Creating a game studio is a big task. There’s lots to do and you’ll be required to wear a lot of different hats to get it all done. Often game creators will get so focused on their game, that they’ll lose sight of the many other necessary aspects to their business. A blog can help fill that hole.
Learn new skills
The skills you’ll gain starting a blog are transferable many other parts of game development. You’ll learn to find a market, create a website, develop interesting content, write sales copy, optimize your site for search engines, build a social media presence, and market your game through your emails. You’ll progress in these skills as you go and they’ll all come up again when you try to sell your game (or pitch it).
Take off running
Starting a blog is easier than starting other businesses as it does not require a payment system, research, or a technical background. WordPress makes building a blog as painless as possible with pre-built plug-ins and themes to give you a large feature set and plenty of customization options.
Be an expert or become one
The easiest topics to write about are what you know, what you’re doing, or what you’re learning more about. Writing about what you know allows you to skip the research as all the content comes from your experience. Plus writing out what you’ve learned forces you to codify your knowledge and think about the decisions you’re making while creating your game.
For instance, I had a shader issue that I fixed, but didn’t quite understand. Researching it to write the article caused me to learn a lot more about shaders than if I considered it fixed and moved on. You’re either an expert now or you’ll become one.
Build your brand
Blogs are a focus point for your fans to find out more about what you’re doing which can help transition your fans from your last game to your next one. Maintaining the blog can also keep you up to date with current affairs and journaling can help you come up with a focus for the day or help you put together the things you learned. Blogs also show your personality, passions, and persistence which can be great for those looking to get into the industry.
Connect with people and build a following
The hardest part of any business is building your customer base. One of the perks of a blog is that you can build a captive audience that are interested in what you’re doing and will follow your progress from game to game.
There’s a few ways you can even make money from your website even before the game is even out. Ads are one traditional way, but there’s also a few others you may not think about.
Selling assets from your game is one possible revenue stream. These don’t have to be art/audio/model assets. In fact, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that as it’ll dilute the uniqueness of your game. Instead, if you’ve constructed a robust set of code for doing tasks that we all need to get done, then by all means share it and charge some money for it. You deserve it! A blog can help with this as it builds trust and convinces others of your expertise, so they’ll trust the quality of your assets.
Another method is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing basically means linking out to other products and receiving a commission. Many blogs use them as they benefit all the parties involved. Your audience doesn’t pay any more, but they’re able to support you through purchasing projects they would buy anyways. One of the biggest affiliates is Amazon as they carry everything. Be honest about your affiliate offers though. Only recommend things you’ve used and would recommend no matter what. It’s easy to lose trust if you seem to be selling out.
As an example, I only have a few affiliate offers. They’re a bunch of books I read to learn more about psychology, marketing, and programming. I’ve read and enjoyed all the books I recommend there (and have excluded a few other books I didn’t like as much). They’re only visible on the Resources page and come with a disclaimer.
No fail scenario
It’s a no fail scenario. The only money you need to spend is the small amount required for hosting. There’s nearly no up front investment in terms of product development. There’s no commitment, stress, or a schedule. You can work on it when you want and for as much time as you want. No matter the outcome, you will learn valuable skills and have a nice resume piece.
Since blogging has such a low barrier to entry, it is a highly competitive industry. There are many people out there who have realized the same thing flooded the market. Like anything else, this will take work to be successful. Realize this and find your own niche or do it purely as an educational exercise.
You should create a blog to learn other necessary skills, to improve your knowledge, to build an audience that may stay with you from one game to the next, to help you get feedback crucial to improving your game, and to maybe even make a tiny bit of money to help you keep developing games.
Ready to start one now? Let’s get your server set up!