Tuesday, January 28, 2014

7 Secrets to a Successful Blog Hop

If you're still undecided whether or not you'll commit to the The D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge, or if this is your first blog hop, these 7 tips should give you some guidance.

These are some lessons I learned from the two month-long challenges I participated in last year, the April A-to-Z Challenge, and the D&D 30 Day Challenge.

Of course, any other helpful advice from the blog hop veterans out there are more than welcome.

1. Start Early.
I can't emphasize this enough. If you sign up for the blog hop today, think about what you're going to write. Heck, start writing today.

Start a writing a post at least day or two ahead of time before it needs published. That way, you'll have time for some revisions, if need be.

2. You don't have to write your posts in order.
Starting early also gives you option to pick and choose the post you want to write first, depending on the difficulty of each topic.

Since I know the topics for Days 27 and 28 will require a lot of thought, I've already written rough drafts of each. The "First Gamer who Annoyed the Hell Out of Me is easy for me to remember, so I'll write about that before tackling "The First Dragon My Character Slew."

Of course, just be sure you publish them in order.

3. Keep your posts short. 
People want to sample what you've got to offer. Be concise and positive. Save the long rants or diatribes for other time.

During the April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge, my page views per post actually went down because my posts were just too long.

If, for some reason, you haven't checked out Tenkar's Tavern, do so. You'll see exactly what I'm talking about. Erik Tenkar keeps most of his posts short, bite-sized, saving his longer posts for his ire toward failed Kickstarters and the like.

4. Fill in the blanks.
Embellish if you have to.

If you can't remember the name of dungeon you first explored or ran as a DM, call it "The Dungeon of Doom" or the "Ruins of Charn," and just go with it.

Can't remember your first edition war? Tell us about one you do remember and how you sent the other guy packing.

Readers care more about a good story than you trying to get the facts straight. 

5. Read and comment on other blogs in the challenge. 
If you want people to know about, read, and comment on your blog, then read and comment on other people's blogs. That's the real point of a blog hop.

6. Use the blog hop for other projects.
A blog hop is, indeed, a time sink, but it doesn't have to become a sunk cost. Since many bloggers are also writers, think about ways your posts can be used for other projects.

If that doesn't work, file them away for your future memoirs.

7. Finish what you start. 
At some point, usually just before the halfway mark, a blog hop challenge will feel like a slog. Push through it. These tips should help ease your frustration.

In every blog hop, there's bloggers who quit early on--or never even start. In the April 2013 A-to-Z Blogging Challenge I found blogs that hadn't been updated since the April 2012 challenge. Others produced quality content and then just stopped. It's like meeting somebody interesting at a party only have them leave for no apparent reason before the party's over.

My guess is that they've either had "life" get in way or were worried about the quality of their posts. There's also the endurance factor. Blogging everyday for those who aren't used to it can be intimidating.

While you should aim for quality, getting the quantity is just as important. Follow through. People do want to read what you have to say. 

I look forward to dropping by your blog this Saturday.


  1. I actually sat down the day I decided to do this and queued up all 28 days. I am so glad the recommendation is to be brief because a lot of those posts will be super brief. I wasn't that concerned because I also plan on continuing making my general sporadic posts about things.

  2. speaking about successful blog hops... did you notice that the link for your blog on the list of participants leads into nowhere? I think you mistyped the http at the beginning of your link.


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