Let’s Get Meta (data).

This winter is taking it tole on my interest level in Larp. Fear not it will bounce back in spring. But writing when you have less passion for the topic seems like a bad idea. Today we’re going to get meta and talk about the blog itself. There have been some odd traffic spikes. Maybe someone can figure out why?

After posting I just reread the original title of this post “Let’s Get Meta” and realized that was a really dumb title for a blog about larp. Meta gaming is a huge topic in larp, and the title is totally misleading. Instead of writing about the topic of the blog, this post is about weird traffic on the blog. Sorry readers if you were hoping for a blog post about meta gaming. If you have questions about meta gaming send them my way. That should totally become a blog post.

So today I log in to start writing this weeks blog post (you can tell my passion level for larp is down a bit from normal levels because I don’t have 4 articles in the queue) and noticed something odd…

So 226 page views is cool and all, but why? No posts today. Didn’t say anything crazy on twitter. Maybe 40 people came over from a post about larp newbies from /r/larp. But other than that a couple hundred unaccounted for hits. The last time this happened they all originated from Israel. Which worried me because I thought I might have posted something uncouth. Real world politics stay well away from this blog, unless a larp happens to be about real world politics.

In perspective 226 is really not that big a spike. The big spike came in 2012 when I wrote about Scrumbleship. At the time it was a super promising game. Unfortunately it was quickly out paced by Space Engineers. Alas poor indy Scrumbleship, Space Engineers is getting way more play from me. Both are still in development so check them out. Scrumbleship on indieDB if you want to support indies. And Space Engineers if you’re ok with a larger game company.

But all that was before turning adds off. There was a good 6 months to a year where I was actually trying to build the blog and actually make money. It was a success. I made $100 total on six months work. Not bad for something I do for free now. But definitely not a day job. That’s about when Dormouse Games was kicking off. So the blog turned into a hobby blog. 
Over the course of time at Dormouse, I learned that reddit drives traffic volumes. Links and posts written to help redditors bring people over for numbers. But twitter and reddit aren’t really great ways to connect with communities. Google Plus is a much better place to talk mechanics and specifics, but doesn’t drive the numbers.
Next week back to larp in some form. Hopefully it’s time for the snow to start melting, and for New England to start thinking about getting out and larping. I can’t wait!

Blog post meta blog post.

The Dormouse Games website is looking a lot more professional these days.  The blog aspect is basically going to be my domain.  We’re going to be posting information specifically about the games we’re making the and thought process that will go into them.

This blog is going to stay active.  The tone here will more personal, rather than business related.  Talking about events I go to, talks I like, etc.  But there might be some crossover.  So if you enjoy the stuff I post here, follow the blog at Dormouse Games as well!  Just in case.  Wouldn’t want to miss anything, right?

For the company website I rewrote some concepts and ideas about Paper Prototyping because we used it recently.  You may see some revisions and changes in thinking.  This represents the things that I am learning through the process of starting company and applying all the lovely theory.

Blogging is a neat game.

This blogging thing is a neat game.  But what does social media have to do with game design?  When creating a computer game you must “Learn and Respect Marketing” and start talking about your game!  BTW: The book “Inbound Marketing” has been critical in my learning the marketing of a blog.

The Infrastructure:
Obviously I recommend Google for your blogging infrastructure.  Turn everything on, and hook everything together.  A gmail account is easy to obtain.  With that same login you get a blogger account.  Create a webpage to support the blog at sites.google.com.  If you get stuck hooking them together you can turn to youtube for a tutorial (also a google site, btw!).  Turn on Analytics and Adwords.  The Adwords account has a keyword tool which is fun to play with  even if you don’t intend to spend any money.  At least play with the Keyword tool in the “Reporting and Tools” section.  It will help you pick keywords for your posts.

You may get lucky and receive a coupon for $100 in Google Adwords.  I tossed in an extra $10, and that has been the entire ad budget for this blog.  It also netted me an entire series of posts called The Adwords Experiment.  I turned those blog posts into a free step by step document called “The Cheap Fast Guide to Google Adwords“.  It’s a great place to start for a newbie to marketing looking for some help.

The loot:
Google Adsense provides the loot. Sort of.  The higher your numbers, the more readers and viewers and clickers you have the more actual money that you make.  This reward makes you pay attention to your Google analytics information.  It makes you want to drive your numbers higher.  But you will quickly find out that they really don’t pay you very much.  Check out thetrafficblogers forum board for tips and ways to make money online.

The Prestige:
The Google Analytics numbers are fun to make go higher without the reward of money.  Seeing the %Change column with a green up arrow makes you happy.  Much like an up arrow on a ticker symbol on the stock market.  Seeing a red down arrow makes you sad.  They provide emotional feedback to the user which inspires better behavior.

Literally a Game:
By the time this blog gets posted I will have been on Empire Avenue for a couple months (I have a large backlog of scheduled blogs).  EA is a wonderful intersection between social media, finance, and games.  It runs like a stock market, based on your social media activity, with achievements, leader boards and other game mechanics.  EA really peaked my interest lately.

The Source:
Reddit makes a good source for traffic for your site, your game, or your blog.  As ‘the front page of the internet’ it can be a powerful tool for finding folks who are interested in your game idea.  Redditors are very vocal and can be great for feedback, QA, suggestions, tips, etc.  You can even find CC artwork, coders, and others who are interested in working on your project.  We’re going to discuss Reddit a bit more over the next couple weeks.  Check out my next post about driving Traffic with Reddit.