Ever thought about starting a computer or video game website and actually making some money from it? You may be surprised how easy it is to set up a website. We show you everything you need to know in the step by step instructions below!
Steps to creating a game website:
- Choosing a Domain Name
- Getting a Web Host
- Setting Up WordPress
- Making Your Site Look Good
- Start Writing! (Ideas of What to Put on Your Site)
- How to Make Money With Your New Site
Step 1 - How to Choose a Domain Name
A domain name is the address (or url) of your website - (i.e. www.download-free-games.com or www.gamespot.com). Domain names typically match in some way whatever you are going to call your website.
For example, if you wanted your site to be about first person shooter games, and you wanted to call the site something like "Awesome First Person Shooters", you might try to register a domain name like - www.awesomefirstpersonshooters.com. Or, if you wanted to talk about a lot of different games, you might call it something like "The Best Games in the World" and try to get a domain like - www.bestgamesintheworld.com. Just make sure whatever you are calling your site makes sense and is broad enough to cover whatever it is you want to put on your site.
Tips for Selecting a Domain Name
- Make sure it matches whatever you are going to call your site
- Make sure it is broad enough to fit whatever content you might want to put on your site
- Try to make it as short and memorable as possible
- Try to avoid using words that are hard to spell
- Never use other companies' names or trademarks in your site name or domain name (you could get in legal trouble for doing this!)
Once you have some ideas for a domain name, the next thing you need to do is register it. Registering reserves the domain for your use (and your use only). Registering costs a yearly fee. There are two ways to register a domain name:
- Use a dedicated domain registrar like GoDaddy, Moniker, or NameCheap (usually costs $9-$10 per year)
- Get a free domain name to register when you purchase webhosting from a company like BlueHost
What Happens if the Domain Name I Want Isn't Available?
Since only one person or company can use a particular domain name at a time, you may discover that the domain name you want isn't available. In that case, try these strategies:
- Try to abbreviate your domain name (i.e. www.awesomefps.com instead of www.awesomefirstpersonshooters.com). There are lots of ways you can abbreviate to get a domain name to match your site name.
- Use an online thesaurus to find words that are related to words you want to use. For example, you might not find domain names available that use the word "awesome" but maybe you could find ones that use the word "amazing", or "best", or "elite" or some other word with the same meaning.
Step 2 - Get a Web Host
Once you have a domain name, you will need a web host. A web host manages the server your domain will be located on. You could get a free web host (like WordPress.com), but many, like WordPress.com, won't let you put advertising on your site. That is NOT a good idea if you want to make money with your web site.
So how do you pick a web host? There are three things we recommend looking for:
- One that is cheap
- One that is reliable
- One that is easy to use
Managing a domain name on a web host can be confusing since some are made to tailor to webmasters that are very experienced and want to control everything themselves. If you are new to this, we highly recommend not getting a host like that. You really need something that is easy to use as possible.
So what is a good choice given the above criteria? We recommend BlueHost. They have hosting plans that are very low cost, are used by thousands of webmasters, and setting up WordPress (the free blogging/website software we will recommend and show you how to set up) takes only a few minutes!
BlueHost has a few different hosting plans to choose from. Just choose the cheapest one. You don't want to spend a ton of money right now and you don't need a lot of features when just starting out. So just choose a cheap plan that amounts to a few bucks a month.
If you go with BlueHost, you will be able to register a domain name for free for one year when you sign up (which is a nice bonus to save some money). It is also nice to have the same company handle your web hosting and domain registration.
Step 3 - Set Up WordPress
WordPress is an easy to use, and free, blogging and website software technology that we highly recommend you use for your new web site. It is by far the most popular in the world and there are a ton of free and low cost add ons you can use with it to add functionality and improve the look (we will get into that later).
Setting up WordPress on a BlueHost account is SUPER EASY! In fact, it can be done in just a few minutes. Here's how.
- Log in to your BlueHost account
- Go to "MOJO Marketplace" and click "One Click Installs"
- Click the WordPress icon under the Blogs section
- Click on the green "Start" button
- The installer will ask you where to install the software. Choose the domain name you registered when you signed up for BlueHost which should be the domain name you want to build your game site on.
- Click the "Check Domain" button.
- Under "Show Advanced Options", choose an Admin user name and a password for WordPress. Make sure both of these are unique and secure (do not use "Admin" for your user name and make sure the password is a strong one).
- Click "Install Now'. That's it! WordPress will start to automatically install on your BlueHost account!
Once it is installed, you will be given a special WordPress login url on your domain where you can login directly to WordPress. From inside the WordPress Admin area, you can change the look of your site, start publishing pages, and install add ons to increase the functionality of WordPress.
Step 4 - Make Your Site Look Good
If you have followed our directions so far, changing the look of your WordPress gaming site will be very easy. You do this by installing "themes". Themes control the look and layout of your WordPress pages. There are many themes that are available for free. Here is how to change your default WordPress theme;
- LogIn to WordPress
- In the left column, hover your mouse over "Appearance" and click on the "Themes" option
- Click "Add New Theme". This will bring up a screen where you can see Featured, Popular, etc. Hover over one you like and click "Install"
- Go back to your "Themes" page. Hover over the one you installed and click "Activate". The theme is now active on your site.
Step 5 - Start Writing!
Now you can start adding posts to your game blog website. But before you do, here are some ideas of what to write about or other things to put on your site.
- Choose a game you really like right now. Write a review and post it on your site. Give it a score and maybe some bullet points with pros and cons (like we do with our reviews)
- Use a video capture program like Fraps and record yourself playing the game. Upload the videos to YouTube and embed them on your site. To make your videos more interesting, show people how to get past a hard area, how to find secrets, how to get through a level, how to beat a boss, multiplayer tips, strategies, etc.
- If you do strategies or walkthroughs in video format, you can also write them out in text and make them into full length blog posts. Some people would rather read than watch a video. This also makes your guides easier for search engines to index and bring traffic to your site. You can also take screenshots with Fraps and use those in your walkthrough or strategies post to help people visualize what you are talking about.
- Comment on something going on in the game industry right now. One secret bloggers have is to write about something that is current and popular. Give your opinion, present opposing views, give statistics, summarize game reviews and scores from gaming sites, talk about controversial content in a popular game, etc. For ideas on what to write about, get ideas from popular game sites and blogs like GameSpot, Kotaku, or Rock Paper Shotgun. Pay special attention to how many comments or social shares their articles are getting.
- Search the gaming area on Reddit for popular topics. Those will give you great ideas of what people like to read and discuss.
- Look for popular gaming channels on YouTube and see what they are making videos about. Look at how many views and comments those videos are getting. That will give you some great ideas about what people like.
- Think about what you search online for when it comes to gaming information. Is there any information you have trouble finding? Maybe you can fill in this gap. Are there guides that you could do better? Are there strategies, tips, or walkthroughs you could do that others aren't or you could do better?
Step 6 - Make Money!
This is what you've been waiting for! Once you have a decent amount of content on your gaming blog, you can start making money. Here are some ways:
- Sign up for Google Adsense and put their ad code on your pages. You get money every time someone clicks on those ads (be sure to read the terms of service carefully and definitely don't click on your own ads! You could get kicked out of the program for doing this). Try to put the ads in places people will see them and click on them.
- If you review games or gaming gear, sign up for Amazon's affiliate program. You will get special links that you can use to link anywhere on Amazon's site. If someone on your site clicks those links and buys something, you will get a percentage of the sale. Amazon has a huge selection of both physical and digital games you can link to. You could also review gaming gear like headphones, gaming mice, keyboards, or whatever and link to the product you review. Some webmasters make a lot of money doing this if they have good reviews that people like to read (see TheWireCutter as a great example of a site making tens of thousands of dollars a month doing this!). The more expensive an item you can encourage people to buy, the higher commission you can get!
- Once your site gets popular, you could also sign up for affiliate programs with quality computer makers like Velocity Micro and earn commissions if people buy their computers through your links. Most gamers like to update their gaming computers every now and then.
- If your site gets really popular, you can even sell advertising space directly to companies that want to advertise with you through marketplaces like BuySellAds. Sometimes you can get better rates doing this than using Google Adsense.
- Another way to make money is to create in-depth guides, make an ebook out of them, and list it on marketplaces like Clickbank. There are even other webmasters that are constantly logging into Clickbank looking for products to sell. You could offer them a commission and they can become your affiliates. That is a great way to get access to all the visitors at other people's websites.
Those are just some of the ways you can make money with a game website. If you are passionate and can create website content that is of high value to others, you just may be able to make a nice bit of cash from it!
by Jim Rosenquist
Posted on Oct 6, 2014
Jim has been an avid gamer since he was old enough to fight over an Atari 2600 controller. Jim's mom thought his video gaming was a waste of time. He sure proved her wrong.
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