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 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 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.

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 5- Tumblr is a Different Kind of Blogging (But it is a Blog!)

Based on the first post I made on my first Tumblr, I’ve been using Tumblr in some form since May 2011. My initial thoughts still do hold true even after all these years:

I like the concept behind it, though. Not quite as limiting as Twitter (which only gets used as an auto updater anymore), not as nerve-wrackingly personal as Facebook (which keeps me from posting things there) and not quite as isolated as a stand alone blog.

I think Tumblr normalized the idea that it’s perfectly fine to have more than one blog to its users, something that obviously sticks with me as I develop my own projects.

Today I want to talk a little bit about Tumblr and how it’s a different sort of blogging from more traditional blogging platforms. If you have any interest in what Tumblr is and how it works, I hope this helps paint a picture for you!

Defining Tumblr

Tumblr is considered a microblogging platform and a social media network.

Microblogging is an online broadcast medium that exists as a specific form of blogging. A micro-blog differs from a traditional blog in that its content is typically smaller in both actual and aggregated file size. Micro-blogs “allow users to exchange small elements of content such as short sentences, individual images, or video links”, which may be the major reason for their popularity. These small messages are sometimes called micro posts.

Wikipedia

Its general use is similar to Twitter. You just have a lot more room to write an actual post if you want to.

For those who haven’t used Tumblr, the timeline (dashboard) itself is the main page for all that you do. It’s obvious that the social media aspect is the centerpiece, maybe even over the blogging aspect.

As a platform, Tumblr is extremely easy to use and customize. I think that’s one reason I keep coming back to it as a place to launch creative projects. Rolling up a new blog is instant. You have complete control over HTML customization, and there are tons of free (and paid) layouts to choose from. You can have several sideblogs for different projects all on one account.

If you want to get serious about it, you can hook a domain to your Tumblr and pretend it’s not a Tumblr. I’ve never done this, though.

My Personal Tumblr

Tumblr Audience

Though it’s a microblogging platform, this isn’t to say that you can’t post long serious blog posts on your Tumblr. It certainly has the capability of blogging just like WordPress or Blogger.

Unlike a stand-alone blog, Tumblr focuses on the user becoming a part of a specific group (tribe) or fandom. Sure, you can get in there and just have a random personal Tumblr if you want. But folks who find success are ones that choose a specific group to speak to – be it those who love a specific kind of art, those who are writers, those who are gamers or those who are into a specific fandom.

Every Tumblr I’ve created, aside from my first personal Tumblr, has been associated with some sort of fandom. Back in the day, it was Guild Wars 2. Lately, it’s been FFXIV.

Tumblr and Reblogging

Reblogging is the highest form of compliment you can give someone else on Tumblr. It’s like retweeting someone on Twitter, and it helps increase their exposure – sometimes it’s called a “signal boost.”

Whereas, on WordPress.com, the very first thing I do is disable reblogging. There, I have a very different mindset where I don’t want someone else taking and redistributing the blog post I spent all that time and effort working on.

In fact, when someone “reblogs” from your traditional blogging platforms, it’s frowned upon and (usually rightfully) seen as content theft.

This is very different from the sharing mindset of Tumblr. In fact, you can’t turn off reblogging on Tumblr. Anything you post is free game for other people to reuse on their own blog (though it does keep the attribution to your blog within the post). So if you don’t want it passed around, don’t post it.

The Spot of Mummery Tumblr

Tumblr and Tags

Tagging is hugely important to get exposure for your content on Tumblr. Like hashtags on Twitter, when you write a post and add tags to it, if these tags are used enough, your post will show up on an internal Tumblr tag page.

Here’s what the FFXIV tag page looks like (I take no responsibility for any inapproprate content posted here).

So if you’re not using tags on your posts, you’re not likely to get found.

Sadly, this makes starting a brand new Tumblr difficult to gain traction out of the gates. This is because new Tumblrs aren’t able to utilize tags (to prevent spam bot accounts) until they’ve proven they’re an actual person. This could be through following other blogs, interacting with other Tumblrs or being followed by others (which is difficult when you’re first starting out).

It’s kinda murky what’s required, but here’s the Tumblr help page on that.

I’ve also noticed that Tumblr doesn’t always post your content to tag pages if you’re linking to something outside of Tumblr. This includes my WordPress site (even though they’re owned by the same company). Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t and it’s rather frustrating because the posts that don’t get through to tag pages are missing out on views.

Tumblr and Security/Filtering

You’ve probably heard some things about the type of folks who use Tumblr. While this is not fully incorrect – there is a lot of content there I don’t want to see – not every user there is like this.

One of my biggest issues with Tumblr is the filtering and security area. Since it’s a social media site, these are things you have to take into consideration that you generally don’t on a normal blogging platform.

While Tumblr does have a built-in tag blocker that hides posts that are tagged with certain words, it’s just not enough. I have to install third party browser plugins that filter and hide posts based on the words the post itself contains.

For example, I don’t want to see posts dropping F-bombs on my dashboard (just as likely as you’d expect). People aren’t going to tag their post with that word, even though it’s used in the post, so Tumblr’s tag blocker is no help at all in this case.

There’s also a built-in Tumblr chat (that I really dislike) and there is no way to completely disable it. I’m a pretty private person, so I often don’t want folks throwing DMs at me. If I could completely turn it off, I would. The best you can do is turn off the activity tracker (so you don’t show as online) and set the DMs to only be open to people you follow.

This prevents me from following anyone I’m uncertain of because that opens up my DMs to strangers.

Also, if someone has ever DMed you, or if you’ve DMed them (sometimes I do for things like giveaways), they will forever be able to send you DMs, even if you don’t follow them. The only way to stop that is to block that account. This has happened to me. I don’t like being forced to block people just because I don’t want them sending me chat that I can’t turn off… and I feel like Tumblr should focus some efforts on revisiting the security of this system.

Twitter and even Pillowfort do a much better job on keeping your experience private if you want. I don’t mind things like Tumblr Asks (and even really like this idea), but chat wasn’t a feature that existed when I first started using Tumblr, and I’m just not a fan of how it works.

The Scroll Culture

One of the biggest things to contend with on Tumblr vs. a more traditional blogging platform is the scroll culture. Your blog post is just something sitting on someone’s dashboard (if they’ve followed you) that they consume while scrolling on through similar pieces of content other people have posted. Pretty much like Twitter and Facebook.

That’s why posts with images and short posts are more likely to get attention. Longer posts often get lost in the scroll. You can also never tell if a Like means someone has read and engaged with your stuff. Commenting on Tumblr content is in a small UI element, and feels convoluted compared to more robust bogging platforms.

Also keep in mind that when you’re creating content for Tumblr, the majority of your audience is going to be in a younger age group. I’ve seen a lot of stats thrown around, but one that keeps popping up says about 69% of the users are Millennials. So, I’m an outlier as a user on this site.

I could honestly write a bunch more about my years of experience on Tumblr, but I think this gives you the idea on how Tumblr as a blogging platform is pretty different from the others. Whether that fits your blogging style, or if writing directly to a social media site is a turn-off, is all in your preferences!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 4 – Explore Social Networking Options as a Blogger

I’d planned to write about social networking even before my Spot of Mummery Twitter suddenly blew up unexpectedly (in a good way). But with a post going semi-viral and an influx of new followers, I feel that it makes this topic all the more relevant.

Like it or not, blogging and social networking go hand in hand. While WordPress.com has some social networking options built in (Reader), those who self host or host on other platforms have to spread the word about their writing the tried and true way.

I want to make three suggestions here:

1 – Explore and branch out into different social media networks. See what feels best and works best for you and dismiss the networks that don’t support your content strategy.

2 – Don’t overdo it! If you stretch yourself too thin, you can wear yourself out and your blogging can suffer for it.

3 – Keep in mind that social media networks are just that – a place to socially network. This means that you get back what you give. To get the best results, do more than just post your own links – engage with others (scary, I know), interact, and make friends with (some of) your followers.

Expanding Your Networking Horizons

There’s so many social networks out there now days, how can you know which one is going to be right for you and the audience you wish to speak to? Only one way, to be honest – go make an account and give it a try.

Spot of Mummery started out on Tumblr. While this is a blogging platform, it’s also primarily a social network and works as thus.

Just like with any platform, Tumblr makes choices I don’t always agree with or choices that stir up the ire of the userbase. Not to mention Tumblr doesn’t have the greatest reputation, despite the fact that the actual site is well-structured for the userbase. Add to that the fact that Tumblr’s audience is generally limited to a younger age group with specific interests.

For a number of years, Spot of Mummery was confined to Tumblr almost exclusively. When I finally decided to move the bulk of the content over to WordPress, it was time to begin exploring other ways to branch out in social media.

I’d created a Twitter account for this blog back in 2018 (when the whole Tumblr bans adult content fiasco started), but I hadn’t really tried to grow it beyond a small group of people I already knew. This past year, I started to put more effort towards meeting people on Twitter and discovered there’s much more variety in the type of folks you interact with there than there was on Tumblr.

Despite loving to take screenshots, I hadn’t really explored social media networks that focus on photos or art. Trying different places out, I learned that Pinterest and Flickr were not successful for game screens even when I tried to be social and interact with other folks to the best of my ability.

However, through exploration, I discovered there’s a thriving GPose FFXIV community on Instagram! I’d never used Instagram before, but I do now! I don’t have a ton of followers there, but my screenshots get some likes, and every now and then, I see someone has visited my blog from that site.

I tried a Facebook page for my blog, but it also didn’t really gain any traction. I’ve never been big into Facebook, so that could be a reason. I also noted that (back in the day) the Facebook page was ranking higher in Google search results than my actual blog (which I didn’t want), so I eventually took that down after experimenting for a few months.

And in this day and age, one can’t forget Discord as a social networking platform! Servers (like Blaugust) that allow you to advertise yourself and post your own stuff are helpful in spreading the word!

As for me, I’ve narrowed down my usage to:

  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Discord

My WordPress can auto-post to Tumblr and Twitter, and I already have an established group of folks I engage with on both – I’m purposely adding more reach to Twitter as it has now outgrown my Tumblr!

Instagram is something I have to update more manually, but it also adds to my blog in that there’s nice WordPress widgets to show your Instagram pictures on the sidebar.

Discord is something I’m trying to do more of lately. I have to be careful there because I know myself and I can easily get overwhelmed when it’s a chat platform.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Even when you do find a social network that you enjoy using, try experimenting with post and post types to see what seems to stick the best. The same goes for developing content for your blog!

For example: As much as I love to post music videos – I used to have a Fiddle Friday series on Tumblr – I’ve learned that these don’t get a lot of traction (for me) on my WordPress blog or social media. Even back on Tumblr, sometimes I got a comment or two, but they were usually not interacted with as much as images or other content. I was still stubborn and kept posting it until it just got to a point that it didn’t seem worth the time I was putting into the series.

So try things out. Mix things up. See what people seem to like and root out what they don’t comment or interact with. Do it several times over to get a feel for it – don’t discount something just because it didn’t work the first time.

A Few Last Thoughts

Once you find a social network you’re going to stick with, go out and read up on how to make the most of it. I’m not a social media expert by any means (my follower numbers can tell you that!), and I’m still learning something new every day. There are some dos and don’ts for each platform – become familiar with them, but don’t be confined by them.

Most importantly: Have fun.

If you’re not having fun, if you’re just overwhelmed, there’s no shame in taking a break from social networking. Sometimes taking a break can let you come back with fresh new ideas for your blog or your interactions. So if you’re not having fun, take a step back and figure out why.

I hope something in this post can be helpful to you! Best of luck!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2021 Has Begun!

I’m not going to make this a super long post because I’m participating in Blaugust on my Spot of Mummery blog and I’m talking about it much more there! However, I wanted to announce here that the event has begun, and if you’ve been on the fence about joining, it’s not too late!

Hop on over to the Main Info Page for the event, and check out this post for a List of Participants this year. Also, watch the #Blaugust2021 hashtag on social media sites to see posts there, too!

I’m wishing all the blogosphere the best of luck for this year’s event! I’ve got a whole line-up of blogging tips, thoughts and experiences to post about, so I hope you tune in on my other blog or follow on the Spot of Mummery Twitter!

I still have things to talk about here, too. No worries! I’ve gotten kinda use to juggling things on two different blogs now days.

Keep writing!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2 – Keeping Two Blogs (How Did That Happen?)

For most folks, one blog is enough to keep up with. But for those who are dabbling with the thought of more than one blog, is it something I suggest?

Possibly, but only if you’ve got the time to invest and a reason for doing so. The reason could be that you want to write about a topic/niche so far afield from your original blog that you can’t justify merging the content. Or maybe you’re writing for a totally different audience and you don’t want to lose the audience you’ve already built on your first blog.

It’s a slippery slope, so let me tell you why I’m running Blaugust on my “second” blog this year. I’ll try to keep it as short and sweet as I can.

Spoiler: It probably won’t be short.

Where It Started

It was the summer of 2018. I had two things in mind:

  • I wanted to nudge myself to write for Camp NaNoWriMo
  • I was looking for a creative outlet in FFXIV

At that point, I’d played FFXIV for almost five years without a drop in my sub. And while I still enjoyed the game, I was pining for a creative project to enhance my enjoyment with it.

Prior to playing FFXIV, I’d rolled up a couple Guild Wars 2 Tumblrs for this very reason. White Charr had been my more “general” GW2 Tumblr while Snaff Savant was my story and “RP” Tumblr.

Both of these had a pretty good following and strong engagement with the GW2 community at the time. While I’d fallen out of sorts with GW2 itself, I remember having a lot of fun interacting with folks and writing stories on my Tumblrs. I also had a decent idea of what I’d done to build an audience on Tumblr, and felt with the right character/story, I could replicate that for FFXIV.

And so, I launched Spot of Mummery as a Tumblr where I could post the fiction I was writing for Camp NaNoWriMo. What started out as a short 15 chapter experiment has turned into a full on webserial.

Tumblr Uncertainty

I was, indeed, able to replicate building and audience and interaction on my new Tumblr. It now has well over 1,000 followers. For a little FFXIV fan Tumblr, that’s not bad. However, as time has gone on, I’ve become more and more uncertain about Tumblr as a long-term platform for my content.

I don’t need to go into any detail on the fact that Tumblr doesn’t have the best reputation as a social media site. Even the folks who use Tumblr know what the Internet in general thinks of it. And while I’ve met plenty of really nice creative people there, and Tumblr itself continues to work towards focusing on those creative types, a number of things have nudged me away from Tumblr over time.

A major one is just uncertainty with Tumblr all together. The platform tends to make controversial choices that upsets its user base. For example, the banning of adult content back in 2018 (though I was actually on board for this as I have no interest in being associated with a site that permits child pornography).

Lately, Tumblr is rolling out a monetization scheme (it feels like a scheme) that the community is super dissatisfied with called Tumblr Post+. While I have no personal gripes against Tumblr looking to make some money, I don’t feel like this is going to be successful. I just can’t see that many people on Tumblr ponying up subscriptions (sorta like Twitch subs) to individuals on Tumblr.

Heck, I have a hard enough time just getting people to reblog and like my stuff much less asking anyone to pay for it. But that’s a topic for a different post.

While I’m not particularly upset about these things, it concerns me as to the longevity of the platform. Especially when I’m seeing the devs rolling out features that the majority of the community are vocally telling them that they do not want. Despite asking for user feedback on the issue. It’s fairly obvious that the feedback isn’t really being taken into consideration.

Making the Leap to WordPress

So, all of that is to say, I certainly didn’t feel great about leaving my writing and screenshots only on Tumblr. It’s also a platform where if you cross whatever line, you can get banned and your Tumblr blog can get wiped without notice.

As far back as the adult content ban in 2018, I’d already begun backing up my story onto a self-hosted WordPress just for safe keeping. I didn’t want my content stored all in one place, and out of my hands to restore, should something weird happen to Tumblr or to my blog.

Originally, this WordPress only contained the story, and it really didn’t see much in the way of traffic or interaction. But fast forward to December of 2020 – I had a lot more content on my Tumblr at that point, and I felt it was time to move a bulk of this to a platform that felt more secure.

After going back and forth on whether to make it a self-hosted WordPress or a WordPress.com blog (I’ll write a post on that later), I chose to host it on WordPress.com. And the blog you’re reading now came to be.

Transitioning Content

At first, this WordPress was a repository for my old Spot of Mummery FFXIV content. As I posted new screenshots and writing, this was the main site with Tumblr being a mirror to the audience I’d built there.

But as time went on, I decided that it’s a shame to have a nice new WordPress and not really take advantage of it. The blogger in me wanted to do more with the site than just post screenshots — that kind of content works well on social media, but a blog needs more meat than that (also a post I plan to write later).

So, I started to write a bit about what I learned about creativity and role play in FFXIV in my years of interacting in game and on Tumblr. This brought about posts such as:

Some of these have become my top-read posts (yet again, another post topic I plan to write on).

I’ve also begun to experiment with repurposing old content (you guessed it, another topic for later) and have learned the importance of making my WordPress.com blog known on Reader (and… yeah… another topic for later).

Basically, much of Blaugust 2021 is going to center around many of the things I’ve learned in making this transition from Tumblr to WordPress, as well as my experiences trying to start a “new” WordPress blog in 2021.

Some Drawbacks With a Second Blog

I do want to note what you can already guess: that upkeep for more than one blog does have drawbacks. This is both time and money (since neither of my blogs are on a free hosting package).

I know that for sure my main gaming blog took a bit of a new-content hit, especially back in 2019 and 2020 when I was much more involved in Tumblr than I was writing about games. However, that blog has established some pretty strong pillar posts, so the traffic there remains fairly stable even when I’m not adding a lot to it. (You can’t always rely on that, though, I know!)

Secondly, my two blogs somewhat “compete” with each other since this one is mostly FFXIV related and my main blog’s major topics can also be FFXIV related. One of my goals is to get this blog back to writing in the “Amon persona” it began with to differentiate it from my main blog. That could be a topic for another post… 🙂

Should You Keep More Than One Blog?

The answer is: it depends.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have the time and the organizational skills for a second blog?
  • Is the topic of your second blog so far apart from the first that they absolutely can’t be one blog?
  • How much time and attention will the second blog take from your first?
  • Does your first blog already have steady traffic and an audience?
  • Is the topic for your new blog sustainable long-term?

Do you feel like you want to start a new blog because your existing blog isn’t performing the way you’d hope? I’d say it’s better to repurpose and rebrand what you already have than to jump ship to something new. At least then, you have a foundation of content and what bit of readership you’ve already worked to find.

Starting back at square one is much harder than pivoting the direction of an existing blog and experimenting with what you already have. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 2021 – Festival of Blogging – Cometh!

To see more information about Blaugust, check out Bel’s post here!

Back when this blog was just an itty bitty side project, the first thing I ever did was participate in a Blaugust event. While I’d participated in this event long before it was adopted under the “Blaugust” name, that year, it was a great way for me to jump-start this new blog with content and connections. As you can see, it eventually became my main gaming blog in the end.

Blaugust continues to be a great way for any blogger to dip their toe into the blogging world with the support of the blogging community behind them. If you:

  • Have a new blog
  • Have thought of starting a blog
  • Haven’t blogged in a while, but want to get back into it
  • Are a blogger who wants to write content and network more…

This is a great way to make connections, ask questions of blogging Mentors, and flex your blogging fingers.

While 2020 was rough for me, and I ended up sitting the events out last year, I plan on going full force this year. I’ve been trying to build up and organize my FFXIV sideblog – Spot of Mummery -this year, so that’s where my focus is going to be.

I also act as a Mentor for Blaugust in the official Discord channel, and I’m always happy to offer thoughts, feedback or suggestions if you need them! Don’t be shy to ask questions. That’s what Mentors are here for!

If you’re interested in joining us, fill out this quickie Sign-Up form. Below, you’ll find the official prompt calendar – though you’re quite welcome to post whatever your heart desires any time during this month.

Hope to see you there!