simply vent onto the screen – respond calmly and with good measure, as my fencing instructor would have said. The number one way to lose an argument online is to overreach.

There are some great resources out there on the tactics of debate, and those are the ones to study if you want to learn how to fight and win against harsh critics. Also, remember – whilst you may not convince the person flaming you, it’s the people reading both sides of the argument who are the important ones a lot of the time.

As far as RSS feeds go, I can tell you that you’re about three times as likely to be featured on the Pot if you have an untruncated RSS feed. Sure, if you’re a brilliant headline writer you might get more visitors to your site with a truncated feed – but let’s put it this way: Copyblogger is the go-to resource on the Internet for headline writing, and they still run a full feed.

Any great tips to share?

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Tremendously Useful Blogging Advice

Whether you’re a new blogger or an old hand, you’ll find something in this roundup of blog advice useful!

I continue to be impressed by the community’s response to the Newbie Blogger Initiative. Over the weekend, the community’s exploded with hints and tips as helpful as anything you’d see on Problogger or Kalzumeus.

Whether you’re a new blogger or an old hand, you’ll find some interesting stuff in here. I’ve been blogging since considerably before the word was coined, and I still learned a couple of things!

  • Matticus at World of Matticus writes a tremendously useful post on things to include in your About page – following this advice will make my life easier too! – “Being a dude or a woman isn’t going to affect your blogging skill. But, I’ve been burned before in the past because I used the wrong noun when I’ve linked to or wrote about other bloggers. You can ask Cynwise and Lilpeanut. Otherwise, you may end up being referred to as an it!”
  • Spinks at Spinksville writes an introduction to image manipulation tools and image copyright“Games companies typically don’t mind if you use media from their site, especially if you are praising the game (that’s why they make it available from the site in the first place).”
  • Windsoar at Jaded Alt offers two pieces – one on choosing your blog name, and another on deciding whether you want to blog in the first place“But, the question I mulled, and the one that eventually killed my little blog that never was came to me as I was playing an alt. Did I really see myself as a shaman? And the answer was no. “
  • Rowan at I Have Touched The Sky offers a specific but very useful rundown on how to configure Blogger comments“If you have chosen Blogger (the blogging site also known as blogspot.com, run by Google) you may have some barriers to your blog that deter potential comments.”
  • And finally, Live Like A Nerd offers a very helpful rundown on must-have WordPress plugins for blogging“You surely want to post your most recent post to Twitter, the moment you have blogged it. You can automate this with this plugin. It lets you choose what URL shortener to use, what text you want to use to tweet, and if the tweet for some reason doesn’t go out allows you to tweet manually. “

A couple of side notes from me on this point, incidentally: firstly, if you’re using self-hosted WordPress, you need a caching plugin, and I’d recommend Hypercache for its minimal setup and high performance. Obviously, we at the Melting Pot are using WP Engine hosting so we don’t need to worry about blog speed, but that’s kind of a high end solution!

Secondly – if you’re worrying about in-game pictures that aren’t from a company site, don’t be too concerned about the copyright on them. The copyright situation is complex in theory, but in practise I’m not aware of anyone who has gotten in legal hot waters for using game images on a non-commercial site.

And finally – please, please make sure that people can find out your Twitter feed if you have one, and what gender pronoun you’d prefer to be used to refer to when people reference you, easily from your site! Otherwise I end up having to take my best guess on the latter, and that’s got a 50% chance of going badly…

What blogging advice would you give new bloggers?

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