- Know Your Stuff
- When to Make a Gaming Site
- Content Management System
- Press Contacts
- Keeping Up with the News
- Getting Staff
Type / Research. There are 5 different types of gaming sites.
- Multi-Console : Covers all aspects of gaming. Eg – PS2, Xbox, GameCube etc
- Single-Console : Covers just one console. Eg – Nintendo Wii
- Single-Company : Covers everything to do with one company. Eg – Nintendo
- Single-Series : Covers whole series of games. Eg – Legend of Zelda
- Single-Game : Covers just One (1) Game. Eg – Metroid Prime 2
It is simply personal preference to what type of site you want, they can all perform equally, though there is the possibility of a wider audience for multi-console sites, but some may argue that your audience will be less wide due to the fact that it is a saturated market.
Research. Use a tool like this one from SeoBook.com to see what people are searching for – this is more useful in the smaller gaming sites (Single company, series, game) as you will need to target a lot smaller audience. Also, check out what related-sites are doing, if you’re the first site in the field try to make it as original as possible – check out the Gimmicks section for more help with this.
Know Your Stuff. To make a good gaming site you need to be a good and active gamer. You need to be ‘in the know’ – know the lingo, the companies, the games, and what’s happening in general in the gaming world, if you know stuff you can give educated opinions, or thoughts.
Name. Of course, it’s best for search engines to include keywords in your sites name, but since the market is so saturated, a brandable & memorable name is what you should go for, so instead of MetroidPrime3Gaming.com, you would use MP3Gaming, MP3Gamers, or more simply MPGamers, of course you can buy the variations and see which is most effective.
When to Make a Gaming Site. There are points in the year that are prime times to open a gaming site, which will give you a better launch, and a boost of visitors.
- Gaming Conventions: More specifically, E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), this is when I’ve opened my gaming sites and it definitely helps. A lot of people will be looking for all the E3 goss and media, so if you have it, you will get plenty of visitors.
- Christmas: Everyone wants games at Christmas, so give them games! Christmas holidays are always the most profitable/trafficked months for gaming sites.
Content. Content really depends on what you want to offer. You want to be a news site, an editorial site, review site, cheat site, or a bit of everything. Of course it’s best to open with as much content as possible, but if you’re doing a bit of everything, then try to have at least 5-10 reviews/articles, so your site looks slightly established, and people can decide if your site is worth visiting again.
Design. Gaming designs are usually bold, flashy, shiny, and high-tech, and it seems to be working, so try to get the most in-your-face design you can, whilst still fitting a wide variety of content on each page.
Content Management Systems. Take a look at these very cool Content Management Systems, unless you want to go custom.
- http://www.ncastercms.com/ – Free!
- http://www.igamingcms.com/ – Free!
- http://www.insanevisions.com/onecms.html – Free!
- http://www.gamecms.com/ – Free!
OneCMS from Insane Visions is a little hard to get used to, but is probably my personal favorite, but if you have the money check out VG Portal or CustomCMS.
Advertising. Here is how I advertise new gaming sites:
- Related Forums
- Top Site Lists
- Link Exchanges with Similar Sites
Revenue. CPM methods, once you receive some traffic would be the best bet, so sign up for a program like Valueclick Media who have decent rates, and you can start earning some cash on the side. CPC ads pay very low on video game sites, so stay away from them. Better idea to keep your visitors on your site. Press Contacts. The wonderful thing is, once your gaming site has traffic/user base you can get some press contacts. Most game publishers will have a person dedicated to Public Relations, so register at GamesPress.com to get a long list of these people & companies. Don’t go for the big fish at first, contact companies such as THQ, Vivendi, or Ubisoft, as they are known for supporting the newer sites. Now, if they have a press site, easy, just go their and register, if they don’t get their PR email and type something like this:
Dear Mr/Mrs CONTACTNAMEHERE,
I am the owner of SITENAME, which provides its users with high quality and informative……….
We are requesting to be added to your press release list so we can further increase our news broadcasts. SITENAME receives X amount of unique visitors daily, and has been open for the past X days/weeks/months.
If you get accepted to their Press Release list, wait a few months, post their news, and then you can request Free Reviewable Copies of Games. You may not even need to ask, a lot of companies just send them out after X amount of days.
Keeping up with the News. Forums are the best source for news & rumors, big ones have thousands of people continually scouring the net for information, and when they find it, they post it, then you can simply post it on your site, simple! So check out:
If you check out their forums regularly you should be kept up to date with the latest news.
Getting Staff. Finding staff to work for free is usually hard, but if you can grow a decent sized gaming forum, there should be at least 2-3 people who would be glad to post some news or review a few games. The best way to get staff is, once you start receiving free games agree to send a few to your staff for them to review, and then send back, a lot of people will gladly review a game if they are one of the first to play it. Getting staff mainly takes a lot of patience, if your site grows, so will the number of people who’ll want to work for it.
Gimmicks. Here are the gimmicks I usually use to get extra visitors:
- Userbars: People love userbars, and use them on many forums, so if you make some, then use basic html to make them a link, you will get extra visitors/exposure. Just in case the user removes the linking part, add your URL into the actual images. [ Check out http://www.userbars.com to see examples of userbars. ]
- Flash Games: Have gaming-related flash games on your site, your visitors will surely love to play remakes of some of their favorite games.
- Wallpapers: A section for wallpapers never hurts, some people may even submit their own, so it’s good for community involvement.