I’ve been writing Achtung Panzercow for about seven months now. I started it just for fun, and honestly, that’s why I still do it. I’ve done paid freelance writing in the past, years ago, in the flight simulation area; I wrote some stuff for Happy Puppy’s website in its infancy, and for an aborted start-up online flight sim magazine back around 2000. But this, nah, no pay here. This is just a labor of love, just me writing for the heck of it and hoping that I get an occasional ego massage or head pat, that people find my spewings entertaining, educational, or both. I talk about prot warrior things, I talk about my raid, I post silly cheesecake pictures of my female alts, I just let fly with whatever enters my head. It’s not always easy for me to grind out content; as you may have noticed, things have been a bit thinner of late because real life is curbstomping me pretty hard right now. But I do try.
I don’t know whether I’m doing it “right” or not, but looking at the built-in stats on WordPress tell me that something seems to be happening. I’ve had about 21,000 pageviews since last December, and tend to average around 200 a day. That’s small potatoes when you compare it to the real heavy hitters of the WoW blog world, but that’s not the circle I’m trying to run in. I’ll probably never be a Big Red Kitty or a Matticus, and that’s fine with me.
Still…I can’t be the only blogger who looks at his hit counter and wonders if people are actually reading the blog. Commenters are a very small percentage of readers, that’s a given. I see hits flow in constantly on things like So You Want to Be a Prot Warrior and occasionally ponder if people actually read and use what I’ve written. Is Achtung Panzercow just a random link somebody clicks on page 4 of a Google search for “hot Tauren action,” or did somebody actually find what they were looking for here, whatever that may be?
Hit counters and stats pages tell you numbers, but they don’t tell you the stories behind the numbers, as it were. There’s ways I could jack up my pageviews, I’m quite sure…hell, I don’t know, maybe stick meta tags for “naked lesbian draenei” all over the place, that should do it. But what’s the point, if the people just look at the page for two seconds, say “oh, a game blog, that’s not what I wanted, and where’s the naked lesbian draenei anyway?”, and then hit “back”?
Sometimes, even with the reinforcement of “hey, you get 300 pageviews on a good day!”, it can feel like shouting into the void. Is anybody reading? Does anybody care? Why am I putting forth all this effort on my (or my employer’s) time if it’s just flying off into the depths of the intertubes?
And then you get an email in your inbox that answers all those questions and more. This showed up in my gmail a couple days ago, and it’s reprinted here with permission:
Hopefully the title didnt make you think that this mail was spam *smiles*. I just wanted to drop you a quic [sic] line and say thank you for writing your blob [sic], im sure you get messages like this all the time (silly fan boys). The reason for my thanks is because i started one of these myself a long time ago, and it got very neglected. Then one evening while randomly searching the interwebs I came across yours. Its made me go back to mine and actually give it some love that was long overdue.
Thanks again and I love your style of writing, never change.
If you ever get the the time its http://ujarak.wordpress.com/
Holy. Shit. (That is, by the way, the first “fan” letter I’ve ever gotten.)
I sat and read that email over a couple of times and it kind of stunned me. Somebody does read this thing, and not only that, it’s inspired them to pick up their own blog and get it going again. Wow. And he’s doing a very good job at it, may I add–go check it out and give him some love.
I’ve also gotten a couple of comments on SYWTBAPW, about how people have actually followed it and are having fun leveling up their Prot warriors and learning to tank, and that floors me too. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m a little passionate about Linedan and warriors and tanking. I’ve played a warrior in WoW more than all other classes combined. I’ve played a Prot warrior in vanilla, in BC, and in Lich King, and I absolutely adore playing Linedan nowadays, even with all the problems that Prot warriors still have. I like seeing people become interested in playing the class and spec, and more importantly, learning to play it well. It’s not a faceroll-easy class to learn, and I’m very happy that people are finding my guides useful (and that I’m not totally full of shit on some of the things I suggest!).
So if you have blogs or authors that you find inspiring, that make you think or laugh or even get you mad, tell them. Knowing that what we’re doing is actually reaching and connecting with readers gives us the inspiration to keep going and produce more and better content. And when that happens, everybody wins.