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11 Rules for making a successful gaming website

posted on June 29th, 2006 by the marketeer

Fitness celebrity John Basedow based his Fitness Made Simple program on the very principles you’re now reading.

9 – Site should take longer to load
An amateur mistake is to make a website that is clean and minimalist in an effort to make it load quickly. A website is like a luxury product — expensive wine often sells better than cheap wine, and a site that takes longer to load usually has more visitors than one that loads quickly. When a reader notices that they didn’t have to wait at all, they immediately think that there must not be much content on the site, or what content there is must be light and fluffy. Good, strong sites take a little while to load, but readers believe the load to be worth the wait. 1up is the master of slow loading sites.

10 – Dislike more games
Nothing conveys that yours is an independent site like giving most games bad reviews. Disliking games makes it very clear that you have played more games than the average Joe. Anyone who loves video games can find good and special things in a bad game, but only by focusing on the negative can you “tell it like it is.” Readers will respect that you aren’t in the pocket of any publisher and trust what you have to say. For an excellent example of this rule in practice, see Game Revolution.

11 – Draw attention to the fact that your competitors’ sites lack content
Attacking a competitor’s site is an expert way to improve your own. If done subtly, a reader will not realize they are reading bitching and propaganda but will instead believe you are simply looking out for them. Kotaku provides a good example by pointing out the vacuous nature of an Armchair Empire article. This works because they tempered their critique with humor and brevity, thus preventing the reader from realizing Kotaku provides no new content but is still criticizing a site that does. Another site that successfully follows this rule is Videolamer.

8 Comments

  1. Christian said on June 29, 2006:

    Ever since the destruction of Daily Radar in my mid teens, I’ve traveled around to just about every major game site. While usually I’ve always managed to visit them all, there’s always one that I go for the majority of my information, until it starts getting crappy and I move on to another one. I went from a hardcore Gamespot addiction to IGN (I was once an Insider), then to Gamespy for quite some time, and now 1up (who, amazingly, are getting a lot better with their editorials and provide some decent old school features for serious gamers). The only two I’ve visited at a constant frequency for all these years are Game Revolution (since they’re cranky bastards like me) and gamefaqs (because its the fastest way to the Gamespot news ticker). Actually, any site can win me over with a solid news ticker.

    But I digress. While I still visit these sites, I find myself going to each for less time, and stopping only for very specific features or articles. The vast majority of content does absolutely nothing for me. Not only do they all try and cram way too much information onto a page (Gamespot has gone insane with their current layout), but far too much of it is preview content. If I looked at very screen, watched every direct feed movie, and read every developer diary and preview, I’d have no reason to play the game. I’d already know all the important stuff!

    I know most gamers want lots of information all at once, as quickly as possible, but these guys take it a little too far. Its information overload.

    Plus, every so often a really screwball review pops up which makes me question the actual integrity of some of these big time editors (I loved the one 1up writer that went to all these publisher sponsered parties, talked about them in her blog, then proceeded to gush about the games she saw. Wonder why….)

    Conclusion: Support indie game sites. We may not always get it right, but sometimes a longer, more detailed, and most importantly personal opinion from a fellow gamer can often lead to the best insight into a game. There’s a lot of quality stuff out there amidst the 15 year old bloggers and forum fanboys. Plus the more you read (and critique), the better those sites, Videolamer included, can get.

  2. Tan said on August 23, 2007:

    Man, Carrot Top just get’s uglier doesn’t he? Awesome article BTW, always a pleasure. :)

  3. The Songnumbers Team said on March 31, 2009:

    Great info, we DO expect (though) that the ad-supported model WILL work. //keeping our noses down and pushing ahead…
    Sincerely,
    The Songnumbers Team
    PS, we just pushed out BETA 2 of our site!

  4. SAndy said on October 21, 2009:

    this is very helpful I like the idea is good
    helpful is also

  5. Big Game Hunter Cheats said on May 25, 2010:

    I enjoy to play games, but I particularly like to play Big Game Hunter. Desire to find some Big Game Hunter Cheats? Just push my link.

  6. Spyder Mayhem said on May 26, 2010:

    Oh, I’ll push your link. Right over a fucking cliff. And down some stairs. And into a hot bed of coals. And through a window of a skyscraper. And out of an airplane. And into the front of a bus. By the time I’m through, you’ll beg me never to push your link again.

  7. Sammie Cerny said on October 9, 2010:

    Some interesting information on here. Slightly off topic but I am so excited !. I saw Cats The Musical for the first time and the music plus the dancing is outstanding. It is definitely an emotional journey that all the audience gets involved with !. ‘Cats’ will make you laugh and smile and touch certain places in your heart. Everybody left the theater singing, content and uplifted. If you get a chance to go and see ‘Cats’ I really recommend it.

  8. jay said on November 26, 2010:

    Wow, our server host is now spamming the site. Classy, host gator.

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