5 tips for new bloggers. Sort of

I was talking with a friend the other day and he was bemoaning the stats to his (fairly new) website. Traffic was plummeting from what it was the first time he posted and it seemed that with every new post, it got cut in half again. Was it the content? Should he be posting more often?

Alas’ advice to new bloggers

I am far from being any sort of expert on how to drive up traffic, but in the two plus years I’ve been blogging here, I have made note of a few pretty basic things. So if you’re a new blogger and you’re agonizing over your Analytics, here are a few thoughts:

1. Stats aren’t everything. In fact, I have more or less stopped paying attention to my Analytics (search terms are the main reason I look these days and only because I like to laugh at them) because it served no real purpose and it had a tendency to drag me down and help me lose sight of why I was even blogging in the first place. I’m not saying no one should make traffic a priority, but if you’re writing for any other reason at all, I advise to try to keep that reason the main one. If Analytics is taking away from your joy, then turn it off or don’t look at it. You’ll feel a million times better.

Also, many people use feed readers. They might be out there reading and not coming to your site. If you insist on tracking these numbers for added self-torture, check out Feedburner.

2. It takes time to build a following. Unless you have already been out there interacting with your target audience in some way, no one is going to know who you are or why they should read what you have to say. The closest you’re going to get to instant fame is if you have something linking back to you from a bigger/more popular site and you have written something just completely fantastic. Even then, you’ll need to have quantity and quality to sustain interest. Most blogs are going to grow in popularity just a little bit at a time, so check those dreams of instant Internet fame at the door.

3. Pimp yourself. No one else is likely to do this for you. A key to this tactic is to do it with a degree of class. Go comment on posts by other bloggers who are reaching your target audience already and make sure to leave a good, relevant and interesting comment. If people are interested enough in what you’re saying or how you’re saying it, they’ll be more likely to click that hyperlink. Do not ever pull a stunt where you’re commenting just to say “I wrote about this the other day and it was pretty awesome. Everyone should check it out.” That’s a huge turnoff.

You should also leverage social media. Get on Twitter or Facebook. Cross-link all your Internet presences. Be open. Be friendly. Start conversations. I’m not sure how other blogging communities interact, but I can vouch for the WoW community being highly social. And a little bit frightening in their collective insanity.

4. Be responsive. This goes along with number three, but I think a lot of bloggers fail to recognize the impact that responding to comments made on their posts can have. I always appreciate when a blogger takes the time to reply to what I had to say. It feels a lot more like a conversation and like they do care that I took the time to make a reply. I don’t think there’s any set rule where you have to reply to every comment ever, but trying to make it a general practice can’t hurt.

5. I don’t actually have a number five, I just think five is a better place to end than four is. I could probably think of something, but to tell the truth, I feel a bit stupid writing this post at all. So I’m not going to stretch for something sorta related and pretend it’s a real thing that’ll help a new blogger get established. I guess I could mention Blog Azeroth. I did say hi there when I was pretty new and lurked about for a few weeks before I got distracted by something shiny and apparently never managed to look back. Everyone was nice and I think it is a great resource for WoW bloggers, if it’s something they want to get involved in.

Bloggers who actually know less obvious things a new blogger could do to feel successful in their endeavor? Chime in any time. I’m going to go blush in a corner for being such a poser and writing this post.


After what felt like an eternity of waiting, the Effers finally had someone step up and declare themselves for taking over as GM. I’m so relieved that someone is willing and that I can feel comfortable in believing she will be capable. More than capable.

Nothing is finalized yet, but I can’t see a vote going against her. I just can’t.

Do other former or current GM’s feel like the idea of passing off the guild to someone else to lead is a bit like kicking the baby bird out of the nest? You sure hope they’ll be able to fly that thing, but until it gets to the very edge you just have no way of knowing. I wasn’t sure I could believe that anyone else would be “good enough” (whatever the fuck that even means) to take over, but when it is down to the line, I see that someone else is.

And I’m so damn relieved.

See the flames begin to crawl

December 2 has been a banner day for me for the last dozen or so years.

On December 2, 1998, I met At online. Didn’t know when I went looking for that argument in a chat room to blow off some teenage steam that I would find the love of my life.

We celebrated December 2 as an anniversary of sorts for every year to come. Happy anniversary, you. I’m so glad I met you.

A few years ago, also on December 2, I became an aunt for the first time. That’s when the little Terrorfiend was born. So convenient of her to come on a day I could be sure to remember.

Before she ever came along though, also on December 2, 2006, I started my free 10-day trial of a little game called World of Warcraft. According to my account history, I bought the game 10 days later. And I’ve never unsubscribed.

Until now.

When I wrote that last post, I hadn’t been planning to take the steps that I did. But I had a very long talk with At and it ended in my unsubscribing from WoW and informing the Effers that I would need a replacement GM within the month.

In a lot of ways, this is something of a non-announcement. I was on the 6-month plan and a week ago is when I re-upped. So while I might be unsubbed, I also have play time until April. And it’s not as though I couldn’t re-sub any time.

The biggest change is the stepping down as GM. When I saw that start date in my game history of December 2, and started counting, I realized that of my five years of gaming, four and a half of those years have been spent in guild leadership. And when you consider that At’s tenure of GM might as well have my tenure as GM – only frustrated because I couldn’t enact all my ideas and plans – well, that’s a long time to carry the burden.

I’m concerned that so far no one has indicated any interest in taking on the role of GM for the Effers. I’d hate to think that people are going to just scatter. I feel some pretty terrible guilt because I suppose it’s somewhere in my nature that I want to make sure people are having a good time and I feel as though I am letting everyone down.

But like my decision to leave my last guild, this was a decision that wasn’t made in the heart of drama or in a fit of despair. It was made rationally, soberly and sadly. It was also made blaming Zel. She’s leaving me, guys. And I can’t do it without support.

I don’t know what my future is for WoW in particular and for gaming in general. Fortunately, I now have some time to figure it all out without the tethering restraints of leadership binding me to a game I just don’t love as much these days as I used to.

Oh, and this blog? I’ll still be around a while longer. This isn’t the last goodbye.

Unintended hiatus

So, uh, I guess it’s been a week since I last posted anything and then I didn’t even have the courtesy to let that something be mine.

I have noticed a distinct lack of WoW in my life lately, and no, it’s not because I’ve secretly been in a Star Wars beta this whole time. I just haven’t bothered logging into the game and so haven’t had much to say.

But I have been doing a lot of thinking about WoW lately, and ended up telling my guild yesterday that it’s fairly likely that I’ll be making some big changes within the next several months. Not playing any more is one possibility. Having been out of the game for a week and not even really realizing it or missing it is one indicator that I’m bored with it.

A lot of my guild is in a similar boat, from what I can gather. Raid sign ups have dropped (though the prospect of doing something that isn’t bloody Firelands seems to have rekindled some interest all around) and I know of several people that are going to unsub to WoW as soon as swtor launches. Thinking about losing raiders made me realize that if I do keep playing, I’m just not up for rebuilding a raiding team. If EtI loses enough people to not be able to raid, then I might take Alas to be a peon somewhere else… but then again, I might not.

I don’t think it’s burnout. I think it’s boredom. I think it’s the prospect of losing people I liked playing with. I think it’s exhaustion after several years of leading.

So I don’t really have anything to say here. Except to announce that I may not have much to say here in the future. I’m not sure what to do about this space if I do end up quitting WoW. But that’s a problem for if and when that happens.

I think I’d at least like to finish P&P + WoW. But if I am quiet around here aside from that, this is why. I’m just not finding the magic in WoW anymore and even the prospect of new dungeons and a new raid isn’t getting me any more excited.

-Alas the Apathetic

More QQ from Achilles

Blah blah blah. Zel. Blah blah. Enjoy!

WoW Iliad – Book 1, part 6

Then Achilles went all alone by the side of the Great Sea, /weeping and scrolling his camera out to look upon the boundless waste of waters. He /raised his hands in prayer to his GM mother, “Mother,” he whined, “you bore me doomed to raid but for a few expansions; surely GM-Zeus, who thunders from Blizzard HQ, might have made that little glorious. It is not so. Agamemnon, has done me dishonor, and has robbed me of my prize by force.”

As he spoke he /wept aloud, and his GM mother heard him where she was sitting in a Blizzard satellite office. Forthwith she made her toon rise as it were a grey mist out of the waves, sat down before him as he stood /weeping and sent him a tell: “My son, why are you weeping? What is it that grieves you? Keep it not from me, but tell me, that we may know it together.”

Achilles drew a deep /sigh and said, “You know it; why tell you what you know well already? We raided the Echo Isles, pwned it, and brought hither the spoil, including some hot chick faction transfers (they are totally girls IRL). The shared the spoils duly among themselves, and chose lovely Chryseis as the e-girlfriend of Agamemnon; but Chryses, groupie of GM-Apollo, came to us to free his guildie, and brought with him phat lewt: moreover he bore in his hand a fishing pole, and he besought the Alliance, but most of all the two Guild Leaders who were their chiefs.

“On this the rest of the Alliance with one voice were for respecting the groupie and taking the phat lewt that he offered; but not so Agamemnon, who spoke fiercely to him and told him to GTFO. So he went back in anger, and GM-Apollo, who loved him dearly, answered his ticket. Then the GM sent deadly hax upon our faction, and the players were one-shot, for the blasts went everywhither among the Alliance at Ratchet. At last a Guild Leader in the fullness of his spoiler knowledge declared to us the requirements of GM-Apollo, and I was myself first to say that we should appease him. Whereon Agamemnon rose in anger, and threatened that which he has since done. Some guildies are now taking the girl, riding the boat to Chryse, and sending bribes to the GM; but the heralds have just taken from my guild Briseis, whom the Alliance had awarded to myself.

“Help your brave son, therefore, if you are able without getting fired for nepotism. Go to Blizzard HQ, and if you have ever done him a favor or covered his shift, implore the aid of your boss GM-Zeus. Ofttimes I heard you glory in that you alone of the GMs saved GM-Zeus from being fired, when the others, with GM-Hera, GM-Poseidon, and GM-Athena would have gotten him sacked. It was you who delivered him by calling to Blizzard HQ the hundred-handed programmer from the Blizzard satellite office; when therefore he took his seat all-glorious beside GM-Zeus, the other GMs were afraid, and did not terminate him. Go, then, to him, remind him of all this and bid him give buffs to the Hordies. Let the Alliance be hemmed in at the sterns of the NPC ships, and perish on the sea-shore of Ratchet, that they may reap what joy they may of their moron Guild Leader, and that Agamemnon may rue his derpiness in offering insult to the top DPSer on the server.”

GM-Thetis wept and answered, “My son, woe is me that I let you subscribe. Would indeed that you had spent your subscription free from all sorrow in Ironforge, for your game card time is all too brief; alas, that you should be at once short of game time and long of sorrow above your peers: woe, therefore, was the hour in which I let you subscribe; nevertheless I will go to Blizzard HQ, and tell this tale to GM-Zeus, if he will hear our request: meanwhile stay where you are, nurse your grudge against the rest of the Alliance, and don’t sign up for any more PvP city raids. For GM-Zeus went yesterday to a training seminar and the other GMs went with him. He will return to Blizzard HQ twelve days hence; I will then go to his office and will beseech him; nor do I doubt that I shall be able to persuade him.”

On this she left him, still furious at the loss of her that had been taken from him.

Drama, drama, drama

Another short section of Zel’s epic WoW Iliad. Enjoy!

WoW Iliad – Book 1, part 5

But Agamemnon did not forget the threat that he had made Achilles, and called his trusty messengers and squires Talthybius and Eurybates. “Go,” said he, “to Achilles; invite Briseis to a group and bring her hither; if he will not /gkick her I shall come with others and take her–which will piss him off even more.”

He charged them straightly further and dismissed them, whereon they tracked humanoids till they came to Achilles’ guild, the <Myrmidons>. They found Achilles ill-pleased he was when he beheld them. They stood fearfully and reverently before him, and never a word did they type,
but he knew them and said, “Welcome, heralds; draw near; my quarrel is not with you but with Agamemnon who has sent you for the girl Briseis. Therefore, Patroclus, /gkick her and send her a tell to join their party, but let them be witnesses by the blessed GMs, by mortal players, and by the fierceness of Agamemnon’s nerdrage, that if ever again there be need of me to save the Alliance from wipes or pwnage, they shall seek and they shall not find. Agamemnon is mad with nerdrage and isn’t thinking about the future raiding success of the Alliance on this server.”

Patroclus did as his Guild Leader had bidden him. He sent Briseis a tell, kicked her from the guild, and gave her over to the heralds, who took her with them to Agamemnon–and the Hordie girl (IRL, totally) was loth to go.

Mostly because I can

Zel will probably kill me for not posting part five of the WoW Iliad today, but as she’ll have to wait several weeks for an actual opportunity to do so (and may, in fact, forget between now and then that she ever wanted to), I’m going to risk it and bore you all to death with blah blah about me.

First of all, I’m blogging from work. It’s even been sanctioned that I do so. Well, not blogging per se. But if I have free time (and, oh, how I have the free time) I’m welcome to do whatever I want. Read a book. Play games. Write. I had to bring in my own laptop to do this and that is the only real drawback, as the laptop is five or six years old and it shows.

Yesterday, I played Civ IV for a few hours in the afternoon. I must get a new laptop ASAP so that I might play other games. Or not. As I might actually do more writing when I’m not able to do much else with the machine I’ve got.

I have never had a job before where, if you weren’t busy, you damn well better look busy. Well, not since my glorious two and a half years in Presort, which was so long ago it seems like more of a dream than anything.

And the funny thing is? I didn’t even actually apply for this job. I had applied for other jobs within the company and at some point must have checked a “Yes, please consider me for anything I am qualified to do” box. Because when I got the call from the recruiter, the only reason I had the smallest notion of what she was talking about was because I had received an email thanking me for applying.

What sort of dork gets a job she didn’t even look for? My sort of dork, I guess.

I probably wouldn’t have applied for this one, either, had I come across it on my own. Hospitality? Making coffee? I have different aspirations than that.

And I still do. But this is a foot in the door with a company that works very closely with the field I am actually interested in. They are good about promoting leaders. And while I am here, my co-worker is very nice, my boss is flexible and when I’m not using my downtime for my own nefarious purposes, I’m getting an excellent workout by hustling things up and down five flights of stairs.

For me, being content and having the sorts of intangible perks that I have already found here, is so much more important than any title or amount of money you could give me in exchange for being miserable. I’ve done misery for the better part of the last eight years. I didn’t like it.

Anyhow, no real point to this except to say that so far, I am happy with the new job. Life without Kooky is awesome. 9-5:30 is weird. And, maybe someday, I’ll get home and have the energy to log into WoW so my guild won’t forget who I am.

I think I HAD Achilles in my guild at one point

Here is part four of Zel’s Epic Guest Post! If you aren’t laughing, I don’t know wtf is wrong with you. 

WoW Iliad – Book 1, part 4

But Achilles again began sniping at Agamemnon, for he was still in a rage. “Carebear,” he cried, “with the face of a gorloc and the heart of a murloc, you never dare to attend progression nights. You shun this as you do death itself. You had rather go round and rob the lewt from any player who contradicts you. You devour your fellow Guild Leaders, for you are leader over a feeble player base; otherwise, Agamemnon, henceforward you would insult no player. Therefore I say, and swear it with a great oath–nay, by this legendary orange weapon–so surely and solemnly do I swear that hereafter on PvP raids they shall look fondly for Achilles and shall not find him. In the day of your distress, when your guildies keep wiping to the murderous hand of Hector, you shall not know how to help them, and shall rend your heart with rage for the hour when you offered insult to the best DPS on this server.”

With this Achilles equipped his legendary weapon and /sat, while Agamemnon was furiously beginning a reply in all caps. Then up rose smooth-tongued Guild Leader Nestor, and the words were sweeter than honey. Two expansions had happened under his watch, and he was now reigning over the third. With all sincerity and goodwill, therefore, he addressed them thus:–

“Of a truth,” he said, “a great sorrow has befallen this server. Surely Priam’s guild and the Hordies would be glad at heart if they could hear this quarrel between you two, who are so excellent in fight and counsel. I am older than either of you IRL; therefore be guided by me and get off my lawn. Moreover I have been the BFF of guild leaders even greater than you are, and they did not disregard my counsels. Never again can I behold such guild leaders as Pwnage, Meetgrinder, and Mrbater, peers of the GMs. These were the mightiest guild leaders ever in Azeroth: mightiest were they, and when they raided the fiercest pre-made teams they utterly pwned them. I came from a crappy underpopulated server, and went about among them, for they would have me come, and I raided as it was in me to do. No current player would have been able to pwn them, but they heard my words, and were persuaded by them. So be it also with yourselves, for this is the more excellent way. Therefore, Agamemnon, though you be strong, take not this Hordie chick away, for the server has already given her to Achilles; and you, Achilles, strive not further with Agamemnon, for no man who by the grace of GM-Zeus wields a legendary has like honor with Agamemnon. You are strong, and have a GM for your mother; but Agamemnon is stronger than you, for he has more guildies under him. Agamemnon, check your anger, I implore you; end this quarrel with Achilles, who in the day of battle is a tower of strength to this PvP effort.”

And Agamemnon answered, “Sir, all that you have said is true, but this fellow wants to be a control freak over this server, and this shall hardly be. Granted that he is a leet DPSer, does he also have the right to speak with snarkiness?”

Achilles interrupted him. “I should be an epic fail coward,” he typed, “were I to give in to you in all the things. Order other Guild Leaders about, not me, for I shall obey no longer. Furthermore I say–and lay my saying to your heart–I shall fight neither you nor any player about this e-girlfriend, for those that take were those also that gave. But of all my other phat lewts, you shall carry away nothing by force. Try, that others may see; if you do, I will duel the crap out of you.”

When they had quarrelled thus angrily, they rose, and broke up the assembly at the meeting stone. Achilles went back to gchat with the <Myrmidons> while Agamemnon chose a raid of twenty to take the boat. He escorted Chryseis on board and sent moreover a bribe for the GM. And Odysseus went as raid leader.

These, then, went on board and sailed their ways over the sea. But Achilles bade the guildies purify themselves; so they sold their grays at a vendor. Then they offered fish feasts on the sea-shore, and the smoke of the basic campfire curling up towards the sky.  Thus did they busy themselves.

The epic saga continues

Parts 1&2 of this can be found here and here. Thanks again to Zelmaru of Murloc Parliament for putting so much effort and time into this fabulous rewrite of:

The WoW Iliad, book 1, part three

Achilles nerdraged, and his heart was divided whether to /duel Agamemnon, or to restrain himself and check his anger. While he was thus in two minds, and was typing out /duel, GM-Athena sent him a tell (for GM-Hera had sent her in the love she bore to them both). “Why are you here,” said he, “subordinate of GM-Zeus? To see the pride of Agamemnon? Let me tell you–and it shall surely be–he shall pay for this asshattery by losing a duel in an embarrassing manner.”

And GM-Athena said, “I come from Blizzard HQ, if you will hear me, to bid you stay your nerdrage. GM-Hera has sent me, who cares for both of you alike. Cease, then, this brawling, and do not /duel; snark at him if you will, and your snarking will not be vain, for I tell you–and it shall surely be–that you shall hereafter receive phat lewt three times as splendid by reason of this present insult. Hold, therefore, and obey.”

“GM,” answered Achilles, “however angry a man may be, he must do as you two command him. This will be best, for the GMs ever answer the ticket of him who has obeyed them.”

He stayed his hand on the enter button, and deleted his slash command as GM-Athena bade him. Then she went back to Blizzard HQ among the other GMs, and the domain of supervisor GM-Zeus.