BDK’s advise for blog cred

I am still a newbie in blogging, especially about chess. So i was pleasantly surprised to find the entry “getting-people-to-read-your-blog” in the archives of the superb blog of Blue Devil Knight. With that entry he launched a new fashion two word namely blog cred. The funny thing is that after a few hours BDK was already tired of his own created fashion two word: “I’m already starting to get sick of the term ‘blog cred.’ And I was so excited about it at first”.

In this entry our beloved and highly appreciated chess blogger BDK gives 8 points to get people to your blog.  I will list them all and will comment those that i want more explanation on, want to know your thoughts. So lets get started.

“1. Be patient. It will take a few months, most likely, to get to levels of readership you want.”

A blogger does it indeed to get comments on what he has written. Otherwise he could just keep a paper journal or diary. But i am not sure if its good to go for a big pool of commentators. Afterall one wants insightfull and explanatory comments on how other people see what you have written down. So for a specialized blog, for example about chess, many commentators i dont find usefull, 15 to 20 people, with the same intrests as you, who write down their thoughts on what you have written down is more then enough in my eyes.

“2. Post frequently. At least once a week. Of course, if you have nothing to say, don’t publish scat (see #3).”

I agree that one must post frequently will one be able to have a blog where people return to after the first few visits. Afterall, a blog that isn’t updated at a regular interval will lose visitors and eventually will be described/declared death.

“3.Provide consistently good content. It will get you noticed. In an ideal world, this would be number 1. “

I wonder what ‘good content’ is. Afterall what one finds good another one finds complete garbage. So could somebody give me the definition of what good content is, especially chesswise.

“4. Let people know about you, but not with the pathetic ‘Hey check out my new blog; hey why didn’t you cross link to me?’ Rather, post helpful comments at well-established blogs, comments that make people want to find out who you are.”

True, if you are invisible people will not come look for you. You have to knock on the door and hope they let you in.

“5. Do something original that involves other people. Review other blogs. Post about other blogs. The first-and-only axiom of blogger-psychology is bloggers are pathologically narcissistic.”

“6. Respond promptly to comments. When someone posts a comment on your blog, especially a substantive comment that obviously took some time to write, respond quickly. Don’t wait two days, as it will be taken as a snub.”

I agree but then there are people like me who dont have internet in the weekend so if somebody comments they will have to wait a few days to get a response and that has nothing to do with the owner of the blog being snub. But all by all one must respond as quickly as possible so that the commentator knows his effort of leaving a comment was appreciated by the blog owner.

“7. Don’t have intrusive ads. Nobody is reading your blog anyway. Consider putting in ads once you get more than 500 readers a day.”

To many clicks of the mouse to get to the real stuff makes most people click on the red x in the right hand corner real quick. Adds, using to much color and other fancy things that makes the blog hard to load and let the reader have to organize a search to the content that matters makes visitors put a cross over your blog and they will not visit again. The content, for which the reader visited the blog in the first place, must be easy accessable.

“8. Submit your best material to carnivals. If the entries are good, the well-established bloggers will see this, and bring you into the loop, where we want you anyway. “

I know of the carnival of Rio in Brazil but a blog carnival? What is that? A blog in Halloween style?

That’s it. I hope i will get some excitment comments that will let me learn much more about this thing that we call blogging. See you all after the weekend which for me is OTB chess time!

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15 Comments on “BDK’s advise for blog cred”

  1. Thanks for being a reader and commentator on my Chess Skills blog.

    In blogging a carnival is blog that offers comments and links to a bunch of other blogs, usually organized by topic. The History Carnival offers a clear explanation. An example of a Chess Carnival is Jack
    Le Moine’s Blog
    . It’s not as focused as the history carnivals I’ve been reading, but it’s a start.

    It’s interesting how often Susan Polgar and Mark Weeks appear at the center of these things. I started blogging after reading Polgar’s blog, but rarely read it any more as I think the quality has deteriorated. It would help if she never said a word about politics–chess or otherwise. When she sticks to chess, and doesn’t farm the work out to her assistants, her blog offers good quality. Unfortunately, that’s become a diminishing portion of her blog.

    Mark Weeks’ association with about.com–an example of the wrong way to develop web sites–taints his good advise, and some of the articles he’s posted (his discussions of online chess playing sites comes to mind) seem to me as wrongheaded as anything I’ve seen. I’ve played more than 40,000 games online at dozens of sites–everything from one minute games to twenty days per move–and the sites Weeks lauds for the most part are substandard in my view; those he maligns are my favorites.

  2. Polly says:

    I like a lot of your thoughts regarding Blue Devil Knight’s blog cred piece. I found that article very informative when I was starting last year.

    Patience is important, and it is nice to get comments. I have found that many people may be reading, but don’t necessarily comment. I find that interesting games with analysis draws comments. Controversial statements often draw comments, but I don’t think it’s neccessary to be controversial just for the sake of stirring up comments.

    Sometimes I feel like I only have 5-10 readers but then I travel somewhere and find out that all sorts of people are reading my blog even though they don’t comment. When I was in Rhode Island in August I had somebody tell me that he thought my coverage of the US Open was better and more current then USCF’s. I was genuinely flattered by the comment, but I also had no idea this guy even reads my blog.

    I’ve noticed you don’t write frequently on your blog, but I always check because you are an active participant in many of the comment discussions that go on in the blogosphere. I find your comments are interesting and often helpful. So I like to look to see what you may have to say on your own blog.

    Good content! Many people have different ideas of what it is they’re looking for when they read various blogs. I think the key to good content is, no matter what the topic is, draw the reader in. Sometimes a catchy title and picture is the start to an interesting piece. Tempo’s and DK’s blogs are very good examples of this. Whether they’re doing a piece on chess study or analysis they draw the reader in quickly.

    If a blogger is doing narratives on their own experiences she has to make it interesting so that the reader wants to find out what happened next. I write that type of blog, and I’m always asking myself as I write “Do people really care if I had a good or bad weekend of chess? If they don’t, why am I telling the story?” Often the story is just a vehicle to convey what it’s like to play in certain events, the story is part of a lesson I’m trying to share.

    I do feel it’s important to interact with the readers that make comments. I’ve often found in blogs the series of comments become more interesting then the original post.

    Blue Devil Knight’s most recent post is about blog carnivals. The idea is that bloggers submit a link to one of their best articles to the carnival site. Which ever blogger is hosting the carnival will put together a summary with links of the various submissions that were made. It’s an excellent way to get some exposure.

  3. likesforests says:

    Your last posts have 9. 7, and 14 comments so you’re getting feedback and you’ve been a great contributor on other blogs. I wouldn’t worry too much–you already have “cred”! Besides, for every visitor who comments you usually have at least ten more who don’t. 🙂

  4. chesstiger says:

    @ James

    Thanks for your comment. I have read Mark Weeks blog in the past but i didn’t find it a good blog since i had the feeling he was more blogging to put himself in the picture as a selfmade God.

    @ Polly

    Thanks for your lengty comment, much appreciated!

    I guess to be patience and writting more are things i need to do.
    When i comment i try to say (or ask a question) something helpfull. Maybe it’s because i am a certified chess trainer for the lower groups, beginners to 1600 ratings.

    In regard of the good content i guess i will have to learn it by trial and error and dare to post, how childisch or idiotic it may seem in my eyes. The problem i am having is that english isn’t my motherlanguage. So sometimes i dont find the correct word(s) to express myself.

    BDK’s blog is indeed a great blog. It has it all. Great content, intresting comments and a host that isn’t affraid to post. That said, i agree with you that it’s important to comment on other blogs, that way you let others know you are also a participant in the blogosphere.

    @ likesforests

    Pssst, let me tell you a secret. Half of those comments are made by me. Dont tell anybody. 🙂

    Nah, i am pleased with all the comments i get. Doesn’t matter from who they come, I find them all great since either they learn me something new or give information that is helpfull.

  5. I just finished checking the stats on my blog before reading your post ;). By the way, they are telling me that the number of views grows every months, strange , can’t say the same about the number of comments. Polly and likesforrests, you are right, some people read our blogs without leaving any comments. Funny, I occasionally found a page on the web where one guy recommends to other my blog. It was the guy, with whom I played online , then chatted and gave him the url. None of them left any comment.
    For me comments are not only “recognition’ and “appreciation”, they very often contain very useful advices, views or information. Or they just make you feel better after bad game that you shared.

  6. chesstiger says:

    @ Rolling Pawns

    Indeed, comments are mostly ‘informative or feel good again’.
    Since i dont have a stats thingy i dont know how many people come to visit my neighborhood of the blogosphere. Not really intrested in those numbers. But if your stats show that you have more visitors then comments then i guess that’s an indication for all blogs.

    So i wonder why they dont leave comments? Do they not know they can, or how, leave a comment? Are they affraid of saying something stupid? I dont know. I do know however that even the most stupid and idiot comment has some sort of wisdom in it. Heck, read the comments i leave behind on blogs. 🙂

  7. BDK left out the most important tip: a contract with Satan (this tripled my traffic practically overnight).

    Re: comments. It takes a little faith to realize people really are visiting. (WordPress has some sort of tracker you can activate.)

    I have many readers who will never leave a comment, maybe will get an e-mail once, but still (for some reason) visit. People feel they don’t have much to add, or read a lot of blogs so it’s not time practical to leave many comments, or are just lazy.

  8. chesstiger says:

    Hmm, then i must activate this tracker and see how many ghostly readers i have who come around my blog but dont (dare?) to comment.

    Thanks for swinging by, will add the link to Liquid Egg as soon i push the submit comment.

  9. chesstiger says:

    Oh, btw Liquid Egg, has the contract with Satan some small print or is it all small print? Just asking to see if i have to bring a loop to the signing. 🙂

  10. A very thoughtful analysis. Getting comments is even harder than getting readers! When my blog was at its most popular (about 250 unique visitors a day) I would get about 20 comments per post typically, so I think divide visitors by ten or so to get an estimate of comment numbers (this of course depends on what you are saying).

    Something I left out, I believe, which Polly mentioned, is that controversy is bound to make your comments (and probably return visitors) skyrocket. That can be a double-edged sword, of course, but I have noticed that the most controversial bloggers tend to be taken seriously once things settle down (but I’ve also noticed they tend to have the shortest-lived blogs).

    What is good content? Of course this is very hard to define, but I know it when I see it (and what I like is not going to be what others like). Sometimes I’ll post and think, “Damn that is awesome people will love this shit!” but get no comments. Then a year later I come back and realize it was sort of stupid what I said. But in general “good” content means:
    a) Well-written (you have very good writing so no worry there).
    b) Pictures help as pure text tends to make people shut down, especially for long posts (I know a lot about putting people to sleep with long, PBS-style posts).
    c) A topic with wide chess interest.
    d) Not just interesting, but providing insights or analysis people wouldn’t easily be able to think of on their own, or analysis of a game/position that is illuminating.
    e) Alternatively, I often had good responses when I would ask a question, or help on a position or something. People better than me, I found, really were eager to help. Best is when different people trying to help end up fighting about the best advice 🙂

  11. chesstiger says:

    Controversy, always a thing to pull visitors inside. One must only think about ‘The Jerry Springer show’ or ‘Dr. Phil’. But one must not search controversy for the controversy itself. One must remain true to oneself. Otherwise one will loose all visitors because nobody likes a cheat, somebody who is not himself, somebody who always want to stand in the spotlight.

    Personnaly i find it strange that your blog doesn’t get more comments. You have good written, intresting and very thoughtfull content of which i am very jealous. Content that deserves more comments then it gets now.

    About what is good content.
    1) Thanks for the complement about my writting. Now stop it, you make me blush! 🙂

    2) I agree that long, PBS-style posts makes people yawn when they are halfway thru and lose interest in what might be a very good blog post. Or they lose concentration and dont grasp what is written.

    On the other hand, the more pictures the longer your blog takes to download (thinking about DK’s blog for example). Which makes the impatient people, everything has to go quick and easy, look for something else. That something else may not be as good but people do everything to not wait that minute longer than they find necessary.

    So i guess it’s a give and take situation. Pictures to lighten the post, but not to many so that the blog contineous to load rapidly.

    3) Can you give me an example of this ‘wide chess intrest’ beside WC matches?

    4) Gosh, those posts are the hardest to write, to come up with. It’s not that such topic is thrown in your lap. I rather think one has to fall over it and then even have to recognize it as such.

    5) I have learned, while strolling on my path of life, that an universal truth doesn’t excist. So you will never hear me saying that i have all the wisdom in my little pinky. You will never hear me say that i have the best advise. I can only hope that my advise is helpfull. Others may disagree, they have that right.

  12. CT: ‘wide chess interest’ is fairly subjective. For instance, a study of chess improvement that suggests that a certain study method is better than another (e.g., playing slow games is better than playing blindfold or something).

    As far as stuff people are interested in, there are many typical categories.
    a) Chess news (e.g., Anand rules!)–Mig’s blog, for instance, is purely of this type.
    b) Chess improvement–my blog is pretty much dominated by this.
    c) Game or position analysis (getting to 2000 and many others are like this).
    d) General with lots of humor (Liquid egg, chessloser)

    Then there is DK, who is impossible to categorize.

    Personally, I tend to really like categories b and d. But the most popular are often chess news written by GMs or famous chess people (like Mig, who is Kasparov’s buddy). I get easily bored by analyses with lots of variations unless the game is provided to actually display and click through. But that is just me, I don’t like to work to read a blog, and visualization more than a couple of moves is work for me 🙂

    My general strategy is that if I think something is cool, and interesting, then I post about it. Sometimes people don’t care, sometimes they do. I also post when I find something confusing, like a position I flubbed.

    Since my blogging break, I don’t worry much about comments or statistics like I used to. But when starting, it is only natural to want to develop a steady readership.

  13. chesstiger says:

    I already thought that ‘wide’ ment subjective and undefinable. But for all i know you could have a secret recipe for succes. Afterall your blog is a succes-story, a hit, a hot blonde, that atract(s)(ed) many readers.

    When going over your catogories i pondered what i like and dont. I came to the conclusion that i dont care much about chess news, i have chessbase.com for that and that is more then enough. Game and position analysis i can handle but if that’s all then i guess i will be bored much although it’s a good way to improve.

    I agree that blogs with humor are interesting for a good laugh and uplifting your spirit But it’s hard to write it so that it helps to raise the chess level. Secondly it’s hard to write a good humoristic blog especially since there is no one kind of humor that everybody likes.

    Catogory b) is therefor my favorite. Maybe that is why i like your blog (content) so much. I can even learn, pick up, something from the entries in your archive. Pity there aren’t much more blogs at the same level as yours. But then again, it’s hard to maintain such high level. So i am happy to see that on other blogs there are also pearls of entries to read. Hopefully i can create a pearl so now and then aswell.

    I dont know in which category my blog falls. I probably have to write more entries before i can get a qualification, put in a category. Maybe they have to invent a totally new category for me. Something like ‘what the heck is he talking about?” or ‘that’s all folks!’.

    I hear you about the chess games analysis. It’s easier to follow with a chess viewer. I agree. But i haven’t found an easy to use viewer that is easily put in a blog. So i guess for now it will be moves with a diagram so now and then.

    Comments are bed and breakfast for the beginning blogger. With other words one checks his/her blog early in the morning before going to work and again in the evening before one goes to bed to see if comments have miraculously appeared on the blog. Seasoned bloggers, as yourself, aren’t so needy anymore for comments. One knows that his/her blog is being read based on the big amount of comments in the past.

    So off i go on my search to a decent chess viewer. Now all bow your head and pray to Caissa that my search will be a succes. 🙂

  14. ‘Tacticus Maximus’ has a great viewer. He is in my Knights Errant list on my sidebar. I think it’s called ‘chessflash’ or something like that. Link here. He uses it almost daily to put up games or game fragments. It can include annotations, so no need to have a pic of a board, and then annotations. It’s all in one.

    Chess.com has a good viewer, but it can’t be embedded in a blog yet.

    Don’t fret. You are doing fine. I use a statistics program to tell me how many visitors I’m getting every day, and I used to check it once a week or so. I admit I still check it sometimes. Google analytics is very good.

  15. chesstiger says:

    Thanks, i will check that chessflash out. Sounds intresting. Hopefully its suitable for wordpress as it is for blogger.

    WordPress has blog stats build in so i first gonna see how that works before i will add the highly praised google analytics by you.

    Thanks for your help!


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