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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Keys to a Successful Website, Black Panther Mount, and Abracadoodle #85

Keys to a Successful Website... of course it had to have a cheesy graphic!

So what exactly are some key points of a good website, where did I get them, and why should you read them? There are several area in which you search credibility. These points fit into the follow four categories: Authority, Accuracy, Currency, and Objectivity.

If you don't currently run a blog, you may very well end up doing so. It seems that a good number of wizards have taken a liking to doing so. To be honest, it's quite addictive and extremely fun to do. As well as providing extensive information and having the pleasure of helping numerous young wizards in their journey through the spiral, you also offer tips to those that have been around a good while. In addition to that, you act as a news source. Wizard101 doesn't always post everything on their game window or anywhere at all, for example, when they changed the Sunken Palace, there was no way of knowing as they never announced it. Some of the bloggers caught the change and posted it, and as a result, far more people know about it that they might if we hadn't. You be surprised at the ratio of readers to those who actually subscribe to the blog and leave feedback, which is disappointing, because I love any comment readers have. I've wondered a bit off track, but yes, you should read these.
They actually come from a book called Web Wisdom: How to Evaluate and Create Information Quality on the Web by Janet E. Alexander and Marsha Ann Tate, so they are certainly worth looking at.

Some of these are the reason for my decent success in such a short period of time, and other I should probably work on.

Authority

Is it clear what organization, company, or person is responsible for the contents of the site? Originally, this was a no. Seeing as I chose not to include the blog name on the banner, I needed to let people know who was writing this "stuff," and so I added the About Me part.

If the site is part of a larger organization, does the site give the name of the larger organization? In this case, no blog really belongs to a larger organization, but since it's Wizard101 themed, there should probably be an obviously link there. I've had Wizard101 in my Links for some time, whether or not it's easy to find, I'm not sure.

Is there a way to contact the organization, company, or person responsible for the contents of the site? If I were to add onto that question, I'd add "... that is easily found?" Go to Wizard101 Central. They have a link to the Forum Leaders where you can send them a PM... could you find it easily? Hit "Next Blog" on your top toolbar really quickly. Is it obviously where you can contact this person? Check out even some of the official fansites? Can you contact someone easily there? On my page, I offer the option to email me as well as comment, which every blog has, however, remember that you'll have to change the automatic settings to allow anonymous users to comment and contact you.

Are the qualifications of the organization, company, or person responsible indicated? Good question. I'm a wizard, isn't that enough for you? Hmm... Anyway, I don't know how many qualifications we can have. I'd say that your main qualifications are you game experiences, possibly your characters or legendaries.

Does the site have any recommendations or ratings from outside sources? Actually, this is a yes for me. I've not only joined the Friendly Necromancer's blog club, whose site has rivaled Google for referrals, I've added my blog to Wizard101 Central's Link Directory. My blog is currently the top visited and rated.

Accuracy


Is the information free of grammatical, spelling, and typing errors? For the most part, a built-in spell check in Google Chrome has served me well, but read the following sentence: They blog i free of an y gram er errors as f are as spell check nose. That sentence is completely wrong, but spell check doesn't detect a thing, so try and double check your posts. It makes your writing seem more professional and is easier for readers to read, and you are a readers' service, so you want to be the best that you can.

Are the sources for factual information provided, so they can be verified? At first you might say, no, Swordroll, where are your sources? However, my links ARE my sources. Wizard101, Wizard101 Central, etc.

If there are graphs, charts, or tables, are they clearly labeled and easy to read? For the most part on my site, yes, but pictures would be better with captions. Make sure that anything you use to help others, whether it be a graph, chart, or picture, is readable. Users will be less likely to visit your site again if they are irritated about an illegible graph than they would be if there was no graph at all.

Currency


Is the date the material was first created in any format included on the page? Fortunately, Blogger takes care of this for us. They automatically include the date each time you post. This does mean, however, that people can check how often you post and when you last posted, so don't disappoint them!

Is the date the material was first placed on the server included on the page? While this applies to bloggers a little less, it's good to include others dates such as when Wizard101 officially posted information to the web. Despite the fact that this will reveal any lateness in posting the updates, it's useful to readers, and again, you're a reader's service. Readers can always see when you site was first placed on the server at all by visiting the first post or the copyright at the bottom of the page.

If the contents have been revised, is the date of the last revision included? Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't do this for us, so including the time you update the post is a good idea, that way people know if old posts are current or still just old, which can be the difference between readers reading them and skipping over them.

Objectivity


Is the point of view of the author evident? In any case, I think I make my idea of things pretty clear.

Is the page free of advertising? Advertising lets the reader know that the writer has at least some interest in making money, which may not be a bad thing, but you never know when you could end up with unwanted pop-ups or site stores. Blogger is quite amazing in that it costs nothing to keep all advertisements off the page completely, with AdSense as an option.

Is there a corporate or nonprofit sponsor? In most cases, the writer is the only sponsor of the blog and its contents. If you happen to be an official site, you may or may not consider Wizard101 a sponsor of your webpage. They publicly post your site to one that is views by, potentially, millions of wizards! Make it clear who's running the blog and if there are multiple contributors. Housing101 does a good job of listing all contributors in an easy to find and clean designed area.

Is there information about the nature of the sponsorship? For the most part, information about yourself and your credibility cover this. If you are an official fansite and consider Wizard101 a sponsor, then you need to do nothing differently, because that's what they blog is all about!

Blog Traffic


Items in this category are general recommendations that comes from sources other than those above.

What are the top sources bringing traffic to your blog? Blogger has a fantastic analysis ready for all bloggers to see under the Stats tab. For me, it's Google and the Friendly Necromancer's site. They best way to be sure I'm at the top of their lists is to post frequently and post about what others want to read, as well as pictures, videos, and other media.

What other websites or blogs are creating links to your content? Any blogger's club that you join will probably link to your blog somewhere. Joining Housing101 was a good move for me as I enjoyed posting about Housing (Look for part 3, coming in November) and they also include a link to your site. In many places, if you comment, people will realize that you have a blog and possibly add you to their links.

Which social media and social networking sites seem to be appreciating your blog content? There are a variety of ways to share blog posts using social media, so take advantage of them. Look at which ones, if any, direct people to your blog.

Which search engines are sending traffic to your blog? Have you ever search various search engines to see if your site is included? Mine is on at least Google and Bing, but Bing hasn't brought in one hit, so Google is obviously my search engine of choice. Make sure that they have your website address, and if they don't, get it to them!

Which keywords do people use to find your blog using search engines? You know, "Swordroll" is actually a term searches on Google that has brought me multiple readers. Take a look at what keywords people are searching under Stats and Traffic Sources. Despite its release being quite some time ago, all the talk of the Zombie Piggle brought over 50 users to my blog, and as a result, zombie and piggle are some of the most popular tags because that's what people are searching for and that's what they want to read.

What motivation do people have for visiting your blog? If you're just writing short bits on your adventures, you aren't bound to get as many readers as someone with guides, photos, and updates. Don't get me wrong, you don't have to write novels like I do, just make each post worth reading for its own reason. I have guides to most of the Zeke Quests that have drawn quite a few people in. You'd be surprised how many are searching for the Smith in the commons! 

Site Promotion and Other

Are you blogging about what you know and are passionate about? If you don't care too much for Wizard101, it shows. If you care a lot about your blog and its success, it shows, too.

Are you promoting you site through external website? Do you have a Facebook page? A YouTube account? A Twitter account? These are quick ways to update readers without having to make an entire post. There are even options to create your own toolbars and applications for mobile phones.

Are you readers in an ongoing relationship with you? Do you know your readers? Once you speak to them, you hope desperately that they speak back through comments, emails, something... Keep the conversation flow going. Always be in tune with your readers and what they want to know. I'm thinking of implementing a segment called "You Saw It First On Swordroll's Blog," which will include exclusives like the close cropped mystery pictures with the special borders. Keep your readers interested in your blog specifically.

Does your site have cool widgets or other features that set it apart? For awhile now, I've wanted to create the Wizard101 Toolkit, a collections of items essential for all wizards through the web. Small things like this make your blog unique and memorable.

Did you add plenty of pictures? Any picture you add to your blog is automatically put on Google, where it's already hard to see. This means that any interesting picture that will snag an unsuspecting reader could be your key to people jumping onto your site. I've had a bunch of referrals from people who've clicked on my pictures on Google, even my header!

I hope that in the process of reading this, you've learned something new!

 Ok, the Blank Panther mount in now available in game! It is currently 10% off of its already cheap price in comparison with other mounts. Its usual 5000 crown cost has been reduced to 4500.

In a little bit less lengthy news, the 85th Abracadoodle has been released! The comic is pictures below.


Now that you've learned all it takes to be a potentially successful blogger, don't you just want to make my day and leave a comment and subscribe to the blog? If you're interesting, stop by YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, where you'll find us, too! Don't bother searching, though, the links are all on the right! Thanks for reading, because as I always say, a blog is nothing without its readers! And if you made it through this entire post, you're either a blogger or extremely patient!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That (in a nutshell) was very informative and helpful! I surely learned a lot from it!
    (And thanks for the Abracadoodle)
    Des

    ReplyDelete

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