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Helpful Hints for Blogging

Hi everyone!

I realized we've never actually done this before, so I figured I'd make a blog post just with some helpful tips and suggestions on what we're looking for in articles to promote. Some of it will be style stuff, some of it will be advice on making your post engaging/readable, and some (well, most) will be things you should do so that I have to spend less time editing your posts. (Gimme a break, I'm really lazy.)

So, in no particular order, these are some things you should keep in mind:

* Remember to tag your posts with the Monthly Musing tag, if you are posting a Monthly Musing blog. THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT. When checking for Monthly Musings, I use this tag to search. If you didn't tag your post right, there's a good chance I'm going to miss it. The tag is your friend. On the flipside, if your blog is NOT a Monthly Musing, don't use this tag. We still check the regular blog rolls too, you don't need to tag everything Monthly Musing to try to get it special attention. If I see your blog improperly tagged, I will become bitter and spiteful and probably say mean things about you behind your back. Don't do it.

* Italicize game titles. As you'll notice, when we talk about games on the front page, it's our standard style to put all video game titles in italics. So, any time you mention a game, put it in italics, like this: I really like Chrono Trigger!

* It's ok to curse, but don't swear in the title or the first couple paragraphs of your post. Lame, I know. However, a lot of people read Destructoid at work instead of working, and a lot of people's workplaces have dumb internet filters that block websites with potty words like "fuck" in them. You can say cunt as many times as you want in the later parts of your post (everything past the jump, which is usually everything past the first two or three paragraphs), but we politely ask that you keep the swearing to a minimum in your intros and titles.

* Try to write more than just 3-4 paragraphs. There's no official length guideline for promotions, but the posts that get promoted are generally ones that are at least 8 paragraphs or so long. If your Musing is about as long as a standard newspost, it's probably not going to make the front page. On the flipside, don't make your posts artificially long just for the sake of making them long. It's a delicate balance -- flesh out as much of your original idea as you can without going overboard. Again, there is no hard limit, but if your Monthly Musing is only two paragraphs long, you probably didn't go into as much detail or explanation as you could have.

* Please use the official image uploader over there on the right to upload your photos. This is a good idea because A. It will automatically resize them to 620, which is our standard image width, and B. I don't have to go and download them all from your Photobucket and reupload them to Dtoid.

* On the topic of photos, try to stick a picture or two in your post at natural breaking points between paragraphs. This isn't a necessity, but it makes your blog a lot easier to read. This is the internet, and people get scared by giant walls of imposing text. Tossing in a picture or two in the middle of your blog helps to avoid shouts of TL;DR, even if it's something lame like the crap I'm throwing into this blog! (Of course, relevant pictures are a good idea.) Ideal pictures are 620 width and between 200 to 400 height, but a little over or under on height doesn't make a huge difference. If your picture is Longcat, then we have a problem.

* Also, try to include a picture near the beginning I can use as a header image. That keeps me from having to use my terrible Photoshop skills to whip up something embarrassing or putting in a random picture of a capybara.

* Please proof your posts! I know it's impossible to catch every mistake, as I miss them sometimes too even when I go over them for proofing. However, the cleaner your post is when it's originally posted, the better. Little typos aren't a big deal, but if I have to change every other sentence of your post for it to make grammatical sense, it's probably not going to make it to the front page.

* If you're posting something about a very specific genre, or a really in depth look at a certain game, make sure it's accessible to people unfamiliar with the genre/game. You could write a killer blog about what it's like to be the leader of the biggest raiding guild on your server, but if your post is full of WoW terms that people who don't play WoW don't understand, people are going to give up reading it. You don't have to turn your blog into a lecture on basic terms, just be aware that a big chunk of your audience may have no idea what you're talking about if you're throwing around acronyms or things like FADC into Metsu.

* Don't blog solely for making the front page. Getting promoted is nice and all, but there are only so many blogs I can promote throughout the month. I want to stress that even if you DON'T make the front page, a lot of people are reading your blogs and enjoying them. Write because you want to write and because you think you have something interesting to say -- don't be writing just to be on the front page.

* Be creative! Don't feel constrained by the suggestions that are posted in the original Musing post.

* On the flip side, if someone beats you to the punch and posts a blog on a topic you were already considering writing about (or had already started writing about), DON'T feel like you have to delete yours and start over. People can have very different perspectives on the same thing -- just because someone already wrote about Legend of Zelda for their musing doesn't mean you can't either. Even if your posts end up being near identical, we still want to read what you have to say. If you really feel the urge to post something totally unique, you can always just make a second post -- there's pretty much no reason to ever delete or abandon something you've already started.

* Post your blog BEFORE the last day of the Musing. While the Musing technically goes all month, I've typically written up the recap post by middle of the day on the last day of the month and picked the last blog to promote by that morning so that I can fit it on the schedule. You're also competing for a front page spot with the 15 other people who decided to wait until the last minute to post their blog.

Finally, if you DO get promoted, the following is very important. It shouldn't be an issue for much longer, but until then, you need to keep it in mind. I try to email everyone this info when I promote a blog, but sometimes I forget, and sometimes the email you registered with is a tossaway email you never check, so I want to say it here too:

* If your blog is promoted, it will disappear from your blog roll. If you go in to edit it, you will see a bunch of HTML gibberish and not the BBCode you are used to. DO NOT MAKE EDITS TO YOUR BLOG AT THIS POINT. Any edits you make will break the formatting, dump your blog back to the CBlogs, and prevent your story from being promoted. Additionally, any changes you make are very difficult and/or impossible to reverse, depending on what you've done. If there is something you need fixed or changed, email me at [email protected] and I can help you make the changes you want.

Let me know if you have any questions/complaints/insults in the comments!

TL;DR Version
* Tag Monthly Musings
* Italicize game titles
* Don't swear in title/first couple paragraphs
* Don't just write two paragraphs, but don't be Tim Rogers either
* Use the Dtoid image uploader
* Break up your post with pictures
* Give me a header image to work with
* Proof your writing
* Make sure people understand acronyms/game terms
* Blog for the sake of blogging
* Think outside the box
* Don't delete your stuff because someone else posted something similar
* Don't procrastinate
* Don't mess with your post after it's on/making its way to the front page
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About Aeroxone of us since 4:04 PM on 12.08.2008

Chrono Trigger is the best game ever created.
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