The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
Considering the amount of time I spend lurking in the User Blogs page, it speaks well of GIO that I rarely see a genuinely bad blog post. Nearly all of them are well thought out and bring an interesting opinion to the discussion table. However, there are the occasional posts that are good, but a bit... lacking. They're not bad, but their quality is obscured by minor mistakes. So as a bit of a how-to, I've compiled a list of common newbie errors and how best to avoid them. Saint and TOGNick have both done a post like this before, but I don't think any of my items overlap with theirs. If anything gets missed, sound off below.
#1- Break down the walls of text
This one is based on a simple truth- on the Internet, people have a shortened attention span. A good post does everything possible to make it easy for the reader to follow the writing, and that includes visual aesthetics. What I mean is that a giant column of text is intimidating to most folks and causes their eyes to glaze over. That's why newspapers always use really short paragraphs. It's easier on the eyes.
Pro tip: Use pictures of puppies as much as possible.
You don't necessarily have to write in smaller paragraphs, just break them up with pictures to help keep your reader's interest. It's up to you how many pictures you want to include. Too few leaves up walls of text, but too many makes your blog look like a slideshow. Balance is key, young grasshopper.
#2- Give it an interesting title
A lot of traffic at GIO is driven by the Feed at the top of the page. When people see “XxDemonHumperxX commented on Bob's blog post How to Catch the Ukrainian Flu”, all they see is the title. It should be a good one, something to catch their eye and get them to click on it. But, with that said, keep the titles under control. Please, please don't put “Call of Duty Sucks Free Porn and Ringtones Here.” Save that for IGN's forums.
#3- For the love of god, use grammar
This one might sting a little, but you really should use proper grammar and sentence structure when writing. Remember that the only way people can get a feel for you is through your writing style. If you write like an idiot in all lowercase or in one giant sentence, people will assume that you must be an idiot. No run-on sentences. Punctuation is your friend.
#4- It doesn't have to cover gaming, but that's the safest topic
One of the nice parts about the blogging section is that you can really write about anything. Music, movies, TV, it's all fair game. However, the giant title at the top of this website says Game Informer. If you write about music, it will appeal to a segment of GIO. Writing about games will appeal to everyone precisely because they're here at GI's website. I'm not saying personal blogs or off topic stuff is bad. I do those all the time. They're just limited in potential appeal. If you want maximum traffic, writing about games is your best bet.
#5- Don't bump your blog
I won't bother explaining how to do this, but some other people have figured out how to “bump” their blog post so it goes back to the top of the User Blog page. Don't do this. Without naming any names (you know who you are), a certain member bumped his TV cancellations blog a ridiculous amount of times. That's irritating. Don't do it.
Besides, bumping your blog doesn't really help. Every blog has a saturation limit. At a certain point, the only people who would click or comment on your blog have already done so. Bumping your blog only exposes it to people who've already decided that they're not interested.
However, people like eyros have bumped stuff because they were trying to schedule frag fests and changed times. And Drym, who has his ongoing Fallout chronicle. I guess that's OK. What annoys me is endlessly bumping a blog a blog without ever changing it.
#6- Don't go crazy with the page numbers
This one is a little simpler. Just because you can divide your blog into pages doesn't mean you should. Unless it's really long, don't split it into multiple pages. Navigating those is annoying, and you're likely to lose a chunk of your audience in the process because people are lazy and don't want to click through multiple pages.
#7- Don't get discouraged
This is kind of *** advice, but take it for what it's worth. If you write up a blog and no one comments, it's OK. Nobody writes 50-comment home runs all the time. Besides, people never like the things you think they will.
"It seems this blog is exceptionally well made. Let's ignore it and join in the flame war next door!
I always hated when people told me not to take literary rejection personally, because writing is very personal. All you really can do is take that anger and channel it into writing something else and making it even better. Like anything worth doing, writing isn't easy. Your best bet is to just keep doing it and improving.
That's about it... Thoughts?