Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Blaugust Prep Week -- Looking for inspiration? Use your Tools!

One thing that's great about Blogspot (and probably Wordpress too -- I'm less familiar with that blogging platform's tools) is that it gives you a nice page of your blog's statistics.  Here's a quick sneak peek under the hood of the Friendly Necromancer blog.

That's all pretty straight-forward, but the one tool I want to point you to is found under the heading called Traffic Sources. Within that heading is a great piece of information called "Search Keywords."

So, people that searched my blog and landed there were mostly looking for Wizard101 information. Some of those topics I covered a long time ago and they still get hits, but there is at least one search term that grabbed my eye . . . and that's the Gems of War one.

I actually feel a bit bad for that person. They searched my blog hoping for a guide or at least some insight into building a good necromancer team, and I failed 'em. Instead all they found was me rambling on about how great of a game Gems of War is. So now it's decided!  During Blaugust I'm definitely going to have a post on exactly that.

As for the other search terms . . . there's some outdated information, some good information, and some information that I haven't gone into detail on yet, but I do have some good links to where you can get information:

I really like using that Search Keywords tool for finding out at least why people come to my page, and in my case it's 80 percent to find out old school information about Wizard101. And, now I have a topic I can add to my list of things to write about during Blaugust.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Blaugust -- Prep Week Thoughts from The Friendly Necromancer

So, this week is intended to be a kind of a prep week for Blaugust. According to the official site, this week is where seasoned bloggers give tips and tricks to the newcomers, and I'm definitely SEASONED . . . like a fine steak of blogging with a side of savory podcasting and livestreaming with a little parfait of Pintrest for dessert.

There's no need for me to bore you too much with rehashing the past, but you can see the whole herd of blogs I've kept over the years from my profile (including the ones I kept with my kids when they were little and when blogging was more popular). Probably this blog's greatest claim to fame was that it got me a job, first, as a writer at Beckett's Massive Online Gamer magazine where I wrote mostly about Wizard101 and Dungeons and Dragons Online and, second, at KingsIsle Entertainment as the Community Manager for Pirate101.  

. . . After that, my writing and livestreaming was mostly for work, and since I could no longer theorycraft about the games I enjoyed playing (because, you know, I already knew what was coming up), my blog changed and eventually waned.  

Times also changed!  YouTube took over as well as microblogging and a number of other Internet innovations that made your standard blog kind of fade to the background, but that doesn't mean blogging isn't still alive and well (as evidenced by the outpouring of bloggers participating in Blaugust.) There's a lot a standard video game blog can provide still . . . even in 2019 . . . and especially for those who love to write.

Thing 1: You've got to love to write.

It kind of makes sense, but you'll have a better time blogging if writing just comes naturally to you, and if it doesn't come naturally to you . . . write until you do love it. If that still doesn't work, maybe blogging ain't for you, but surely there's something else that will quench that thirst inside ya. (Vlogging anyone?)

Thing 2: Scream into the universe with your blog and make it your place.

What's the saying over there at Penny Arcade? Stream like no one's watching? Yeah . . . Stream like there's nobody watching.

It's a power statement. I like it. BLOG like there's nobody reading 0 0 0.

When you make a place your own, you control all the cards and ain't nobody gonna take that away from you despite how unpopular or popular it is. At least you can point people there and say, if you want to know what I think, read my blog. BOOM. 

Side note: There's nothing cooler than when a topic breaks out and you can say, oh yeah, I wrote a blog post about that one time . . . link.

Thing 3: Build a community or be a part of a community.

While the power statement of "Stream like there's nobody watching" is amazing, it's a lot better when people are watching. For me, a really vibrant Wizard101 blogging community developed around me circa 2009 without much effort other than making a giant list of wizard101 bloggers and making a post. If you want on the list, contact me. Done. 210 posts later . . . I had a pretty cool community. They even made themselves a badge, and a couple of them still proudly display on their blogs. How cool is that?

Thing 4: Develop a thick skin and allow room for others.

Not everybody is gonna love ya, Smalls.  That's just not how it goes. I mean, as much as I would love for everyone to fawn over me . . . lol . . . it's not going to happen. In fact, for the majority of this blog's life, I've been an outsider to mainstream MMO blogs. Wizard101 just isn't everyone's cup of tea, and that's fine. I'm cool with that.

Even then, within our own community of Wizard101 blogs, there were times when the waters got rough as big fish and little fish alike fought for territory in the itty bitty community pond without even knowing we were fighting for territory.  It's real though.  The pull to be THE FIRST to blog about a new upcoming feature, game, or thing is tangible 100%.  In my blog's busy days, that drove us on.  It was fun. I tried to always give credit to another blogger if they posted about something before I did.

Thing 5: Always be thinking about what's next for your blog.

You know . . . Drive! Passion! All of that good stuff!

Obviously this is no longer a big concern of mine seeing as how my post count per year has tapered off to almost nothing . . . although Blaugust is going to be a really good refresher for me! PROMISE! Back in the day, I constantly kept a running list of things I could talk about or do on my blog. I tried all kinds of "features" like Pet of the Day, Ask Friendly a Question, Interviews, and even a really lame comic series (let's be honest, it was pretty bad.) 

Keep a steady stream of blog posts coming, and the readers will follow.


So that's about all I've got in me for tonight.  Hope something in there made sense.

I do want to wish those new video game bloggers luck in their endeavors.  Blogging truly can be life changing if you let it.  (hint: Hard work trumps luck . . . you got this!)

Happy Dueling!

Friday, July 26, 2019

It's High Noon, Blaugust!

Well, I did done sign up, cowboys and cowgirls . . .

In case you cow hands have forgotten what Blaugust is, check out this post from the originator of the event himself, Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut.

This here ain't my first rodeo. (I don't know why I have a McCree Cowboy voice running through my head this morning, but I'm going with it.) I did done participate in this waaaaay back in two aught one five. Yup, partner, them were the good old days of 2015. There was a trip to a Classic Game Fest and Hearthstone was my kind o' poker. Why, I posted every day of the month back then.  Who knows?! Maybe I can pull off the same buckin' bronco type of moves this year as well. How de doo!

Now let's tie it all together with a random video from the Internet:

I wish that was a card . . . then I'd actually be able to play McCree without feeling like I'm throwing.

If you have any ideas for posts or things you'd like to see me writing about next month, just leave a comment.

Happy Dueling!