If you host independently (or otherwise have some service that's affected by visitor numbers), there is a good chance we will wreck your site.
Longtime netizens will recognize this as the Slashdot effect, wherein a large site overwhelms a smaller one with traffic. Even Matticus, who can handle a lot of hits, has crashed this year due to WoW.com links, thus inspiring the name of this article during a back-channel discussion.
To paraphrase Arnold Toynbee, we are a large friendly dog in a small room. Every time we sniff your posts and see something we like (...that did not come out the way I expected), we wag our tail and knock your server over. So before you ask us for a link, take a realistic look at the traffic you're prepared to handle. A spike that shoves your site offline will make it tough for visitors to remember to come back; they'll click over, get the site error, and often not remember to try again.
Sometimes, depending on the subject matter, your traffic may not spike all that much. However, we do apologize in advance if you happen to get linked on a day Blizzard releases patch notes or whatever.
The easiest way to make us /facepalm is to jump up and down howling that you haven't been linked.
There are a number of reasons why we may not link you, even if you've sent in a request:
- What you wrote may not be relevant to an article we're working on.
- What you wrote may be completely relevant to an article that was published recently, or one that's in the queue without the writer around to add it.
- Most commonly, we just got swamped, and a writer who could have made use of your link didn't see it.
- Your site is riddled with spelling and grammatical mistakes and our commenters would find it annoying.
- Your site is full of sexual images, cussing, or other profane content, and we have absolutely no desire to be bothered with you.
- On a more personal note, if you've ever been hateful to another blogger and I find out about it, you will never get a link from me.
Because we get so many submissions that are nothing more than just a link, yours will stand out if you include a short blurb on what your post is about, or if you think a particular class columnist could use it. Remember -- we want to link good posts! Don't make it time-consuming for us to figure out what you wrote!
The second easiest way to make us /facepalm is to jump up and down howling that you did get linked.
We don't like getting harassed because you didn't want any attention directed to your publicly available post on a publicly available blog or forum. If you put it on the internet, by definition whatever you wrote isn't a private sentiment.
We link people because we think they wrote something cool or interesting, not to get them in trouble. That said, we're not clairvoyant, and we don't know if what you wrote is going to get you in trouble. Many people on the WoW.com team are members of social sites that allow members to "lock" posts to members of a community. If a post gets locked by the poster, we interpret that to mean it's not fair game for a link. If a post doesn't get locked, it's available to anyone who's reading the community whether they're a member or not. And if you really don't want something linked but you're writing on an otherwise public or semi-public site, talk to your community members about what you do and do not want publicized. 99% of the time, it was someone else in the community who sent it to us because they thought it was cool and we agreed.
Bottom line; don't put anything on the internet that you wouldn't want your mother reading.
Don't panic if your traffic plateaus.
Most sites eventually settle into traffic patterns that reflect the true audience for their material. Individual bloggers typically cover one spec of one class, or at most one class, because it's difficult and time-consuming to write fluently about multiple classes. However, this does restrict the potential audience for your blog; if you're writing about, say, Holy Paladins, then Affliction Warlocks are unlikely to reach your site via a Google hit, or be interested in guides you produce. It's not personal -- they're just not part of your audience. Your traffic will not always look like a steadily rising squiggly line on a graph. If you produce good material, help people access and understand quality information, and keep building a great archive, don't fret about your numbers. You're doing your job.
Rome wasn't built in a day, and you're unlikely to go from a few pageviews/day to 50K in a month, or 2 months, or even 6 months. Keep at it, and we're here to help.