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how to start a video game blog

How To Start A Video Game Blog

With gaming becoming increasingly popular, why not create a video game blog? So, here is how to start a video game blog and what could be a passion project, or to build another stream of income if that’s what you’re looking for.

Video game blogs are great for reviewing the newest games, releases, and news in the gaming world. If you’ve already got a passion for gaming, you might as well put it to use and start your own blog.

In this article, we outline the step by step process on how to start a video game blog that has the potential to earn you a recurring monthly income.

Owning a gaming blog will allow you to connect with like-minded people. You’ll also be able to build your own community and have the option to branch out to other platforms such as Youtube in the future.

If you build a name for yourself in the gaming community, you may get the chance to test certain games before they get launched to the public. You’ll also get the chance to attend private events and conferences if you build relationships with the right people.

If that wasn’t enough, you can also monetize your website with affiliate marketing and earn some extra income.

Here's The Step By Step Process...

guy playing video games

1. Niche Down

2. Buy A Domain Name

3. Set Up Hosting

4. Install WordPress

5. Choose A Theme For Your Video Game Blog

6. Add Your theme To WordPress

7. Create Essential Pages

8. Create A Badass Logo

9. Add your Plugins

10. Begin Posting

1. Niche Down

find a niche sign

When starting a video game blog, it’s a great idea to niche down as much as possible. This will position you as the ‘go-to’ person for a certain branch of the gaming niche – It will also make you more relatable to your readers.

Here are some things to think about when it comes to choosing your niche…

The key to choosing a niche is keeping it as simple as possible for your readers. You don’t want to focus on 100 different things, otherwise, you become more ‘generalized’, as opposed to a specialist in your niche.

There are many different niches you can specialize in; however, here are some of the most popular ones…

Gameplay Walkthroughs

people playing PS4

A gameplay walkthrough consists of guiding a player through an entire game or a specific mission. If this type of content is going to be your main focus, we also recommend creating gameplay videos for readers to follow along with, making it as easy as possible for your readers.

To take this a step further, you can niche down even more and focus on gameplay walkthroughs for a specific game. For example, you could create a site about gameplay walkthroughs for GTA V.

It’s also worth mentioning that gameplay walkthroughs are a competitive industry, so it’s going to take more time to build your blog; however, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done through hard work and dedication.

Gaming News Sites

Creating a gaming news site is a little more comprehensive than some of the other options on the list; however, it allows you to cover a variety of different topics.

The reason this is beneficial is because you won’t run out of content ideas, which can be common with a more niche specific blog. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t niche down, as you still want to keep it targeted for your readers.

To give you an idea of what we mean, you could create a gaming news site for people that play PS4, rather than just a general news site that covers everything related to gaming.

Review Based Site

five stars

A review-based blog is one of our personal favorites here at Hostingscenter. The reason we love it so much is because it gives you a more options in regards to monetization.

Most of your time will be spent reviewing the most popular games on the market. You can then include affiliate links to the product, earning great commissions doing what you love.

Think about it…

Playing the best games and reviewing them for money — sounds like one hell of a life to us.

If your blog becomes well-known in the industry (which we’re sure it will), you may even get opportunities to play games before they have been released. Yes, that’s right, big corporations such as Microsoft and Sony could reach out to you, asking if you want to test the latest games.

Going for a ‘review-based site’ comes with a ton of opportunities; however, we recommend niching down even further so you can build a better connection with your audience. 

For example…

Rather than reviewing games, you could niche down to open-world games. You might not get as many opportunities for partnership, but you’ll have an audience that worships your every move.

Who said you need to be a celebrity to be famous?

Streaming Channel Blog

3 gamers live streaming

Whether you’re new to the gaming community or you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably heard of a streamer before. A streamer is somebody who connects their console to Youtube or Twitch and plays games with a live audience watching.

This type of content has gone crazy over the last few years, but we’re going to show you how to make it even better!

Total Hours Viewed on twitch yearly graph

Rather than just creating a streaming channel for your fans to watch you on, how about creating a blog to go alongside, giving you the best of both worlds.

The great thing about this method is you can build your blog and streaming channel up at the same time, bringing in a ton more visitors than if you were to stick to just streaming.

Also, once you’ve hooked in your visitors with amazing blog articles, you can direct them to your twitch channel, helping build a larger audience.

2. Buy A Domain Name

Once you’ve decided on your niche, it’s time to think about the name of your website. Don’t overthink this step. Keep it simple and easy to remember.

We recommend sticking with a ‘.com’ domain. This will help with your SEO as Google prefers ‘.com’ domains over other types.

You should aim to keep your domain as short as possible. Long domains are hard to remember and don’t tend to have a ‘Catchy’ effect as shorter ones do.

If you’re thinking about adding numbers to your domain name, we advise you to reconsider. A domain name with numbers is like a bird that can’t fly – They just don’t fit. It will make your domain hard to read, type, and remember.

Also, when purchasing a domain name, you need to be cautious because changing it later on down the road isn’t the type of headache you want to be dealing with.

To prevent this from happening, choose a broad domain. Instead of choosing ‘open-world games’, it would be better to go for something such as ‘Game review Geek’ as it’s more broad.

Choosing Game Review Geek as a domain means you can review all types of games, as opposed to only open word games. This may not sound important when you first start, but you will thank us later.

Another tip we recommend is choosing a group of words that start with the same letter. For example, you could go for ‘Genius Gamers’. Doing this gives your domain that extra ‘pop’, which sticks in your reader’s head.

Once you have decided on a name, head over the Namecheap (Affiliate Link) to register. To do this you’ll need to type your domain name into the search bar to see if it’s available.

namecheap search bar

If it’s available, then continue with the registration process. 

When registering your domain, it’s recommended to select the ‘Whois Privacy Protection’ addon. This will protect your personal information from being discovered by competitors and spammers.

3. Set Up Hosting

Now you’ve purchased a domain name, it’s time to set up your hosting account. Your hosting account is where your website is stored. 

For the purpose of this article, we will set up hosting with Siteground (Affiliate Link). Siteground (Affiliate Link) is a well established hosting company that has been operating since 2004. It has an uptime score of 99.99% making it one of the best hosting companies around.

The customer service they provide is second to none and they offer a variety of different plans depending on what type of hosting you require.

For a gaming blog, you’ll need to select ‘Web Hosting’ from the Siteground (Affiliate Link) homepage.

Siteground hosting options

Next, you’ll need to select the type of hosting plan you need. For a video game blog, we suggest you stick with the ‘GrowBig’ option. This will provide you with enough server space for your website to be able to grow.

different siteground hosting plans

After you’ve set up hosting, you’ll then need to install WordPress.

4. Install WordPress

Siteground makes installing WordPress effortless with their one-click installation system. After signing up with Siteground hosting you should be taken to a page that looks like this…

Wordpress installation option for siteground

Select ’WordPress’ and create your login details.

Wordpress login creation

Your site will then begin creation. It should only take around two minutes.

Congratulations, you’ve just created your own blog.

If you need a more in-depth tutorial, check out this video…

5.Choose A Theme For Your Video Game Blog

When you first set up a WordPress site, you need to install a theme to make the process as straightforward as possible. If you decide to build your site without a theme, you would be chucking yourself in the deep end, which isn’t worth it, especially if this is your first time starting a blog.

So what exactly is a theme?

A theme is a piece of software that you install on your blog, providing you with a nice layout, and determining how your site is going to function.

You’ll be glad to hear you can select a FREE theme directly from the WordPress library; however, these themes do come with some major downsides.

The first and most obvious issue you’re likely to encounter is that most free themes don’t have a technical support team on hand, in case you run into any issues along the way. This shouldn’t make too much of a difference if you know your way around WordPress; however, if you are a complete beginner, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Free themes also tend to be less customizable than premium ones, giving you less control over the look and feel of your blog. While this is considered a major downside of free themes, it isn’t as important as you might think when it comes to getting traffic to your blog.

You have to remember, most of your readers are looking for the answer to a specific question, so if you do a good job at providing them with the valuable information they’re looking for, they aren’t going to worry too much about the design on the site.

It’s also worth mentioning that this doesn’t mean you should neglect the design of the site, but just don’t spend three weeks on the layout. The most important thing is creating high-quality content that your readers are going to love.

The last downside of a FREE theme is they tend to be a lot slower. You may be thinking this isn’t too big an issue; however, that’s where you’re wrong..

When Google crawls a slow site, it assumes it’s less valuable than the competitors, which means it won’t show up as high on Google; therefore, it is super-important you go for a site with fast loading times, over one that looks pretty.

So where do you find all these amazing premium themes?

There are a number of theme libraries where you can get them; however, for the purpose of this tutorial, we are going to stick with ThemeForest. They have been connecting theme developers and buyers for a long time, so you can rest assured you’re in good hands with these guys.

The good thing about ThemeForest is you can choose themes based on your niche. For example, if you type ‘gaming blog’ into the search bar, you’ll get a list of themes designed specifically for video game blogs.

If you don’t want to go through this list and figure out the best ones, we have gone ahead and put together a list for you.

Check it out…

1. PowerUp - Video Game Theme for WordPress

The Power Up theme has hit the nail on the head for video game bloggers. It’s super-fast, so you won’t have to worry about getting punished by Google for having a slow site.

When you purchase this theme, you will receive 6 months support in case you run into any issues. This is plenty of time to make a few mistakes, fix some errors you run into, and create an amazing video game blog.

In addition, you can also extend the customer support to 12 months at an extra cost. We recommend doing this if it’s your first time setting up a blog.

2. GameZone | Video Gaming Blog

GameZone comes with a modern sleek-looking layout — exactly the type of design you’d expect when visiting a gaming blog. 

Once you’ve purchased it, the setup is super easy. Simply upload it to WordPress and use the one-click installation feature to add it to your site within seconds (More on this later).

The code used to build this theme was made with SEO in mind, so you can rest assured Google isn’t going to punish your site with this theme.

When it comes to customer support, you’ll get 6 months free, and an additional 6 months for an extra fee.

3. Godlike - Game Theme For WordPress

The Godlike theme comes with everything you could ever need when setting up a video game blog. Not only does it have a blog section, but it also includes a forum and a small shop.

This is great if you’re looking to take your blog to the next level and turn it into a brand later on down the road. The forum is amazing for connecting with your readers and having your own social platform full of like-minded people.

Similar to the previous theme, it features a one-click installation, so you can set it up within a matter of minutes. 

6. How To Add Your Theme To WordPress

Now that you’ve chosen a theme for your video game blog, it’s time to take advantage of the on-click installation feature that WordPress offers.

By default, when you set up your WordPress site, it comes with a pre-set theme which you’ll need to change using the steps outlined below.

Head over to your WordPress dashboard and click on appearance → themes.

appearance and themes menu

Click ‘Add New’.

add new button

Press ‘Upload Theme’.

Once you’re on the upload theme page, you’ll see a box with a button saying ‘Choose File’. This is where you upload the premium theme you have paid for.

If you are still struggling to upload your theme to your website, then check out this video below that goes into more detail…

7.Create Essential Pages

Before you can begin posting content, you’re going to need to create some essential pages to make sure your blog looks legit and trustworthy.

Here they are…

About us: Without an about us page, visitors won’t know what your blog is about. Not only that, but it gives people a more in-depth look at who the face is behind the blog.

If you’re not comfortable revealing your name and face, you can use a pen name. A pen name is a ‘fake name’ you give yourself to hide your identity online. 

In addition, if you’re going to be getting writers for your blog, you can use their name and face on the about page; however, it’s always worth checking with them beforehand, as some writers might not want to disclose themselves publicly.

Contact: The contact page is just as important as the About Us page. It allows visitors to contact you about things. A lot of the time it will be spam; however, if your blog begins to grow, you may start getting partnership opportunities.

When you create your contact page, you don’t need to add lots of content. A simple contact form with your name, email, phone number, or any other means of contact is more than enough.

In addition, a great way to make sure you don’t get any emails regarding stuff you’ve already talked about on the blog is to add a FAQ section with the reader’s most popular questions next to the contact form.

Privacy Policy: If you’re new to blogging, you may think creating a privacy policy is a complete waste of time; however, that’s not the case.

The purpose of a privacy policy is to explain to users the kind of data you collect on the site. If you’re scraping emails and don’t have a privacy policy, you could end up facing huge fines.

Terms Of Service: Unlike a privacy policy, a Terms Of Service page is not required by law; however, it’s always a great idea to install one, just to be on the safe side.

A Terms Of Service page points out to users what they can and can’t do when they are on your site.

You can also inform visitors that the content on your site is strictly owned by yourself. This means people can’t legally steal the content; however, it doesn’t mean they won’t.

8.Creating A Badass Logo

Once you’ve finished creating your essential pages, it’s time to create a logo you can be proud of. To do this, we recommend using a program called Canva.

Canva is completely free; however, you have the option to sign up for Canva Pro. Doing so will give you access to a library that contains thousands of photos and premium elements, allowing you to make the most out of your logo.

When creating your logo, it’s important to remember to keep the colors the same as your website. This will make everything look more trustworthy.

If you’re unsure of how to create a logo on Canva, here is a great tutorial…

9.Add Your Plugins

A plugin is a piece of software that can be installed on websites. Once installed, they can drastically change the performance and look of your blog. 

To give you an example…

You can install plugins  that allow you to add  product showcases within your article. So, let’s say you’re reviewing a product, you can use this type of plugin to showcase the product with images and a description.

Similar to this…

product showcase plugin example

Now you know the purpose of a plugin, it’s time to talk about essential VS non-essential plugins.

Essential Plugins

An essential plugin is exactly what it sounds like — essential. Without them, the performance of your website will suffer, and you may be vulnerable to malicious attacks.

The plugins talked about in the following sections are standard across all blogs, whether you are teaching people how to do their makeup, or reviewing video games.

1. WordFence WordPress Security Plugin

Before you even begin posting content, it’s important to install a security plugin for your website. If you skip this step, you could be in for a shock when somebody tries to gain access and destroy everything you’ve created.

With over 1 million active downloads, WordFence is one of the most popular security plugins on the market. It protects you against the most common website attacks you’re likely to encounter such as hacking, malware, and malicious traffic.

If you get a little anxious about this type of thing and want an extra layer of security, WordFence allows you to upgrade for $99 per year, which is a bargain if you ask us.

Key Features:

  • 1 million downloads
  • Prevents hacking attempts
  • Stops malicious traffic
  • Prevents malware

2. Yoast SEO

To get traffic to your blog, you need to make sure you’ve got good SEO. In case you didn’t know, SEO is the term used to describe ranking on Google. 

If you’ve ranked blogs on Google before, Yoast isn’t essential; however, if this is your first time building a blog, it’s a great plugin that points you in the right direction in regards to getting the number one position on Google.

Once Yoast has been installed, you will get an additional section on your WordPress sidebar when creating content. This section shows you the most important metrics you need to follow in order to get your article ranking.

Here’s an example…

To ensure your content is SEO optimized, you need to get all the sections to turn green. Don’t worry if some are still red, just give it your best shot.

In addition, Yoast lets you see the readability of your posts. This metric tells you how digestible your content is for the reader. To make sure you’re content is readable, don’t write more than three sentences without leaving a gap.

Key Features:

  • SEO optimization
  • Sitemap integration
  • Easy to use interface
  • See how digestible your content is
  • FREE plugin

3. Akismet Anti-Spam

As soon as your website becomes live, it’s going to be the target of spam comments. It doesn’t matter if you get 10 or 100 visitors a day, these types of comments are something you just can’t escape.

Luckily, there’s a free solution…

Let us introduce you to Akismet Anti-Spam.

Akismet Anti-Spam is a WordPress plugin that prevents these types of comments from ever being published on your site.

If you decide to skip on this plugin, there’s a potential your site will become clogged with spam comments, resulting in lower Google ranking and damaging the user experience.

These aren’t the type of issues you want to be dealing with!

Key Features:

  • Prevents spam comments 
  • Easy to set up
  • 5 Million downloads

Non Essential Plugins

Now you know which plugins are essential, it’s time to talk about the non-essential ones. Just because they aren’t essential, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them.

In fact, using non-essential plugins is only going to make your site look more trustworthy and authoritative, increasing the chance of visitors returning to your video game blog.

Anyhow, here they are…

1. WPForms

Every great website has a contact form, and yours shouldn’t be any different. You could always use the standard content form included with your theme, but it won’t have the same customization features that WPForms has.

With WPForms, you can select from a range of pre-built forms which have already been used on previous websites. Alternatively, you can create one from scratch using WPForm’s amazing interface.

So, you may be wondering what’s wrong with the standard WordPress theme…

And the answer is ‘nothing’…

However, if you’ve had enough of the boring contact form that WordPress offers, then you’re going to need to hire a developer if you want to create a new one…

So why not just let this plugin do it for you? 

Key Features:

  • Create custom forms
  • Use pre-built forms
  • Easy to use
  • Great for survey forms

2. Monster Insights

Monster Insights is a great plugin that allows you to connect Google Analytics to your website. Google Analytics is a web analytics service, providing you with up to date information about your sites visitors.

Without Monster Insights, you’ll need to connect Google Analytics manually, which can be frustrating if you don’t know what you’re doing. Using Monster Insights, you can have everything set up in as little as two minutes.

Not only that, but rather than having to sign into Google Analytics to view your data, Monster Insights allows you to see everything from within the WordPress dashboard.

You can see the most important metrics such as sessions, page views, top performing pages, bounce rate, and much more — all within WordPress.

Key Features

  • Easily Connect Google Analytics
  • See data from within WordPress
  • Premium option available
  • Great for beginners

10. Begin Posting

Now that you’ve chosen your domain name, set up hosting, and installed WordPress, it’s time to begin adding content to your blog. 

It’s important to use the right ‘keywords’ when creating content for your blog. Some keywords may be harder to rank for than others. Luckily there are some great tools out there that can help you choose the right ones to use in your articles such as Ahrefs and SemRush.

After choosing your keywords, the next step is to begin writing and posting your content. To add a new post login to your WordPress dashboard and click on posts → Add New.

add new post button

Next, add the title of your post (This should be your main keyword) and begin writing your content underneath. 

If you want a complete tutorial of how to add a new post, check out this video…

The Different Type Of Articles You Can Create

man writing a blog post

When it comes to creating high-quality engaging content for your readers, there’s a few ways you can do it.

Here are the most common ways…

Informational

The purpose of an informational article is to answer a specific question your readers have. For example, if I typed ‘How To Complete GTA V In Five Hours?’, and you wrote an article answering this question, that would be considered informational.

In most cases, informational articles aren’t monetized as they are designed to answer a question or teach the reader a key piece of information; however, that isn’t to say you can’t add a few affiliate links here and there.

Listicle

A listicle article is exactly what it sounds like — an article that is structured using a list format. A great example of this would be ‘The 10 Best Video Games Of 2020’.

These types of articles are where the most money is made. The reason for this is because listicle articles typically include affiliate links. 

Using the example above, you could link to the 10 best video games on Amazon and collect a nice commission every time a reader makes a purchase.

Review

Another popular type of article you’re likely to come across is a review. A review is similar to a listicle; however, instead of reviewing multiple products, you only review one.

The benefit of a review article is the reader gets a more in-depth explanation of the product, whereas a listicle only touches the surface.

To get the most out of your blog, we recommend using a combination of informational, listicle, and review articles. 

Promoting Your Video Game Blog

So now you’ve created your site and got some content planned, you may be wondering what the next step is.

The next step is promoting your blog. Here’s how to do it…

SEO

The best and most commonly used way to drive traffic to your blog is through SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and involves ranking your website at the top of Google.

One of the most important things to remember when ranking on Google is to produce high-quality content that people want to read. 

Once you have a lot of content on your video game blog, it’s a good idea to start reaching out to other bloggers in your community and asking for a guest post.

A guest post is when you post an article on a different website and in return, you receive a link back to your blog. Other blogs linking back to your site tell Google you’re an authority in the niche, helping you rank higher and bring in more traffic.

The good thing about SEO is once your site starts ranking, in most cases, it will stay at the top of Google for years to come, especially if you’re producing evergreen content.

evergreen content example

However…

There are some downsides you’re going to run into with SEO. The first being the time it takes to get your site ranking on Google. In most cases, you won’t see any traffic for at least 3-6 months, as Google doesn’t tend to like new sites very much.

After the 4 month mark, you should start to see an increase in rankings, provided you’ve been following the correct SEO practices.

If you’re looking for a more in-depth tutorial on SEO, then check out this article.

Social Media

man holding social media sign

A great way to gain some traction with a new blog is to reach out and get your friends and family to share it on social media.

In addition, you can also create social media accounts specifically for your blog. This is a great way to build up an alternative traffic source.

After creating your social media accounts, it’s a good idea to start joining Facebook groups within your niche. The key to doing this successfully is to make sure you’re adding value in the groups, and not just spamming with links to your website.

Guest Blogging

guest blogging sign

Guest blogging is when you write an article for another blog, and in return, they link back to your website from within the article.

The reason guest blogging is so good is because not only will you get more traffic, but Google prefers sites with more backlinks.

It’s also worth mentioning that you shouldn’t go over the top when it comes to guest blogging, especially if your site is new. We recommend keeping it at 1-2 guest posts per month for a new site.

Build An Email List

man writing an email

If you’ve been in the digital marketing community for a while, then you’ve probably heard of an email list before. To put it in simple terms, an email list is an inventory of emails you collect over time.

You can then use these emails to contact your subscribers about your new blog posts; however, keep in mind that this is something you build up along the way, rather than something you start off with.

So right now, you may be wondering “How do I get people to sign up to my email list?”

Good question.

To get people to sign up, you need to give them a valuable freebie in your niche. In the example of a video game blog, you could offer a free guide on the best video games of 2021. To receive this guide, readers would need to implement their email.

Once you’ve built up an email list, you’ve got a lot more options when it comes to making money (more on that later).

How To Actually Make Money From Your Video Game Blog

Now you’ve done the hard part, it’s time to discuss the different ways to monetize your video game blog.

Here are some of the most common ways to monetize a blog…

Affiliate Marketing

One of the most popular ways to get your blog bringing in monthly revenue is through affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you review a product and send your readers over to the product page.

If somebody buys, you’ll receive a commission that gets paid into your bank on a monthly basis. 

To begin affiliate marketing, you first need to find a product to be an affiliate for. You can start by signing up for the Amazon Associates program, which lets you promote all Amazon products through your blog.

It’s a great place to start if you’re new to affiliate marketing; however, the commission rates aren’t very good, so you’re going to need to be bringing in a lot of traffic to make a substantial amount of money.

Luckily, there are more affiliate networks out there that let you promote products with better commission rates. These include Shareasale, Awin, and Clickbank.

Alternatively, if you can’t find the products you’re looking for on these affiliate networks, you can reach out to the brand themselves and see if they provide an affiliate scheme for bloggers. Using this method, you’re more likely to get a higher commission rate.

Google Ads

ads

Google Ads are the ads that Google puts on your site with the intention of getting visitors to click on them. This can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on if you’re already monetizing your site.

Here’s an example…

If you’ve got a video game blog that’s already making a little money with affiliate marketing, then plastering your site with ads could drive readers away before they get a chance to click on your affiliate links.

Not only that, but ads slow down your site and affect the user experience, which can actually harm your Google ranking.

If however, you do want to move forward with Google Ads, then you’ll get paid per 1000 views. The amount you get paid depends on a number of different factors.

Create An Ecommerce Store

ecommerce

Starting a video game blog and creating an E-commerce store go hand in hand. If you can build up a community of like-minded individuals who love your content, you can start selling your own merchandise in the form of t-shirts, hoodies, and other clothing.

The great thing is you won’t have to create a completely new website to do this. Simply add an e-commerce section to your video game blog and you’re good to go.

In addition to clothing, you can also start selling informational content to your readers. 

E-commerce is currently at an all-time high and isn’t showing any sign of slowing down in the future. In fact, E-commerce sales are up 27.6% in 2020 and are continuing to grow in 2021.

Conclusion & Summary

Creating a video game blog can be an extremely fulfilling experience that can land you new friends, jobs, and access to private events in the community.

To ensure the growth of your blog, you’ll need to focus your efforts on bringing visitors to your website. The most cost-effective way to do this is by writing high-quality content that your readers will love and optimizing it for SEO.

Read More: How To Start A Restaurant Review Blog

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