How To Start a Gaming Blog

Starting a blog is one of the best ways to build an audience, get your ideas out into the world, and possibly make some (or a lot) of money while doing what you love. Everyone has different reasons for beginning a blog and different goals in mind when they do so. Your personal path will dictate some of the choices you make along the way. One thing that is true for everyone, however, is that the only way to succeed is to get started.

Taking that first step can be a huge challenge, but by the end of this article, you should have the tools you need to feel confident and prepared to start your gaming blog today.

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This article is a great place to learn the strategy of a gaming blog. If you want step-by-step instructions on how to start your own gaming blog, check out our free blogging course. 

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What Is Your Blog About?

Since you are reading this article, you already know the answer to this question – you are starting a gaming blog! But having a topic in mind is just the first step. You will need to think a  little deeper about what you want your blog to accomplish to be successful. Are you starting a gaming blog for kids? A blog about mobile gaming? A blog on the philosophy of gaming?

Knowing on a deeper level what you want your blog to be about will help you focus and allow you to stand out from the competition.

There’s a quote that fits this situation perfectly:

"If you try to be everything for everbody, you will be nothing to no one."

Establish Your Niche

When creating a new blog, you need to find your niche. This is the corner of the market that you have the most knowledge about, the place you can establish yourself as an absolute authority. If you try to take on Game Spot all at once, you will find yourself struggling to make any headway and will likely become extremely disappointed.

Your goal is to find a subject that is more narrow than “gaming”, but broader than “Nintendo games from 1989”. If your topic is too broad, you will not stand out enough to be noticed. If it’s too narrow, you will quickly run out of topics to cover or find that your audience is not big enough to support your blog.

Some examples of niche gaming blogs are:

  • Nintendo Blog - Go Nintendo
  • Female Gamer Blog - Not in the Kitchen Anymore
  • Touchscreen Gaming Blog - Touch Arcade

Name Your Blog

Once you’ve found your niche, it’s a great time to start brainstorming a name for your blog. You’ll want to pick a name that’s brandable and available. Use our domain name tool to check if your name is available. If it is, scoop it up before someone else gets to it first.

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Finding Your Audience

Having a good sense of who is going to be reading your blog is one of the best ways to know what type of content to create, how to shape it, and, ultimately, how to grow your following. With a clear understanding of your niche, understanding your audience should come more naturally.

Finding your target audience - the people you want hanging out on your blog - isn’t only statistics and demographics. It requires a deeper understanding of who these people are and what they want. Your target audience is the people you’re writing to when you write your blog.

Are you writing to gamers who are just discovering gaming, or are you writing to gamers who have been doing this for decades? No matter what the core focus of your blog is, considering the people you are trying to reach will make it possible to cater your content to their needs and direct the tone you use when writing.

Create a Persona

One way to understand your audience is to create a persona of your perfect target audience member. This essentially means creating a mock-up of the ideal person you hope to reach with your blog.

Here is an example of a target audience persona:

Tony Trusk Persona

Having a persona for your perfect audience member helps you to visualize and understand who you are writing for and provides important direction to your content.

Be Your Own Persona

Another popular way to find your perfect target audience is to be your own persona. Many of the best products and services come from scratching your own itch. It’s possible you’ve searched for the perfect gaming blog to read, came up short, and decided to create it yourself. This makes you the perfect audience member for your own blog.

This can be a great strategy for creating highly effective content. If you’ve noticed a meaningful omission in blog content, chances are you are not alone. By writing personally satisfying content you are likely to reach an audience in search of the same things.

Where Is Your Audience Hanging Out?

No web content exists in a vacuum. While you should strive to create uniquely entertaining content for your blog, your target audience is almost certainly already out there reading other blogs, engaging on specialized forums, and using social media. Finding the sites where your audience already mingles is a great way to discover what topics they are most interested in, what language they are using, and what valuable content you can add to that mix.

Some examples for your gaming blog may include:

  • Polygon.com
  • Kotaku.org
  • TheVerge.com
  • Reddit.com/r/gaming/

Visiting these sites is also a great way to begin engaging with your audience before your blog has even gone live. Jump into conversations on forums and in comments sections and get to know the people you’ll be writing for. This is a great, organic way to build relationships and direct people to your blog in its early days. Sharing your passion with like-minded people will make them more excited and passionate about supporting you in your blogging endeavor.

How Will You Present Your Work?

Traditionally, when most people think about a blog they picture written content on a page. However, there are several different ways to present your ideas on your blog, depending on your subject matter and target audience. Every blog will thrive with different formats, so it’s important to think carefully about how to best showcase your content before you start.

There are several effective methods of presenting the material on your gaming blog. They include:

Evergreen Articles

As the name suggests, evergreen articles are composed of content that lasts. These articles are designed to have a long shelf life and continue drawing readers to your blog over time. They are typically long-form, text-based articles that delve more deeply into a particular topic.

An easy option for evergreen content on a gaming blog is reviews – especially reviews of classic games. While you definitely want to cover the new games that come out with your reviews, classic games reviews are the kind of content that you can expect people to come looking for year after year. With a solid library of reviews on your site, you will have content that readers are searching for not just now, but far into the future.

Videos

While the video format is not new, the explosive growth of YouTube and the advent of new and innovative video-based tech like Snapchat and TikTok have shown the true power of video as an online medium. While you may think that creating video is much more difficult and expensive than writing your content, you have access to all the technology you need to make high-quality video content right on your smartphone.

A simple idea for video content on a gaming blog is recording your play sessions – whatever kind of videos that you expect your audience to be interested. Some may be looking for streams of gameplay for the latest releases, while others may be looking for video guides on how to play through certain games. Know your audience to understand what kind of videos you need to make to keep them happy. And don’t worry if your first videos are not professional quality. You will get better with time and practice.

News-type Articles

News articles or other “announcement” type content can be a great way to gather new readers. One benefit of news content is the short-term but powerful increase in search volume during an event. While this bump may be temporary, it can be a great tool for grabbing new readers who end up coming back for more.

Writing about current events or new happenings also means there will typically be less competition for readers. Other blogs and media sources are all getting the information as it develops. Since the base of knowledge available is smaller, this gives you a good opportunity to add your own flavor to the article.

The downside to news-type articles is that they tend to lose popularity much more quickly than evergreen content. While the interest for an event may be very large one day, the next day people may already be moving on to the next shiny object.

Many gaming blogs focus their news-type articles on the upcoming releases of games. Another area where news-type articles are in high demand is in video game controversy – bad behavior by game makers and players, promises not kept by game makers, and similarly exciting content. Depending on your niche and your interests, you are sure to find some areas that you like researching news-type content.

Image-heavy Content

While most people expect to be reading when they visit a blog, image-heavy content can be very appealing and break up your text-focused posts to keep people’s attention. Depending on the topic of your post, displaying multiple images per page on a single subject can give your audience a better sense of what you are trying to convey.

While some topics may take to images very easily, like a car blog or a celebrity gossip site, others may require some deeper thinking to make this strategy work.

Your gaming blog can incorporate images in several different ways. You can collect images online, capture your own images, or both. The key is to know your audience and know what kind of images they are going to want to be included in your content.

Modern gaming systems make it easy to capture stills, so you can gather images of each game you are exploring for inclusion in your later blogs. You can also post images of gaming equipment, press release images from game manufacturers, and more. You will get better at collecting images for your blog as you do your research and writing. Eventually, you will have a solid system in place for producing image-heavy content.

Mix and Match

Your blog needs more than one content delivery strategy to keep things interesting – both for your audience and for you as a content creator. It is perfectly normal to have a content preference. You may really like writing short posts about your daily gaming experiences, or you may love writing long-form posts that go in-depth to review every facet of a game. Whatever your preference, try to stretch yourself regularly by producing other types of content. You will improve your skills in the areas that you explore, skills that will make it easier to diversify your content.

How To Make Money From A Gaming Blog

One of the main reasons people start blogs is to generate some sort of profit. Whether you’re looking for a few hundred dollars per month or a job-replacing income, blogging is still an excellent way to make those dreams a reality.

There are a few great ways to make money from a gaming blog:

Display Ad Networks

Display ads are the simplest way for websites to generate any sort of income. Ad networks, like Google Adsense, are fairly simple to be accepted into, and implementation onto your site is streamlined and clean. If you’re just beginning to see some traffic to your blog and want to turn this into dollars, display ads are where most people start.

There are a few downsides to display ads, however. The first is that some feel they detract from the user experience on your blog. Most people have been to a site where large ads pop up and block the content in the middle of reading. This can be distracting, frustrating, and even drive people away from your blog. While it’s possible to clean up and control the type of ads you use, it can be a constant battle to balance effective ad placement with aesthetics and readability.

The other main downside is that they don’t pay a lot. These networks generally use a pay-per-click (PPC) model which, depending on the niche, can pay anywhere from $0.01 to $1.50 per click, most on the lower end.

While display ads are a great way to make your first dollars, you’ll want to make sure any negatives they bring are worth the profits they provide. Once you develop a solid following, you can consider moving on to more lucrative and effective profit-making options.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing programs like Amazon Affiliate have become much more popular over the past few years, as they take the payment model from pay-per-click to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). This means you can refer as many users to an advertiser’s product as you want, but will only get paid when the user makes a purchase.

Both advertisers and publishers benefit from an affiliate marketing setup. The advertiser pays nothing until a sale is made and the publisher enjoys much higher commissions than the pay-per-click model.

The Amazon Affiliate program is ideal for a gaming blog because many of the topics you write about are related to products available on the Amazon marketplace. The Affiliate program is easy to incorporate into your blog as well, so you do not have to work hard to start bringing in a little money from your work.

As you write about games, game systems, accessories, and other products related to games, you can include links to those items on Amazon. Your readers are going to expect and desire those links because they make it easy for them to purchase the products you are discussing. When a reader clicks a link and buys the item, Amazon gives you a small commission on the sale.

Many gaming blogs start with Amazon Affiliates because it is such an easy way to begin earning income from a blog. Small blogs may pull in a few dollars, but larger blogs can make thousands from this model.

Sell Digital Products

Digital products are an online entrepreneur's dream. You create the item once, then sell it as many times as you can, with little to no cost of reproduction. This means that you can scale your business to infinity.

Examples of digital products are:

  • Ebooks - A piece of writing, generally in PDF format. These can contain literally anything that your audience would want. They can either be true book-length all the way down to a few pages of content. Depending on your niche, audience, and subject, these can run from $1 to $100 per sale fairly easily.

  • Gated Content - This is content that is served on your website just like any other article, except that is behind a “paywall”. If you are creating content that you don’t want to be released to anyone but your true followers, you have them sign up for an account on your site and charge them a subscription fee for access. Generally, authors charge anywhere from $5 to $200 per month for access to gated content.

  • Online Courses - If you can teach a skill that your audience wants to learn, you can create an online course to sell to them. These courses can be formatted in whatever way makes the most sense to you, but most nowadays are video courses. Online courses can sell from $10 to well over $10,000 per course, obviously depending on the subject matter and audience.

A good example of a digital product on a gaming blog is an online course teaching basic game development. Learning to make games is not easy, especially at first, which means a good course in the process will be desirable – especially for readers of your blog who trust your judgment and like your style. You can even conduct research with your readers before you build the course to find out the main questions and needs they have and want in a course. A basic course that is well-produced in this niche could sell for $200 or more.

Sell Physical Products

Selling physical products is the original money-making strategy. You gather an audience that is hungry for something, you sell it to them, and everyone wins. You don’t have to be an inventor, designer, or manufacturer to sell products. Sites like Alibaba and AliExpress import already-made items into the United States and sell them for a markup.

The two main methods for the distribution of these items are: dropshipping and self-fulfilled.

Dropshipping is a method where you advertise a product on your site that you do not own. Once you make the sale, you inform the manufacturer, who will handle the shipping and handling to the end-user. While this is simple because you don’t have to worry about storing or shipping any items yourself, you’ll find that the margins can be quite slim.

Self-fulfilled sales are much more of a hands-on approach to sales. You buy the item from the manufacturer, store it, then ship it to the end-user once you have made the sale. While there is much more work involved, you’ll find that the margins per sale are much higher.

The products you sell through your gaming blog need to make sense based on your blog and niche. If you write long philosophical essays on gaming and society, your audience might love a hardcover book that they can hold in their hands. If you dress up in cosplay and stream games that you play, your audience might be eager to have branded merchandise from you with your logo on it, like water bottles, stickers, and other things. The important thing is that you develop products that work with your brand and your style.

While it can be very profitable when done well, selling products is not generally recommended for the beginner blogger. It’s best to secure an audience that you know will be receptive to the product before making a large investment in product development or acquisition.

Create A Service

Providing a service is another very basic money-making plan. If you can provide a service that you know your audience needs, you have a viable business on your hands.

Whether this service is delivered through one-on-one interaction with the user, through a piece of software that you develop, or by directly completing a task for the user, this is a great way to monetize your skillset and your blog.

The services you offer as a gaming blogger will need to develop naturally from your niche and the way you explore that niche. You want to offer a service that your readers will jump at, which means knowing that audience and being realistic about your abilities.

If you like competing in fighting game competitions and you blog about it, you could offer one-on-one coaching for members of your audience. If you write about developing RPGs, you could set up seminars where you teach others how to develop games. You have established yourself as an expert, so you can charge a premium for your time. Just be careful not to overextend yourself, and don’t forget to stay focused on your blog – because your blog is what drives your business.

Next Steps To Get Your Gaming Blog Started

Now that you have the strategies in place to build and grow your own blog, check out our free course: How To Start A Blog.

This course includes all the essentials on how to get your blog out of your head and onto its own website. Starting a blog is simple and inexpensive, so there’s no reason that you shouldn’t start today!

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