How to Start a Gaming Blog and Make Money
When my brother Max first asked me about how to create a gaming blog I didn’t even know where to begin. I already started a couple of gaming blogs in the past: Blogs about Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, League of Legends and Counter-Strike. They never really took off. With new upcoming games like Overwatch we wanted to work on something we really cared about: Getting good at video games. From that point on we took months of our valuable nights and weekends to create a gaming blog that is now growing every day. It is now not only paying us a decent amount of pocket money but the start of a gaming blog has also grown into something incredibly interesting and fun: A project we can share as brothers.
With this article I want to walk you through the whole journey of how to make a successful video game blog. I’ll show you how we planned the site, structured the articles and made some decent money on the side. I want to promise you: It is much easier than it looks. So, how do you create a gaming blog?
Gaming Blog Planning phase
I consider this one of the most important steps in creating a gaming blog. First we set up a Google Docs Sheet and gathered all our ideas in a structured manner. We quickly found out what we really wanted to do. I suggest you do the same and gather some ideas about:
- Which games do you want to blog about? (e.g.: competitive, casual, mobile, PC, PS4, Xbox etc.)
- What type of articles do you want to provide? What is the purpose of the site? (e.g.: news, guides, commentary, reviews, curation, etc. etc.)
- How do you want your site to look? Which hosting will you use?
- What is example content for you? Do you have any article, blog, or review ideas?
- How do you want to make money with your website?
- What is the name of the website?
Most people just throw ideas at the wall and see what sticks. What we did was a little different. Try to rank and grade your answers to these questions. There is always options and by ranking them you might find the best one.
We took a solid weekend and thought about all these questions so let me walk you through the decision-making process and maybe it helps you to get going.
Gaming Blog Game Selection
I personally don’t have a particular bias towards any type of game but thinking about your target audience can help you make better decisions when starting a gaming blog. For us, competitive games were the main focus so we picked everything we liked. This includes Counter-Strike, Overwatch, Hearthstone and Dota 2.
Our target audience is mostly between 12 and 29 years old and male. Most of our users are PC desktop users. We wanted our site to be targeting this audience in design, layout, content and monetization options.
A website for a casual mobile game about a restaurant might have a completely different target audience so think about this while making your decisions about your first gaming blog. You may need to focus on your mobile website design or monetize with different ads or affiliate products.
Gaming Blog Articles
Since we did not want to provide regular news updates or gaming reviews we focused on providing quality content about competitive games. We are passionate about learning about new multiplayer games and we like to get good at these games quickly. This passion is what drove us to write quality guides and helpful information about these games.
Try to find something you love and it makes blogging a great hobby that can even get you paid. Let’s say you like to play all the latest and greatest of the Playstation 4. You might want to start a review gaming blog. Do you like to read reviews? Then try to imitate the writing style of your favorite reviewers. Try to research your subject and niche a little bit. Try to scout the competition, and learn from them.
There is lots of information out there that that can help you write better, too. My personal recommendation for this would be Ann Handley’s – Everybody writes. Her book is not only applicable to pretty much all types of writing but is a funny read as well.
After all this research you can now make a very important decision. What is the name of the website? Try to gather as many options as possible before deciding and chose the one that feels the best.
Gaming Blog Hosting
Now that you have a general idea about where you want your website to go and decided on a website name you can think of hosting options. For Max and I it was important that we commit to a ‘real’ website. We did not want a small blog on tumblr or blogspot. We wanted to take this seriously and try to channel our passion for games into making money. That’s why we chose a hosting option that costs money but provides us with a .com domain and a platform to host our website. The most important aspects for us were an easy installation of WordPress (our system to manage our blog – more on that later), a decent price and a money-back guarantee (let’s be honest – we did not know if we were still doing this after 30 days). The hosting partner that fits our needs perfectly is bluehost.
Bluehost is one of the largest hosting providers in the world and offers exactly what we needs. Especially the 24/7 support came in handy multiple times. Their prices start from $3,49 per month so are very affordable. Personally, I would even pay much more for their service. Eventual down times or issues with our hosting provider can cost us real money quick so a speedy customer service is important. If you are an advanced user and don’t need need a money-back guarantee, one-click WordPress installation or the 24 hour customer support, feel free to use other options as well. Most information in this article is still applicable to your gaming blog.
Gaming Blog Setup
If you are using Bluehost this is as easy as it gets. After chosing your domain name and ordering the package you are ready to install WordPress, our content management system for the blog. Just login to your account and follow this short and simple video.
That wasn’t too bad right? Now you can start blogging. Work on your first articles, reviews or commentary. WordPress is very intuitive and for most people you can start blogging right away. For beginners you can have a look at their excellent introduction and tutorial articles on Learn WordPress. Take our advice to heart and work on quality content. You might even want to play around with different designs and layouts you can download for free right from WordPress. All this is covered in their excellent documentation. Feel free to check it out. Keep all the things we said about your target audience in mind. This is where you pick a design or writing style that fights the people you want to target. We did exactly the same and this site you are reading on right now is built on WordPress with a free theme.
After you have finished your first article we need to find a way to monetize the site. Keep in mind though that quality content comes first.
Gaming Blog Monetization
In general, the first thing that people think about when talking about blog monetization is ads. Banner ads and their cousins are a decent source of income for most sites. One of the services you can use is Google Adsense. This would be the banner at the top of this web page. We use banner ads very sparingly because they can be everything from interesting to obnoxious. This is also why we don’t make a lot of money from these ads. We want to keep the user experience first and keep the site interesting, readable without blinking distractions.
Our main source of income is affiliate marketing. Have you noticed the links to Amazon or Bluehost that we have used in this article? These are our form of advertisement. Every time someone uses these linked products and services we get a small commission. There are lots of affiliate marketing programs out there. We recommend you start with Amazon Associates since they sell a variety of products you can promote. We feel that telling you about a quality hosting provider and a fantastic book is much more honest than annoying banner ads.
For your personal blog, try to do the same. Only recommend products that you can really get behind and you will make some pocket money as well.
We want to leave you with our progress over the last 3 months. We have made some incredible leaps and this is mostly because a quiet majority of people has been visiting this blog so frequently. I hope with this article we could share a little bit of what we learned and you can profit from this as well. This is how our earnings have developed, so don’t give up and you can do the same.
Feel free to contact us in the comments of this post after you started a website. We are always happy to give some critique and help newcomers out in general.
Thank you for reading.