Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 24- Creating an Archive Page on WordPress

While I’m writing this quickie tutorial based around the idea of making an archive of posts for a series, you can actually use this for just about any reason. This is how to create an Archive page that automatically adds new posts based on a category you create.

For example, here’s an archive page for Spot of Simmery:

You can create the layout however you like it – such as add an image and columns like I did.

This post is going to focus on how to make that list of posts that automatically update without you needing to come to the page to update it every time.

Step 1 – Create a WordPress Category for your series of posts. Again, this doesn’t have to be a series – this works with any category. You do this by clicking Posts and then Categories. Then create the category you want to use for your archive.

Step 2 – Assign that Category to posts in your series. Remember to assign that specific category to the posts you want to appear on the archive page. You can also go back and assign that category to existing posts by editing those posts and updating them. You can find the Categories section under the Posts tab in the right-hand menu when you’re creating or editing a post.

Step 3 – Create a new Page to serve as your Archive page. Design this page however you like.

Step 4 – Add a Latest Posts block to the page. This is the widget that will list your posts.

Step 5- Set up your Latest Posts block in the right-hand menu. With the new block selected, ensure you’re looking at the Block tab in the right-hand menu. If you don’t see this menu, click the gear icon in the top right corner of the screen.

It should look like the picture to the right.

You can configure it any way that you like, but this is an example of how to make this look like a text list of posts. I don’t enable things like content or images, but you can if that fits your archive style.

I ensure that the order is Oldest to newest so that the readers see posts from first to last in proper order.

Then, enter the category in the Categories box – this is the most important for making sure this displays the posts you want it to show.

Further below that, also take a look at Number of Items. The max number of posts it can display is 100, so that should give you plenty of wiggle room to post a long series if you want. I keep that number fairly high so that I never have to worry about it.

Once you save the page, that block should display the posts in the category that you set up. Every time you write a new post and assign it to that category, the post will show up in that block – creating an archive page that you never need to worry about updating manually.

And if you decide there are some posts that you don’t want to include in this archive anymore, all you have to do is edit the post and remove the category.

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 23- Creating Navigation for a Post Series

Yes, I’m making a series about series! So meta!

This time around, we’re talking about creating navigation between your series posts… and if you even need to. It might seem like a simple topic, but providing your readers a way to move between posts on your blog is important – especially if you aren’t writing a daily series and will have posts in between series posts. There’s a number of ways you can approach this!

WordPress Plugins

For WordPress, there are some third-party plugins that are made just for building series posts and linking between them. You can use one of those – and I have in the past – but I often found it more cumbersome to use in the long run. It’s been so long since I’ve used one – especially since I’m running a WordPress.com blog that doesn’t allow me to install plugins – I’ve just learned how to do without. But if you’re self-hosted, do see if there’s something out there that can assist if you need it!

Link in Post Text

Sometimes a series (such as the Valheim series I wrote about in the last post) isn’t important enough to make a navigation. Or perhaps you can just link to the previous post in the text (like I just did above). Sometimes I do that at the beginning of a post with a short summary of what happened last time.

For example:

The link here leads to the previous post that I’d written. That way, if they missed the previous post, or they are curious about looking back at what you’re referencing from before, they have a way to do that.

Just make sure that the link opens up the previous post in a new tab so that you don’t take the reader away from the post they’re currently reading.

Previous and Next Links

Another way you can approach this is to manually create forward and back links between posts. I do this for my Spot of Simmery posts on this blog. It looks something like this:

So this is post 10, and it links back to post 9 and forward to post 11. Pretty simple. I also have a link to the overall archive page – I’ll be talking about creating an easy archive page next time!

There’s a few things to keep in mind about this approach:

  • You have to remember to continue adding the navigation each time you create a new post
  • You have to remember to go back to the previous post to add a forward link as well
  • If you move your blog or change your URL, these links will likely need to be updated

There are plugins that provide forward and backwards navigation between posts, and some WordPress themes have previous and next post navigation built into the posts already. But those only work when you’re writing a series of posts back to back.

So while manually linking takes a little more work, I find it the best way to move a reader directly through posts in a series.

WordPress Category

One other thing you can do is to create a WordPress category especially for your series. When you do that, every post in your series will appear on the category page, starting with the newest post first.

However, if you want an auto-updating archive page that’s in order from first to last, that’s a topic I’ll tackle next time!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 22- Series Posts = Love

As we move into Staying Motivated Week, I want to talk about a topic that personally find related to my own motivation – writing a series of posts. This might seem simplistic and obvious, but hear me out.

Be it a book series, a TV series or a streaming series online, people love series! It’s a great feeling to discover something you enjoy watching or reading and knowing that there’s more of it on a similar/same topic created by the same people/person.

There’s a reason people binge on a series – once you’re hooked, you want to know where it goes or how it ends.

For that reason, I tend to look for topics that I can blog about that organically lead me to writing a series of posts. I do this because:

  • Readers like series
  • Readers will continue to engage with or look forward to my posts if they are enjoying a series
  • It’s easier to come up with topics when you’re writing a series – you already have an idea what your next post might be about

How to Write a Series

Writing a series doesn’t have to be a forced thing. I actually sometimes stumble across series posting without even meaning to. For example – on my gaming blog, I started to capture the experience of playing Valheim through for the first time.

However, so much was happening in the game that to try to shove all the experiences into one post would have been a missed opportunity (and a very long post). I was also playing the game across a several-weekend stretch, which meant that I was recording my experiences over a period of time.

This organically led me to creating a series of posts about the game. This also provided me with quite a bit of content over weeks of time to add to my blog without needing to search for post topics.

This is why I tend to play games with the screenshot key ready at all times. The same could be said of taking pictures of a process happening IRL. This could be a series about a pet growing up. Recording how your garden grows. Restoring something old to something nice and new. Showing how some kind of craft or building you’re making develops. That sort of thing.

If you get a sense that something could make a good series topic, try to record it in some sort of visual way from the start. The worst that could happen is that it doesn’t turn out to be a good series topic, and you’d be left with a number of neat pictures of the experience. No big loss.

Some Tips on Series

Don’t rush it. The frequency of your posts will be directly related to whatever the topic is you’re writing about. In my gaming example above, I was writing about a game that I was playing each weekend. I could usually get 1-3 posts a week from that time spent, but the fact that I wasn’t playing every day spread out the content.

Sure, I could have dumped all 3 posts in one day, but that defeats the purpose of creating a series. Get a feel for how often you should post in your series. Don’t overwhelm readers with too much, but also don’t leave them hanging too long or they’re likely to forget about your series (unless it’s really gripping).

If you do need to take breaks or you’re writing for things happening over longer intervals, communicate that to readers in each post. For example, maybe you only want to post once a week about your garden’s development because there’s not enough change happening to post more frequently. You can end a post telling readers to check in next week to see the newest changes in your garden – that way, readers have an expectation of when they can see an update.

If you do that, however, be sure that you make good on your promises! A series can die real fast once the content creator stops meeting the deadlines they’ve promised their audience. If you do need to skip for some reason, let folks know – they’re usually quite understanding.

Try to finish the series (if possible). Don’t leave your readers hanging. If there’s an end or some way to tie up the series, try to do that. For example, I blogged a very short series of how I rescued an abandoned kitten near my workplace.

I wrote about how already had two cats, so I couldn’t keep a third. The search was ongoing for a home. When a home was finally found, I made sure to write about that so that folks would know how the story ended!

Some series may not have an ending simply because they’re ongoing, and that’s fine! But if you leave a series unfinished for a while and don’t intend to come back to it, try to drop a note in the last post you did write to explain that and let readers know that you’ve lost interest or that maybe one day you’ll pick it up again.

Also note – I’m not trying to say that every post you make needs to be something you develop into a series. You’ll start to get a feel for what is series material and what isn’t. Just keep an eye out for topics that can be expanded beyond one post, and take advantage of the series format when you run across a proper topic.

In the next post, I want to go into a bit about creating navigation between series posts and the options you can choose from!

(See what I did there? Building reader expectation – that’s a good way to end a series post! See you next time!)

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 20- Developer Appreciation – 7D2D: The Fun Pimps

Back during Blaugust 2018, I wrote about the Fun Pimps during Developer Appreciation Week. I noted that my first ever post on their game 7 Days to Die (7D2D) was back in the summer of 2014, and how even then, my gaming group (we call the Posse) was still playing the game years later.

Fast forward to 2021. Two weeks ago, the Posse got together for yet another new game of 7D2D. We don’t play the game constantly, but we’ve played it consistently for the past 7 years. It’s also the game I’ve clocked the most time in over any other on Steam.

Valheim is a very distant second, apparently.

That’s all taking into account that over the past 7 years, 7D2D has not yet left alpha. It’s still being actively developed (hoping for a A20 drop soon!), but it’s still one of my favorite Steam games despite the fact the devs don’t think it’s finished yet. I’d argue – it has bugs now and then, but it plays better than some released games!

All this to say, I would be remiss not to give some appreciation to the Fun Pimps who have created a great survival game that balances building, exploration, zombie killing and strategic tower defense so well. There’s something for every one of the individuals in the Posse to do at all times, no matter what their interests are.

I’m the builder of the team. I make sure my friends have solid walls around them on horde nights. The tower defense part of the game is my main focus, and I’ve taken to building a second “War Fort” so that if something does fall through (thanks to exploding zombies – you read that right), our main base and supplies don’t take the brunt of the damage.

Other people prefer to explore and hunt for supplies. There’s tons of Points of Interests (POI) in the game, and mods such as KingGen add even more variety based on locations that the community has built.

Others enjoy the gardening, cooking, crafting or the mining (think Minecraft with real physics). Yet others love the science tracks where you can build vehicles and traps to slay zombies.

There’s really so much to do in this game, and it just continues to get better. While we haven’t had a release in a while, we’re still patiently waiting and seeing the updates the team provides on their Twitter account. I’m really looking forward to the Alpha 20 drop. Yet another alpha, that’s not an alpha. 🙂

Anyhow, thanks for years of fun Joel and the Fun Pimps! Keep up the great work and we’ll keep playing.

(The best $12.99 I’ve ever spent…)

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 19- Developer Appreciation – Second Life Moles

This may be a strange title if you’re not a resident of Second Life. Even if you are, you may not realize that there’s a group of builders and scripters who work for Linden Labs and make lovely things for residents to enjoy. I didn’t until I moved into my home in Bellisseria.

Who are the Moles?

They work for the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW). They create zones and builds for things like the official SL events, Nautilus City, Bay City, Portal Park games, but most importantly – to me – the homes and landscaping for all of the Bellisseria neighborhoods.

My little log cabin in Second Life is what’s helped to keep me there and engaged in the world. If you browse the Second Life tag on my gaming blog, you’ll see how I love to decorate my house for holidays and visit SL happenings, such as the Halloween events. All of this can be attributed to the work of the Moles.

In fact, if I inspect any part of my cabin house, I can see the name of the Mole who built the object. If I inspect trees or flowers or creatures around my home, I can see which Mole built those, too.

As you move through the neighborhoods, you come to realize no two are alike. This isn’t a copy-paste job. Each area you explore has been hand-crafted by Moles with its own unique water ways, landmarks, mini-forests, ponds, parks and sometimes even railroad tracks. It’s due to this uniqueness that some lots are more coveted than others.

For example, my cabin resides in the area called Chuckle Pond. In fact, I do have a small pond/park located across the path, right outside my front door. I’m assuming that’s the pond the sim is named after. And I just think that’s neat!

Thank you Moles for building lovely places and fun events for when I visit Second Life!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 18- Developer Appreciation – The FFXIV Team

You knew that I wouldn’t be able to let DAW go by without talking about the FFXIV team. During a Blaugust years back, I wrote about them then. But even as time passes, I find my appreciation for this team continuing to grow.

This past online Fan Fest really brought home a lot of these feelings – I’d say they were fairly much shared by most of the FFXIV community who were witness to it.

From the incredible memeing of the Twinning…

To the extremely emotional announcement at the end of the Fanfest by Soken – something I blogged about on my main gaming blog. I won’t go into that deeply here because I’ve said most of what I wanted to say in the previous post already.

As time goes on, the team is opening up new members to the fans, such as Natsuko Ishikawa who has earned much applause due to being the lead writer for Shadowbringers. It’s not very often that a writer on a team is held up for praise in a dev team (I know because I am a writer on a software dev team), so it thrills me to see her getting so attention for all of the writing team’s great work.

Even beyond that, we’ve had the recent letters from Yoshi-P, one directly addressing the issues with the increased server population and detailing everything they’re trying to do to secure new servers (and why it’s so difficult to do so right now).

Yoshi-P also wrote a public post about changing the Sage icon design. The previous design was causing issues for folks with trypophobia, and so the team quickly turned that around with a new icon.

It’s the little things like this that show that the FFXIV team does a pretty good job of keeping their finger on the pulse of the overall fandom and are responsive when issues that need to be addressed (or can’t be addressed) arise.

While I don’t always agree with everything the FFXIV team puts into place, and not everything has always worked 100% perfectly (housing, I’m looking at you), I have a lot of confidence that this team is working hard to make the best game they can. When things come up that are frustrating to the majority of the fan base, I know that sitting back and giving the team time to address the issue will often prove the best results.

Having been a core player of FFXIV since 2013, I could write a novel about my experiences with this game, the devs and how it’s evolved over time. I won’t do that, though. I’ll just send my appreciation and thanks to everyone who has a hand in bringing Hydaelyn to life and giving my characters a world to live in.

May there be many more years to come!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 17- Dev Appreciation: Worldwalker Games

For Developer Appreciation Week, I wanted to start with a small indie developer – Worldwalker Games – and a small indie game that more people really should know about – Wildermyth.

I admit I don’t know a whole lot about the team who made Wildermyth, but after sinking many hours into the game, I can only imagine it’s a good group of folks who made such a wholesome and thoughtful creation. I’m also a part of the Wildermyth Discord and from the interaction there, they them seem like a pretty cool bunch.

They really encourage community creativity and sharing the heroes you forge within the Wildermyth world. The game itself opens up creative tools to players who are ambitious enough to create their own mods, and the devs have fostered a friendly environment for those who seek to mod and add on to the stories of the original game.

The Wildermyth Twitter is also quite active and supportive of heroes, creativity, fantasy and D&D type role play stories. They’re always retweeting player characters and stories, which is something I love reading.

This team has created a game with a lovely world, great lore and a highly replayable format. The characters, their stories and their interactions may sometimes be similar across games, but choosing different options and seeing where it leads you is always exciting. There’s few games that can uphold “every choice matters” – but this one does!

Really, if any of these things interest you, I highly suggest you check this game out!

I’m sad that this is a shorter post (for me) because I’m still pretty new to knowing this team and their work, but feel they deserve a lot more. However, I can’t sing praises enough for Wildermyth – there are few games that have captivated me as much as this in quite a while.

I have a few more campaigns to finish to see all of the possible campaigns in the game. But even then, I have heroes I still want to develop and grow, which should take me to revisiting campaigns (there are several RNG campagins) in the future.

Once new stories or DLC drops for this game, I’ll be the first in line. Well, along with everyone else who loves it the way I do.

The many heroes across the many campaigns I’ve run.
Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 8- Moving from Tumblr to WordPress – Things to Know

This will likely be the last post I write about Tumblr during Blaugust, but I did want to capture some things that are important to think about when you make a move away from Tumblr.

In this case, I moved a 2 and a half year Tumblr to a WordPress.com install. This was a HUGE amount of content and work. This wasn’t the first time I’ve done this sort of export-import, but it was the first time I’ve done one with years worth of content.

Exporting a Backup from Tumblr

The first thing to know is that you can export your Tumblr blog at any time. You don’t even need to be moving it. This is a good way to back up your Tumblr, which is something you should do from time to time, just in case.

To locate Tumblr backup, click Settings from the account icon menu.

Then, on the right hand side of the Settings page, click the blog you want to back up from your list of Tumblr blogs.

Scroll down all the way to the bottom of this page to click the Export.

You’ll see a message that indicates the export is processing. Depending on the size of the blog, this could take some time.

When it’s done, this will change to a Download backup button – you may have to refresh the page to see this. You’ll also get an email from Tumblr to let you know it’s done.

Click the button to download the zip file and you’ve successfully exported! You’ll notice in the Zip file that you have an additional Zip file for posts, but more importantly, you have a Media folder that contains all your images – you’re going to need them!

Importing to WordPress

You can import from Tumblr to both a WordPress.com blog and a self-hosted WordPress, too. It’s just a bit more tricky to do it on a self-hosted blog.

On your WordPress admin dashboard, click Tools and then Import.

For WordPress.com, you’ll have to click Choose from a full list to see the Tumblr option. On a self-hosted WordPress, you will have to first install the importer if you don’t already have it and then Run Importer.

If you haven’t already connected to a Tumblr account, click Connect to Tumblr to begin. It will automatically detect whatever Tumblr account you’re logged into on that browser. Just give it read and write access.

For a self-hosted WordPress, you’ll have to go through an extra couple steps to connect to Tumblr. Follow the on screen instructions on how to register with Tumblr APIs and get the keys you need to make the connection.

Once the connection is made, you’ll see a list of Tumblrs hosted on your Tumblr account. Now all you have to do is click the Import this Blog button next to the Tumblr you want to import.

Let the import run its course and you’ll find all of your Tumblr posts moved to your WordPress!

Things To Know

Here are some things to know about this Tumblr import. I’m not going into the how-to in this section because that would make this post hugely long.

This imports ALL Tumblr posts. That means everything you’ve ever reblogged. Anytime you answered an ask. Photo posts. Media posts. It imports it all.

That means you’re going to have to sort through and clean up posts you don’t want on your WordPress. WordPress does its best to recreate your Tumblr posts the way you made them. However, WordPress and Tumblr layouts and templates are very different, and WordPress cannot always match Tumblr’s formatting.

Spend some time looking through the posts you’ve imported to see if anything turned out wonky. Chances are, it will, especially if you have posts that included lots of in-line quoting from multiple Tumblr users. You probably can’t fix these posts and will need to be ready to delete anything that is beyond help.

You’ll also probably want to go through and delete Tumblr reblog posts and content that originated from other Tumblr users. If you really want to keep posts that are reblogs, it’s better to embed the original content in the WordPress post. I also deleted any posts with asks I answered or anytime I directly wrote to another Tumblr user because in the context of a WordPress blog, it doesn’t make sense to the reader to see this.

Your media doesn’t always transfer. Every time I’ve imported from Tumblr my pictures didn’t move into the WordPress media section with the transfer.

While the pictures still show in your posts, these pictures are directly hotlinked to the original images hosted by Tumblr. This means that if you intend to delete your Tumblr, or if you remove that content from Tumblr, it will break all of the images on your WordPress.

This requires further clean up and is why I suggested that you exported from Tumblr first. The Media folder you got from your export should contain all of your images. And yes, what I’m heavily suggesting is that you take the time to go through all the posts one at a time and Replace the images with files you upload directly to your WordPress.

Click on the image and click Replace to upload a new image

Yes, this is a lot of work. But if you’re making a complete move away from Tumblr, you should make sure all of your media is hosted on WordPress and not linking back to Tumblr.

I also suggest you hold off on deleting your Tumblr (if that’s your intention) until after you’ve moved all your media over. Otherwise, you’ll have a bunch of broken pictures and you may not remember what picture belongs to what post!

So the bottom line is: If you intend on moving from Tumblr to WordPress, the import is the easiest part. Know that it’s going to take time to clean out posts you don’t want on your WordPress and time to upload and replace media that didn’t move over with the import.

However, the peace of mind of having all your content hosted in the place you want it is worth it. Good luck!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 7- My Twitter Account Got a DMCA Strike Due to a Wombo.ai Clip

I’m writing this post as a cautionary tale. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

I put my trust into a deepfake app called Wombo.ai. It’s a fun little app that I use to make short videos of my FFXIV character screenshots singing all sorts of funny songs. Then I posted them on social media to make other folks laugh. That’s it. That’s all I used it for.

Are some of these songs copyrighted? Sure, of course. But seeing that Wombo has a paid option for its app, it encourages sharing the videos you make, and it even retweets and shares its own videos on its Twitter, I thought they had some kind of agreement with the companies that owned the music clips it uses. I thought it was safe to post.

This turns out to be wrong… at least when it comes to Sony Music Entertainment.

I woke up to find my Twitter account locked and an email that notified me of a DMCA takedown notice that Sony had served Twitter. Apparently, the 21 second clip I posted of a FFXIV character singing Girls Just Want to Have Fun was a big no-no. Not only that, but I saw a very long list of additional users at the end of the email who were also getting slapped for posting Wombos that included this song and one other song.

Not the video, just a screen of it

So what’s up with that? There’s a big WOMBO.AI badge on the video to let Sony know where this originated. I just checked, and the song is still listed in the app to create and distribute future videos. So why is Sony going after the unknowing end user and not taking this up with the company allowing the end user to create these infringements?

Apparently, I’m not the only one to have this trouble, either. I did a search and it appears that as far back as July of last month, takedown notices have been happening on Twitter for Wombo videos. What’s worse, if you had several songs or several copies of videos using the same song, your account probably got hit several times.

Thankfully, I only had the one. I didn’t contest it – how could I? – but this sure puts a sour taste in my mouth for using an app I once enjoyed.

As to not get in further trouble, I went through and deleted all my Wombo posts on Twitter and on Tumblr. I had written a post about how much fun I was having with Wombo here on this blog, and I deleted that, too.

I also went ahead and took down other posts with music videos from my Twitter because now I just don’t know what could get me in trouble. This has me fairly antsy, especially since I was just celebrating hitting a big milestone in the growth of my Twitter account this week!

I couldn’t find much on my searches about the situation, so I’m writing this blog post to warn folks. You might think it’s safe to post funny meme songs from an app, but apparently it’s not. I did get my account unlocked after agreeing to adhere to Twitter’s copyright policies, but it was a rude awakening. Enough of these dings on someone’s account can get it suspended for good.

The takeaway: If you’re using Wombo.ai, be careful what you post and where you share it. This girl honestly just wanted to have fun. 😦

The Email from Twitter

This is what a takedown email from Twitter looks like:

The rest of the content from Twitter was how to contest this. Which, in my case, was pointless.

Here’s the original takedown notice that was attached to the bottom of the email from Twitter.

Following this was a list of URLs to the tweets with the offending content. I did check some of these accounts and they had the video clip removed from the tweet or the tweet was already gone, removed by the user (like I did).

So there you go. That’s what it looks like when you get a Twitter takedown notice. Not a fun thing to wake up to.

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 6- Pillar Post – Writing Blog Posts that Win Traffic

Click-baity post title aside (I apologize)… if you’re writing a blog, chances are, you hope your content is going to be read by other people. I’m no marketer, and I only blog for the fun of it, but I can tell you a few things I’ve learned from keeping my main Gaming and Geek blog going for so many years (Spot of Mummery is too young to give proper examples).

What are Pillar Posts?

Pillar posts. Evergreen content. The 80/20 rule.

If you’ve not heard these terms, do some searching, but don’t take everything you read to heart. I’ll give you an overall summary here.

I can vouch that the 80/20 rule is real and can be applied to my blogs. This rule says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your work. Or in the case of blogging – 80% of your traffic comes from 20% of your content. I’d actually wager it’s more like 90/10 for me.

What this means is, very often you’ll notice that a small subset of posts on your blog are the ones that consistently get the most attention and traffic. If you keep up with your analytics, and your blog has been around long enough, you know exact the posts I’m talking about.

These are your blog’s Pillar Posts. The posts that continue to bring in traffic even if you slack off writing new posts. Not that any of us would do that, right?

Though, I don’t suggest leaning too heavily on your pillar posts because the Net changes fast and furiously. What may be a popular topic for a few months can just as quickly fade.

Discovering Pillar Posts

I wrote my first real pillar post by accident. My gaming blog leans towards FFXIV content. This is good for me as a blogger due to the fact the game continues to change and grow over time. This gives me lots of things to write about when new systems and patches release.

My first pillar post – which remains my strongest post even today – I wrote back in late 2018. This was when the Bard Performance system was somewhat new and people were trying to figure it out. I didn’t realize it had become a pillar post until 2019 – these things can happen unexpectedly.

I stumbled upon the Bard Music Player (which had a different name back then), which is a program that simplifies music playing and makes it more accessible to everyone. Now days, just about all the bards you see playing in FFXIV use it – including the big name troupes.

But back then, BMP was unknown unless you were really searching for a solution. I was so excited about the program when I found it that I wrote a blog post about it. It’s not a full guide because I knew that programs like this can change (I linked to the official manual page and Discord), but I did give an overview of how it worked and how to get started.

Somewhere down the line, BMP took off in the community. So did the traffic for this post. It remains my top post even years after I wrote it – which is crazy to me. It’s actually pulling in more traffic this year than it did last year and the year is only half done!

Because I know that this post is so important to my traffic, I make an effort to update it if any of the content goes out of date. You might notice on the post that I’ve got things scratched out, revised and have included a date of last update at the top. This is my attempt to keep this pillar post as evergreen as possible – though thankfully, BMP doesn’t change much in the way of setup or use.

Learning from your Analytics

I don’t suggest that bloggers sit there and watch analytics. Nothing’s more boring and disheartening than looking at numbers that go up and down without any direct way to control them.

However, I do suggest that you look for trends in your analytics. This can lead you to discovering why people come to your blog and what they’re looking for.

Here’s my analytics so far this year on my main blog and what I’ve learned from them:

Notice a trend?

Most of my highest traffic posts are guides – posts created to be purposely informative and helpful. The two at the top are my best performers and have been around for years. I try to keep those updated if any changes come out that would alter the validity of the guide.

The three guides in the middle are new pieces I wrote this year. In fact, I wrote the Fashion Report guide a couple weeks ago. I expect the traffic for those to be somewhat fleeting as the excitement for Fetes will eventually wear off and the Fashion Report guide was mostly of interest because of the Make it Rain event happening in FFXIV right now.

The Happy Easter post was a complete fluke and I have no idea why it got so many hits. It’s just a post with an Easter image that I put out there years ago. Go figure.

The Doman Enclave is an old post but I see it ranking up there quite often. I didn’t think about it until I wrote this post, but maybe that means people are searching for a guide to the Doman Enclave, and it would serve me well to write one!

The Better Full Body Screenshots is an old guide and it doesn’t contain nearly as much information on GPose as it could now. The fact that it’s doing this well tells me that I might want to revisit this topic, write a new post and expand it to be more helpful. That could be my next pillar post, maybe?

How to Write a Pillar Post?

So now that we’ve talked about what Pillar Posts are and how to identify if you have one… more importantly, how do you write one? I can give you a few tips, but I can’t give you an absolute answer because there’s so many variables to this.

You can spend time researching Google search terms to find the popular things that people are searching for in your blog’s topic focus. But if you’re like me, you blog as a hobby and not because you want to spend your free time researching and determining search term validity. I’ve honestly never bothered with it.

That leaves a bit of instinct, luck and knowing your audience.

I’m a gamer and I write about games. I know the games that I play fairly well – especially my main topic game FFXIV. Again, I’m lucky that I write about a MMO because it’s always evolving and currently doing well at bringing new people in. So the things that I know like the back of my hand can be turned into useful information for all these new players who don’t have that experience.

Basically, if FFXIV releases a new feature, and it takes a bit of know-how to get into it, these are great topics to create informational how-tos for.

For example, the new Firmament Fetes were released this year. I ran them a few times and picked up a lot of information just from doing them and listening to tips in main chat. But I could see how this feature could be overwhelming and confusing to players.

I knew by instinct that writing a guide to Firmament Fetes would likely get attention. I was right. People wanted to know how to get the best score in fetes and they were looking for a guide.

When Reddit Beats You To It (This Usually Happens)

I will say this: there was already a guide for fetes put together on Reddit a day before I wrote my post.

Don’t let that keep you from tackling a topic, though. Not everyone goes to Reddit or forums for their information. Also, posts on Reddit fade and fall off the front page, which makes them harder to find unless Google picks them up.

If there is a Reddit post about the topic, I don’t read it until after I’ve written my own – and that’s mostly just to confirm that I’ve got correct factual information. I want my post to be as original and different from the Reddit guide as it can be. With a blog, you can lean heavily on in-line images and pleasant looking formatting – things that Reddit is often weak to use.

If you Google the Fete topic, the search engine has given its preference to my blog post over Reddit’s, which is a huge help. So, again, don’t let the fact that someone on a forum or Reddit has already written something stop you from tackling the topic – just make sure you are original in your approach.

Should You Only Aim to Write Pillar Posts?

It would be logical to think – Hey, if pillar posts drive the most traffic, then I should make every post I write a pillar post!

Well… not really. Remember the 80/20 rule? I feel that even if you aimed to write pillar posts every time that even then only a handful would get the traction you want.

I would personally never approach blogging that way. The pillar posts I write tend to be informative and how-to. They require more time, effort and research. It sure would start to drag on me if everything I wrote on my blog was a bland how-to that I had to spend hours pulling information together to write.

I feel it’s actually far better to write a variety of content.

Informative posts that help people are super important. But posts that entertain people or get them hyped about something are important, too. Just as important are opinion pieces where you open up a little bit about yourself to the reader as you discuss something you’re passionate about.

Blogging isn’t just about pulling in numbers, it’s about building an audience and connecting with people. A pillar post might bring someone to your blog, but once they’ve got the information they came for, they’re just going to bounce unless they see something else about your blog that keeps them there.

That’s where the rest of your posts come in.

So I while I encourage you to write the best content you can for every post (you never know), I don’t suggest aiming to only write pillar posts. And I don’t suggest that you rely only on pillar posts and traffic to maintain your blog. Building an audience who returns is the foundation of community, and that’s what will make your blog stand out and keep it around in the long run.

And, trust me, it’s what will make you a happier blogger in the end. Numbers aren’t everything.