How to Start a Gaming Blog: A Step-by-Step Guide
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If you’re a huge gaming fan and enjoy writing, why not combine the two and start a gaming blog?
There’s no better time to create a gaming blog than now. In this step-by-step guide we’ll walk you through how to start a blog, including these key steps:
- Make a Plan
- Buy a Domain Name
- Buy Hosting for Your Blog
- Install WordPress
- Customize WordPress
- Write Content
- Launch Your Blog
Ready to make your blogging dreams a reality? Here’s our ultimate guide on how to start a gaming blog today.
Why Start a Gaming Blog?
The gaming industry continues to grow in strength and both niche and mainstream interest, especially with the growing popularity of esports. This makes now the perfect time to start your gaming blog.
For many, a gaming blog can mean a new career — for others it’s the possibility to create a hobby from a blend of their passions. Here are some of the best reasons to start a gaming blog this year:
- Create a career and personal brand for yourself in the gaming or esports industry
- Grow a community around a topic you’re passionate about
- Understand more about gaming to support a future career
- Get exclusive access to new technology, hardware, and games before they launch
- Attend invite-only press events and gaming conferences
- Monetize your blog and make money from doing something you love
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Here’s how to make it happen.
The first step when you start your own gaming blog can often take the longest. All through life it’s important to plan and prepare, and blogging is no exception. If you take the time now to get all your ideas down on paper, you’ll avoid distractions and stay focused as you make your way through the blog setup process.
When planning your blog, here are some useful questions to consider:
Why Do You Want to Blog?
Your “why” should always guide your decisions, so it’s really important to be as clear as you can on this from the beginning. Do you want to inspire others? Create a community of passionate fans? Launch a profitable blogging media empire?
It’s helpful to remember that you can have more than one purpose — it’s possible to create a thriving community and be profitable, for example.
What Do You Want to Blog About?
There’s lots of talk in the blogging world about finding your niche and how this can help you to find your audience. What this means is that if you can figure out what’s unique about your blog and where it fits into the gaming blog community, you’ll find it easier to promote your blog and attract the kind of readers that you want.
To help you find your niche, work out which aspects of gaming you’re passionate about. Do you favor a particular game or type of game? Are you interested in esports? Do you want to blog about the gaming industry? Are you a huge technology and hardware fan? Blogging about your interests is a great place to start, so make a list of the topics or themes you want to cover on your blog.
Who Will Read Your Gaming Blog?
We often start a blog as a hobby, so sometimes we don’t always consider our audience. If you want to grow a successful blog and monetize it, your audience becomes your number one priority.
Take some time to build up a picture of your ideal reader. Make notes about who they are, where they live, what they’re interested in, and where they like to spend their time. This will help you to create high quality content that will interest them and also help you work out where to promote your blog.
What Should You Name Your Gaming Blog?
After you’ve decided what you want to blog about, the next step is to find a name. This can be tricky, especially as common words and phrases may already be taken. You also have to watch out for any trademarked phrases, especially if you blog about one game, publisher, or platform only.
When it comes to naming your blog, the choice is up to you. You could go for a generic, widely-appealing name like That Video Game Blog, or something more creative like Destructoid.
We’ve created a guide on how to find creative blog names and how to name your blog — these are a great place to start if you want some inspiration.
Now that you’ve found the right name, it’s time to get your blog online.
The next step in the process to start your blog is to register your domain name. Your domain name is also known as your web address or URL — for example, ours is www.bloggingtips.com.
It’s good practice to have a domain name that’s exactly the same as, or very similar to, the name of your blog. If you can, register yourblogname.com — this makes it instantly recognizable as your blog, helps build your brand, and is easy to remember.
Our favorite place to buy domain names is Bluehost. The service is great and the pricing is really affordable — around $11.99 per year for a .com domain.
Once you’ve registered your domain name, have a look at our guide on how to set up a custom email address to use for your blog.
The next step in starting your gaming blog is to buy some web hosting. This is where your content will be stored, or hosted. When your domain name and hosting are linked together, your visitors will be able to see your blog and enjoy your content.
Our recommend web hosting company for bloggers is Bluehost. While we’ve reviewed a number of competitors like HostGator and DreamHost, Bluehost remains our favorite. They offer affordable plans, reliable service, and an easy-to-use control panel.
For most bloggers, we recommend you invest in the Basic plan from Bluehost. This gives you all the functionality you need and plenty of space to start a gaming blog, plus the ability to upgrade if you need to in the future.
Every blog needs a content management system, also known as a CMS, to power their blog and content.
There are several popular content management systems available, but our favorite and the one we recommend for bloggers is WordPress. WordPress is an industry leader that offers all the functionality you need straight out the box. It’s a free software, supported by a community of developers and experts, so it’s always being updated and improved.
If you choose to use Bluehost as your hosting company, the fastest way to install WordPress in a few clicks is from your dashboard. Like any software, if you’re new to WordPress we recommend you take a look around and familiarize yourself, but with a WordPress blog it’s easy to learn as you go.
You now officially have a blog, but it’s not time to release it to the world just yet. Before you launch your blog you’ll want to customize your WordPress website to suit your brand, appeal to your audience, and look the way you want it to.
Install a Custom Theme
Although WordPress comes with a few free themes pre-installed, it’s a great idea to invest in a third-party theme if your budget allows.
Third-party themes are often designed with a particular purpose or theme in mind, so you’ll find themes designed for businesses, for lifestyle blogs, for online magazines, and for any niche you can think of.
On Themeforest you can browse through these gaming themes, or head to another popular resource like StudioPress for more inspiration.
It’s easy to install a WordPress theme, but all themes come with a “readme” file with instructions if you need them.
WordPress is a brilliant CMS, but you can also install plugins to add extra functionality or to help make it easier to grow or promote your blog.
A popular plugin for bloggers is Yoast SEO. This plugin will help you to understand search engine optimization (SEO) and apply best practices to your blog to help your content be discovered more easily by readers.
Another useful plugin is Jetpack, from the creators of WordPress. This handy plugin adds security features, stats, marketing tools, and design options to help you customize and protect your blog.
If you write gaming or hardware reviews, you may find WP Review useful. With this plugin you can add star or points ratings to blog posts, which will also appear in the snippets displayed for your posts in search results on Google.
Brand Your Blog
Once you’re happy with your theme and plugins, now’s a good time to customize the way your blog looks. Small changes like switching the colors on your theme to match the colors of your logo can help to create a more “branded” or attractive presence.
If you have a logo for your blog, make sure it’s prominent as part of your header so that it’s one of the first things people see when they land on your blog. If you don’t have a logo, you could create your own using templates from Creative Market, or hire a freelancer from a marketplace like Fiverr.
By now your blog looks professional and ready to launch. You’ve probably also filled in some of the pages, like your “About Me” page, and added your contact details or social media links.
The next step, and one of the most essential, is to write content to publish on your new gaming blog.
Plan and Write Your Content
The most successful blogs are those which publish new content regularly, so it’s a good habit to plan your content in advance. Not only will you be more consistent, but you’ll find it easier to write a great blog post if you’re not under pressure to publish right away.
We all like to plan differently, so find a system that works for you. This could mean you write your blog post ideas in a journal, plan directly in WordPress using a tool like CoSchedule, or use Trello or Asana to create projects with deadlines.
How often you blog is up to you, and it’s always a good idea to create a schedule that you can stick to. This might be one post per week, or even one per month to start with. If you blog about the latest gaming news you could find yourself writing and publishing new blog posts several times a day.
Here are five different types of content that you could create and share on your blog.
One of the most popular types of content for gaming blogs is reviews. Depending on your niche, this could include reviews of newly launched games, hardware, accessories, and even reviews of gaming conferences or esports tournaments.
The great thing about reviews is that they’re often interesting to people for a long time. Although sales are higher and interest peaks around launch dates, people love to pick up a bargain from the store so your reviews will receive hits throughout the year.
As you become more prominent in the gaming industry, you may be invited to press events or exclusive launches, or even review games ahead of launch day. This can all create engaging content for your readers.
While there are already big players in the gaming news arena like Gamespot, that’s not to say that your fledgling blog can’t grow into a destination for gaming news — especially if you write about very specific gaming topics.
Unlike reviews, gaming news tends to only be relevant for a short time. This makes it better for promotion across your social media channels, where it’s likely to be shared, read, and commented on by readers. If you cover breaking news in an interesting way, or you have an exclusive, this can attract a real surge of views for your blog.
Gaming is an acquired skill, and even for the most seasoned of gamers there’ll be a point where we put down the controller and search for a walkthrough or guide.
Walkthrough guides can be one of the most popular types of content for gaming blogs, as they serve a direct need. If you become known for creating excellent, helpful, and thorough walkthroughs, people will bookmark your blog and return every time they get stuck.
If you want to build a strong community and brand around your gaming blog, it helps to write about the gaming community — especially within your niche or area of expertise.
Community means different things to everyone, and is as simple as writing about gaming meetups in your local area. It can also be more related to the topics you write about, like an in-depth guide on what’s happening in the esports community or what’s popular on Twitch. A great way to grow and involve your community is through user-generated content — you could ask people what their favorite thing about a new game is and include these in a write-up.
Interviews and Behind the Scenes
We all love to see behind the scenes and find out what really goes on, and that’s true for the gaming niche too. This can be an especially powerful type of content if you blog about the gaming industry, or you focus on the often-forgotten aspects that make a successful game like sound, design, and marketing.
When you’re just starting out, you could interview some of your favorite gaming bloggers for a feature. As you build your influence, you could approach games studios, designers, and artists for interviews or exclusives.
Your blog looks professional, you have a handful of posts up, and you have a schedule of blog posts ready to publish. It’s time to launch your gaming blog!
Until now your gaming blog has been a secret project or a blog that’s been hidden from the world, and now it’s live and ready to be shared.
To help your ideal readers find your blog and keep coming back, here are some tips on how to attract people to your blog:
- Tell your friends and family and ask them to visit the blog
- Email your network, especially if they are in the gaming industry or are fans
- Promote your blog posts on your social media channels
- Join blogger groups and become part of the community
- Pin your blog posts to Pinterest
- Optimize your content for search engines using search engine optimization (SEO)
- Look for guest blogging opportunities
- Join gaming communities online and start to contribute to discussions
- Keep an eye out for media or promotional opportunities
- Invest in paid social media advertising
It takes time to grow your blog into a successful venture that makes money, so stay positive and focused on your goals.
Do You Want to Grow and Monetize Your New Blog?
Congratulations on launching your new gaming blog! This is an exciting time, so while you feel the enthusiasm for blogging, why not continue to learn and grow your blog?
For our latest blogging tips from experts, make sure you sign up to our newsletter. You’ll receive an email every week with advice and insights on how to grow and monetize your blog, including how to get started with affiliate marketing. It’s a great way to continually improve your blog without searching through Pinterest or Google for ideas.