Tag Archives: internal ramblings

Shameless Self-Promotion: A Beginner’s Guide To Driving Traffic to Your WoW Blog

World of Warcraft blogs are unique in the blogging universe (I refuse to say ‘blogiverse’): You have a potential audience of 13 million players, but can only seem to reach fifty or so a day.

There’s a disconnect here. How is it possible that so few people are interested in your guide to Ret Pally gear? How can the comical stylings of Kachunk, Clown of Orgrimmar, go unnoticed by so many? You pour your heart and soul into your posts and then ten people read it.

Of the ten, no one comments.

It’s disheartening.

Not too long ago- I just checked, and it was July- I practically had a heart attack if my site reached the lofty heights of a hundred visitors. I’m not ashamed to say I threw an impromptu party the day it reached 1,000 daily hits, the two of us crowded around the monitor with a hastily-purchased bottle of wine after I noticed it had reached 850 earlier in the evening. These days, I give my stats the slit-eye if they don’t get over 2,000 by noon.

I’m not the least bit embarrassed about my love of the numbers. The more visitors I’ve had, the more people maybe, possibly, perhaps heard something I said and laughed, or picked up the right gear, or- please, Jeebus- re-specced to Discipline.

People don’t like to talk about their WoW blog traffic for the most part; it’s taboo, like talking about your salary or embarrassing sexual ailments. But I am a shameless self-promoter, and my capacity for embarassment is bottomless. With a little work, you can be a shameless self-promoter, too!

And before you ask, yes: I wrote this post to get more blog hits.

See? You’re learning already.

Lesson #1: Know Thine Enemy

You need a way to track visitors to your site so that you can better judge what posts are of interest to the community, and what posts are of interest to no one but yourself.

If you have a WordPress blog, you already have tracking software installed; it’s in ‘Dashboard’ under ‘Site Stats’. If you have a self-hosted blog, or one that allows you to add JavaScript in some way, go get Google Analytics.

It doesn’t matter in the slightest where your visitors are from, what connection type they’re using, or any personal characteristic; what you’re looking for here is trending, not Big Brother.

Your key stats are (a) what pages get the most traffic? and (b) what keywords drive the most search engine traffic to your page? We’ll go into detail on the whys of that in a moment, but those stats must be accessible to you in some way.

Lesson #2: That Social Networking Show

You must have a blog Twitter account. You must have a blog Facebook account. Use them. Befriend others whom you actually like. When you create a new post, add it to both.

Show off your new posts clearly. “New post! This is the Title: short link” works well for me.

Don’t bother with “please RT!”. They will or they won’t; you’re a strong writer whose work speaks for itself.

The same goes for reposting your original announcement; one in the morning and one in the evening works well to hit the day and night crowds, but that’s where it must end.

They will or they won’t.

Strong!

Lesson #3: The Almighty Holler (or Why No One Cares What You Had For Lunch)

The content of your blog is up to no one but you.

However, the desire to read your blog is shared- or not- by the rest of the world. If you’re reading this, you could be home now probably want more of the latter and are willing to reconsider on the former.

You have something to say that is interesting to people who want to read it. You do. This is an indisputable fact. There are far more people out there who read blogs than write them. We just have to crack the acorn of your brain and get to the juicy, readable meat that’s inside.

If you tell a story about yourself, it must have parts that could be applied to other people. This means you DO NOT write about the great gear you’re working on unless you simultaneously talk about how all the brutha’ ret pallys out there could benefit from it, and, if you’re wise, include an amusing anecdote or two about the comedy of errors you’ve run into along the path of acquisition along with links to Wowhead.

This isn’t a diary. No one cares what you had for lunch.

Start specific, get more general. If you start blogging about everything under the sun, it’s difficult to target your audience.

If, however, you start with a niche- ‘Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About DK Tanking But Were Afraid To Ask!’- you gain readers who are interested in your topic, and who then, y’know, recommend you. I know, I know- heaven forfend. And almost every specific topic in WoW, luckily, is practically impossible to exhaust! It’s wonderful!

Once you’ve got your base readership down, then- and only then, and maybe not even then!- start to branch out. Define who you are, even if who you are is a bank-altin’ gold monger, or a WoW blog-link repository, or a pretty dress FIEND!

Niche is king.

Be self-deprecating. You’ve got problems… lots of ‘em! And nothing is funnier or more charming to read than someone who can laugh at themselves.

Besides, it’s immensely cheering to reveal some cringe-inducing moment and have ten people comment to say, “Ahhhh, I did that too! God, I was SO EMBARRASSED! lulz”.

Spellcheck. Non-negotiable.

Lesson #4: You Gotta Spend Love To Make Love

Here’s a hard thought for every new blogger to keep in mind (and one I absolutely tell myself every day): “No one is coming to my site first.”

Unless you’re the editor of MMO Champion or WoW Insider, chances are exceptionally good that no one is coming to visit your blog without going to another WoW site first. Alex Ziebart, you may skip this bit.

Your job- and it is work, but the most fun you can possibly have working- is to get out into the community.

You MUST become an uber-commenter. Traffic comes from two sources: search engines (discussed further below) and referrals. If you have a thought- any old kind of thought- on a post, on any blog whatsoever… COMMENT!

People will click on the link that is by your name. I swear it.

Always, always, always sign in to the commenting system so that you can associate your name with a clickable link to your website.

You MUST comment regularly on the Big Sites. You MUST comment at MMO-Champion. You MUST comment on WoW Insider. If your particular niche has a well-known forums site (PlusHeals.com for any healers, for example), you MUST comment there.

Don’t worry about looking like a fool. Don’t worry about people arguing with you. Don’t be afraid. Start topics! Respond to others!

Get in there and get dirty!

/buttslap

You MUST refer back to your blog and specific blog posts you have written in your comments, with links. This one is optional for commenting on other people’s blogs, but absolutely required for posting on the Big Sites.

If you don’t have your blog linked in your signature on MMO Champions, you’re missing a goldmine of visitors. You’re not forcing people to visit you; they want to come! Make it easy for them to do so.

You’re not doing it in every post, but if a conversation is going on that directly revolves around a post you’ve written, link to your post.

And hey- you don’t have to say you wrote it. I won’t tell.

You MUST have a blog roll. If someone links to you, it’s gentlemanly to link back to them. It doesn’t hurt you one bit, and the blogging community is a community of the first order. Blog Azeroth can tell you that.

If you link to someone, tell them you linked to them! A brief, nice email (‘Hey, love your blog! I’ve stuck it on my blog roll- come visit at disciplinaryaction.org!”) is always polite.

Nothing makes me sadder than finding a link to myself on someone else’s page when I didn’t even know they existed. I want to shamelessly promote WoW blogs- I have more shameless self-promotion than I can handle, and I enjoy getting it on others (especially the unsuspecting!).

Lesson #5: The Key(words) To Success

On a day that I post, most of my readership comes from subscribers and links. On a day that I don’t post, however, a good 85% of my traffic comes from search engines. You need to ensure you’re creating a blog that plays nice with search engine bots; what good is having the best blog going about goblin gold strategies if your average Googler can’t find it?

Be current. If you’ve written a slew of posts on the Cataclysm changes and you’ve tagged them all “4.0.1”, no one searching for 4.0.3 (or 4, or 5) is ever going to find them. If they do stumble on the post, you’re going to look dated.

When a new expansion comes out, upgrade all your date-specific tags if the content of the post is still current.

Use tags. You should never have a post without a category and tags. Tags are search-engine gold.

Don’t use tags that have nothing to do with your post just because that topic seems to be trending- people will get annoyed at your perfidy and leave- but if you’re talking about Ironforge dwarf tossing, you should include everything you can think of that’s relevant to long-range ballistic shorties.

Think like a searcher. Good posters use the word ‘you’ a lot in their writing. That’s great: you’re putting yourself in the place of your reader and mentally inviting them into your work. Nicely done!

When someone searches on Google, though, they overwhelmingly type in things like “can i fly to tol barad” and “how can i gear for a disc priest in Cataclysm”. See the problem? You have to figure out a way to phrase things so that someone searching in the first person finds your blog written in the second person.

How you do that is up to you.

(u see whut i did thur?)

In Conclusion

You don’t have to bump along with fewer readers than you know your writing skillz warrant.

You do have to work to get there… but get there you will! I have enormous faith in the brainpower that drives our strange, WoW-centric branch of the universe. I salute you and want to see you all succeed.

And when you do, link to me.

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Harvest Bake-Off Contest Entry

Revive and Rejuvenate hosts an annual Harvest Festival Bake-Off, in which ordinary Azerothian citizens share the recipes nearest and dearest to them, using only ingredients found in WoW. This year’s winner was Vidyala, with her Unconjured Cinnamon Bun Frost Cookies, but I threw my hat into the ring as well.

I didn’t realize most people had put their recipes on their blogs until I saw the wrap-up post, so here’s my own entry:

Bjorn enjoys a battlefield snack before pwning the Horde.

‘I LOVE THE SMELL OF ALTERAC IN THE MORNING’ BREAKFAST STRATA

Early-morning strikes put great demands on the battle-hardened veteran. Power bars like [Bellara's Nutterbar] promise fast nutrition, but leave you lagging halfway to the enemy’s stronghold. The Alterac Breakfast Strata is just the thing to provide long-lasting energy to get your blood pumping and bloodlust racing.

Ingredients

- 8 ounces [Spicy Smoked Sausage], casings removed
- 1 medium [Blindweed], or one large onion
- 1/4 cup chopped [Flame Cap], or sundried tomatoes
- [Fishliver Oil] or butter, for the baking dish
- 8 large [Ordinary Eggs]
- 1 cup [Ice Cold Milk]
- 3 leaves of [Mountain Silversage], chopped
- [Salt] and [Pepper], to taste
- 1 loaf of high-quality [Tough Hunk of Bread], sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 1/2 cups shredded [Alterac Swiss] (mozzarella cheese can be subsituted)

Directions

  1. In a large [Cooking Pot] over medium-high heat, cook sausage, stirring occasionally, and breaking up meat with a spoon, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add blindweed or onion; cook. Stirring, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes or flamecaps. Transfer to a [Silver Platter]; let cool until barely warm.
  2. Butter an 8-inch-square [Meatloaf Pan]. In a large [Scrying Bowl], whisk together eggs, milk, sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Arrange half the bread in a slightly overlapping layer in bottom of pan. Scatter half the sausage mixture and then half the cheese over the bread. Repeat with remaining bread, sausage, and cheese, pressing firmly. Pour egg mixture over layers. Cover and apply [Deep Freeze] for at least 20 minutes or up to overnight.
  3. Preheat [campfire] to 350 degrees. Bake, uncovered, until puffed and golden and a [Fishbone Toothpick] inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove with [Murkblood Oven Mitts].
  4. Wipe your mouth and wipe out your enemies.


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Keep Calm And Play On

Just a little fun for a Tuesday, in both flavors:

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Head Games: An Introduction

As some of you may know, I had the extreme misfortune to chop off (or very nearly) my finger whilst cheerfully, obliviously hacking a tomato to pieces a few weeks ago.

It hurt.

Like hell.

I’ve never actually injured myself on that kind of scale, and for the first week or so I pretty much existed in a drugged haze of the most entertaining (to others) variety. Despite my twice- or thrice-weekly guild raid schedule, my Excel spreadsheeted alt leveling program, and an Auction House addiction that Goldcapped alone could understand, my WoW playing came to a screeching and immediate halt.

Once the fog started to lift (hey, drugs that good are in seriously limited supply) and I could think anything beyond, “OWIE OWIE OWIE OWWWW!”, a new problem became apparent: my right hand, encased in Borg-like apparatus and then wrapped like a mummy, was essentially unusable.

I’m right-handed.

(Don’t ask why I was slicing tomatoes with my left hand. That takes us down a bleak road filled with recrimination, regret, and possibly a sad story about showing off my mad knife skillz to sincerely bad effect).

At one point, about three weeks P.D. (Post Digit) I logged into my hunter alt just to say hello to my guildmates.

They were in ICC, pwning, I have no doubt, and were as delighted to see me as I to see them. I excitedly typed replies to all the welcomes left-handedly- not too bad, I thought, just a little clumsy! But a few seconds later, I realized how fast I was falling behind:

Them:
“How’s the hand?!”
“I can’t believe that happened, how are you feeling??”
“Yayy, you’re back! Ouch, yay!”

Me: “T…h…a…-“

Them:
“That was so crazy.”
“It’s so nice to see you! Ouch, ouch!””
“Ew, is your hand all gnarly and funky now? Please say yes.”

Me: “…n…k…s…!”

And they weren’t in any way going fast, mind you. But it was depressingly obvious that I wasn’t going to be using chat for a while, and a much larger problem had just become obvious:

I couldn’t use my mouse.

My clicker finger had been decapitated and reborn, and I was under strict instructions- from both doctors and internal urgings- not to do a damned thing with it until it recovered from its trying ordeal.

Typing was a bitch, but clicking…? Out of the question!

Luckily the guildies were still safely on Vent, but non-playing? Not being a PRIEST?! Inconceivable! I needed an outlet and needed it bad.

My first thought was that I simply had to become sufficient at left-handed mousing. I secretly started a warrior (less finesse, more faceroll, I figured) and commenced to experiment.

It was ugly.

After quietly burying my warrior in an unmarked grave, my second thought was that I could just not play or think about WoW- hey, everyone’s on pre-Cata vacation! I can hit the beach with the best of ‘em!

That lasted approximately three days and I was practically barking for a glimpse of Dalaran.

Finally, I realized that I could still read about playing, get into the Cataclysm changes, and really explore some of the more complex aspects of priesting that I’ve blown off in the past for being too complicated (like Haste), too boring (ie underused abilities), or too weird (exploring super non-standard disc builds).

With the help of Word, which has a built-in voice recognition writing system (who knew?!), I could theorize, blabber, and cool my heals (typo and it stays) until the mummy wraps came off and right-handedness returned to my repertoire.

This post kicks off a series of articles I’m going to focus on involving the theories behind our priestly behaviors now and in Cataclysm, a journey I hope we’ll all enjoy and (heaven forfend) learn from. With my discovery of the voice-to-type thing, regularly scheduled leveling and gear posts should resume, as well.

For those who have offered their condolences, you have my most sincere gratitude for not only your words, but your readership. Thanks for sticking by my finger, even when it didn’t stick with us!

PS- If it’s not too horrifying when the wraps come off, I’ll post a picture of the offending digit!

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Raid Boss Theme Songs

While thinking about my raid playlists yesterday, it occurred to me that it would be highly amusing to try to match the ICC bosses to their own personal theme songs. (Please note, I’m not advocating the songs themselves- some might burn your ears off with Suck).

These are my votes, but I’d love to see others take a crack at it!

Lord Marrowgar
George Thorogood – Bad To The Bone

Lady Deathwhisper
The Cult – Spiritwalker

(Gunship Battle / Interlude:
Blues Image – Ride Captain Ride)

Deathbringer Saurfang
Mahalia Jackson – Power In The Blood

Festergut
Mason Williams – Classical Gas

Rotface
Frank Zappa – I’m The Slime

Professor Putricide
Thomas Dolby – (S)he Blinded Me With Science

Blood Prince Council
The Chemical Brothers – Under The Influence

Blood-Queen Lana-thel
The Eagles – Witchy Woman

Valithria Dreamwalker
Concrete Blonde – Heal It Up

Sindragosa
Paula Abdul – Cold Hearted Snake

The Lich King
Coldplay – Viva La Vida

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The Disc Priest Face Pull (A How-To Guide)

Step 1

Enter ToC 10 with your guild mates. Accidentally doze off during the explanations of the fight (hey, you’re not a DPS!).

Step 2

Penance your way to the Twin Valk’yr fight.

Step 3

Sneak out to the bathroom when the fight is explained and come back just in time to hear what color of bubble you should be bathing in.

Step 4

Run frantically in confusion towards the appropriately colored bubble right next to the boss.

Step 5

Greet the Twin Val’kyr you’ve just pulled with a hearty hello.

Step 6

Wipe.

Step 7

Acquire your new guild nickname, “Lerooooooy Jenkins!”. Change your title to the appropriate ‘Jenkins’ subheading in perpetuity.

Step 8

Enjoy the power of your new position by reveling in requests that you ‘Jenkins this boss’ every single time you encounter one in guild raids.

Congratulations! You are now the face-pullin’-est priest in your realm!

Success!

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Self Discipline: The Wages Of Sin Is Griefers

So I’ve come to an interesting impasse in my new guild, and I know my intrepid readers are just the ones to mull it over (or, failing that, revel in a good failguild story).

After a somewhat stressful raid evening (beating ourselves against the good Professor, that old so-and-so), our guild went on a ten-minute, well-deserved break. I ended up alone in Vent with a fellow guild member I’d run with a few times.

Since he and I were alone, I tried to keep up some conversation to pass the time. I shot the breeze about the raid, and was complimenting the guy’s skills in the instance when he interrupted me with, “Do you ever shut the fuck up?”

I was pretty surprised, but gamely replied, “Ha, sorry, I know I do talk a lo-“

“Seriously shut up. Seriously shut up. Seriously shut up. Seriously shut up,” he responded.

Now, gentle reader, I’m not gonna lie to you. I was pretty mad. But as mad as I was, I didn’t want to say something I’d regret. I turned off Vent without saying anything, or even explaining to the rest of the guild where I’d gone (rude, I know- but man, steam was coming out of my ears).

After cooling off for a few minutes, I sent a tell to the player along the lines of, “I’ve always enjoyed playing with you, but it’s cool if the feeling’s not mutual. But it’s not cool to be rude to me in Vent.”

No response.

Everyone came back from the break. We finished the raid, and I went off to quest with an old friend to simmer down a bit. Eventually- I’m embarrassed to say it- I was so pissed that I put the guy on Ignore.

Here’s where we reach the conundrum: What next?

When we play- and it is the most glorious kind of play, the fun we have in WoW- many of us value the lighthearted camaraderie brought by being a member of a diverse band of misfits who would never, ever, in a million years, become friends in the normal course of our lives. It’s an overwhelming touching thing to me, and lies at the heart of why I play.

Now, for the first time in four years, I don’t want to play any more.

We all face these conundrums in guilds, in PUGs, in life both pixelated and organic. So what do we do when our gaming lives get complicated and snarled for reasons that make both sides indignant and hurt?

Offer it up, gentle readers, and let’s see if we can solve it together.

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Self Discipline: Mr. The Lightbringer Will See You Now

I don’t know if you’ve ever given it much thought- unless, like me, you’re given to serious contemplation of the World of Warcraft universe after three vodka cranberries- but I’ve decided it would be very hard for some notable Azerothians to survive in the wilds of the Real World.

They’d need some help updating their resumes if they wanted gainful employment . Someone would have to assist them with transferring their skills to life outside of Azeroth, and after a particularly buzzword-filled day, I decided I was in the right mindset to lend a hand:

Garrosh Hellscream

  • Azerothian Talents: Cockmonger. Occasional decapitations.
  • Real World Talents: Goal-oriented. Results driven.

Arthas Menethil

  • Azerothian Talents: Daddy issues. Whiner. Plans for global domination.
  • Real World Talents: Familycentric. Vocal self-advocate. Empowered global vision.

Varian Wrynn

  • Azerothian Talents: King of Stormwind. Pokemon hair.
  • Real World Talents: Some leadership experience. Opportunities for growth.

Jaina Proudmoore

  • Azerothian Talents: Spooky. Relies on others to do thinking. Bad taste in men.
  • Real World Talents: Visionary. Knowledge process outsourcing. Executive track.

Malygos

  • Azerothian Talents: Lord and Creator of All Magic and Spellcraft. Smug. Dragon.
  • Real World Talents: Big-pipe talents. Experienced manager.  Alternative lifestyle.

With apologies to Sven and his thought-provoking post.

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Self Discipline: The Mark Of The Facebeast

... But I Don't WANNA Be Ubiquitous!

Like many, many, many of us, I am utterly nonplussed at having discovered that only through the magic of Facebook will we be able to utilize the cross-realm friends list coming out in 3.3.5.

I do not care for everyone to see my grown-up, official email address – you know, the one that was so secure you used it to log in to your account- just because they happen to be friends of friends of friends of some decent tank I ran with once and friended.

To avert disaster and maintain some semblance of privacy for those I friend and those who friend me, I have implemented a clever workaround (well, I think it’s clever; more likely everyone’s already thought of it and I’m the last one disembarking the short bus as usual):

  1. Create a new, anonymous email address from a fine establishment like Yahoo, gmail, or Hotmail
  2. Change your Blizzard login email address to the new anonymous one (and get an authenticator, yeah?)
  3. Create a new Facebook page with your new anonymous email address
  4. Amuse yourself by guessing what your main’s favorite quotes might be

The absolutely immense bonus of this, beyond the simple expedient of protecting your privacy, is that it is THE funniest thing ever to set up a Facebook page for your main character. That alone makes it worth the price of admission!

Those of you who wish to leave slavish messages of love upon Disciplinary Action’s Facebook wall may now do so by searching for ‘Liala Jenkins’.

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Self Discipline: The Politics of Dancing

Grace Procs On The Two-Step, Fool!

I have a major problem: I can’t dance.

Oh, I can bust out a serious foxtrot when the need arises, using my actual real-life people feet, but I can’t for the life of me [Safety Dance] with that damnable, damnable, damnable Heigan in Naxxramas.

Every single time it starts, I say to myself: “You’re a physicist. You get paid to understand this stuff. You can sure as hell do it in WoW, dammit.”

And then I wipe the raid.

I’m appalled at myself but unable to curb the self-destructive tendencies. As a player, I’m enchanted at the challenge, but as a member of a larger group I’ve become the Heigan-pariah, Unclean By Association. I’ve never finished Naxx because- for obvious reasons- no one will let me go with them. Server PUGs, initially seduced by my gear score and enthusiasm for the Plague Wing of Naxx, have learned the bitter lesson that I am not to be trusted.

YouTube videos have been viewed. Diagrams have been consulted. I’ve cut out those paper feet and pasted them on my screen with associated arrows indicating when I must proc haste and when I must do-si-do. Nothing, and I mean nothing, seems to clear this mental block.

I tried once again last night with nine other people who now hate me, and I finally realized that I need professional help.

Can you help me, gentle reader? Teach me to dance!

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