Blogging for Indies

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Jamie W, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Jamie W

    Original Member Indie Author

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    I have a confession.

    I feel afraid to blog.

    Probably, it's a fear of looking (or saying something) stupid. I was never all that good at English in school, I was always more inclined to maths and more technical subjects.

    Anyhow, I though I might start blogging, sharing my thoughts, insights and processes relating to game development. I expect, it may feel as if I'm talking to myself at first (my blog doesn't have any followers). Ho hum.

    I'm also thinking, with www.mrqwak.com, I should gear the site more towards the consumer (rather than other developers). Though, perhaps a few posts of a more technical nature may have a broad appeal.

    So, what to actually blog about? Any suggestions, or general blogging advice?

    Thanks,
     
  2. mrkwang

    mrkwang New Member

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    1. not many people read your blog, until your game became very famous.
    But when your game became famous, your blog archive will be very powerful weapon.

    2. These could be your blog readers.
    (1) could-be-Customer : Not sure to buy your game, so wish to get more information.
    (2) Press : Wish to write about your game, need more information.
    (3) wannabe : Hope to follow your way to make games.
    (4) fans : Fans for your game, or yourself.
    (5) etc etc

    3. What to write?
    (1) Yourself. : Don't have to write too much about your privacy, anyway.
    (2) Your games (already made)
    (3) Your games (now making) : Nobody could care what you are making now. If you're famous, people cares. Or if you released game, some people could read your making history.
    (4) Indie games & scenes : What you think about some game. Better not write negative things, however.

    You could check Grey Alien blog http://greyaliengames.com/blog/ and more to see how other people does.
     
  3. HarryBalls

    HarryBalls New Member

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    If you feel your English writing skills aren't where they need to be to blog take an English Composition class either online or in your city.
     
  4. chaosavy

    chaosavy New Member

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    mrkwang makes a great point, a blog can be a great motivational tool for yourself as well, I find my blog to be fun to read and gives me a bit of a boost when I look back at past challenges and progress made.
     
  5. Jamie W

    Original Member Indie Author

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    Yes, thank you very much mrwang. A lot to think about there. I agree very much about keeping things positive (not being negative), there are always positive lessons to learn, both from our own games, and from others!

    On thing that really gets me, is when you don't have a following, when you're just starting out; isn't bloggin kinda like talking to yourself?

    I guess it must be, after all .... where is the audience?

    I suppose the thing to do, is to talk about what is of interest to oneself. Also, like you say, chaosavy, it's kinda like a journal or diary, for your own use.
     
  6. electronicStar

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    I feel it's better not to blog if you don't really have anything to say. A lot of indies have empty blogs and it doesn't really bring anything interesting to the company
     
  7. zoombapup

    Moderator Original Member

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    The main thing for me is to focus on what you're making and just tell the story of what you are doing while making it. If you want to do technical posts every now and then, or just practice writing blogs regularly, why not join altdevblogaday or the iphone idevblogaday communities? it certainly pokes you to blog. I guess it depends what you are doing it for. I tend to prefer to make videos as it happens. I'm a visual kind of person (i.e I learn things better presented visually) so I prefer that medium, even though a post tends to take a lot longer.. it helps that my games are made with a custom engine and try and focus on aesthetically unique ideas.

    Tell us in your blog, what makes your games unique. That's what interests me the most.
     
  8. bantamcitygames

    Administrator Original Member Indie Author Greenlit

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    Its pretty common for blogs these days to have slang, typos, incomplete sentences, run-on sentences, etc... so I wouldn't worry about it too much. If you have something to say and there are people that want to hear it, it wont matter.
     
  9. ManuelMarino

    Original Member

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    Jamie, you have to think this (to assure you): whatever you say, also the most stupid thing, stats say that a percentage of readers will say you are right and a percentage of readers will say you are wrong. It's all about stats. Sometimes you can say also a very stupid thing, and 90% of the readers will agree. And you ask yourself: how is it possible? :-D
     
  10. Stropp

    Stropp New Member

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    Before you start make a plan.

    1) Decide how often you will blog. Once a week is fine, but it should be around the same day/time each week. Of course more often is better, every day if possible (dont worry about Sundays, reader numbers drop through the floor on Sunday.) The important thing is to work out how often you can manage to sit down and write a post.

    2) Write ten posts before opening your blog. That way visitors wont see an empty site and leave and not come back.

    3) Do keep an eye on your grammar and spelling. Despite what others do, your blog represents your indie business; If you owned a brick and mortar store would you accept mispellings and bad grammar on your promotional materials? (On the other hand don't get overly hung up on 'correct' grammar. Sometimes it just looks odd, write as you speak but correctly.) Make it look like you care.

    4) Comment on other blogs, with your blog URL. These links are usually no follow, but sometimes provide referral traffic, and are still rumored to provide some 'link juice.' Most bloggers will click through to check your site out too. If they like what they see you might get on their reader.

    5) If you use Wordpress, check out the Twitter and SEO plugins. You can automatically tweet a link to each new post which if you have a lot of followers can get it read. SEO plugins can make it easier for Google to give your blog some love. By the way, set your permalinks in Wordpress to the postname, don't worry about the date or category at the front of the link. Google prioritises a URL from the front, so the domain/2012/01/01/my-post format isn't as good as domain/my-post.

    6) Bloggers read and write their own posts commenting on (and linking too) other bloggers posts. Make regular posts talking about other blog posts, they'll bring attention back to your posts.

    7) Use your blog to post press releases and news about your game. When you issue a press release or have some major news, send an email to various game blogs with a link. Don't expect them all to respond or post about your news, at least at first. It's a numbers game, the more bloggers you communicate with the better your news will be received. The better your relationship with other bloggers, the more you're likely to get coverage.

    8) While controversy gets readers, don't be negative, at least not all the time. Don't trash other peoples work, what goes around comes around.

    9) Finally, be a giver. People who are generous givers tend to receive a lot too. That goes for blogging as much as anything else.
     
  11. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I'm with electronicstar above. I see blogs as /the/ most pointless time wasting device to yet find traction on the internet. There are a million blogs from small indies talking about their next new game and I'll bet the combined readership of all of them doesn't amount to a days worth from an average games' facebook page.

    Blogging is a hobby. If you want to do it for its own sake then great. But it's not something that's going to grow your business unless you are working on something genuinely, truly new. Something that will generate its own excitement regardless of what you say.

    We mistakenly went down the "blog for devs" route, explaining how we did certain techniques and whatever. There was even some good stuff on it, like what a few others agreed was "better than starcraft" ambient occlusion and done with just direct 9. You know what? It was more like a personal diary. There's just too many of them from guys with bigger names.

    My advice, spend the time writing more games. Or more "socialisers" - can you add an facebook friends invite system to your current stuff for example.
     
  12. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Thank Christ for that! I could have written those exact words myself - thought it was just me.
     
  13. ryansumo

    ryansumo New Member

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    @Applewood very interesting comment about blogging. It would seem to go against the advice of a lot of postmortems I've read lately, although it's hard to argue with the success you've had with GLWG.

    Surely though, any kind of presence is better than none at all? For example if at this point you don't have a website for your game yet, and you're just updating your blog with "exciting updates on progress with game" that's one way to generate some interest?

    I'd love to hear some more about this, like what the difference between a your former blog and the website you have now for GLWG is, and if blogs could be useful once you DO have a semi successful game and laready have people waiting to hear the latest word from you.
     

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