The gaming market is worth billions. People aged 25 and under spend around seven hours a week playing games. There is a perception that gaming is mostly a guy thing, but women are just as likely to fire up an Xbox or PlayStation. Mobile gaming has also taken off in recent years and the casual gaming market is growing exponentially.
If you are an avid gamer, it is understandable that you want to share your passion with others. It is just as much fun posting videos and blogs about your favourite games as it is playing them. A blog doesn’t just have to be a passion project either. If you set up your blog well and work on the SEO side of things, once you gain steady traffic, you can even earn some income from advertising and affiliate relationships.
With gaming so popular, there has never been such a good time to launch a gaming-themed blog. In this article, we are going to guide you through the different stages and offer you some advice about optimising it for search engines.
Pick a Niche
Before you do anything concrete, have a think about what type of gaming you want to blog about. A general gaming blog is fine, but it is worth sticking to a specific sub-niche if you want to attract – and keep – a loyal following.
For example, if your passion is Xbox, you could blog about your favourite games, the latest console, write reviews, and discuss game cheats and tactics for Shadow of the Tomb Raider or FIFA 19. But if you are more interested in online casinos, then write about your favourite online casino and discuss the various games it offers. With online casino gaming being so huge, you wouldn’t be short of things to talk about. You could blog about slot games at Stakers or online poker tournaments. This is the kind of thing people want to read.
Once you have a firm idea about what you want to blog about, it is time to build that blog.
Domains and Hosting Deals
There are free blogging platforms out there, including Wix, Tumblr, and Blogger, but they lack versatility and can’t be monetised. You are much better off building a sustainable blog on a platform like WordPress. To do this, you need a domain name and hosting deal.
Many hosting companies offer a free domain as part of their hosting package. Look for a hosting deal first and take advantage of that free domain name. Choose a domain name that’s memorable such as ‘gamingguru’ or ‘xboxsuperfan’. Anything that’s easy to spell and simple to remember will be fine.
Once you have a domain name and hosting package in place, install a blogging software like WordPress.
Why Choose WordPress?
WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging platform. There are 19.5 million websites built on WordPress. That is 32% of the internet, in case you are wondering. Huge websites like the New York Post and TechCrunch run on WordPress. That tells you how amazing WordPress is.
Anyone can use WordPress. It is opensource (free), intuitive, customisable, and if you keep up with the updates, it is very secure. Most big hosting companies offer WordPress as a one-click install, so unless you have coding experience, or you are a glutton for punishment, take advantage and make WordPress your Content Management System.
Important SEO Settings
Once you have installed WordPress, you can log in to your website and customise it from behind the scenes. Navigate to the setting link and click on General Settings. This is where you give your blog a tagline and title. This is important for SEO purposes, so think carefully. The site’s title could be Stu’s Awesome Gaming Blog and the tagline: Xbox Gaming Hints for Cool Kids.
Next, visit the permalink settings to make sure each post you write uses the post name as it’s URL. You might also want to use the date as your URL. This is useful if the posts you write are news-style posts and, therefore, date sensitive.
Pick a Theme
There are millions of themes available for WordPress. Many of them are free, so browse the available themes and find one that offers the right look for your blog. Themes are how you customise your site, so don’t rush this part of the process. You want your viewers to click on to your blog and not be repelled by icky colours or weird layouts. If you don’t find anything you like in the free section, look for an inexpensive premium theme.
Stuck for inspiration? Check out other popular gaming blogs and see what kind of themes they use. Most are dark rather than light, and heavy on the visuals. Magazine themes work best, as they offer plenty of space for images and video content.
With a theme installed, you can begin customising it to suit your blog. Do you want a fixed home page that doesn’t change? Or do you like the idea of your latest blog featuring at the top of the home page? Think about the look of your site and customise it accordingly.
WordPress has tons of plugins to make life easier. These add extra functionality to a website. Popular ones include Akismet, which blogs spam comments, JetPack and Yoast, which are useful for SEO. A page caching plugin is handy too, as it reduces page loading times. Don’t forget to install a content form plugin in, and a social buttons plugin.
Write posts that your visitors will be interested in. Include as much detail as possible and add plenty of visuals to attract attention. Take screenshots from your own gaming activities and develop your voice so that readers become familiar with your personal style. The more personal and less generic you make your gaming blog, the easier it will be to attract loyal fans.
Once you have a decent amount of content, start looking for guest posting opportunities on other gaming blogs and magazine websites so that you can build natural backlinks to your own blog. This will help to boost traffic and in time, help your blog achieve a higher position in the SERPs.
Have you had success with a gaming blog? Tell us more in the comments.