Two of the most popular digital pastimes these days are gaming and blogging. It goes without saying, therefore, that a gaming blog can be a powerful thing. Get it right and it can generate plenty of traffic and even start earning you a little money on the side. Of course, being such a popular topic means there are plenty of gaming blogs out there, so there is no room for error. Here are some pointers to launching a gaming blog that will become a useful resource with loyal followers.
[Updated] How To Start a Gaming Blog Step by Step Guide 2023
Choose your niche
Today, the world is massively segmented. Starting a blog about “gaming” will be about as successful as one about “cooking” or “cars.” You stand a far better chance of success if you focus on a specific niche. So just as someone might create a vegan cookery blog, or a 1960s muscle cars blog, you need to decide what aspect of gaming to home in on.
There’s plenty to choose from so follow your heart. It might be 80s retro games, or casino games like roulette and blackjack, or mobile eSports like Vainglory and Clash Royale. These are just a few examples of sectors that are enjoying particular popularity and growth at the moment, but there are lots of other segments within gaming too such as sports, social gaming, mobile games and so on. The really important thing is to choose one about which you have knowledge and a genuine passion.
Get it set up
Actually setting the blog up is the easiest part of all as long as you take a step by step approach. The first thing on your list will be to register a domain name and hosting account using a site like GoDaddy. It costs only a few dollars per year. Next, decide on the platform builder you will be using. There are tools like Wix and Blogger that you can use to set something up for next to nothing, but by far the most popular tool is WordPress.
This is the platform that powers an incredible 30 percent of the entire internet, and if the logic that 650 million people can’t be wrong is not compelling enough, then you can also take the following factors into account:
- It is completely free
- It is well supported
- It is user friendly
- It is robust
- It is customisable
- It has great SEO
Think SEO from the start
If you want the blog to earn you money, you need to think ahead. Your blog needs to be SEO optimised in order to generate plenty of traffic and rank well on the search engine results page. You might think that this is something you can deal with later once it is up and running, but all you will be doing is making more work, aggravation and expense for yourself. Investing up front in some professional assistance will be quicker, easier and cheaper than bringing someone in to do these things retrospectively at a later date.
So what does this actually involve? SEO is, of course, a topic in its own right, but from the perspective of setting up a gaming blog, these are the key areas you need to keep in mind:
Your blog needs to look inviting and encourage visitors to explore further. That means a welcoming, clear and uncluttered homepage that has plenty of hooks and calls to action to ensure visitors are engaged from the get go. It also means simple drop downs that are easy to navigate.
- Technical SEO
This is the area concerned with the “fiddly” bits of SEO that consultants are so good at. It’s aspects like meta tags, url slugs, alt text for images and all those other small details that mean so much to the Google search bots.
- Mobile friendliness
It’s a mobile first world that we are living in, and if your blog is not mobile optimised, then you can forget about getting serious traffic or ranking well on the search engines. Google uses the mobile version of the site first and foremost for indexing purposes. However, it’s worth remembering that pleasing Google means pleasing visitors and vice versa. Regardless of what the search engine algorithm says, if most people are visiting your blog from a mobile platform, then it goes without saying that the site needs to render properly on a mobile screen, buttons need to work properly, and so on.
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According to road safety campaigners, speed kills. In the online world, slow speed kills a website. It’s a simple thing, but is so often overlooked. Site owners sometimes assume that in this world of 4G and super fast fibre optic broadband, having a site that is a little heavy no longer matters.
In fact, all that these things have achieved is a general public that now has zero tolerance for slow loading sites. Assume the lowest common denominator, and that your visitors are using a patchy GPRS connection, then see how well your site loads. Research suggests that anything more than three seconds means you will be haemorrhaging more than half your traffic.
- Content is king
It’s one of the great SEO clichés – but it also happens to be true. The most important thing about your blog is its content. So let’s look at that next.
Plan your content
When your blog goes live, you will be bursting with ideas and wanting to write something new every day. That’s great, as those SEO experts rightly say, content is king and adding something new and fresh on a regular basis is exactly what you need to do. However, there’s no need to get carried away. Rein yourself in a little, or you will find yourself suffering a severe case of writer’s block after a couple of weeks.
You don’t need to do all the hard work yourself. There are thousands of content writers out there who would be happy to provide professional articles for you, and you will even find some people who will contribute guest posts for free. Just be a little cautious here – these guys are not simply offering to contribute for the goodness of their souls, no matter what they might say. Chances are, they will want to include links to their own pages or products.
There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but just examine all links carefully and make sure you are happy with them. Also, ensure the content itself is interesting, engaging and relevant. The last thing you need is for your site to gain a reputation for hosting poor quality, spammy articles that are full of dubious links.
Generating content is one thing, posting and sharing it in a coherent and organised way is another. Create a content strategy before the site even goes live, with a timetable of what is being published when. Make sure it includes social media releases, too – but more on that next.
Tell the world
Did you know there are almost two billion websites out there is cyberspace? Now you have your own little corner of the web, it would be disingenuous to assume that visitors will come flooding in. This is where you need to use social media to your advantage. Set up pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and share your latest blog posts on there. Encourage friends to spread the word – after all, there is nothing more powerful than a personal recommendation.
Do your best to keep the social media communication two-way. Encourage people to comment, and always make sure you respond in a friendly and professional way when they do, whether their remarks are positive, negative or somewhere in the middle.
Monetise your blog
A successful blog can be a genuine money spinner, particularly when it concerns such a widely popular topic as gaming. There are several ways to monetise a blog, but in the gaming niche, the following are likely to bear the most fruit:
Incorporating ads onto your site is quick, simple and a classic example of making passive income, particularly if you use a site like Google Adwords. The more traffic you generate, the more attractive your site will be to advertisers.
It’s a little like the principle of “product placement” – you act as an affiliate marketer for a particular product or game, providing reviews and recommendations, and you get a cut from any sales you generate.
Remember those guest blog contributions we mentioned earlier? Some SEO companies will pay you for the privilege of getting their article (containing their links) posted on your site.
With all three of these methods, it is important to remember that the more successful your blog, and the higher its authority and reputation, the more money you can earn. The real key, therefore, is to use these tools carefully. Make sure ads are unobtrusive, any affiliate marketing is only for things you are genuinely enthusiastic about and guest blog posts place quality above all else.
If the site is plastered with irritating ads, you are blatantly trying to sell to your readers through one affiliate deal after another and the blog is clogged up with poor quality articles containing shady links, your reputation will be in tatters and you will soon find you have killed the goose that lays the golden eggs.