Blogger Tip: Writing an Article Series

One of the key ways to build your blog is to give readers a reason to come back. One of the ways you can do that (and build up the body of work that will define your blog) is to write a series of connected articles.

These can be either a step by step process, like Bellwether has been doing with her raiding guild posts, a related progression, like Matticus’ healing strategies, or simply a collection of posts that make sense together, like Jagerbombz Karazhan healing guides. news2 by lusi

Unfortunately, however, writing an article series is about more than just posting on a whim and linking some of your posts to other posts. Planning ahead can help you create a fantastic series that will draw your readers in and have them coming back for more.

There are a few things that will help make a successful article series:

  1. Come up with an idea. Often the best article series happen when you have a post idea that is just too big to fit in one post.
  2. Plan out the series of posts. This doesn’t have to be anything more than a rough outline on some scratch paper. The idea here is to get the continuity established. Do your posts make sense in this order? Are they too broad (and should be two posts) or too narrow (and should be combined)?
  3. Figure out how many will be in the series. If the number isnt’ defined for you (there are 6 bosses in Serpentshrine Cavern), try to fit the posts into an “established” number – 3, 5, 7, and 10 are all pretty standard. Once you get above 15 or so, try to stick to 5 number increments.
  4. Make a table of contents and use it in EVERY post. Then, as you fill in the posts, go back and edit the previous ones to include links to the entire series. That way, if someone finds post #3 in a 5 article series, they can easily find the other articles (or go back and read from the beginning).
  5. Stick with your articles. Sometimes slogging through the 4th post in a series just gets you down. You might need to let the ideas incubate a little (or work on post #5 first) before what you really want to say comes through. If you plan to publish the articles every Tuesday for a month, plan ahead and write in chunks (not just on Monday nights).

The more connected articles are, the more readers will be waiting for the next installment, and the easier it will be for them to follow the entire series.

Writing an article series takes time and patience and requires a little more planning than a normal blog post, but it can be extremely rewarding – both in terms of traffic and commenter feedback. Give it a try!

Every Thursday, one of the Annas from Too Many Annas stops by with a mid-week blogger tip. If you have questions or suggestions for future tips, email Anna ( tips at twistednether dot net ) with a message titled “Blog Tipping”.

* image courtesy of Lusi

Shared Topic: REfer-a-Friend

This week’s Shared Topic is brought to us by The Wrathbringer of Metal Up Your WoW and is entitled simply "Refer-a-Friend." Blizzard and the player community are all abuzz at the recent announcement of the Refer-a-Friend program, a system that lets a player earn a unicorn-esque Zhevra mount by encouraging someone they know to sign up and commit to playing for two months. There are a host of other benefits for the two players involved, including:

  • Triple experience when the two characters are grouped.
  • The ability for the new player to "gift" levels to the senior player.
  • The ability for either player to summon the other once per hour.

Reactions from players so far have been pretty mixed with some complaining that it promotes farmers leveling multiple characters more easily and some complaining that they should be entitled to the program without having to sign up for another account. Still, some players have been thinking about how to best exploit the system to easily level one or more new characters to 60 before the release of the expansion. What’s your perspective?

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Current Contributors:

Episode 13-Chick-fil-a-nery

gnome_girl1 This episode we finally say Nibuca’s name correctly, discover great medieval recipes, some awesome topics and the crucial question about gnome toes is answered.

– Continue reading Episode 13-Chick-fil-a-nery –

Downtime round-up: 8-19-08

dt_roundup Is it that time again! That’s right boys and girls, it is roundup time! We are excited to have Fikkle and Sylus from For The Horde joining us as our Twisted Blog next episode. If there are any burning questions you would like to ask them, feel free to send them in! Here are a few posts you may have missed!

Hay to Munch on:

  • Pet name generator: Faeldray from Petoholic Anonymous has created the first ever, pet name generator for wow hunters and their pets! He is looking for help to fill the database so get those heads a-thinking!
  • Fed up! Raiding sucks as a sole form of end game content. Cambios from Muckbeast, offers interesting views on the role of end-game content.
  • End Game Satisfaction: Spicytuna wrote a rebuttal post to Cambios’ post.
  • A Public Response: Stop Telling People How to Game: Lume’s response to a comment by Cambios.
  • Happy Birthday World of Matticus:  A very big happy birthday to Matt and Wyn from World of Matticus! They have reached the ripe young age of one. I wonder what that equates to in dog years?

Blog Tipping: Creating New Content

Hey everyone! Given the glut of Rash of the Itch King posts recently, I thought I’d tackle this as a blog tip here on TNB.

When you’re working on a blog post, it’s easy to get very excited about something you saw in game and write a post about how you just discovered it! And given all the new things releasing about Lich King lately, there are a LOT of new things to discover.

Posting about hot topic items is fun! It’s “cutting edge” and helps get you and your readers excited about new things that are coming up in game. But MANY bloggers are also doing the same thing. Especially right now, with so many people tracking every punctuation change in the beta patch notes, original content is hard to find.

However, many of the warcraft blog readers are not single-blog readers. They read LOTS of our blogs, especially because we’re constantly linking to each other and building up our community.

So, you ask, does that mean I can’t talk about the expansion in my little, newer blog and must let all the “Big Dogs” take all the glory? Of course not! What you should do is present your OWN side of the story.

Blogging is half news and half commentary. The news might be similar to what people are seeing everywhere – if your commentary is interesting, they’ll still read what you have to say. Taking the time to create new content that is completely your own not only draws in your readers, but it helps to develop your voice as a blogger and invites conversation in your comments.

Individual content post are also ripe for link-love from blogger friends. If someone else really likes your ideas, they’ll respond to them, either in a comment, or in a response post of their own – which builds up your traffic and gives you an opportunity to respond back!

So remember – when blogging about Warcraft, we’re in a limited medium with a lot of audience overlap. What makes great blog posts isn’t lists of news items, it’s what we as bloggers have to say about it.

Every Thursday, one of the Annas from Too Many Annas stops by with a mid-week blogger tip. If you have questions or suggestions for future tips, email Anna ( tips at twistednether dot net ) with a message titled “Blog Tipping”.

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