The purpose of your Warhammer 40k blog

Warhammer 40k paintbrushes

The other week, I had a Guest post on how to promote your blog. Today, I'd like to talk about the purpose behind your blog. Or the "Why do you blog?" question.

We all start out for some reason or another. We all want to be successful at it too. We want others to find our blog, visit, leave comments, appreciate the work we invest in our site and so on. But the reason you started blogging in the first place... what was it?

For some folks, it's just a way to share what they work on, others are showcasing their work (commission artists and such) and some have come to blogging as a way to keep in touch. There are a number of reasons out there.

But why do you continue to blog about the game you love so much? Is it for the visitors or the number of Followers or the page views you get each day? Or are you still doing it for the same reasons as when you started?

Starting off on the right foot
Do you remember why it was you started? If you've been blogging for some time, think back to those days when you were just starting out and what it was about blogging that kept you going. Are you still doing the same thing? Are you just as focused today as you were way back when?

I'm sure you've picked up a number of things and learned a few lessons along the way, but are you still on track? If it's changed, why has it?

Perhaps one of the single best things you can do for your blog is to decide what it is that you want to do with your blog. Is it rumors... is it latest news... is it posting pics of stuff you find on other sites? What is it that you want to do? Once you find that "thing," blogging about it will become so much easier and enjoyable.

I remember why I started. I wanted to see what was out there (keep track of those folks I found interesting) and show people my work in hopes of getting some more. The hardest thing since then has been keeping focused on why I started all this.

Things change over time
It's natural, we go through changes in our life, in our hobby, our skills and abilities. All of that. And your blog is going to change too. I wish I'd kept a snapshot of every time I changed my blog layout. I could probably fill a book by now. And that's just one aspect of a blog.

But it's ok to change. It means you're learning new things... the trick is keeping focused on why you started blogging in the first place.

FTW has gone through some huge changes over time. But through all of that, there have been some things that have remained the same. If you look at your blog, is it what you want it to be or has it become something else? Has it strayed from the reason you started blogging? Has your blog improved at doing what you set out to do?

Don't kid yourself, blogging is a lot of work
Nobody who runs a blog can sit there and tell me it's not much work. I run one too and I know it's tremendous amount of work. And to top it off, you're putting yourself out there to be judged once you start posting pics of your own stuff.

Just don't let the work overtake you. Balance is the key. Balance between everything you have going on from the hobby to your real life. So many things compete for our time these days. Don't forget to give time to the important things first like family. Believe me.

What is success to you?
This is perhaps the toughest one. It's where we can be so hard on ourselves. It goes back to why you started. If you're doing what you set out to do (share pics, share links, news, rumors), then you are a success.

If you find yourself constantly checking your stats for pageviews, visitors, trends and all that stuff, you may want to be careful. While some of that can be important, don't let it rule your blog. I can tell you that I don't care how many page views or visits a blog has when I visit. I come for content and to hear what that Author has to say.

Don't let your voice be ruled by some numbers that ultimately don't mean much in the end to your visitors. It's not as if readers stop by your blog, look at your "numbers" and then think to themselves, "Who would read this stuff, they only have 30,000 followers... nobody has that few any more," and keep going on their way.

Remember, people come to see what you post.
If you keep on track (which is very hard to do sometimes), you will build a great site. And that has nothing to do with numbers. It's taken me a few years and a lot of hard lessons to figure that one out. Hopefully it doesn't take you as long and you don't make the mistakes I did.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
But I don't know what I should post about.

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. I started my blog because I was sick of the negative forum talk, you cant argue otherwise you end up in a childish trying outdo posts. I found blogging to be beneficial to my hobby. People are constructive, I can directly link to another bloggers entire works. Great for inspiration and ideas, you dont have to comment, just click the little follow button and check your dashboard.

    I now have become a little more neagative with GW with recent sillyness, but all I did was post a sensible chain letter vid and then moved onto Warmachine!

    The hobby is great and I think blogs are small part of someones personality. Whether they are top notch painters, never painted anything at all, articles, jokers, serious hobbyists, gaming clubs, its all there. I love the Bloggersphere! Whooya!

    Im not sure that directly answers the question, but I think thats why I blog.

  2. Great post. I had recently slipped down the path of daily visitor stats becoming important. I got so worried when daily visits dropped from an average of 400 to 20 that I found myself panicked about my blog's content.

    After chatting to a couple of people I came to realise that the blog is not my hobby, the building/painting/gaming is my hobby and the blog should not dictate the direction of my hobby.

    If people don't visit the blog it's their loss not mine and I won't let it worry me. My hobby is benefitting from this fresh outlook and as a consequence the blog content has too.

  3. I got sucked into it by a friend who shall remain nameless. I do occasionally get caught up in the visits stats -- I do like to see what it is that folks find interesting but largely I post on whatever it is that I've been doing lately.

    It does help to motivate me, to get projects moving (so I have something to post) but I don't let it rule me.

  4. I actually made a blog post about this just a few weeks ago.

    The short version is my friend got this idea in his head of some grand scheme for a modeling blog and I got sucked in and decided to stay for the ride. Our main goal was to create some great conversions and share our knowledge with others so they could benefit from our experience. It has expanded since then to include logging my hobby progress and projects, and we have gotten into airbrushing pretty heavily lately but what I really love is the tutorials. I like creating unique tutorials that others find useful and can use and learn from.

    My favorite one so far is 'magnetizing' without magnets, using pins to swap out parts that are too small for magnets or too numerous to make magnets affordable. The example I used was the lowly termagant and swapping between fleshborers and devourers. If you play 'nids chances are you will end up with a TON of little gribblies and magnetizing even with just 3 magnets per model, that would add up to a ton of magnets and a ton of money invested real quickly. Paperclips are $1 for a box of a hundred or two so they are much more economical and I really like the look of the fleshborer barrel on the devourer arms so the project gets bonus points for being frugal *and* looking awesome. I don't want to be rude and pimp my own blog too much here but the 'magnetizing' without magnets tutorial is the #1 most popular post on our site so it's not hard to find.

    I guess I got a little sidetracked by my little explanation there. The main point is that I keep blogging because I love helping people through my tutorials, especially for things that have not been done to death 1,000 times by 1,000 different people before. It's a lot of work at times but it's totally worth it.

    I check the blog's stats frequently but I don't let that dictate what I write or how I write in any significant way or let it get to my head either positively or negatively. We don't have many followers and aren't drawing thousands of page views per day but that doesn't bother me. I had a bit of an identity crisis about the whole thing (prompting me to make that post about why I blog) but I came to the same conclusion as you did and even though I already figured it out on my own, it's good to have the lesson reinforced by such a prominent figure in our little wargaming blogosphere. I think you said it better than I ever could: "If you're doing what you set out to do (share pics, share links, news, rumors), then you are a success."

    Excellent article.

  5. I love this article, recently all the discussion about our blog over at the 5th has been about stats.

    I started the blog just to share with people my painting efforts occasionally chat about topical issues. I felt and still feel that in the end its all about simply sharing what you love most about the hobby and maybe there others out there who like it as well.

  6. My blog did originally start out as a way to record the build up of my new IG army. Of course circumstances changed and that army went out the window. Now I blog to show off my stuff to a wider audience than my local store.

    For me though its also to try and give something back to the community. My contribution may not be much but I always enjoy when people let me know that they have copied an idea or a way that I paint a certain item etc.

    I know that I have taken many many ideas off other peoples sites and blogs.

  7. I started Eye of Error for multiple reasons:

    Just like the first commentor said, I was sick of Negative forum experiences. I would see these constant posts that were clearly just the mutual appreciation society of the top 5 people on a particular forum and not much respect for anyone else.

    Also, I want a site that was my own little chunk of 40k. Something I could design, build out, have complete control of, advertise as I see fit, etc.

    Then when I started connecting to other people's blogs I just became ultra inspired to keep working on my own and gained so many useful tips and tricks about the hobby. Especially from the FTW tutorial section. It's my first go-to if I need to learn a new technique.

  8. I wanted to document my experiences as a player new to table-top gaming. It also provides me the ability to showcase my local game shop and the interesting and talented people that frequent the place.

    My overall goal for my blog, Against the Grain, is to provide players new to 40K, and table-top gaming, with useful information and resources.

  9. This is my second time around at a table top blog. The first time I hit the wall hard when life got in the way and ended up letting it die. To help me stay on course my second time around I wrote a manifesto. This allowed me to set out what my blog was for, what content I would cover and my goals of my blog. You can check out that very first post here:

  10. I've been contemplating this very subject a lot recently. Very timely article, Ron!

    I have been going back and re-reading every blog of mine over the last few days. It's really neat to see where I was and how it is different from where I am now. It kind of made me want to go back and work on my Eldar again! Really, that's one of the primary reasons I started my blog, to track my progress. I love it when other folks visit and enjoy my blog, and I do keep a close eye on my "stats" because I like to see what visitors find interesting. I have some random blogs that I really didn't think much of, but they still get visitors years later. The internet never forgets your posts. I'm currently ranked number one for google searches of "Titanicus Review" because of a blog I did over two years ago. Silly that.

  11. Such a timely post Ron!

    Having just started my own blog I'm very close to this initial decision point. For me it was a combination of factors.

    As others have said, forums are generally horrible in every hobby. There is value there and I have met many wonderful people through forums dedicated to my many hobbies (from cars to wargaming). That said, there is also a lot off trash, a lot of negativity, and a lot of self-importance.

    Like many, I was eager to share my work with the world. I was motivated not out of vanity, but rather the desire to share what I had done in the hopes that less advanced painters would benefit from my experience and also that I could benefit from the experience and advice of more advanced painters than myself.

    Finally it's another fun creative outlet for me. It's nice to have a soap box to get on every once in a while. When I'm not sharing tips, techniques, or my work I'm probably writing about my opinion on something. For me writing about what I think is a great way of exploring in more detail what I really think of a subject. Often I find my viewpoint isn't as simple as I originally thought when I try to articulate it.

    To sum up, I blog:
    - To feel a part of the community
    - To help those less experienced than I
    - To have those more experienced than I help me
    - As a creative outlet for exploring my own viewpoints

    My blog is still an infant, but so far it's been a blast to put together and start building.

  12. I got started blogging because I wanted something to motivate me. I have far too many unpainted minis and if I force myself to generate blog content those minis will be finished sooner or later :)

    I also like rambling about tactics and people can be pretty rude on forums. The whole Warhammer blog network is pretty polite and everyone offers constructive criticism and praise... I haven't worried too much about the numbers yet but I do keep track of them and find myself happier that they numbers keep going up. Also, I try to see what articles seem to be popular.

  13. Very cool guys, thanks for sharing.

    I'm tempted to think we're all here for close to the same reasons in the end and that's why we all work so hard at what we do and want to give back to the community.

    Don't get me wrong, I look at my stats too, but they no longer dictate what goes up on the site.
    I think as long as you keep your sites stats in perspective, you'll be better off in the end.

  14. I originally started my blog as a means for our small group of friends to be able to keep track of battle reports between each other. A way for me to figure out why I was losing so much and by writing about it hopefully improve.

    After the initial few reports I actually got into talking about how I decide on my lists and this built into a focus on special characters (a theme I'm keen to stick to in my posts). The blog has developed with guides about units and hints on army selection. The core of battle reports is still there (although I've slacked a bit recently). I think it's important to remember why you did it in the first place and still try and have some articles in that theme.

    In some ways I feel I've already had some success. I have a meagre readership of 75+ followers but considering I'm doing all the posting solo I'm pretty pleased with this number after less than a year.

    I recently hosted a blogger on blogger tournament which, from the feedback I got, was a great success so I'm running another. It was great to meet people who'd actually read my blog and put some faces to avatars whilst rolling some dice.

    I'm about to actually start a second blog to try my hand at focussing on a new army and building a resource for it.

    One thing I will say is that FTW has been instrumental in building my blog from the ground up and I owe Ron a big thanks for linking me so early on. I know a lot of other bloggers feel the same.

  15. I started my blog for many reasons, chief of which was to share what I know with others. The online community has given me great inspiration in the past and this is my way of giving back.

    My chief goal is to offer some insight into my favorite factions of my favorite games as well as receiving honest (and sometimes brutal) critiques of what I'm working on. I don't know how many times I've posted to forums in the past with, what I thought would be a great idea, only to find that my message was lost or my tactical line of thought was off the mark.

  16. Like others have said, ron you have also made the idea of blogging easier with FTW, the top tens in the past helped improve booggers profiles and you also stand as an example of how to create a really great blog. When you contacted me about doing a bloggers profile I was so honoured to be recognised by you. Just wanted to put that out there :)

  17. Nice article, it was fun to read it.

    My blog came to life because I wanted to share my hobby stuff with more people than just those from the German forum I have been attending for some years now.

    First I startet presenting my minis on Warseer because there are many people from all over the world but that wasn't sufficient to me in the end.

    Furthermore, I wanted a site of my own where I have all my projects, current or finished ones, at one place. And I really rejoice when I get comments and accolade from an international audience.

  18. I started my blog after I lost many of my posts when a forum crashed! I needed a place where I could collect all my projects and view my progress as a painter. And yes, it's all about painting for me! I'm 99% painter and 1 % gamer so in the not so grim darkness of my not so far future as a blogger there'd only be paintbrushes (and paint pots and a bunch of unpainted minis and lack of spare time and...)

    Achieving that would be good on it's own but I soon found out that there's more to it. I got intereseted in the whole 40k blogosphere thing, I met a few people who have helped me with constructive criticism and I found many blogs I enjoy following.

    All in all it has made my hoby experience more social and it has motivated me to paint more. Oh, it also helped me discover FTW!

  19. I started my blog to keep in touch with the community at large, share my own knowledge and experience and actually try and give back to the hobby community that keeps my engines going.

    Getting inspiration and motivation by more than a few of you out there, and more than a few well-times posts, seriously helped in me wanting to make Miniature Tim more than just a place to rant or ramble, but to actually share what I've learned over the years.

    That and through the blogosphere, I've been able to keep in touch with some seriously great people I only get to see one to two times a year at cons and gatherings. Makes it all worthwhile.

    Awesome article, Ron.

  20. Great article, Ron - I've really enjoyed watching FTW evolve over the years, it has always been a top notch source for both hobby articles hosted here as well as a constantly evolving roll of excellent bloggers!

    As far as my history, I started blogging ( )as a way to document the progress on my guard army and give myself a bit of a goad to keep working on improving my hobby skills. The main goal I set for myself from the onset that I've managed to stick to is "No picture, no post" - every single blog post that I have done over the last three (can it be three already?!) years has had a picture of some model or another that I'm working on, or something directly related to it. On the other side of the coin, my original guard-centric theme has fallen prey to my hobby ADHD and the blog has become a repository for my other 40k projects (Orks, Dark Eldar, Chaos, etc.) as well, but nonetheless I've stayed true to my original intent of it being a simple hobby blog showing the conversions and paint jobs that I manage to do in what little free time I have these days. I don't go in for army list evaluations, rumor milling, and so on primarily because there are other blogs that do those things better than I could even if I wanted to...

    I never really thought much about page views or visits or what-have-you, and to be honest I have to admit that I'm surprised every time I get comments on my posts, and it blows my mind when I do occasionally fire up google analytics. It's a bit strange to think that people I would have never met can draw inspiration from some project or another of mine, it's quite humbling actually! Overall the blogging community is hugely positive, supportive and friendly, and it's a constant source of great ideas, camaraderie and goodwill that one just doesn't see on most of the 40k forums!

    Thank you Ron for the hard work you've put into FTW, and thank you to all you 40k bloggers out there - Keep up the great work, everyone!!

  21. I've noticed that several people have brought up the fact that they started blogging to get away from Troll Farms... I mean forums. Some even mentioned that the blogging community seems to be a friendly, helpful bunch (which I agree with). I wonder if the reason there are so many "bad apples" on the forums is because it's so easy. By that I mean, they don't invest anything except the time it takes to insult or ridicule someone's forum post. They don't have to contribute anything to the conversation, more less the community as a whole. I offer and accept constructive criticism but as a member of the blogging community I know how much work is put into a blog. I treat my fellow bloggers with the same respect I'd like to be shown. Also, with blogs you have to go out and hunt... I think trolls would rather sit on a forum and wait for prey to come to them.

    Sorry for the mini rant. If there's one thing I hate it's people spreading hate on the interwebz!

  22. Geek: You bring up a really good point about the amount of work involved in doing this (blogging) and commenting and such.

    I suppose that does tend to weed out those folks who shoot comments and such from the hip as some are quick to do in forums.

  23. Hi, this is my first post on FTW, i stumbled across the site a few days ago and really like the style and how people seem to help each other. Having a read about blogs i wondered if i could create my own blog, but i dont know how i would go about that, i googled 'blogspot' and will have a read of that, as i am currently working on a SW army and it would be nice to have a record of my progress other than a friendly forum i am on. Is there anywhere on the FTW site that gives a bit of help on creating a first time blog?

    Cheers all


  24. Rick: Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately I don't have anything on actually setting up a blog. I've got stuff on how to improve it and get the most from it, but not getting started.

    I'd say to Google it and see what comes up in terms of the "professionals" and what tips they might offer to beginners. That and maybe seeing if Blogger has any tips or forums for helping new bloggers.


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