Storytime: The Steampunk Observer

This one is a bit of a short Storytime, but this came back to memory when I started putting together some special content for my own site.

When I had gotten interested in Steampunk in 2009, it didn’t really stick with the people around at the time. However, I had tried to pursue my interest in it, namely in writing. When a cosplay group and that flopped, I decided to bring to light some of other people’s creation. If I couldn’t be a contributor, I could at least be an information hub! I was heavily inspired by a Steampunk-only blog with actual articles, information and promotion for the genre. Sort of like an online newspaper.

I opened up an account with Blogspot and started up the Steampunk Observer. I started hunting down people on deviantART, asking them to showcase their creations on my blog and trying to advertise people to visit it. Many people obliged and happily allowed me to share things such as clockwork USB drives, styled goggles and even a book series.

At the same time, I had just bought No One Cares What You Had for Lunch from Books a Million that same August, I had decided to jump into the blogging fray facefirst. Unfortunately that plan backfired spectacularly.

I was an armchair reporter, mostly relying on what people had made on deviantART. I was out of money to visit actual cons and events. I was still reeling from the negative experience with “friends” at Animazement 2009, resolving never to go to another anime convention again. I also was blindly following some bad advice from some for-profit bloggers (after all, wouldn’t it be great if I made cash from something I actually liked?) This resulted in an ad-filled website and articles being written poorly, spammed with keywords to draw visitors. I never did get visitors, made my blog ugly and stopped giving a reason for any potential person to want to read the site.

Lastly, I was not posting content regularly. I was getting interviews and answers to my questionnaires regularly, but I was not able to post them in a regular manner. This was before Blogspot had an auto-post function, having to post on the spot. I had no Internet access at the house, and whenever I “got” around to being at the library (which wasn’t often), I would post. I honestly tried to do a post a week, but that became tedious and I started missing my deadline schedule week after week due to lack of Internet accessibility. This deserved its own paragraph to highlight this; the lack of Internet was serious and is part of the reason why it seems I’m “behind on the times” often.

Thankfully I was able to get some of the ads off, but when I reached ETSU to pick it up again with a new look, I decided to just let it drift. I had hit an emotional low at the time, and since then, never decided to pick up article writing or unbounded enthusiasm on the genre again.

I wouldn’t say that it was a total failure. I learned what not to do with a blog, and how to go about getting content for people to read. Audience and visits are something I still struggle with, but I’ve learned a lot from those early days. It was a good takeaway lesson about content creation and dedication.

So what you can take away from this? I give you five blogging commandments.

  1. Thou shalt have a good concept, a vision statement for your blog.
  2. Thou shalt have adequate equipment and good Internet access to maintain your blog and complete all the other things on this to-do list.
  3. Thou shalt create and curate good content. You need to give something worthwhile to your readers. This is the hardest part of the whole process.
  4. THOU SHALT POST REGULARLY! Ahem. This is now so much easier with auto-post functions most major websites have adapted. Imagine you’re watching your favorite TV show at a set time every week and it doesn’t show one day. It gets around to show two days later. Or a whole month later. That’s bad.
  5. Thou shalt not fill thy site up with advertisements for revenue, despite your needs for money. Especially if you’re a blog that just started, this will annoy readers and drive them off, branding you as “commercial.”

You can see what was left of my enthusiasm here: http://thesteampunkobserver.blogspot.com

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