Why would you consider writing a blog? In this article I will highlight 6 reasons why I think blogging in the game industry is useful in many ways.
So you are an experienced game developer, a game producer, a publisher, a second year student, a game tester, game designer, a programmer, an artist or you compose compelling music. A lot of craftsmanship tailored or mixed exactly to your liking. Everyone's process, way of working and road to a finished game is different and full of interesting moments to learn from. You could decide keeping all your knowledge to yourself. But I have seen many secretive developers struggle and I think one of the reasons is their silence.
The most important aspect in my opinion is that you contribute and share valuable information with the game industry. Many blogging developers get readers from all over the world, just because they speak their mind and share their experiences. Blogging is personal because every experience differs from one another. By sharing this with the game industry it's very helpful to other inexperienced or interested developers on the subject.
Keeping things secret is useful in just a few cases, for example; when you buy a special present for your best friend or spouse. Here secrecy has a clear goal to 'surprise' someone, releasing their happiness factor at once. When you are a game developer, chances are you do more than a great job at one thing (programming), mediocre on a second (game design), and are inexperienced in a third(marketing). Therefore secrecy could harm your development without knowing it does. Expressing your methods through a blog could start discussions or could invite people to give feedback. It can seriously change your views on certain matters.
3. Creating your own Spotlight.
Developers that keep their mouth shut are simply invisible on radar. You on the other hand speak publicly and have created your own spotlight on stage. In the beginning you will feel uncomfortable by posting something, and it's read by only a few friends. Page views aren't impressive but you have to start somewhere. The first months when your blog is "live" you will see your posts get 'traction' on the web. However don't expect crazy numbers yet.
Maintaining your own blog page is great and is your first priority. However, its possible to share your blogposts on websites such as 'Gamasutra.com'. This is a website largely read by the game industry. They offer a possibility to start a blog on their website as well. The best thing about them is, when the editors see something interesting, they sometimes decide featuring it on their front page. Getting featured is really great, because a lot more people are able to see and read your blog. Besides them featuring you, you will always be part of their 'bloggers feed'. Many scroll down these feeds to catch a great article, I do so myself. I think nearly 50% of articles I find interesting come from Gamasutra.com.
4. Your help is appreciated
After a while you will start getting comments and feedback. You will notice your effort to writing these posts is even greatly appreciated. You should understand that the percentage reading your blog is far greater than the percentage actually taking time to comment. I highly recommend to 'reply' on these comments. These people took an extra bit of effort to respond on your post. These people can turn into your ambassadors; spreading the word! The 1% of hardcore readers and fans who comment are the most important group of people reading your blog. They actually provide you with a larger 'reach'. Don't know what to reply to some of them? well, at least thank them for taking the time to read and respond!
5. Meet new people
Your blog now has a proper foundation and you will notice several people coming back to your page. Great job! This means you are engaging and encouraging them with great and valuable articles. A great thing is to start a conversation with your most persistent readers. Get to know them, take time to help them when they occasionally ask or struggle with something. Making friends is one of the coolest things you've caused by founding your blog. You get the chance to get to know people from all over the world! For example I have met 'Jonathan' a developer from California, USA. The other side of the world to me since I live in The Netherlands.
6. Learn from others
A great thing about blogging is the feedback, and the help some provide. I usually write about my vision and opinion on certain game development topics. Some of them agree, and some would disagree. It's great to read their opinion on your topic and I usually learn a lot from how others think about it. It sometimes changes my own views and helps me to understand different perspectives.
Blogging brought me more than I could have imagined when I started doing this. At first I thought it was fun to share some knowledge, but I quickly learned it's a positive thing in many ways. It doesn't matter some posts are better than others, as long as you put time and effort in a topic, it will radiate through the post. Share your views on trending situations or describe your workflow, tools or explain parts of development. Maybe even come up with something completely new and start discussions. A lot of us developers are very curious about your thoughts, but because you haven't started blogging yet, we can only guess! Lastly, something that goes hand in hand with 'following your dreams' and speaking publicly about your passion; do not give up.
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