Sunday, 3 June 2012

Sunday Sermon: Turning followers into readers.

Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard - 1772

I know, ironic right? A few months ago I wrote a Sunday Sermon about turning 'readers' into 'followers'. That article was mainly about getting people to participate in my Blog in some way or other, either via commenting, following or emailing me. My ultimate end goal was to get people involved and engaged, so that I had more information from people who read my Blog, and so that I could then write more pertinent articles for you all and build a better Frontline Gamer. My motives were information gathering, understanding what these unseen lurkers wanted from me and the articles I wrote for this Blog. I still think the things I wrote back then are relative, and indeed still pertinent today. I'm still pretty certain that I'd be happy to see active followers join this site and contribute their thoughts to the swirling mass of geekdom that already exists here. I still want to know what you all think, what you are all up to, it's one of the main reasons I started all this.

The Reader by Frank Weston Benson - 1910

Last time around I found out that giving away free stuff was a great way to entice lurkers of this Blog into becoming followers, and get them started on the path to becoming fully fledged and engaged members of the community I've built here. The various prize draws I've had have enticed some names of lurkers who contacted me via email to join, and I'd like to say thanks and welcome aboard to them here... so thanks and welcome aboard! So I've continued to pursue this method of positive reinforcement through 'free stuff'. Now though I think I'm starting to exhaust the pool of lurkers I can realistically hope to convert into followers with my prize draws. Those lurkers who want to follow and engage pretty much have done I think, and those that don't want to won't. No matter what I do they're happy reading my Blog anonymously... and I'm happy to let them get on with it, and for them to use my Blog however the hell they see fit!

The Reader by Edouard Manet - 1861

So what the hell is this Sunday Sermon about then? Well my recent spate of prize draws has brought a veritable influx of new 'followers' to my site. That of course was the aim and indeed the intention of all this, to try and generate more followers, hits and comments. No doubt they've been spurned on by our insatiable human appetite for free stuff, and I'm genuinely over the moon that they've decided to pop along and take a look at my Blog. Even if it is only to read the competitions and then enter them. Because some of them have then gone on to read other articles I've written in the long distant past, enjoyed what they've seen and commented. That's really gratifying for me, that somebody would take the time to go back through my back catalogue and spend some of their time reading my stuff, and then actually engage in the debate... that's why I do this! For those of you who have gone and read some of my articles and commented I thank you, it's always good to see people reading my articles and taking the time to give me their thoughts, no matter how old the post. There's no such thing as threadomancy here, all topic are considered live if you want them to be.

The Reader by Pierre-Auguste Renoir - 1877

However, this sudden influx of followers does leave me with another slightly different conundrum to the one I had a few months back, a completely different puzzle to ponder. How the hell do I ensure that I can capitalise on this influx of new visitors to my Blog? How do I convert some of these 'followers' into 'readers'... and then get them engaging with me and the community that seems to be steadily building here? I mean if all they're after is the 'free stuff' it is unlikely they'll stick around for long enough to read any of my other articles. That means I have a very small window of opportunity to convert them into active readers and members of the community. It is a conundrum that's for sure! Just to be clear though I'm not complaining, as it's a conundrum I want. I know given the level of hits, comments and followers that I get here, that I've actually been very fortunate with this Blog. I'm also really glad my birthday prize draws have proven so popular. I'll let you all into a secret though, I thought I'd be giving this stuff away until early next year... and I guess I might still be in that situation if things calm down, but I somehow doubt it.

The Reader in White by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier - 1857

So to have this many new people flocking to my Blog is a splendid opportunity that I feel I simply must capitalise on. I'm just not too sure how I bloody well do that. When somebody comes to your Blog because they've heard there's a good article to read, or some such reason for visiting the Blog in the first place, there's an implied intent on that visitor to actually engage and read the stuff that I've produced. When people hear there's a lot of really cool loot on offer I guess the reason for visiting my humble corner of the Internet is very different. There are a few tricks I've tried to employ though:

  1. I've tried making the prize draw articles a little bit 'more' than just win free stuff. I've tried making them 'proper' articles, nothing too over the top, but enough to let people know I'm not a bad author and they might enjoy reading some of my other articles.
  2. I've linked to other articles on my Blog in the competition articles I've done, you know reviews, opinion pieces and even the odd interview, that sort of thing. Again this is primarily to convince people that my articles aren't too bad and that it's possibly worth sticking around to read them.
  3. The final trick is that the 'free stuff' that I'm giving away on my Blog just so happens to be the sorts of things I write about and like, there's a synergy there. So in theory these prizes are only going to attract those people who would be interested in the sorts of articles I write any way... in theory! This means I'm hopefully attracting the 'right sort of hobbyist' with these prizes.

So as you can see, there was some thought put into what I was doing, in an attempt to get new readers to this Blog, and hopefully get people contributing to the discussions we have here. I just feel it's not been going all that well.

La Belle Liseuse (The Beautiful Reader) by Léon-François Comerre - Circa 1885

Looking at my stats, something regular readers of my Blog will know I like to do every now and then, this mass influx of new 'followers' hasn't lead to any discernible difference in hits, comments or any other trend I've followed for the past year or so on this Blog. It's clear early on during my birthday prize draws I was converting people who read the Blog already. Those who already read my stuff. Now that has changed, and I appear to be attracting people who have never visited my Blog before, and the results have been... a bit disappointing to say the least. As I say I understand that if you are attracting people to your Blog with the lure of free illicit swag what do you expect? Well I guess I'd expected a few more people to stick around and see why it is all these companies have been willing to actually support my little old Blog, with such awesome prizes, to see what it is that they all see in it as well and what you all see in it too.

La Lecture by Henri Lebasque - 1907

Perhaps that was too much to hope for, perhaps I'm living in cloud cuckoo land, and perhaps maybe I should just be happy with what I have achieved. I more than certain a few of you will tell me to lighten up and be happy I'm doing so well, but again you know me well... and you know I'm unlikely to just let this lie. So what the hell would you lot do? What tricks would you employ, how would you try and convert the masses of new people being attracted to my Blog to actually reading some of my articles. Quite frankly I'm all ears... or eyes as I guess I'll be reading those suggestions. I know not everyone will like what I write about or even how I write, and that's fine. There is though one course of action within those prize draw articles that I have yet to try and employ. It's a tactic I'm not too proud to use, and it's one that in the past has been exceedingly successful when it has been used... and that's begging. Perhaps I should just come right out and ask people to stick around and give me a bit of their time to see if what I write is worth their time. i guess it has to be worth a shot, right? Peace out!


  1. Well I think you've done all you can and as a new follower turned reader, I think you've done well ;-)

    I started following coz of the comps yeah, I'm not afraid to admit my plain greed lol.

    But after looking at the way you write your articles, and the links from TGN also to other articles, I feel I've become a reader.

    There's not really much more ya can do. You write well, with humour and even have a 'thing', being your cats :-P

    People probably just need to actually look more. Apparently people only browse a website/blog for a few seconds and decide whether to stay or move on and I guess some people, enticed by the comps are coming more but still just quick skimming.

    I'm sure if they took the time to read they would definately become more involved.

    (Plus personally, I have always been scared almost to participate in forums/blogs as everyone always seems to know more than you and can shoot ya down! So dont necessarily take it to heart too much)

    1. Tough question. I wasbdrawn in by someone referring to one of your recent articles. i put you in my google reader feed because i liked the topics you address on your blog, some of the less current miniature ranges. That's very cool in my opinion. And I have l spread the word through the small following of our club on facebook. But since I'm not frontline gamer myself, more of a omnivore that follows the beaten path, I rarely feel I have nothing to contribute. I haven't played the games, I don't have the time to paint. All I do is read and disseminate what I think is interesting.

      But it may help you to know that blogs like this are bringing back the itch to blog myself.

    2. I was similar to you DABYX man but I decided to heck and consternation with them. I now really comment and often I am wrong, or I struggle to get my point across but hey it's the in-between discussions that interest me and lead to inspiration.

    3. YES!! I knew I wasn't alone!

      Lets start a timid army of not too sure-ness.
      We shall politely ask thy enemies to let us please be at peace!!

      Seriously though, until I never commented or got involved in anything. Just simply watched and took note.

      Although Im guessing the stats show not as many pageviews as well. But maybe people forget to check for updates and whatnot? ^_^
      I do that too...

    4. @DABYX man, well thanks for taking the time to read. I know not everyone who turns up to my Blog looking to enter a competition is suddenly going to start reading my stuff. To think that is foolish in the extreme. I was just interested to see that so few of you all had bothered to go and read any of my articles that it didn't even lead to a noticeable blip or uplift in hits. As to commenting, if somebody is giving an opinion I'll listen to it, and I'd hope others on here would give the same courtesy I do. Doesn't mean I'm going to agree with you, but I will at the very least try to remain cordial. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion not in my eyes any way. Besides opinions can't be wrong, ill-informed maybe but never wrong.

      @Jur, glad to have you aboard, and thanks for spreading the word to others, it is much appreciated. One of the reasons I started writing this Blog is because people where I live think I'm really good at positively promoting the hobby to other gamers. Getting them to try other games and to mix things up... so the theory was that if I started the Blog I might be able to help others promote obscure or smaller more niche games. It has turned out to be the case, so I'm really pleased with my efforts.

      @Minitrol, well I'm really glad you decided to not only comment on peoples Blogs, but to also start writing your own. You have anopinion and as far as I'm concerned as I said the DABYX man I like hearing opinions, even if they challenge my own. Actually especially if they challenge my own. Because it's when your opinions are tested that you actually learn something about them.

    5. Awww thanks! In all honestly my biggest influences woul;d have to be this blog, Vons (brother of the beard)and Porky's.

      Actually its kinda odd he doesn't chime in here very often , at least I don't thin I have seen him most of your topics mirror his.

    6. @Minitrol, its odd who doesn't chime in? Von or Porky?

    7. Porky. Von's here ALL the time ; P

      I believe it's his business card. "Von: Here All the Time" - (discourse free; informed discourse P.O.A)

    8. I think Porky is probably too busy doing his own stuff to comment on other peoples Blogs. I sadly am often in the same boat as he is. I do read an awful lot of what people write, but I don't always have enough time to comment on it all, which is a shame.

  2. The key questions are: who are your prize draws attracting, and why are you trying to attract them.

    Based on what you wrote (and correct me if I am wrong)the class of people in question are coming here, becoming followers, and then flitting off to some other part of the internet never to return. Presumably the new followers are wargamers since they want the prizes you offer and know this blog exists; therefor, they must be part of your prime audience.

    I would have assumed that your new followers would start reading material on the blog because its relevant to their interests. There should be a way to retain these followers as readers, but how is depended on why they aren't staying.

    It could be that nothing they saw during their brief visit looked worth reading. The cure for that might be more marketing 'pop' in your post summaries, snappier titles, opening with irrelevant pictures of half naked women, etc.

    I hazard to guess that a fair number of these people are "GW hobbyists" who might want a neat miniature, but have no interest in wargaming culture beyond finding new tactics for their Grey Knights. Not much that you offer is going to keep the typical BoLS reader here beyond free stuff.

    Then there is the why of followers. Giving away free stuff is a great way to attract a crowd. Here in the US politicians host picnics and breakfasts to attract voters attention. All of the people who come aren't voters and all of the voters who come aren't going to vote for the guy who gave them a doughnut; but it looks good and it generates attendance for a speech that would otherwise draw few people. You can look at those fly by night followers in much the same light. A lot of followers lends your blog gravitas. Even if a lot of them wouldn't be here if they hadn't been bribed, people will look at your number of followers and lend your writings more weight, which will generate more (interested) followers.

    1. Spiffy I honestly hadn't thought of the 'gravitas' angle. The idea behind the competitons was to try and initially attract some of the lurkers I know I have to actually join and start contributing to the discussions here. I can see I've done that with some of them and I'm really pleased it has worked, because many have actually added greatly to discussions on here already... and the discussions on here are apparently one of the biggest pulls this Blog has when I ask people what they like about it.

      I knew I wouldn't get all of those turning up to the Blog for the competitions to read what I write. I'm not that naive :P But I am a bit disappointed that given the spikes and suchlike that it must be between only 15% to 20% at best that have stuck around to read other articles. Probably closer to 10% though. I was hoping for closer to a third.

      I'd be surprised IF the competitions I've held actually drew in any of the 40k BoLS crowd... well actually I can tell form counting how effective links are that BoLS has been a negligible contributor of new followers. By far and away the biggest net contributor recently was Dakka Dakka, and many of the names of followers who have started contributing are names I've seen on their forums.

      But you are right though, my Blog isn't for 40k fanbois, I'm never going to write a tactics article about using Draigo or Necron scarabs. It's just not me, and besides there are plenty of people out there who do that sort of thing rather well, so why would I just try and parody them?

      As always Spiffy thanks for your considered thoughts, really appreciate you taking the time to comment. :)

  3. It is a good question and honestly I can't see anything else you can do beyond what you have already as there will always be people only here for the swag or don't like your style but like they say you can't please all the people all the time.

    Personally I find your blog to be one of the better I visit and is at that nice stage where it is big with plenty of good articles rather than filler posts which are put out more as a quota filling excercise than for the joy of the blog itself.

    The fact you take the time to reply to all the posts you get as well goes along way as asking an author a question about their article to hear nothing back is the quickest way to kill discussion and possibly the sites community.

    1. As Spiffy said above, I'm not perhaps hitting the right 'nerd' buttons for some of the people I've attracted to the Blog, and I get that I really do. Thing is I'm not suddenly going to start posting pictures of semi nude Victoria's Secrets models. It's just not me. I'd rather post pictures of obscure renaissance masters or little known Belgium impressionists... that's who I am. That probably makes me seem really uncool and tedious to some. In fact I know it does, but I figure if you want to look at pictures of naked ladies on the Internet a wargaming Blog would be the last place you'd start surely? I mean how many free pr0n sites are there on the Internet?

      Plus I know from speaking to some of the lurkers who have emailed me that actually have a good sizable chunk of lurkers who are actually female, so why would I want to alienate them with wet T-shirt photo's of which ever C-list celebrity is popular with the tabloids that week?

      I'm glad you enjoy what I write though, and I'm glad I'm doing enough to bring you back here again and again. You're another commenter who I'm always glad to see posting their thoughts.

  4. interestingly, i have largely stopped reading your articles, despite being a follower. it's not you it's me...
    i dont read the articles on new games any more because it is too depressing for words. there is no way i am going to be able to play in my area because there is no-one to play with, so i'd rather not know what i'm missing.
    i do have to say your opinions on most matters are somewhat (not to say entirely) predictable. while nearly always worded nicely, there tends to be a loy of vitriol against GW and i cant really be bothered with that.
    i greatly enjoy your style and the way you construct articles, but i guess that since all i am ever going to play is 40k (in the conceivable future) i just dont need or want to hear about how backward and crap it is, or how everything else is so much better.
    i do however, come back for this sort of article, which in my opinion, is your strongest suit.

    1. I would expect my opinions to be predictable Atreides, I write enough about them and don't pretend to be anything other than I am. I will though point out that on the whole it's not actually GW I'm most pissy with when it comes to the GW hobby... OK... I'd like to give a piece of my mind to those responsible for 8th Ed Fantasy... BUT on the whole the GW is the GW and people should know what they're going to get with them by now.

      My disappointment with GW comes from a place of love. I feel no malice towards them, I certainly don't want them to falter and fail like some do as that would genuinely make me sad and I think would be a disaster for the hobby. My view of 40k is coloured by the fact it has never been my game. I actually don't mind 40k all that much currently as a system. I think there have been some 'interesting' Codices lately, but that's inevitable towards the end of any edition of any GW wargame. They're written with one eye on the next edition, and often that next edition is what makes them make sense.

      So I'd say vitriol is too strong a word. Especially if you think it's aimed at GW as a company. Some of GW's customers though... yes... yes there is vitriol aimed there for two types of customer predominantly:

      1) The Whinger - You've probably met them. The douche that still turns up to the stores every games night to play games and tell people how crap it all is. How everything is bent and broken. To complain about the annual price increase, to... well you get the point. This person is a total fun sponge and they need to step away from the GW hobby and stop ruining it for those who still enjoy it. I wouldn't turn up to my local GW to play Fantasy or 40K and tell my opponent the game was utterly lame all the way through and tell them to play Freebooter's Fate or Heavy Gear Blitz. These people really piss me off.

      2) The diehard fanbois = The people who believe GW can do no wrong, that the price rise is good for everybody and that paying more money for something that cost significantly less only two days ago will help you become a better hobbyist. That claims everything is perfectly balanced that WFB is now more popular than ever (when sales figures etc. clearly prove it's not). The apologists and liars as I call them. They also do what the whingers do and that's savage other companies products and try and bring people down about it, when those people are enjoying it. Worst of all they've never even played the games they profess to know are rubbish.

      I will never in polite company express an opinion negative to anyone's game of choice, I'll normally just say it's not for me and explain that they really probably don't want to hear my opinion. Only if somebody really presses me will I tell them my thoughts. On my Blog though it is a place for my thoughts. I do rarely talk about GW, and have only recently done so because I know a few of the Whinger types in person and who read my Blog.

      I wasn't annoyed by GW's price rise because it doesn't affect me. Plus it too was wholly predictable, Jesus Christ they've been doing it for over two decades now. You'd think people would be able to work it out by now wouldn't you? Then the following Sunday Sermon was aimed at the GW fanbois who belittle other companies products... you know, to keep it balanced. :P

      I can totally understand though why someone in your position might not want to read my Blog. Because it must be depressing not being able to find opponents to try out some of the awesome games that are out there right now. I don't know if you've tried convincing any of your regular opponents with demo games yourself or not, but there have been plenty on here who have said they were in similar situations to you, who then discovered if they pimped a game they actually got a good response.

  5. Well, I think that personal involvement and courage to talk matters as well. But I think, that you have quite good statistic info about decent readers and followers...
    What to say - just keep the good work and people will surely turn from follow to active members

    1. Yep I think all I can do is keep on doing what I'm doing. The people I wanted my Blog to engage with seem to like what I'm doing, and that's success enough!

  6. Wadda the cats think of alla this?

    1. That's the real concern my good man we've not heard from the cats in a while maybe they were the real drivers of comments? Have the cats and Frontline parted ways have they set up a competing blog?

      Say it ain't so!

    2. No the cats and I haven't parted ways. We had a long hard discussion as to whether the Vore deserved an approved by Cats Award actually... but the Cats decided against it because the design brief was likely to be so divisive.

      They're still around, and Macca might get a monthly regular spot as might Tybalt. I've just got to work it out with them. Tybs wants to write articles about how to kill, and I quote "puny hughmans with teh hobby stuffs". Meanwhile Macavity wants to write more of his philosophical musings on the hobby... I'm closer to agreement with Macca.

      Poppy says she doesn't want to write for my Blog because she doesn't think "hughmans can handel... erm... handull... erm... cope with teh truth", and Dinah says it's all beneath a Princess any way, and where the hell is her smoked salmon, and why do we only have sparkling wine and not Campaign?

  7. From a purely promotional/retail standpoint, the "leechers" as I term them, are dropping by and following purely on the chance that they may gain something physical from their interaction, as opposed to those genuinely interested in your articles ("seeders"). They are not the ones you can hope to convert and it's purely by happenstance that they dropped by, whether through google searches, networking, window-shopping, etc. and they have little to no interest in sticking around.
    You're articles are, for the majority, thought provoking and genuinely well written compared to most and that quality is showing through with your meteoric rise of true followers.
    Speaking for myself, I didn't become a follower until a little while ago, though I've been reading your articles since last September (I believe), and you're at the top of my blogs list for daily reading.
    Essentially what I'm saying is, keep doing what you're doing and the real quality of the people you have attracted will show through.. and they'll stick around to contribute!

    Of course I'm brand new to this whole "writing a blog" thing, so I'm just feeling things out for myself and have little idea of what I'm talking about....

    1. Well you've got yourself a new follower. I'm always wanting to find new Blogs to read. I myself am really new at all of this Blog writing really. And although people think I'm sorted and doing OK, I'm a little less certain to be brutally honest. Maybe by the end of year two I'll be confident in what I produce and how it is all doing, but right now I still believe I'm feeling my way into it all.

      As for your points, you are of course right, or I believe you are right. There is little I can do to convince some of these new followers (I think the phrase leeches might be a bit strong) to stick around and read my stuff. I guess I can only hope that they are at the very least aware of my Blog now, and that if somebody brings it up they'll be aware of it. So form a brand awareness point of view it's probably done quite well. Cheers.


  8. I would like to say that you have turned me onto the world of blogging. I was lured by the prizes, but I stayed for the content. Not only am I reading your blog when I get the chance, I have also started reading and following some of the other blogs that you have quick linked on the side. I would like to say thanks for opening this new community to me, I just wish I had more input to give you more feedback.

    1. Well I'm really glad the prizes lured you then. Clearly you're part of the 10% who have stuck around to see what I've written... and I'm grateful to you. I'm also glad I've opened you up to the world of Blogs. On the whole I find the Blogging community to be far more cordial than the debates you'll find on most forums.

      I think its because a forum is sort of like a bar brawl, who ever punches the hardest or shouts the loudest gets the most attention. So the guys who calmly sit around the edge of the bar shaking their heads at the spectacle get ignored. Despite what they say being normally far more intelligent and sage. I read a thread on Warseer recently and was amazed to see two contributors literally being ignored completely by the angry mob shouting at each other. Yet they were the only two who had anything relevant or interesting to say.

      Meanwhile on a Blog the behaviour is often very different. It's almost like someone has invited you into their home. Common courtesy and manners dictates that you don't start a fist fight in somebodies living room. So people who participate in conversations on Blogs tend to be better behaved, either because they're more civil people in the first place, OR social Internet conventions forces them to be.

      Any who thanks for stopping by, your thoughts are always more than welcome.

  9. The popularity of your blog is intrinsically linked to the games it is about, so maybe the percentage of new readers is merely a reflection of the interest in the games themselves?

    You don't exactly cover "mainstream" games, in fact you are continually moving farther from the status quo. "Back in the day" you did articles about Homachine, MoFaux, etc, but now you are covering more "niche" games, like Bushido, Freebooter's Fate, Heavy Gear Blitz and the like.

    Maybe folks turned up the free stuff (cause we don't care what the free stuff is, just that it is free), had a quick look at your blog and didn't see anything they really knew about, and moved on.

    I don't think you can really rectify this in any way, as your articles are about games that interest you.

    Obviously writing style, personal opinion, and the like are going to be a factor, but I think the content itself is the most important.

    If you just want to ramp up comments, you could just do a few "heated" opinion pieces, and get some nerd rage up in here.

    May I suggest titles like, "All 40k gamers are douche bags and all their girlfriends (which they don't have) are unfulfilled", "Warmachine: it's pokemon cards with models", or "Why I hate Phil Kelly, and 10 reasons Grey Knights are not OP".

    Or, as suggested previously, just go for provocative titles with pictures of scantly clad women. May I suggest a series called "Hobby Slut", where promiscuous women review different games, in a very flirtatious and insinuating manner, with pictures of them in their underwear.

    Or you can just do what everyone else does and post 40k "rumors", which are just some shit you made up.

    In all seriousness, just keep doing what you're good at; game reviews, opinion pieces, industry interviews, and exclusives.

    (p.s. I own that Hobby Slut idea, so don't even think about stealing it. Imma make a million bucks with that).

    1. The popularity of my Blog being intrinsically linked with the popularity of the games I write about - check I'd agree with that, but Goven the volume of those turning up I'd perhaps expected more to look around the place.

      Not covering mainstream games - Again check, but see answer to question one. Besides looking at the hits my Infinity, Freebooter's Fate and recently my Heavy Gear articles have taken I'd suggest they're actually way more popular than even I thought they were.

      As for people turning up for the free stuff and not seeing anything they recognised, yeah check that one too. I don't expect as I keep saying this Blog to be for everyone. In fact I'd prefer it if it wasn't, because if it was I'd be writing about 40K and that doesn't interest me right now. Although when 6th Ed comes out my geek brain trust are going to assemble to break it apart and see what we think of it.

      As you well know I try to steer as clear of nerd rage as I can... although to be fair, sometimes certain things just grind my gears!!! :P

      As for provocative titles, apparently the last Sunday Sermon about Games Workshop killing off their games was deliberately inflammatory and hate filled according to one reader, who felt the need to tell me HoMachine would die because it's "F@$%ing rubbish". So I still wind up over zealous GW fanbois, and I'm sure my next HoMachine article will upset a few people in that camp as well. I will be covering a few more HoMachine and MoFaux articles over the next month or two and I'll also be putting up some hopefully interesting and different Infinity articles for everyone.

      Hobby Slut sounds like a grand idea... although it probably needs to be a pay per view website of it's own!!! I'm willing to go in as a business partner on that one with you. ;)

      Of course I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing and that's writing about the things that interest me and keep me in the hobby. I'm not suddenly going to up sticks and do 40k netlists because I find it boring. Besides, they tend to give people false hope that they'll be able to win with them, when the reality is if you have no tactical skill and your target acquisition is poor you'll still get obliterated by a savvy opponent.

      As always Bishop, thanks for the chuckles. :)

  10. I can safely say that without your prize draws I would not have known your blog existed.
    The draws alerted me, via Twitter/TGN, of your blog. I came to check out the prizes, didn't win any but stayed anyway as I liked your reviews.
    I've drifted into your Sunday Sermons and now I've even made a non-competition related comment.
    I think that you may have to check the settings on your servers because I cannot believe that my mere presence hasn't trigger alarms let alone statistical spikes! ;)
    Keep doing what you're doing but try and get your name 'out there' more. Maybe do a guest spot or two on some of the popular podcasts.

    1. PMSL

      I'm glad my competitions brought you to this Blog, that after all was their explicit aim. I'm doubly glad it brought people to my Blog who like it, and who take the time to comment on it.

      As for promoting the Blog, it's a little difficult to do, and quite frankly many forums etc get arsey when you post links to stuff. Warseer has pulled threads that other people have linked to my Blog and issued warnings for instance. They're a great big bunch of dicks over there by all accounts, who can't take any criticism of GW. If that is true then I can see why it's considered the arsehole of the Internet.

      So you have to be careful as far as I'm concerned not to piss people off. I thought for instance informing Warseer users of these prize draws would be OK. After all I'm offering their users the chance to win cool free stuff. The admin pulled it and issued a warning. The funny thing is I got virtually 0 hits off of Warseer, meanwhile in the same period when I hadn't posted anything at Dakka Dakka myself I got 300+ hits.

      I find the best way to promote my Blog is to let my readers do it for me. When one of you lot reads an article I write that you love, and post it on forums etc I get lots of new readers and followers off of it. When I do it, the hits are negligible and not worth the effort or hassle.

      Oh and congratulations on writing a non-competition related comment... and thanks.

  11. Couple of thoughts, mostly related to how I got here.

    If I recall correctly, I did a search for reviews on Infinity (which are surprisingly scarce). My houghts at the time:
    • Interesting review
    • Lovely masthead – clearly puts in effort – nice variety of interests
    • I have to come back here

    But I didn’t return for about a month. I was searching for a review on Freebooter’s Fate and had another hit.
    • Hmmm, another interesting review
    • I think I read the Dread Fleet “dissection” and was intrigued and amused
    • Decided I must not forget the blog again

    Over a period of about a month and a half, I went from remembering to check once a week to now it is my habit to check several times daily, monitor your sleep habits, diet, and petrol consumption (BTW, more fiber, dude).

    I take from this that it takes a long time for any given site to become a habit because the internet is a like drinking from a fire hose with a daily output, even for our niche hobby, that dwarfs my ability to keep up even if I had 24hrs to devote to it.

    We also have limited time so to start reading yours had to displace reading something else. I’m not sure what that threshold is or how consistent it is reader to reader.

    So repeated exposure to remember AND passing a threshold where a reader is willing to dump someone else for FLG to become a habit (regular reader).

    How that is achieved I can only guess.

    Perhaps more pointers from other forums are the ticket. This takes a lot of work, but every time there is a thread on TMP, TGN, or Lead Adventures forum that is even remotely tangential to one of your blog posts there has to be a post that links to your blog.

    Or perhaps other blogs that are of a philosophical bent (are there any?) with pointers to your blog.

    But either of those just gets you to repeat visits, have just started thinking about the threshold issue.

    1. Yeah my Dr's tell me I need to eat more fiber and fruit. Or even fruit and fiber. lol.

      You raise an interesting point though about how long it takes to convert people into readers or followers. I accept that it's not likely to be a Eureka moment that causes people to start reading my Blog, but more a series of pleasing experiences that keeps people coming back over multiple times until eventually they think what I'm doing if worth their effort and time to read regularly.

      Also I think you've highlighted an issue that I have often thought must exist. There are so many Blogs and cool websites out there that quite frankly we're all vying for a piece of everyone's time. And in some cases we're bound to come off worse, and in others we're bound to come off better.

      But fundamentally you are right, there is bound to be displacement activity if somebody decides to start reading my Blog. They'll be not doing something they'd normally do if they start following what I'm writing. That's a difficult sell in this hobby I guess, because there are always games to be played, mini's to be painted and other awesome Blogs to read.

      So perhaps drip, drip water erosion like exposure to my Blog is the way to go. How I achieve that is anybodies guess, because I've found authors who post links to their own Blog tend to get ignored or even worse negative press. So I'm not too sure how I play that anymore.

      Any way thanks for your thoughts, you've given me much to ponder.

  12. I appreciate all of your blogging advice as someday I'd like to start a wargaming blog of my own. It all just seems too daunting as yet.

    1. Jordan, if you ever want any specific advice I'll be glad to give it like I always am. You can email me at:


  13. I came because of freebooter´s review; I hyped because od surveys and I stood because of good articles. Anyway, even if I´m a hardcore miniature gamer, I don´t spend much time browsing internet about this topic.

    I like your blog and I think your articules aren´t superficial at all. My problem for writing here is that I´m not english and I can´t speak or write this language too well.

    Keep on!

    1. Anyway, I´m a little ashamed at the fact of massive-replying the same day than I "asked for a ticket" in your surveys... (-_-U)

    2. El cuentacuentos, don't worry about your English, it's perfectly understandable, and thanks for taking the time and effort to comment. It is appreciated. I'm glad you like my articles and my Blog, as I do work pretty darn hard to get my articles up to standard. So it is nice when people appreciate what I do, as it takes silly amounts of research, tome and effort. All for no monetary gain!!! :P

      Still I enjoy doing it, and good luck with the competitions. Although I think I might need a much bigger bag for the Sedition Wars competition!!! :)

  14. Now seems as good a time as any to chime in I would imagine.

    I have been a lurker for many, many moons now quietly reading through here and I must say I do enjoy your articles. I will openly admit that before the competitions for me it was a case of "I'd have to create another account for another forum/blog that will add to my ever increasing online presence around the intermawebs blah-blah.." Excuses basically.

    Obviously the competitions gave me that tipping point to register so fear not - Frontline Gamer will grow!
    On top of that, we've had the odd conversation over the Infinity Forums and we've had brief conversations a few times at Maelstrom Games (N7 Hoodie) - So it's only polite I chime in!

    Keep up the good work mate!

    1. Aha... so that's who you are!

      No I understand that a lot of people are just happy reading my articles and that's all. I'm cool with that I really am. I was also clear that my stats show me that early on in the competition the people they were attracting were clearly all lurkers as there was no publicity of them.

      I have a few things up my sleeve planned anyway for the loyal readers and followers of this Blog. ;)

  15. I've been a reader for a while, but never a follower. I changed that recently and you're blog has been the last push to start my own, only Tues cover this Hobby, the rest of the working days get other hobbies and/or thoughts.

    I initialy found you while looking for some stuff on Infinity and your posts are intelligent and well done. So I decided to read more... coming across 'The Golden Age of Gaming'.

    I passed that link on to the rest of the world.

    You're work earns the followers, for what ever the reason they pause to look here specificaly, you can take feather to the cap knowing it's you're work that keeps us here.


    1. Thanks Dozer, it's really kind of you to say that, especially when there are so many very well written Blogs out there.


  16. Hey there,

    I think the fact that you are asking the question shows why you have such a strong base of support online- you want people to read your articles, and you make sure that your articles are up to a high level of quality to achieve. So the first thing to point out, really, is that I, and I'm sure many others, really appreciate it (as I'm sure you're aware.)

    I only found this blog over the last 2 months (through Paincakes as it happens) and one of the first things I noticed was the sheer volume of articles on here- that's a hell of a lot of work you've gone to! What it has meant is that I set time aside to go through a few articles in the week, as well as keeping up to date with your current articles. I will say that I haven't commented on previous posts for a few reasons- firstly, I don't t comment unless I have something pertinent to say, secondly "Netiquette" usually states that articles have a life-span of a round 2 weeks- after that, discussion has ended, so it's good to hear that on Frontline this isn't the case.

    I know that I'm just one of your readers- but hopefully this goes some way to answering the comments you made in the post. As one of the "new recruits," I am by nature more of a lurker than a commenter (I do follow, and read, a lot of blogs, but rarely comment) and I am slowly reading through some of your previous articles, it just takes time- mainly because what you've written is of a high enough quality to be worth spending the time reading it :)

    In my own experience, I rarely get comments to posts, and I sent e-mails out to some followers asking why? The most pertinent reply was this- "It's easy to comment when someone has a different opinion, or when something is poorly written. When you take time over it, and present different viewpoints and/or reasoning, it becomes more difficult."

    Finally, a piece of advice you gave on your Sunday Sermon about successful blogging- don't worry about the statistics! Trying to get people online to actively participate is like herding cats. You are good at it (presumably through practice?) and it is appreciated.

    Thank you- as long as you keep writing, I'll keep reading (and maybe once a month commenting;) )

    1. Thanks Tenzing, much appreciated. All articles and topics are fair game as far as I'm concerned on this Blog, no matter how old. I actually think that's genuinely one of the Internets strongest aspects, the interaction it offer over a longitudinal period of time. This Blog is a store of the things that happened in my hobby life, the thoughts I and others have had. Thoughts don't die, they mature and change, and when someone reopens a debate I come at it again from a fresh perspective and I really enkoy that aspect of this Blog and the Internet in general... even if it winds Internet Warriors up no end... actually that just seems like another good reason to do it for me. :P

      Keep on commenting my good man, all thoughts welcome!!!

  17. Heh, I remember, when I read your sermon on turning readers into followers, how I thought your mention about spanish readers reading by blocks of backlogs was accurate, or at least it was, in my case. Back then I decided to send you mail... though, of course, I never did (damned procastinating :P). That's the reason I've never started a blog, too, I'm pretty sure I would write for some time, then drop it, then write again... So, since I think that one of the things a blog needs to work is to be constant, which unfortunately I'm not, I've never taken the plunge.

    This time, though, I ran into another problem, and one that I haven't actually seen mentioned yet. Like a lot of people have said, I hadn't become follower primarily for two reasons: one, because it meant registering yet another account just for this, and two, because I only comment when I think I have something meaningful to say, and that doesn't happen very often.

    But this time, I found a third reason why I was avoiding to register... I felt guilty. It might sound ridiculous, but registering to get freebies just didn't seem right (even though I've been "unofficially" following your blog more or less since your finecast reviews days). In fact, that's the reason why I didn't register during your Krull giveaway. Of course, when I saw the Freeboter's fate giveaway my reluctance melted away, as I had been really wanting to give it a good look ever since your reviews. So I guess in the end greed eventually overcomes guilt, but I could see how that would be a deterrent for some people.

    Anyway, as I said, I'm not much of a comments person, but it's also true that I've found myself wanting to write something on occasions (mostly about your many editorials/opinion pieces, and game reviews, I'm not really interested in individual miniatures reviews), so I guess I'll be writing more from now on.

    One last thing: I don't think you should worry about how to get people to read you, I'm pretty sure the number of readers will keep as long as you keep doing what you've been doing from the beginning, and that's producing those awesome articles you write. You really have a top-notch blog known even among non-english speakers, and that's no small thing I'd say.

    Cheers, and see you around :) .

    1. That's high praise indeed. I'm also more than aware of my non-English following. In fact I get way more hits from non-English speaking nations than I do English speaking nations. Considering the UK and US are the hobby hubs of the world, not to mention Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada... honestly it's surprising.

      I get a lot of hits from Germanic / Scandinavian nations. But my Spanish and French contingent has started to steadily grow these past two months. So that's quite pleasing for me to witness. If non-native speakers are flocking to read what I write my belief is I must be doing something right.

      As to the guilt thing about the prizes... actually I've had a few emails about that. Well... the prize draws were actually primarily aimed at you lurkers. I knew you were there, I knew you were reading the Blog, and I wanted to bring you into the fold and get you discussing hobby stuff with the rest of us. I really want this place to be somewhere people can have a bit of a dialogue about the hobby without it descending into a flame war. Hopefully that is the case.

      I'd urge you to comment as well, the more the merrier I say... plus given recent events you might even win a prize. ;)

    2. I must say, I find what you say about having more non-English readers surprising too. And I can't quite see an explanation for it either.
      On the other hand, I'm all for your aim of turning this blog into a place of healthy discussion (which effectively is way more than can be said for most forums). And, even though most often such blogs end up being a kind of "preach onto the choir" kind, it happily hasn't happened here. Mostly, I think, because you do a good job of being even-handed, being willing to see, and even explore, both sides of an argument, even if on different articles (which, I believe, is your blog's most distinguishing feature).
      And don't worry, as I said, now that Pandora's box has been opened, I'll be sticking around, even without the freebies :P.

    3. I'm glad to hear it. I too am somewhat surprised my Blog attracts more non-english speakers than it does English speakers. Obviously English speakers make up the largest single language chunk, but nevertheless it's something I'm really quite proud of. That my Blog is welcoming enough that non-English speakers feel able and willing to come here and read my stuff and contribute to the debate.


    4. Well, at least it must surely contribute to gathering quite a wide and encompassing opinion sample on the hobby :) .

      P.S.: I'm afraid I'm not quite getting the hang on directly replying to a comment, instead of posting a brand new comment... :S

    5. lol.

      Don't worry about it. when comments are at the bottom of the page it can get confusing as to whether you've hit reply to the overall article or the comment above. I still make that mistake occasionally.

      As to giving me a wider sample of the hobby it really, really does. That's one of the reasons I try and encourage all the non-English speaking readers to comment. Even if their English is poor we can usually understand what they're trying to say. It's one of the English languages strong points, even when severely broken meaning is often contained within the individual words not how those words are structured to form sentences.

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