Video game blogging and journalism is at an all-time highest engagement and popularity. New games are coming out at a constant rate, and continuous support and content updates from developers mean that gamers need to be kept up-to-date on everything going on with their favorite releases. This is why video game blog sites are becoming more and more of a tempting endeavor.
Unfortunately, owning and running a gaming blog isn’t as easy as writing a few paragraphs about a new release and sending it into the public. With so many options and opinions available, gamers can afford to be picky, and you’ll quickly find yourself with some competition in the market.
Even if it doesn’t come easy, though, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the work. Video game blogs are an excellent way to make income off of a passion for your favorite games. But where does one start? While this isn’t an exact recipe that you need to follow to the letter, this article should give you plenty of ideas on how to take your blog project the extra mile and find your audience.
We’ll cover the following points:
- Why start a blog?
- The focus of your content.
- Defining your platform and your image.
- The inner workings.
- Expanding your reach and making a profit.
- Using content agencies.
- Other gaming blogs.
Is It Worth Starting A Video Game Blog?
While it might seem like the internet is already saturated with gaming blogs and all manner of media sources to learn about your favorite games, you might be surprised to find out that the demand continues to grow. Every year, there are more games coming out, more live services updating and evolving, and more forms of entertainment surrounding games that are rapidly on the rise, such as esports.
So, why would you want to delve into the world of game journalism to begin with? Well, note that there will be several challenges when you start your gaming blog. You’ll need to create a great quantity of unique content regularly, and you’ll have to hire writers with vast gaming experience, both with the market in general and your specific subject. However, the rewards can be monumental.
It will take time and effort before your work starts generating an income but, in time, you can be making a regular profit from your blog. You can be paid the equivalent of a full-time salary – or more – to write about the games you’re passionate about. You’ll discover niches in the market, such as writing about character builds and mod covering (more on those later) that you enjoy, and you can focus entirely on that.
Despite what people might believe, video game blogs are on the rise. There’s a vastly growing ocean of content that’s becoming available to the public, and the current gaming journalism isn’t enough to cover it all thoroughly. The video game blog space needs new players. If that opportunity tempts you, here’s how you can get started.
8 Tips To Start A Successful Gaming Blog
Like we said before, this is by no means an exact recipe of success. All of these tips are equally important, but they’re also not entirely universal. If you find that some of them don’t apply to you, that’s alright! They’re guidelines, not laws. But strap in! Down below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of everything you should know before starting a gaming blog!
Find Your Focus, Remember Your Focus
Having a unique Identity is a massive factor to building a successful video game blog. You’ll notice that a large majority of these tips center around building one, and that’s no mistake. If you ever want to create a blog that will see its regular readers returning, you need a distinct, recognizable identity.
How do you go about creating and refining a unique image? First, find your type of content. What kind of games will you cover? Are you going to be writing in-depth guides and techniques for some of the hardest games out there? If that’s the case, you’ll need the right skills and experience to back up your credibility. Are you a big racing game fanatic? You can bet there’s an audience waiting to read about news on updates, car builds, and secret racing strategies.
In reality, there’s an audience for every genre of game. What you want to do is keep from stretching yourself too thin. Yes, you can cover multiple topics with your gaming blog, but don’t try to cover every topic, especially when you’re starting out small. The last thing you want is for new visitors to struggle to figure out what your blog is even focusing on. They’ll get frustrated and just find a different site that’s more suited to what they’re looking for. Define your image, and stand out. Which leads to our next tip.
Pick a Niche
Saying there’s an audience for every genre is like saying there’s at least one fish in every ocean – it doesn’t begin to cover your potential reach. Not only is there an audience for every genre, but there are audiences for every subgenre and every tiny community that’s been built around some obscure, unknown independent game. Roleplaying games that all have a chess mini-game hidden somewhere in them? You can bet there are people who would read a blog about them.
That might be exaggerating, but you get the idea. Even the smallest parts of games have their loyal fans. You could make an entire blog about finding the silliest builds in games, telling players how to customize their character’s loadout while still actually working. You could make a blog about critiquing and rating how good the trees look in every game out there. In fact, you could even start a gaming blog that explains which combination of mods breaks a game the fastest – if you enjoy being entirely too overpowered, of course.
Are these your typical gaming blog subjects? Of course not. But what they are is unique. Sometimes, it’s not about beating every other blog out there in sheer quality. There are massive, professional blogs out there that will make that dream an impossibility. But what you can make is something completely unique.
Your Platform: Dos and Don’ts
Now it’s time to look at the more technical side of things. Once you have an idea of the type of content you want to create, you need to decide how you want them to see it. There are free platforms out there that host blogs, but many of them can look amateurish and unoriginal. Not to mention, you’ll never have the same level of control over your work. Plus, a majority of these platforms don’t let you monetize your content, meaning you won’t end up making a profit from your work even once you start generating traffic.
What should you do instead? Consider finding public hosting from platforms like Bluehost or Siteground. There are plenty of services out there who can sell you a website domain for you to do with as you please. Yes, it’ll take some technical know-how about making and running a website, but there are services out there to make the process more digestible.
Alternatively, hire a designer or buy one of the many amazing gaming blog templates available online.
If you are planning on getting a domain, give it some thought before you pick one. A good, catchy domain name can breathe life into a blog, while a bad domain name can kill it before it even gets off the ground. Try to keep it short and relevant, but don’t make it too specific or you won’t be able to branch out as you grow.
Define Your Brand
Now that we’ve talked about making your content stand out, it’s time to look at your new gaming blog from a visual perspective. Your brand communicates everything your blog is about through colors and imagery. Do you have a logo or images commonly associated with your content? Do you have a predominant color scheme associated with your site? These are all things you’ll need to consider to build an instantly recognizable brand. It’s what people will begin to associate with your work even when they’re not on your page.
This applies to anything from creating social media accounts for your blog, where your logo and colors should be clearly visible, all the way to physical merchandise. Merchandise is a great way for readers to identify with their love of your content. A fan who’s willing to wear your logo on a shirt is a fan you want to hold onto.
Make sure that you pay close attention to your brand’s image. Define it, refine it, and get it out there to as many people as possible.
Be Mindful of the Boring Stuff
Not in your blog posts, though; keep those thrilling and full of delightfully entertaining and useful content. However, legal affairs are something you’ll have to be mindful of. Don’t become so zoned in on pumping out large quantities of great content that you forget to credit a contributor, source, or game creator. You also shouldn’t post articles regarding a game that you don’t have permission to create content about.
Legal matters around gaming blogs can be tricky. The medium is relatively new compared to other forms of entertainment, and as such, the legal side of it is constantly changing and evolving as time goes on. Many game developers consider it free publicity – if credited – but there are those few exceptions that restrict creators.
While there’s no shotgun approach you can take to respecting the legal side of video games, a general rule of thumb is to just read the fine print. Make sure you take care, and if you’re ever uncertain whether to include credit or not in your blog, just include it to be safe. If you’re not sure whether you’re allowed to post something on your blog, just don’t. Or, at the very least, ask the developers/creators personally. You’ve got a lot of work on your hands with creating this blog. Don’t add to your responsibilities by throwing legal troubles into the mix.
Build and Maintain
Keep. Interest. Alive. Mix things up! Yes, we just said that you should stick to a specific focus, but that doesn’t mean you should repeatedly publish the same posts. Throwing in the occasional new form of content to spice up the blog won’t kill your brand, as long as you keep primarily consistent in the long run.
Hooks, interesting imagery, and other ways of breaking up the large walls of information will keep readers from settling into an “I’ve been reading this for thirty minutes and my brain is turning to mush” auto-pilot mode. Don’t sacrifice flow just to add engaging breaks in the walls of text, but definitely remember to add something to space out large stretches of similar-feeling content. You can use images, screenshots, or even gifs extracted from recorded gameplay (with credit!).
Plus, remember to keep a consistent schedule. You’ll lose a LOT of your readers if you post daily for three weeks straight, and then suddenly, you go off the grid for four months without a peep. Don’t create a schedule that is impossible to stick to. Even staying consistent to one post a week is better than posting four times in one week and then nothing for two weeks. Consistency in quantity and quality is how you will maintain your readership and build your following.
Promotions and Monetization
Your gaming blog should be getting a fair amount of traffic before you decide to monetize it. You’ll need to have a well-established brand image, be creating new posts consistently, and have a plan to keep growing in the future. If you have everything in place and the visitors are flowing in, it’s time to start earning revenue from your video game blog.
Create social media accounts for your blog. They’ll take work to manage, and most blogs will even have an entire team dedicated to running those accounts, but they maintain interest and engagement with your audience around the clock. Partnerships with YouTube channels and content creators is another great way to generate interest from other sources of traffic as well.
Promotions and other ways to get your community involved directly are also worth looking into. Of course, ad space and brand deals are major ways that you’ll be able to make money from the content you’re producing. However, it doesn’t have to be your only method of monetization. You can make a profit off of your own merchandise. In fact, many blogs manage to make a majority of their direct profit from selling clothes, collectibles, and various other knick-knacks. You can also use paywalls and subscriptions to hide away your more valuable guides or walkthroughs.
Keep in mind that there are several user privacy laws that come into play once you start to monetize your video game blog, so take your time to figure out which methods work best for you.
Finally, there’s the matter of analytics. There are plenty of tools online for tracking engagement, visits, time spent, and links clicked on your website, and using these tools can give you valuable insights. You can integrate Google Analytics into your gaming blog to learn more about your audience, which posts are popular, where your visitors are coming from, which keywords you’re ranking for, and more.
Take all of these factors into consideration. Compare your engagement on different types of content. Are there more people who seem to be interested in that experimental post you made that one time? Is it worth looking into making that a bigger focus of your blog in the future?
Yes, you should be careful when considering big changes to your blog’s overall image and content. But sometimes, it can be absolutely necessary to find the audience that best suits you, as well as the content that best suits your existing audience. Every decision you make with your blog should be educated. Statistics and information pertaining to your audience’s engagement should be one of the biggest things you take into consideration, period.
Using Content Agencies To Create Video Game Blog Posts
Is it intimidating to see how vital consistency and quantity are to a blog’s lifespan? It can certainly be a lot of work to keep up with that demand, but it doesn’t have to be a one-person job.
Most blogs actually outsource most of their posts to professional gaming content agencies. These agencies have teams of writers and experts in a wide range of subjects, all dedicated to being able to tackle whatever scale and type of content that a gaming blog needs produced.
Working on a bunch of small articles for your video game blog? Or perhaps a massive project that needs all hands on deck? Agencies like Captain Words have writing teams that can be scaled to any size needed. They’re full of gaming content experts, as well as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) professionals that can fine-tune your content to appeal to search engine algorithms in order to draw in the highest amount of traffic possible.
Top Gaming Blog Sites For Inspiration
Looking for a few places to get ideas and get inspired before starting a gaming blog? Well, a simple search into Google will find you all of the biggest names out there, but here’s a few unique layouts that we think might stir some motivation:
Rock Paper Shotgun
If you’ve looked into gaming blogs, chances are you’ve heard of Rock Paper Shotgun before. They cover anything and everything to do with the gaming scene. They have a mass coverage and broad appeal, a large team of writers, and have become one of the biggest gaming blogs out there over the years.
While hoping to achieve their level of success might be quite the lofty aspiration, there’s nothing wrong with aiming high. Their layout is clean and full of eye-catching hooks to draw their visitors into a sea of content.
Lowering our scope to a smaller blog, Gnome Stew is an inspiring example of finding a good niche that catches attention. They focus primarily on RPG content, both video games and tabletop. However, they’re not constantly filling their site with posts about massive news on the latest big title RPG releases. They know that people can find that with the major blogs out there. Instead, they focus on the less flashy stuff. How to form a group for a pen and paper RPG. Why health points matter in roleplaying games.
These are topics that you never find on the front page of sites like IGN, but are attractive to many people regardless. Gnome Stew finds a unique place between the blog titans and identifies with it.
Icy Veins is the very definition of a strong focus. Centered almost entirely around character builds, talent guides, and strategies in MMOs and Blizzard games, Icy Veins knows exactly who its audience is.
While you’d think that this might limit its reach, it’s done quite well for itself. Despite having relatively low coverage compared to broader blogs like Rock Paper Shotgun, it holds its own and has built and maintained a massive audience of readers who constantly check for the latest updates on the site to see how their character builds are looking in the current meta, or what strategy they should be employing to get the best gear of the season.
We’ve shared all our top tips for starting a video game blog. Hopefully, this article has given you a balanced blend of suggestions and inspiration that will help you cook up the perfect idea for your big project. Remember to keep your resources in mind, and in no time, you’ll be putting together the pieces that form the video game blog of your (and, hopefully, many others’) dreams.
If outsourced content and professional services piqued your interest, you can read more about Captain Words to find out what they’re all about.