Another day, another post for the Newbie Blogging Initiative! Before we get started, I’ve had a couple of questions about getting involved. Whether you want to be a blogger (or are a newbie!) or if you wish to sponsor the NBI, just head over to the NBI forums, find the appropriate section of forums (Sponsor or Newbie) and sign up! There’s already some good threads started where brave souls have ponied up some questions. Don’t be shy, we won’t eat you!
The Bard would tell us that our blog is going to be awesome no matter what we call, and in that, he’s not far wrong. Even if you call your blog Home Gardening Tips #101, someone will eventually find your boss articles depending on how you tag and categorize (that’s another article) but shouldn’t you make it easier than that for readers to find you? How many poor gardening enthusiasts are you pissing off?
Taking the time to name your blog is a great exercise for planning out the infant stages of your blogging project and can be a great advertising tool in it’s own right.
A couple of years ago, on a Twisted Nether podcast, I was asked what advice I would give an aspiring blogger, and the first thing that came to mind was the name. I actually set up a blog, theme, first post, and name to boot, but killed it before I ever published, before I ever made a twitter account, or let a single soul know it existed. The name was all wrong for me. At the time that I was setting up my first blog, I played a restoration/elemental shaman, and I started where many do: with a blog that had a class theme.
Class themes are awesome. They make it easy for other people to pop you into a category for their blogrolls. But, the question I mulled, and the one that eventually killed my little blog that never was came to me as I was playing an alt. Did I really see myself as a shaman? And the answer was no. Even now, while I find myself listed as a druid here and there, I don’t really think of myself as a druid blogger, and I have no qualms about writing about Death Knights or Paladins, Rogues or Mages, and I don’t bat an eye at taking Jaded Alt into other gameworlds than WoW when it suits me.
I knew I wasn’t going to play WoW for all time. I knew that I wanted a journal of my gaming experiences, and not necessarily an advice column. I knew I was never going to be a one-class kinda girl. I chose a name that fit who I thought I was as a gamer: in love with gaming, but a bit jaded in my expectations, and a perpetual alt, never a main. Because I chose to go broad in my name, I don’t feel hindered in what I can talk about on my blog.
Of course, there are disadvantages to having a broad name, a name that can handle anything. It makes it harder for other people to pop you into a nifty category. Over the past 3 years, I’ve seen myself listed under various categories: Shaman, Druid, Raiding Guides, Add-on Guides, Guild Leadership.. the list goes on and on. I wouldn’t call my blog any of these things exclusively but it does have hints of all of them. People randomly stumbling across my little piece of the web aren’t going to look at my blog name and have a lightbulb moment as to what they might find here.
I’ve seen bloggers who felt compelled to leave their homes of many years because they’re no longer blogging about warriors, no longer raid, or have switched games. It’s ok to close your blog when you’re done with an idea or project. Some content crosses boundaries more readily than others. If you only talk about the nuts and bolts of a class, it’s likely that you’ve built up a warrior following, and you might not have a lot of readers with interests in alternative games or even alternative classes. It’s ok to say goodbye to your fan base and start fresh.Having a very specific name in these cases may help you put your baby to bed when the time comes, and give you all the advantages of easy categorization.
However, if your blog is not replete with detailed guides on dungeons and classes, closing your doors when you shift focus from a class or gameworld may not make much sense. Lots of players who game have an interest in other gaming-worlds, even if they’re only currently playing one. Others, like myself, play a little bit of everything, do a little bit of everything in their game of choice, and follow a number of blogs on subjects from clothing to raiding and everything in between. Having a flexible name choice may help you keep your readers for the long-term.
So before you take the plunge and pick a name permanently, have a little brainstorming session with yourself. Things to think about as you narrow down your list to your identity in the MMO blogging community:
- Will my blog focus on a class, game, or the industry?
- What kind of a content do I wish to provide? Stories? Guides? Critiques?
- Are you a one-world gamer?
- Do you like reading blogs with multiple focuses in a single game?
- Do you like reading blogs that cover multiple games?
- Have you ever unsubscribed from a blog because it changed class/game-world?
- Do you want to define your blog by what you do or by who you are?
- Will you stop playing/writing if you change focus?
- Are you comfortable closing a blog if your interest changes?
- Would you want to start a new blog (or have several) for different aspects of what you want to write about?
Although I’m obviously biased because of my own choices, there is no right answer for how to name your blog. In the end, you have to make the choice that best meets your needs, that provides a platform for what you want to achieve out of your blog. For a last little mental exercise, check out a blogroll, even mine if you wish. Check out the names, click on the links. See if your expectations were met between the name and the content. Ask yourself what you would have named a blog. Can you see yourself with something generic, like World of Matticus or Stories of O, or does your inner blogger cry out for something specific, something that screams what you play, not just who you are like Fel Concentration or Treebound?
In the end, the important thing is to pick a name you love. Then it’s time to get blogging!