Successful gaming websites don’t make themselves. They are created by webmasters who follow sets of rules posted at other websites. To help you bring your site to the forefront of the internet, here is a list of what must be done.
1 – Make headlines more misleading
A rumor may only be a rumor, but why run the risk of losing hits by clearly marking it as so in a headline? The best aggregator sites understand that when someone clicks on a link to one of their articles and the story turns out to be different than they expected, the reader is thankful that the site has cleared up any misconceptions due to the inaccurate headline. Thus, misleading headlines are a way to engender trust with your readers.
2 – Make headlines more sensational
Sensational headlines are necessary for tricking people into visiting your website. Sites should not rely on writing interesting content or the strength of their writers to attract visitors but rather outlandish article titles that grab a readers attention. “Carmack hates the PS3” is an excellent headline because it is both untrue and sensational. We have a lot to learn from Kotaku, who expertly manage to mix this and the previous rule.
3 – Allow anyone to write for you
Remember that a writer is anyone capable of writing. By demanding only partial literacy from your authors, you can create a massive amount of content in an extremely short period. This will allow you time to give your attention to more pressing matters, like which branch of the armed forces should have a hover ad displayed on the 4th of July. Readers also respond well to articles written by stupid people because, by and large, readers are also stupid. If your site is to allow anyone to submit articles, make sure to allow the feeling of populism and equality to permeate through the whole site by heavily moderating your forums and creating ranks in order to keep people off of certain boards. Nothing hammers in the concept that all of our voices matter like reading “[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]” and “You are not authorized to view topics on this board.”
4 – Use more links
One of the primary indicators of the success of a website is how many links it has on the main page. If we look at Gamespot’s site, we count about 314 links. This is a good, solid number of links. A further survey reveals that IGN has 333 links on their homepage while Gamespy has a paltry 214. The obvious conclusion any reader will draw is that IGN is the best of these three websites, while the Gamespy site cannot even muster 18 dozen links and is thus far inferior to the other two.
5 – Add more hover ads
Hover ads are those delightful advertisements that hover about a websites actual content. They are usually animated and the better ones follow you as you scroll up and down the page. This type of ad is often said to be annoying, but this is a misnomer. People, especially gamers, enjoy the struggle of closing them by clicking on the tiny “x,” which is often moving. By using enough of these, a site like Gamefaqs has essential made itself as much fun to read as a video game is to play.
6 – Report old news as new
If you run a site that’s primarily a news aggregator, it is easy to let stories slip through the cracks because you have plenty of other things that demand your attention, like what ads to place where. The good news is that readers have extremely short attention spans and memories so stories you thought were missed opportunities are not necessarily so. Reporting news the next day reveals you as behind the times, but wait as little as one more day and suddenly you have a story that most readers won’t remember ever seeing. An example from Evil Avatar.
7 – Write shorter articles more frequently
A significant advantage of making an aggregator site is you rarely need to write more than a paragraph or two for each entry. People don’t like to read the same thing for more than six seconds, so not writing full articles matches perfectly with what readers want. Ironically, people do want about three thousand stories to read a day because they are still bored (the last story only took them six seconds to read and they’ve got over seven more hours at work).
One of the biggest mistakes many sites make is to write like the text is free. Typed words may not cost literal dollars and cents, like printed words do, but they cost readers. No one is interested in a two thousand word expose on immersion in video games. Readers want to watch video clips of people playing Super Mario Brothers music on their guitar, and pictures of hand knitted PSP holders. Keep articles short and to the point so that you may get to the next point, and the next, and the next. When it comes to a website, a shotgun is better than a rifle.
8 – Use more ads between pages of articles
When a reader finds himself glued to his monitor and hanging on your every word, nothing perpetuates this mood, this immersion, like placing an ad, and only an ad, on the next page of the article. This is because a full page ad is perfect for building tension and excitement. Readers who always get to the link they clicked on are spoiled readers, and they know this. A spoiled reader will not get as much out of your site and thus it is imperative that you not spoil your readers by not bombarding them with advertisements. Gamepro excels at not spoiling their readers.
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