Tag Archives: Blogging Guide

A Perfect Workspace? Ha, Yeah Right…

Hey guys, it’s Kernook here, coming to you with a behind the scenes look at the blogging lifestyle. What you’re about to see lacks polish, and that’s the point. I’m going to show you what one of my workspace areas generally looks like on a day-to-day basis.

No more, no less than that simple reality.

Now, to be clear, this isn’t my gaming set-up for Twitch. I wouldn’t even begin to show off the absolute mess at the moment. There’s a lot of clutter upon that desk currently that isn’t reflective of the gaming sphere. I was doing video editing, and that takes a toll on my surroundings. That entire office looks like a tornado hit it right at this very second.

I was video editing for 12 very long, incredibly tedious hours this weekend. It’s going to look like that after that kind of grind. There’s a soda bottle graveyard and plates set aside because I need to do the dishes. I’ll be doing that later today… the fact I’ve even said that much tells you what I’ll be doing after I’m done writing this post.

However I do have one other “workspace” that’s still far from “perfect” and likely abysmal to many. However, this is where I write a vast majority of these blog posts, so let’s dive into it.

What you can’t see is that I’m sitting in a rocking chair, but the sight in front of me looks like this:

Yes, that really is an end-table.

A common and flat out stupid misconception is that all bloggers have a perfect workspace, neat and tidy all the time. This asinine idea isn’t always true. We don’t all have the perfect haven to work on our posts. That’s just what we want you to think.

Like all things having to do with “buzzwords”, product management, productivity, or anything else going on, it’s just a fallacy to a degree. We want to give you an image that makes us likable. Let’s be really honest here, how do you think of a blogger?

Are they walking around with a five-o-clock shadow, grumbling at their computer in a lackluster space? Are they gritting their teeth as racket and distraction drives them crazy?

I’d hazard a guess, probably not… but, it’s true. We have lives, families, insanity just like everyone else. Daddy bloggers for example (yes, fathers blog about child-rearing too), I do not envy the one I know personally.

I’ve seen the mayhem. He may be trying to write a post, meanwhile he’s got a ten year old being obstinate about homework, a toddler jabbering nonsense in his ear, and a newly adopted set of twins that aren’t even a year old yet. They demand his full and complete attention as a solid care giver and father.

In the face of day-to-day imperfection that children bring with them, he is still a blogger. Somehow, he manages to be a blogger and keep the household from falling to pieces. He gets dinner on the table before his partner gets home, and his family life is very well put together.

As a blogger though, I hate to say this but he doesn’t even have a desk. No, I’m not kidding. He blogs from his smart phone or on his tablet at the kitchen table. It can take days for him to write a single post, because he has a busy life, he’s a full time dad and blogger about all things fatherhood… but I digress.

He’s still a professional blogger, a breadwinner for his family.

See, people have this image of professional bloggers. Unless we live in a perfect world, perfect household, where there’s never a thing out of place and all the chores in life magically do themselves, those images are staged or sugar-coated.

We’ve cleaned up first. We waited until all distractions from the outside world were out of our way. We’ve taken the BEST Instagram worthy photo that you could… because that’s what we’re expected to do.

Sometimes though, we blog in lackluster conditions. Right now my family is blasting the baseball game from two rooms away, and I am sitting here trying to write a post. The particular Gateway laptop in front of me is over 10 years old and I use it to draft concepts. I toy around with ideas when I’m on-the-go.

It’s a small laptop, so it fits in compact spaces. I do all kinds of simple “puttering” and marginal tasks with it, nothing too complicated.

For the beefier stuff, I have a Chromebook… which, yes, is currently sitting on the foot stool for the sake of the next image. Generally, the thing is in my lap… as I type this, it is in my lap, and will stay in my lap.

Yep, you can see WordPress in the background, because I was preparing to type this post when I decided to take the images… and I took them on the fly, no preparation required.

Why did I do this?

Because…

I want you to see that you don’t have to be like the other bloggers to be successful. If you can write blog posts consistently despite the occasional absolute ciaos or imperfection of daily life, you can be a blogger.

A successful one…

So what else is on that end-table? Beyond the simple technology, you can see my soda glass and my cigarettes with ashes having littered it. Oh, yeah and I should tell you that the Chromebook is the cheap one by the way, not one of the exorbitantly expensive monstrosities.

However, I hope this illustrates the point.

When we see “professional” bloggers online, we like to think all of them have it figured out. A perfect workspace, top of the line gadgets and gizmos, a monogrammed mug, because why not!

What do I have?

Cigarette ashes on the table, and cat hair currently clinging to the outside of my soda glass because Sabin was just trying to get into it. I can look out into my front yard. It’s not a glorious yard, just a normal one.

My backdrop is the racket outside, the neighborhood kids look like they’re trying to figure out how to use skateboards in the subdivision. Meanwhile, my family members are watching a baseball game. It isn’t perfect… it is so antithetical to what we want to see from a “blogger”.

However I am a blogger… more than that I’m a freelance blogger, I make my living this way using freelancing mills under other pen names I’m not supposed to disclose, as writing mills typically don’t like when you do that. Either way, the point stands.

Yes, you can make a living this way without having all of the high-end tech in the world. Yes, you can do the grind it takes to reach success despite that. As long as you come to grips with the “have nots” you too, can be a blogger.

There’s only a few things you actually NEED to be a good blogger, and they’re all low cost to start off, they just take effort. Here’s all you really need:

  1. Some way to access the internet, and something that can let you work with wordpress.com (free site is just fine for a newbie).
  2. A few social media accounts (also free).
  3. Regular access to a computer that can function on the internet well enough to type on (it doesn’t even have to be yours).
    1. Tip: Fresh out of high school I would go to other houses to blog. If you have family or friends, ask around. Do something nice for them in return.
    2. Tip: Use your mobile phone or tablet if it’s powerful enough.
  4. Search up the tools to educate yourself about how to be a blogger; SEO, Keywords, niches, things like that.

That’s it, that’s all you need to start off. Read other blogs, use social media, network often, and even on a free website you’ll start to get the hang of things. That’s the way you want it to be… invest and upgrade when you feel confident enough to do so.

If you can be consistent, start up at a few mills. Yeah, they’ll pay low, it isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Even so, blogging for mills will teach you about the kind of client you want to work for.

I would love it if The Demented Ferrets could become my main source of income. I’d like to spend my time here, full-time… perfecting this space and all that it has to offer. For now that’s just not the case, and I have to pay my bills elsewhere. However, I am a blogger and I do it for a living. A little support goes a long way. If you’d like to help me attain that, you can.

It takes a fair bit of time, but you can be a blogger too. However you need to start slow. If you’re on a budget, get your own free blog. Post up content two or three times a week. Get work at a mill, that way you aren’t tied down to “set hours” in the same way a 9-to-5 is.

Take a client here and there, earn a little pocket change. That will help you to hone your craft, believe it or not. It’ll give you a better taste of the industry at large, and what it takes to be a blogger.

That’s the reality… you don’t need bells and whistles early on. You need hard work and the gumption to try. That’s about it.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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An Open Letter to Iridium Eye and Readers – This is the Truth about Blogging.

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here and this is a more serious, introspective post that directly references this one here, written by Ospreyshire. The title? “Top 7 Concerns I Have As a Film Critic and As a Fan”, and let that sink in really well for all of you… because these concerns hold value and merit beyond the scope of simple complaints.

Why am I inspired to write an open letter? Simple, because while it’s true that I directly commented, bloggers are by-and-large people that need to network. We directly rely upon each-other to uplift our communities… and when we don’t, our communities suffer for it.

People rarely talk about it from the human perspective.

The mindset is always “backlinking begets backlinking” and that’s true. Networking for that reason really is important… but no one talks about the human behind that screen, or the struggles they encounter when those backlinks don’t happen.

If even just one of you goes over to that post and takes something meaningful from it, I’ve done my job as a fellow blogger. As a blogger, support of the community, and backing your communities up in solidarity really matters.

Blogging is hard guys, really hard… and sometimes, it really sucks… but in the swell of “How-To” guides and you never see the downsides.

We like to pretend we have it easy, because no one wants to read headlines about the cold hard truth. Sometimes, being a blogger really hurts, and the uphill climb is one that can really stick into our craws and get us down.

So, I’m going to break down these 7 concerns, because EVERY BLOGGER taking themselves even halfway seriously has them. For those of you who aren’t bloggers, this post can help you see why we often feel the burn-out or stress that we do.

So, let’s dive into this. Ospreyshire begins his top 7 list with a simple, but common problem.

7: Sometimes I’ve been paranoid about what I post.

On a top 7 list, it’s funny to me that this one falls on the lowest rung, but it’s undeniably true. Any blogger that takes themselves seriously considers very heavily the kind of content they post. Bloggers truly care about the image they reflect while doing so.

We don’t want to be misconstrued, misunderstood, or directly and flat out misquoted. We risk that all the time, and when we’re discussing contriversial opinions, that can be problematic.

The industry of blogging can be cut throat. Social media can be nasty and no blogger worth their salt wants to make a post that will somehow offend the messes on pure principle. We don’t want to be hated for an opinion, even if it’s not the same as everyone else.

In his post, ospreyshire says this: “This one may surprise you given how strong my opinions can be with certain movies, series, or when I mention real-life implications, but I do feel this way. Not for every single review, but the ones where I may bring up unorthodox opinions.”

It’s true though… look, some people may not care what other people think. Some people may stand so firm in their belief that they need to speak out in spite of the fear. Even so, this is the internet.

Being able to stand your ground on a personal belief that you truly believe in… that can be just as hard as doing it face-to-face.

It can be hard not to nod your head and follow the crowd when you truly don’t agree with it. I encountered this very problem with my post The Problem With Lady Dimitrescu. People HATE that post, all the comments, few though they are, are negative… they don’t like my opinion, and that’s okay.

No one has to agree with me, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but let the facts stand as they are… I’ve thought about taking it down, I’ve wondered if I should… but I can’t do that to myself. I feel too strongly about that character. If I took down that post, I’d be removing something that I felt strongly about just so that I don’t anger people…

It happens though… bloggers can have opinions that sometimes aren’t widely accepted as orthodox. Sometimes, we wonder about how we’re seen and viewed by others because of it…

That’s okay… sometimes that’s the reality you face when you’re putting yourself out there… Blogger, YouTuber, Twitch streamer… it happens…

6: I’ve wondered why some posts get more views than others especially when some of my favorite posts don’t get much attention.

If you’ve never blogged or put yourself out there before in the media sphere, have no idea just how true this is… it’s a visceral reality.

You write a post you believe will knock it out of the park, and you don’t. Other times, your post will fluke out and you’ll see 100’s of views or more when you doubted it would even breach half of that.

That’s the luck of the draw, your social media following, and a bunch of other factors. Some blog posts will hit, others will miss. Unless you’re following every massive and major event on the planet, you’re going to post things that just won’t get a lot of attention sometimes.

However, when you spend hours working this blogging craft of yours to perfection and you get so little in return, it can be a punch in the gut. Growing takes time, and so does outside validation.

Ospreyshire mentions this: “I wondered if it was because I watched something too obscure or maybe what I wrote was boring. There are certain reviews I could name (including one that got a 10/10 that no one paid attention to), but I don’t want to have a pity party with my portfolio. I do wonder why this was the case.”

That’s just it, though… bloggers don’t want to sound like we’re complaining. It’s not about that. We don’t want pity parties, but we do like to know why our audience enjoys what they do. That’s why we need your feedback as readers. Why did you like the post? Why did it resonate with you?

If you’re a blogger yourself, this is your bread and butter. You need to know… we all need to know. Analytics are only half of the story, but a lot of the time, it’s the only half we get. That can be confusing. We don’t always know why things hit and miss the way they do unless we have an active community.

5: I hope I don’t repeat myself too much when it comes to times when I’m not trying to do so to prove a point.

There’s a fine line here, and it’s a line a lot of bloggers second guess or struggle to find. Iteration is a core tenant of the written craft. Reminders and call-backs to earlier posts help to build our narrative cadence. That is generally the factor readers will cling onto.

Still, there comes a time when that same repetition and iteration feels stale. Like all authors, bloggers do struggle with this too.

The written word can feel weak when you’ve looked at the same blog post for days on end trying to make sure that you’ve done your talking points justice. .. and to prove that point I’m not going to do that here.

This is a write-and-toss open letter… why?

I personally struggle with this problem often enough myself. When you desire a clear cut-carefully written piece of work, you’ll go to great lengths to achieve it… but I don’t want this post to be careful, I want it to be honest.

Sometimes, inevitably… you’ll scowl at the words upon your post and wish it was paper you could crumple in the trash. I will surely feel that exact same way about this post later, but if I don’t stand my ground, I’m all just talk.

Be a blogger for long enough, be passionate about honing your skill tirelessly enough, and the backspace key won’t feel sufficient for the discontent you’ll feel. When your writing isn’t the standard you want to set, it will stick in your craw…

It is incredibly frustrating when that happens… but, that’s okay… seriously, it’s okay

You can feel that discontent, let it hone you, let it shape you… let it mold you… that’s your journey as a blogger. If you strive for self-improvement, if you desire to get better, that discontentment will be at your back often enough. Let it be gasoline to your fire, not the thing that wears you down.

It’s hard, it won’t be easy… and if you find yourself having a hard time, just know you’re not alone in that. Just because we don’t say it enough as a community, that doesn’t mean we don’t feel that way too every now and then.

You’re really not alone out there.

This might sound trite, but we are our own worst critics. Particularly when constructive critique is the name of the game.

Blogging lends itself to a certain level of negative feedback loop. When we don’t get comments or likes, that can conflate our own harsh criticisms of the writing we do… as bloggers we have to check that fear at the door and be okay with occasional imperfection.

No one is perfect, our posts won’t always be either.

4: There could be a disconnect between my readers and followers.

I wish more bloggers brought this fact up. It’s a disservice I think, when we don’t want to admit that this does happen. However, this is to be entirely expected. As people, we generally have more than one interest.

The truth is, not all of those interests will entirely align with our readers. That’s just fine, but it is a little burdensome when you consider yourself a seriously passionate blogger.

Ospreyshire touches upon this detail earnestly saying: “I totally get why a bunch of my anime reviews get a lot of attention since I follow a lot of anibloggers, but I believe not many people are interested in multiple documentaries or serious live-action films more often than not.”

There will always be a disconnect to a degree, I think. When you blog passionately, and yet in a way that isn’t streamlined into one core demographic, that’s occasionally the outcome.

Here on The Demented Ferrets, we are very similar in content diversity and style. Kresh is mostly on the Twitch side of things, but you see her on the streaming archive content I post up all the same.

Ruka is our artist and doesn’t post much. When she does, art and history is her passion, and that often has little to do with gaming or anime. She loves photography, and the majority of her posts are about the art world and images she’s taken.

This “catch-all” mindset is often antithetical to blogging. Blogs tend to be more focused, because that’s how you play the game on google to get more views. A single blogger may have 2, 3, 4 or more blogs all revolving around a particular topic to separate their reader-bases into the big buzzword known as a “niche”.

I don’t really do that here. You get a full taste of all kinds of things. Topics run the gambit from writing guides, my thoughts on blogging, anime related content, gaming related content and artsy-fartsy posts… and now, I gues I’m doing open letters too, because why the hell not?

I feel strongly about this post. Our blog and website is the HOME of The Demented Ferrets. Therefore, it’s the creative space where I hope that I can bring you something valuable.

This is the true nature of the people behind the screens. We’re not just reviewers or critics, we’re people. Complex and with lives that span beyond the mediums we discuss… so often though, our content is the only baseline that can be used to measure the value of a blogger on the internet… and that value, what is it really?

I don’t have that answer.

I wish I did, but I don’t… and that makes that disconnect we occasionally feel all the more prominent. It’s there, of course it is, and every blogger out there will encounter this problem if they’re passionate about the craft. It’s just that, at the end of the day we need to measure what we find valuable in a different way.

Self-validation is a tool we need to use, and yet there are times it will feel like a review simply shouts into the void, never to be seen. For all bloggers out there, our personal view of the blogging medium is the hill we choose to stand on.

To those most passionate, it’ll be the hill we die on too.

3: I have moments where I think I’m worthless

I know this feeling, I think a lot of people know this feeling… and when we feel this way it absolutely sucks… but to a degree, it’s true for all of us in the arts, crafts, and critique of those things.

However, there’s another way to look at this. It might seem a little harsh, but hear me out…

99% of everyone’s opinion is complete and total crap according to someone. Your thoughts, your views, your grains-of-salt will be worthless to the vast majority out there. There are 7.753 billion people in the world…

So yeah, our views won’t resonate with the vast majority of people, unless that view is widely accepted on principle in the first place.

However that 1% of the world makes up MILLIONS of people. That’s right, millions. Finding those people takes time, it takes effort, and sometimes it takes a lot of emotional internal conflict with yourself until you’ve reached the point you feel successful.

Nobody shows you the B-sides in their life.

The lackluster attempts, the failures, the nights spent awake feeling like they’re worthless too… we don’t show that. I’ll be honest… I have felt worthless when it comes down to my personal ambitions too.

This is why Ospreyshire’s post resonated so damn heavily with me. I cannot tell you how many times over these years of life that Ruka and I have sat on the phone, saying how worthless we feel. How, we felt as if we’d be further in our lives by now… that we feel as if we haven’t reached the bare minimum status quo we should have by now.

I love blogging, but there’s a downside to it.

Blogging is this strange sort of beast. Numbers and analytics jump out at you. They’re like the little whisper in the back of your mind, telling you how valuable a blogger you are. You watch the numbers go up, then down, then back up again.

So, when you get your first 100, starting out, you feel empowered. You hit your first 1,000 and you think to yourself “I’m getting somewhere…”

But it is a lot of up and down…. when your baseline raises, your expectations of further growth rise too… so when in a month you hit your first 1,000, but then in the next you drop to 800, it can feel like a kick in the gut.

Questions 6 and 7 just jump back at you.

The mind starts to race. You try to figure out why. Questions like: Why did I do so well last month? Why am I not doing so well this month? Oh my god, was it something I posted? Did I upset my readers? Did I alienate them by mistake? What did I do so wrong?!?!

And I have wondered about myself many times. I think to myself: What did I do… why am I such a god damn failure?

It all kicks you in the face… then you get up and try again. The next month you’re at over 1,000 again. It feels like you’ve picked up the steam. The month after that you may be at 1,500 or so, and it’s all going well… but then the downward spiral strikes again.

When you plummet back down to under 1,000, you feel like you’ve been kicked off of the moutian once again.

As a blogger, it’s always going to be an up-hill climb. Especially when a lot of places want you to have 10,000 – 100,000 readers a month just to partner with them…

Ospreyshire isn’t the only one struggling, we ALL struggle with that… but if we admit that to our readers, we feel like we’re just being whiny. They don’t want to read our failures. They just want to read the success, and move onto the next thing.

That’s not anyone’s fault… it’s just a hard truth of being a blogger.

When the going gets tough, sometimes it gets REALLY tough… and like anything you’re passionate about, sometimes it just really hurts.

2: I need to work harder than other bloggers.

I feel this one in my bones. I feel it in my head, and I feel it in my heart. I work hard, very hard, to provide the best content that I can. I want it to just be good enough.

When you spend hours in a day writing something you hope will be valuable, it can be very taxing emotionally.

This post alone is now 3 hours into writing it, and I know there will be another one at least as a lament over my choice of words, the flow of the cadence in my writing, and if what I’ve written will really stick with anyone reading this.

Even as a write-and-toss, it’s still important to me to get it right.

Hell, I don’t even know if you’ll make it down this far. The post is long as it is, and getting longer by the second as I continue to type. Will anyone read this far down?

If you have, let me know in the comments… no really… that’s not a shameless request… I’m asking because… well, when you put yourself into the post, like I am here, and Ospreyshire did in his, you’ve just really got to wonder about that.

Seriously, you wonder… I wonder, if I’m just shouting into the void. If anyone will take value from what I’m saying.

Ospreyshire says this directly: “I’m sure I mentioned something similar in one of my 2020 Top 7 lists, but this still applies. It has been embarrassing finding typos or having to update certain posts if something changed like distributors or timestamping certain posts when something happens. It’s a long story.”

All bloggers work their fingers to the bone when they want to be good at what they do, but it isn’t exactly a natural talent. We each have to work incredibly hard, and in vastly different ways… but I think that’s the struggle we all face down personally.

We don’t see the struggles of others, so we feel like we’re working harder, longer, clawing our way through the muck while everyone else has an easier ride… we see what others do, we want to be as good as them, we hope we can be.

That’s the hard work and effort of a successful blogger, but we don’t always breach past the void on that alone…

We’re always updating, we’re always going back, we’re always bending over backwards to get to the place we *want to be* as bloggers. For every success story of how someone hit that prestigious 100,000 views a month milestone, there’s hundreds more of us that will never reach it.

My posts are riddled with spelling errors sometimes. I jokingly say that I have gulf-balls for eyes… but in a way it’s true. I go back and update too. I edit, and re-edit, and then go back and edit again… and even then sometimes I’m still not happy with it.

When we don’t pay an editor, we don’t have a second pair of eyes. We will miss things, but the nature of the medium doesn’t allow us to sit on posts for months on end. We’re not like book authors.

In the publishing medium the rule of three often applies. When writing a book, you’ll have three or more projects at once sometimes. One already written, sitting in a corner to age like fine wine. One in the writing phase, and one in the back-burner for consideration and possible outlining.

After your book ages and you’ve had time away from it, you can revisit it with a fresh pair of eyes, work on it again and send it to a proper editor.

Blogging doesn’t allow for that, especially if you don’t pay an editor. You get it written, sit on it for a week at most, and then you toss it out. Reviews, particularly of current media, is a time sensitive thing if you want to ride the big hype wave.

When you post, you hope you’ve caught everything… and sometimes, you just haven’t. Remember what I said though, we’re our own worst critics. For every reader turning up their nose, we’re mentally kicking ourselves when we miss something substantial.

1: I don’t belong even in these circles.

Ospreyshire hits the nail on the head, in a way I never could. He mentions this: “I get that there are creeps and obsessed people wherever, but I would feel like a fish out of water even if there are subjects I am interested in. Some people only care about what they like or dislike and never care about real-life issues which just disgusts me. Yes, there’s a time for escapism, but someone like me can’t afford to ignore what’s going on. God, I feel like I’m a pariah just because of what I like or dislike with others.”

See the overall theme here yet, guys? All 7 of the concerns all kind of tie into one another, and they’re pervasive… they’re also humbling… the phrase “finding your tribe” or “fitting in” is a weird sort of thing.

It’s a fluid thing, really. The importance and impact of it gets stronger or weaker depending upon what phase of life we’re in. As bloggers though, our posts immortalize a journey we take. In a way, it shapes us.

Ospreyshire mentions having never been to an anime convention before. That part stuck out to me… I used to go to them all the time as a teenager, but the older I got, the less interested in them I was… I eventually stopped going. It wasn’t for me anymore.

There are few anime conventions that are aimed at adults, which is weird because anime is a medium so many adults absolutely love. Most of the time 18+ panels aren’t about thoughtful discussion. It’s fun and laughter about dirty fan fiction or hentai anime, but we get so little substance of fan led discussions talking about important topics in the medium and the industry.

Listen to the same voice actor answer the same questions or quote the same line 5 or 6 years in a row, it grows trite and it grows tiresome… and to a point it feels empty. I’m sure I’m not the only adult out there that would desire a more introspective set of panels at an anime convention. I’m sure I’m not the only one that would like to have a panels touch upon wider topics, and I’m sure teens would like it too.

I know I would have, when I was a teenager.

As a reviewer there’s a weird feeling of being “othered” by fandoms when you critique something beloved by almost everyone within it. I go back to my statements about Lady Dimitrescu, I love Resident Evil, but I don’t love her. It’s easy to feel left out, or diminished among circles we should belong in, but don’t inherently fit the prescribed mold for.

And, so that’s why I’m going to post this up as it is. Imperfect as it is, probably riddled with errors too. The blogging medium has a fair bit of ugliness to it. Some of it is truly self-imposed, some of it comes from other factors… but that doesn’t mean I don’t love blogging.

It’s not a cry for help, it’s not a pity party, it isn’t even a list of things that actually NEED to change drastically. These aren’t grave sins or atrocities, it’s just the truth.

The only thing it needs to be is talked about, so I’m talking about it. The length of this post reflects the need for discussion. It truly is a requirement that we address the fact that like all wonderful things in this world, blogging can have its demons too.

The baseline entry is so low that countless people can enter into this sphere… if you have a computer, you get a free wordpress.com account, choose a template and that’s it… you start writing… you fool around figuring things out, and then you toss up your first post.

That’s really all you need to start off… never-mind the other stuff… that’ll come with time. When you reduce it down to absolute bare minimum, that’s all blogging really is.

Yet, blogging is more complicated than that once you start digging into it. People look at that, and they see this exclusive no-entry sphere of success that they could never hope to enter into… and some of us do anyway, because we want to…

Then we start the up-hill climb.

And I hope that you readers see this, and if you’ve thought about writing a blog that you STILL want to make that climb. I hope that Ospreyshire reads this and feel motivated to continue his up-hill climb… because I’ve laid myself out here too in these shared concerns so many of us have.

I’m speaking out because of him… I wouldn’t have made this post otherwise, but this all needed to be said.

Because we are a community. We are bloggers, and deep down, we all want to be worth something. I want to be worth something… and for readers, I hope I am.

If I’m not, well, I’m just going to keep trying.

This is Kern, from The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. Without the usual blue tab , without a related posts collection, and without any of the usual diatribes I’d normally give…

Why?

Because these 7 concerns are par for the course too, when you’re a blogger.

See you next time, everyone.

Before You Worry About “SEO”, Build Alliances – Here’s How

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. I’ve spoken about readability before, and discussed a few thoughts about numbered review scores for and how they can hinder the process. It’s about time to dive into big buzz words.

To be clear though, fancy nonsense like “SEO” and “niches” sound nice. However, they don’t mean a damn thing if you can’t write to be understood.

Go here, learn about readability first.

Assuming you’ve done that, let’s move on. By now I’m going to assume that you’ve got a firm command of the written word. Failing that, at least you know what REI means, and how it should be used. Now, it is time to talk about SEO, or “search engine optimization”, and why newbies need to go slow with it.

In general, big bloggers tell you to test out all kinds of “SEO” concepts on your own. They give you vague hints, but that’s about it. Why do they do this? Well, there’s two main reasons:

  1. Optimizing content for the search engines dynamically changes constantly. We never quite know when the next shift will occur.
  2. They’ve built up strong habits and know how to play the optimization game in the first place.

Guides about SEO that you see on the top page are “updated”, and I use that term very loosely on a regular basis. Yet, to attract the most readers they need to be intentionally vague. It’s kind of like the “catch all” horoscopes you find online. It can apply to anyone… and it’s vague enough to be relevant.

Even when they leave the post alone for a year by accident, that doesn’t matter. As long as they remain on top and you’re the fool clicking on it, they benefit from that click, even when you don’t.

A distant, yet often true third detail is that they don’t want the competition. Here’s the deal, if more bloggers know how to battle against the search engines, that means there are more bloggers they have to compete against.

When people complain that blogging tends to be an over-saturated market, we’re not joking. I don’t care about the competition. In my eyes, if more anime and gaming fans get into blogging, the more we can discuss these rich and diverse forms of media. If you want to be a blogger that’s fine with me.

That being said, I’m going to assume you have absolutely no idea what the major aspects of “SEO” happen to be, or how they’re used. This guide truly is intended for absolute beginners, so let’s dive into this thing.

So, What is SEO?

The acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is a big stupid “buzz phrase” that confounds some of us, and pisses off a vast majority of others. However, it also encapsulates the core foundations required to be noticed on the internet. This includes things like “keywords” that drive traffic to your website.

To put this simply; if you’re optimized in the search engines, that means the little crawlers searching the web for content will like you. You want them to like you. If they do like you, then you’ll trend towards the top pages of search engines.

We focus so heavily on that detail because bloggers want eyes on their work, and they want eyes quickly.

That is the first mistake every blogger makes… battling the search engines fails to look at blogging from a more cohesive standard. You do need to do that, it’s true, but at first you need to start slow.

The simplest thing you can do is use social media. I assume you know what social media is; use it. Post up links when you have them, chat a little, chill out a little. If you’ve got buddies, have them share it on their timelines or re-tweet that link out.

Share your stuff on Reddit too. A lot of bloggers tell you not to do this, but again if you’re small, you want to get your links out there. Just don’t be a jerk about it… there are plenty of places you can toss up a link or two daily without being offensive. r/TellThePeople is a good place to start, and r/Promote is another one that’s much larger. That second one is also pretty full of spam, though.

I do have readers that come over from Reddit so I do know this tactic works. You’ll notice I write blog posts about RWBY, and you can be sure that I share those posts in the Reddit communities that allow me to do so. The key thing is to be social in the wider communities you’re part of.

This is part of good SEO practices, and early on that is what you need to bank on. Chances are good that your keywords aren’t perfected yet and you may not have completely discovered yourself as a blogger.

For the absolute novice, SEO will mean one thing, getting your name out there, and that’s it.

Don’t just optimize for Google!

Stop doing that. Bad blogger, no cookie. Do you want to know why you’re struggling to get thirty or so hits a day? Everyone and their mother optimizes for Google. The fact is, there are several search engines out there. They don’t all work in exactly the same way. Some pick up keywords differently, others rate a website and its authority on the internet more loosely.

Bing, Baidu, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo…

Those are all search engines that can and will display your content on the top page. If you know how they work, you’ll get eyes on your site. That list was just off the top of my head. There are plenty more where that came from. If you want to get eyes on your work, don’t follow the mindless masses… play around and find the engine that works best for you.

You need to understand something. If you’re only optimizing all of your content for one engine (Google), you’re missing out on the possibility of what other smaller engines can offer. Everyone goes for Google, that’s the big one.

If you’re a little-known blogger, aim for the top of a lesser used engine, because you’ll just have an easier time. Learn about each of them. They’re not all mindless Google clones, don’t pretend they are. People use Google as a baseline, but if you find that you struggle to hit a top page in a Google search, check around.

Bing or DuckDuckGo might be easier for you… and here’s the thing, the more traffic you get, the more Google’s little crawlers will like you more by default…

No, sadly I’m not joking.

That’s what makes Google the dominant search engine for so many people. It truly is the “catch-all” of searching… and that also makes it a complete and total pain in the ass. If you are getting frustrated trying to hit the top page in google, you’re not alone. That’s just the nature of the beast.

If you optimize for the others, Google will eventually pick you up, and as you learn that process, you’ll learn how to win the Google search too. You do have to be willing to play around with your keywords a little bit early on. The pros aren’t lying, that’s a cold, hard fact.

Don’t sweat it, though.

Depending on your content, the other engines may be better off for you anyway. You’ve got to understand that the pros you’re battling are SEO masters, and they play for keeps. They may also have a team or a network they partner up with.

They know how to play more than one of these systems.

Find out what your keywords are, and how easy it is to get them to trigger in the search results. Then play around with that. The truth is, search engine optimization is very complex and ever-changing, but if you know the bare minimum you can get by.

The Foremost Rule: Community

SEO helps you to get readers… but, you know, there’s other ways to do this. Frankly, these habits have fallen out of practice. I feel it is because of pure laziness.

We’re so focused on engines, we forget what other details help us to be “searchable”. I have two words for you; little and local.

Friends matter. Make them. Point blank, just make them. Building your community ensures readers come back. That’s always going to help you kick ass in the SEO sphere. Before you worry about search engines that we can’t completely predict, worry about what you can predict.

Invest time into your communities, both local and online. If you’re unknown, don’t hit the big places expecting success right away. Go to the small ones first, make a few friends, get a small following. That should be your first step. When you start to advertise your brand, go to the places where people already know you.

If you’re silent and anti-social, you’ve dropped the ball and you need to get started. Backlinking begets backlinking. References earn references. Ping-backs get you ping-backs.

Catch my drift yet?

You want your niche community talking. You want them talking both to you and about you in a positive and pleasant way. I don’t just mean online either. Hit your local community too.

Get yourself a halfway decent printer and use it.

Get yourself a business card template or just print out a series of simple rectangles on printer paper if you have to. Put the name of your website and a QR code on them. Cut them out and pass them around in conversation.

Ask your friends if they’d be willing to stick one in the corner of their car window. You do the same. Also ask to put a few of them in locations where your target audience likes to hang out. Before you put any hard money on getting clicks online, go get them yourself offline.

Some parks have bulletin boards, community centers have them too. Ask around, stick one up.

If you’re a food blogger, write a great blog review of a few small “mom and pop” places you frequent. After you’ve posted it, print that baby out. You’ll offer that review to the restaurant manager as a gift. Compliment the staff. If you’ve done your job right, they’ll take the free promotion.

Anime fan? Gamer? Collector? Do the same thing for shops and hobby places in your area. Going to a convention? Chat in lines, bring up a blog post you’ve done when it suits the conversation.

Write reviews on places you frequent. Give those reviews to the owners. Build that reputation. Small and local places want true and honest advertising. They love the shout-outs.

If they have a website and you’ve befriended the owner, go a step further. Ask the owner if they’ll link your review on their website. That’s a direct reference for them, and possible traffic for you.

Trust me, this works. If you’ve written an awesome review for them, they’ll hang it on their window because they WANT that promotion. Don’t ask for anything in return, just be kind and graceful.

Hint: A lot of people still like to read and hear about things they have a passion for. Confirmation Bias is a real thing in this world, and affirming the enjoyment of a particular topic puts you in good standing if you’re honest about it.

The point is, great word-of-mouth begets great word-of-mouth. That’s always going to be your strongest way to advertise. If people talk about you, they pass you around. You get noticed and you get known.

With the advancement of QR codes, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be doing this… bypass the search engines when you can, and in your local communities that isn’t too difficult.

If people search for your site directly, this will raise your SEO rankings because they are looking for your site, and that tells the engine you must be important. You want that, you need that, and it promises some real traffic, made by real people.

If you’re not doing this, you’re losing views and visitors from your target demographic and your local communities. Take an afternoon, pound the pavement and see what you can do.

Blog Together!

I shouldn’t have to say this last one, but talk shop with other bloggers. Leaving comments and socializing helps, sure enough… but take it a step further. Move outside of your core niche just a little bit.

Yes, that’s unconventional advice. Hear me out before you write me off.

You want to be innovative, and that means doing what other people aren’t. Form a small blogging circle that gets together once a month to share ideas and collaborate on loose-fitting subjects. It doesn’t matter what kind of blogger you are for these circles. Tangential posts can be a good thing, and if you pick the right topic everyone can benefit.

To use an example, pick a topic… say food. Now let’s say you’ve got three bloggers. Assume this group contains a media fan, a bush craft expert and a historian. Those are three vastly different types of writers, but food is a topic they can all talk about. The subject is loose enough for each of them to work with.

The media fan can talk about a cooking show, game or movie. The bush craft expert can discuss something they’ve built to help them make a meal. The historian can talk about food from a set time period.

Make sure all your posts are set to go out on a chosen day across your websites. Link to each other, give a shout out. There you go, you’ve got yourself a tangential collaboration, and the chance to reach out to a group of readers who might not have found out about you any other way.

This is why I say your niche doesn’t matter for your blogging circle, only that you chose an inclusive topic. You should be willing and able to step out of your core niche a little bit. Work with bloggers who are unlike yourself. That way, you’re not in direct competition for readers.

Making it a monthly thing means you’ll have your name brought up regularly. The more that you’re brought up in a positive way, the better it is for you. Allow your collaborations to be a fluid situation and don’t try to control the creative space too heavily.

It can be a very good time to write about topics together, and by the end you’ll have friends who understand the struggles of being a blogger too.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, when you think of SEO, you shouldn’t only be thinking about search engines as your only tool. I hope I’ve proven conclusively “SEO” is by its very name a misnomer. Optimizing your search results needs to be far more fluid than mass media guides would have you believe.

Let’s think about it this way: Search Engine Optimization… how do you get more optimized than people actually searching for your blog directly?

The answer is, you don’t.

It isn’t just about the little search crawlers that tell engines to like you. It’s about networking with others and thinking out of the box.

At the end of the day, easy line-of sight access to your work, QR codes, and tangential posts with those outside of your sphere will give you the edge you need.Those are factors you can predict.

You can continue to work with them, even when the engines themselves remain a mystery.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Yes, Even a Novice Can Leave a Critic Review on “IMDb”

Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. I’m back with a particularly quick post and a few little tips. This is just a write-and-toss, but I promise it’ll be of help to you.

So, you need eyes on your reviews, right? If you write reviews for the media that is already listed on IMDb, you’ve got to post it up in the critics section. I’ll show you how to do it.

First, let’s talk about why you should.

The Value of Trusted Databases

If you don’t know, IMDb stands for Internet Movie Database. A database means links and searchers. These are two critical things any blogger wants. You will find all kinds of shows, movies, and streaming media there. You can leave a linked review that takes a reader directly to your review.

The best part is, the approval process doesn’t take too long and the barrier to entry is particularly low. The big pros use IMDb to leave critic reviews, but you can too. This is important, you want to have your name up there with the bigger names. You want to be noticed and taken seriously.

When you share your links over on IMDb you give yourself a tiny edge in the analytics game too. People will search for things on Google and IMDb. Even if you can’t top the google charts just yet, this gives you another way to get your name out there.

Beyond that, you can use the database to find other bloggers like yourself. You can try to form friendships and network with them. Go read a few other critic reviews, leave a constructive comment on their post. Put yourself out there, get known.

All in all, IMDb does two things for even the most novice blogger…

Firstly: You to find people who’ve written content directly in your own niche. If you’ve both reviewed the same piece of content, you don’t get more direct than that. It hands you fellow reviewers on a silver platter, this makes it easier to find people working with similar genres.

Secondly: More links help you. IMDb is a trusted website by the masses.

With a little bit of research, we can see that IMDb has a global ranking of #58 at the time of this post. That means it is a very highly used website, and that makes it perfect for all of us. Pros and novices alike should be leaving our reviews in the critics section.

After you’ve written your review and shared it around, post it up there.

How To Do It:

This is super easy, anyone can do it. For this guide, I’ll be doing it with an anime. You can do it with all kinds of shows. If the media is on the site, you can leave a review.

Step 1: Go to IMDb. Make sure the media you’ve reviewed is on the website to begin with.

Step 2: Scroll all the way down until you see “edit page” button, and then click on it.

Step Three: It may ask you to make a “contributor account”. Go ahead and do that. It doesn’t cost you anything, totally free. I’ve already got a one, so I’m good to go.

Step 4: If you’ve got a contributor account, you’ll see a page like the one below with a lot of categories. Go all the way down to “Links to Other Sites”. There you’ll see “External Reviews”. Click on the drop down in that section. You’ll want to switch it from “no change” to “add 1 item”.

Then confirm the changes.

Step 4: Then you’ll be taken to the that you can leave your review. Put the link in the URL spot. For the description use your pen name, or the name of your website. Then click “Check these updates”.

It will take you to another screen asking you to confirm the updates you’ve made. If you’re good to go, then submit them. On their end, there will be a quick overview process. I don’t know what that is exactly, but as long as you’re not being completely disingenuous, you’re in the clear.

It should put your review through fairly quickly. On average it never takes me more than an hour to see my review posted up.

After it’s been posted, you’ll see your critic review added in that section along with all the others. Sometimes, you might review a series that doesn’t have any critic reviews at all. You can be the first one, just like I am here in this image.

See? It really is that easy.

Hip Shot: Don’t know what to write about? Here’s a prompt for you. Find a series with no citric reviews. Watch that series and then write your own. Share it on IMDb like I did with my review of A Little Snow Fairy SugarYes, I know that was a completely shameless plug. No, I don’t care. My point still stands.

Following Trends: If you click on the search menu for IMDb, you can find “Most popular movies” and “Most popular TV shows”. You can also see the top 250 movies and top 250 television shows. If you’ve suffered writers block, you’ve probably seen at least one of these. Find a short series or a movie, watch it and write your review on it.

Many of you can benefit from writing reviews. Even if they aren’t your main form of content, don’t overlook them. A review can provide a tangentially tied experience for your readers.

More importantly, a review can bank upon your larger backlog of content and bring in new readers. Reviews provide entry level content and simple accessibility, we need to remember that.

A few key demographics can really benefit from this.

Gamers:

Plenty of games are actually tied loosely to anime or live action movies. Sometimes you can get both. You can diversify your content by writing reviews about those series. This is particularly true for horror and the RPG/MMORPG/ARPG genres. Brawlers, you guys are in the clear too.

RWBY, Halo, World of Warcraft, Resident Evil, Walking Dead, Final Fantasy, Dragon Ball Z, Inuyasha, Naruto and even Mortal Combat has a movie.

Take advantage of these titles. There’s even more too, like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. It released just this year. I promise you there’s plenty more where that came from.

Use them…

Newbies in Celebrities/Politics/Sports/Hobbies:

When we love a hobby, we are likely to watch content based around that hobby. This is a no brainier. There are movies, shows and documentaries based around these things. Use them to gain early attention. If you’re new and unknown, grasp onto this kind of media with a vengeance.

This is a key aspect of diversifying your content. When you’re new this can be difficult.

Nero-divergent/Otherwise Able:

If you are a lifestyle blogger with a disability, see if there might be media based on that. You can review that series and provide a personal perspective as well. There’s something to be said about providing insight to these important topics.

Final Thoughts:

At first, blogging can be hard. Getting your name out there requires thinking outside of the box. Many people don’t realize how easy it is to get onto websites such as IMDb. They see the word “critic” and quickly become intimidated. It’s okay though, you don’t have to be.

Use all of your tools to get your name out there. Use every advantage. This is a free one, and it’s easy to do. Go ahead, give it a try and let passive views slowly flow in over time. In the meantime, keep putting your best foot forward. Work to get better and continue your endeavors as a content creator. In time, you will succeed.

That’s it for today. Was I of any help to you? If so, drop me a follow. You’ll be getting more tips and tricks for bloggers soon enough.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time!