Aftermath:, a Year Later

 Welcome in.

Much Love.

Chris (Wekapipo) here.

Thanks for coming in and celebrating one year of articles with me.

Before I continue, if you enjoy my work you can follow me on my socials of your choice. 

A Year's Journey from WotVFFBE

My mobile game just celebrated its 3rd anniversary and it's crazy how I'm celebrating my 1st year around the same time. Within that time I managed to publish about 50 articles, garner what I think is a reasonable amount of views, and generally even though not everything was well received, I was happy with a lot of the content I put out. I got to do a lot of the content I wanted, which is mainly cube and some stuff related to the non gaming aspects of Magic like community building and trading. There's still a good number of these topics and I'm hoping to eventually get these out before I burn out. But until then, expect me to keep churning out these articles.

This is a reflection of my 1 year journey detailing the ups and downs and future of where I'm going with this blog. There's two goals with this post. The first is that it is a review for myself to see what worked and didn't work. Second, it is a window into what goes on for anyone who wants to take the journey to become a small time writer starting from nothing. For anyone who wasn't aware, this is my first time writing outside of an academic environment. I work in education and was looking to  challenge myself to generate some sort of side money from my own creation. The journey has been fun to say the least.

The Downs

The journey to get to this point wasn't hard as I just needed to wait and technically I would have made it to to one year. But we don't do that here and I tried my best to actively post something every week. Honestly didn't think I would make it this far either as this became an extra responsibility that I didn't need. Very early on I could already feel the challenge of writing these articles and was anticipating burnout that would lead me to stop. This was close to happening as I had several instances of health issues that kept me from even being able to type. These are noticeable if you've been following me for a long time as there are months where I only was able to publish a couple articles. It was during these trying times that I've been tempted to use AI to help me pump out more articles, but in my infinite laziness and preference to write all of my content, I avoided it. 

Another issue that really put a damper was Reddit. Reddit is one of the best tools I had available for promoting and pushing my content. It is the #1 driver of traffic to this website. Not being able to post there is a death sentence for my growth. What was happening was Reddit being weird and deleting my posts without notifying anyone. At first I thought no one interested in my post, which happens since I have had bad weeks, but when it became several weeks in a row, there was a concern. Then for the longest time, I thought I was shadowbanned, but realized my posts were being caught in the spam filter. This ultimately forced me to change how I was setting up my posts and hasn't been an issue since.

Achievements and Highlights

Originally I had set a goal that I would try to get a couple hundred views per month because of my experience with Youtube and how little traffic my videos would get even when I tried to promote them. I assumed that people were less inclined to read content written by an amateur vs watching a video. Then I learned how wrong I was. This small success demonstrated to me that there is a small audience that cares enough to see something I made, which invigorated my drive to create more.

The first big milestone was when I put out the article on Whirler Rogue, which garnered about 700ish views in its first week. It was probably within the first 5 articles that I put out and it did exponentially better than my articles up to then, which were only getting 10ish views. This helped me better temper my expectations of what I am doing and what I can be doing. The community reception from all of you was overwhelmingly positive and created fairly interesting conversations. This would also serve as a template for an article series, which I still make when the Magic news is slow. This article would be my best performing article for months and was eventually surpassed by multiple articles, most of which were posted last month (March 2023). 

The next big accomplishment for me was the release of my Boros Aggro guide. The archetype is one of my favorite to play and is a dominant contender within my own cube. This translated into my primer as it was about 10K words or so, but writing it felt like a breeze. It wasn't as well received, which was disappointing since I put a lot of heart into it. It did demonstrate to me the importance of understanding your audience, as a small minority actually want to read something this long. I still plan on maintain this article series as I always wanted a more indepth building guide to archetypes, but I'm going to take my time putting them out. More recently, this article has managed to find its way on the front of the google search engine.

It'll be some time but eventually I had my first article to hit 1000 views. It was my guide on constructing a cube. I remember how stoked I was when I saw how quickly the views were piling on surpassing the Whirler Rogue article then reaching 1000. I ended up doing a small give away to celebrate this moment and haven't done so since. 

After this, I had some minor success and started declining for a couple of months due to the Reddit issue. As soon as I solved the problem I ended up having my biggest month to date. In the month of February 2023, I managed to hit over 7000 views. It was during this time where I was releasing the Kamigawa retrosepctive articles with each of them doing really well ( all of them broke the previous record in quick succession) and my current record holder being among them. This was the energy I needed for myself. It showed that there was interest even though I had a weird rut and that I need not be dependent on the release of new sets. 

Lastly, my biggest accomplishment is being on the front page of Google search engine. One of my biggest concerns was always that I had to promote myself and rely heavily on Reddit. This was heavily subjected to the whims of the MTG news cycle which included planned things like set reveals and announcements, but also unplanned things like leaks (or the Pinkertons). I generally plan my content a week ahead of the release and when these occurrences happen I end up opting to delay my content to maximize the reach. Google putting me on the first page helps alleviate this problem in the long run.

In the large scheme of everything, these accomplishments mean little , but for myself, they remain an important milestone and I hope to surpass these in time.

Concerns and Adjustments

One of the biggest issues, I realized I had early on was what content people actually want to see while remaining mostly cube focused. I've been tempted multiple times to veer off the cube route because it would have probably been better for growth, the problem is I just don't like the other formats as much and there's people better than me already covering this. I did try to overlap with commander cube articles by doing the commander cube primers but they weren't performing well and overlapped with a lot of what I was already doing. Thus moving on from this, I'm opting to double down on cube content and anything I think is relevant to all Magic player like trading and traveling. 

With this in mind, another issue I've struggled with is growing my presence on the internet and building an identifiable audience. I know you guys (and girls and beebles) are reading this, I have no idea how to communicate with you. In response, I've built multiple accounts on different platforms and nothing is really taking hold. This was noticeable when I tried to do a giveaway of a couple DMU packs and I had only a handful of people interested. It could entirely be me, which I can accept. However the general reception to my post, lead me to believe otherwise. If anyone can give advice for growing on these platforms I'd appreciate it, but I'm stumped on this one. This won't take away my time from writing, but this is a problem I am actively trying to solve.

Though this may come as downside for some, I have been thinking about cutting down the size of my articles. Originally I used to enjoy digging in an really going deep down and then I realized I'm writing 20K words like "Bro, you're doing too much. Ain't nobody wanting to read that." This has cause several problems. I barely proofread as is, but have been making a more conscious effort to do so after receiving feedback from you guys. The long articles are a nightmare to do and I end up getting careless after a while. This hurts the quality of my content and damages your enjoyment. This also affects engagement as these articles can drag and it stops being enjoyable. Taking these into account, I am planning and have been cutting down the lengths of my articles. There will still be the longer form articles, but it would be the primers as those need the detail to help people understand the concept and structures of what they want to create.

Tied to this as well is my plan to go back and patch up articles that are either outdated or too confusing. 

The End Step

Thank you for making this far with me and I'm hoping to continue this into another year. I hope this gives you guys some insight to what is going on at my end. I've said all I wanted to say in the article already. If you guy have questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments below. I've been getting Indian spam bots telling me how helpful and life changing I've been to them, so please help change their lives too.

Outside of blog writing, I've been also working on my YouTube channel running a general magic podcast with my friends and making YouTube shorts about cube. It's been an interesting endeavor and I plan on continue working on it, but I don't find it as enjoyable as writing these articles for a variety of reasons. If you want to take a look, just click this link here.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Please leave a comment or complaint below, I like the interaction. If you want to support me, please consider heading over to Patreon, ad money is kinda low, but it's currently the only way to maintain the upkeep for domain name. Thanks.