Sunday, April 20, 2008

Autumn Thunder Turns One!

Time really flies when you're having fun. It's hard to believe that it's been a year since my first post on Autumn Thunder. It all started with a man, a bootlegged copy of photoshop, and a dream. Now Autumn Thunder is a multi-hundred dollar enterprise which has earned me four free beers from people who read the site. Capital!

Perhaps many of you reading this post are in the same position I was a little over a year ago - you have an urge to join the college football blogosphere but are unsure as to how to take the first step. My advice? Just take the plunge, baby!

If you're going to make that first post sometime soon, I hope that the lessons I've picked up this year can help you. Here's what I learned during my first year of semi-pro blogging:

The most important rule of blogging in the Michigan blogosphere is knowing that Brian Cook is your personal Jesus. It's true! The man can triple your traffic for a day or two with a single link, and mad traffic is to be had if you can concoct something interesting enough to make his sidebar. Because of his tireless work and his undisputed reign as the best blog in our community, I humbly and willingly accept the fact that one man can largely determine how my work is recieved by others.

So, aside from that, here are a few other quick Do's and Don'ts I would suggest to a newbie blogger:

1) Have a shtick. Your site is a brand, and people will make return visits when they've identified something that you do which they like. Humor, inspiring prose, photoshop skills, analytical prowess - pick one that you can present well on a regular basis and run with it.
2) Comment on other blogs. Aside from being an active member in the blogosphere, the links you leave in your comments may indirectly bring traffic to your site. How serendipitous!
3) Give props to other bloggers when they post genius work. We don't do it for the money, folks (well...some people are so good that they can) so when you see that a colleague has put up first rate post, let them know that you've noticed and that you admire their efforts. It means a lot to me when I get a congratulatory note from The MZone or in my inbox.
4) Stick to it. Yes, posting 3-4 times a week is sometimes a challenge. But it's quite rewarding, kind of like getting up at 6 AM to run each day. I have mucho respect for the bloggers who play ball week in and week out - and the utmost respect for those who keep it going strong during the nine-month barren wasteland of the off-season.


1) Regurgitate material from official news sources. Since most people who are active blogosphere readers also read the Freep, The Daily,, re-writing the work of others is both lazy and lame. Blogs are great because of their original thoughts and opinions.
2) Give up after a few months of low traffic. It takes time to build a decent daily following! Though the first month or two may be filled with double digit days, if you post quality material, people will check the site more often than you'd think. If you blog it, they will come.
3) Post and ghost. It's bad blog etiquette to routinely go without posting for long periods of time without notice to your readers. It's one of the surest ways to get deleted from another blogger's blogroll or deleted from a reader's list of daily bookmarks.

I'm no pro by any means, and I still have a lot to learn about amateur sports blogging (like how to get those cool text boxes inside my posts.). But for now, I just want everyone who reads this to know I'm grateful and flattered that you find my work worth your valuable time, and if you have the urge to start your own Michigan football blog, there's no time like the present.

Go Blue!


Reed said...

Whoah - new banner! Dig it.

Congrats on the first year, CC. You've done great work and rightfully maintained your beautiful bias.

Following up on your #4, I keep telling friends who've delved into writing that blogging is truly its own reward. You're not going to get rich. You're not going to become famous. You're not even going to get laid. But it's a heckuva a lot of fun, and if you stick with it, you can build a following. Or not. At least you're making something that's your own.

Here's hoping you get a chance to cover a triumphant Michigan season very soon! I can't wait for the inevitable Sam The (Heis)Man video.

Andrew said...

Congratulations. I have been reading for the past few months and love it. The photoshop is great and I love the comments about you in the left sidebar. Keep up the good work.

Sgt. Wolverine said...

It's been great to have you around for the past year, CC! Keep up the hilarious work.

And it was great to meet you last season.

phillip said...

One additional "must":

Plenty of posts featuring Bill "Dollaz" Martin. Those will just never get old.

Dex said...

Congratulations on one year in business to the best photshopper on the Internet.

kowisja said...

Don't #3 appears to be pointed at RBUAS. I miss him

The Girl said...

Congrats CC!! Love the blog - I love the fact that you have our blog linked!
I love the photoshop!! Keep up the good work!


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