Tuesday, 7 June 2016

These Things I Have Learned

Have I ever done a post about this before? I may have done, but there are lots of things that I half-remember writing about. Anyway, Joseph of Against The Wicked City fame put up a post that got me thinking about blogging and what I've learned (such as it is) over the years about generating traffic. Here are five things.

1. Content posts (monsters, magic items, encounters, NPCs, whatever) tend not to elicit as much in the way of comments, or even page views, as other types of post. I've always found it a bit puzzling but when I think about it makes sense: what are people supposed to say, other than "This is great!" or "This is terrible!" or perhaps offer constructive criticism?

2. By the same token, posts which are all opinion get the most comments and page views, because they provide a springboard for anybody and everybody to sound off.

3. Post about Warhammer and you will get a lot of traffic.

4. Reddit really is the frontpage of the internet. If somebody links to one of your posts on Reddit you really notice.

5. This may be the most important thing: the more frequently you post, all else being equal, the more people come back.

To which the obvious conclusion is: post a rant about Warhammer every day and post one of them on Reddit under an assumed name and before you know it you will be Andrew Sullivan.


  1. I get a good bit of traffic from a couple reddit links, I think one is about 2 years old. My most popular posts of all time are: empty rooms, orcs through the ages, dungeon stocking table, small castle map, and peddlers of the deep dark.

  2. Replies
    1. Andrew Sullivan. One of the most famous bloggers of the early 2000s. He earned megabucks off it.

  3. I also find that personal game "content" -- one's own world-making, creatures, history -- gets low hits. Much more traffic for general systems stuff (hacks, adaptations) and reviews of systems.

  4. I tend to buck conventions a bit.

    While I don't always get a lot of comments on anything other than my GM advice posts, I get a ton of views on subjects like Champions (or Superhero RPGs in general), Star Trek, Star Wars, Traveller, Mekton, and other 'oddities'.

    My theory - no one is coming to me to read about D&D, and I'm not posting much. There are hundreds of other blogs to go to for that.

    People looking for posts on Ghostbusters games, running Science Fiction/Space Adventure, or something inspired by Silver Age comics have less choices. I'm one of them, so they come to me. ;)

    1. Yeah, it might just be because there aren't many blogs covering those games?

    2. Exactly, and I have no problems with that whatsoever.

      While it sometimes bugs me that the games I enjoy most are viewed as niche by the majority of the gaming community, I'll more than happy to be the port in the story for those looking for something a little more unusual.

  5. I've found through the years that there are some keywords that always draws traffic, if not comments. Some individuals people like to read about, for example.

  6. I have been wondering about this given the total lack of traffic my poor blog (mythlands-erce.blogspot.com) doesn't get. It just got a record high number of hits for a day by a large margin (which is still less than 200) due to a casual link to an old post about the Greyhawk map (http://tinyurl.com/j3krgjr) over on rpg.net talking about GH. Figures. I can only say, Andrei's analysis matches my very limited sample size.

    I write for myself as much as for others though as it helps crystalise my creative impulses. Writing a blog has stimulated to comment more often on blogs I frequent though.

    I have been thinking about writing about Warhammer as the original OSR spin anyway. Maybe I will move it up the to-do list. ;-p

    1. What about a post about a Warhammer-Greyhawk crossover?

  7. I ask "Andrew who?" and the next comments are by Andrei, Andreas, and Anders.

    This is weird...

  8. I should add - When I brainstormed goblins for my own take on them I enjoyed your WH-goblins article as part of the process, even though I landed on something quite different.

  9. I read D&D blogs for three reasons.
    Firstly for things to directly yoink into my game - monsters, rooms, traps, dungeon ideas, magic items etc.
    The second is for a source of inspiration i.e. be inspired by great writing. Your blog posts about the Behind Gently Smiling Jaws are an example of that - really interesting concept but not readily adaptable into my current game. Patrick's work is another example. I don't usually comment on these (but probably should) but I am inspired to improve my own content.
    The third is for anything that could improve the way I run my game. Some of the dungeon design analysis (Melan's thread on branching vs linear vs circular dungeons), one page dungeons, nodes, table management ideas, all sorts of things. My style has changed over the years and I use a lot of pre-generated tables these days to create content on the fly as my players do whatever they want in the sandbox. My somewhat battered copy of Yoon Suin has been very handy in my current campaign!
    Player session reports are only interesting if they highlight something in 1 or 3.

    Frequency of posting is important but so is quality. I stopped reading some blogs which were posts with some inane commentary and a link. With the internet as it is, specialisation or depth in one/two areas is better than widespread superficiality in many.