Welcome, reader. Welcome to the greatest “how to start a gaming blog” guide ever.
In your relentless quest to quench your thirst for knowledge, you happened upon my website. And I am pleased to report I offer flowing waters of knowledge to all those who approach me.
Okay, I’m being a little dramatic, but you are about to read a pretty awesome blog. I’m going to teach you how to monetize your gaming habit with blogging, all without trying to sell you some garbage hosting or other trash you don’t need.
So without further delay, let’s plug in and power on your first blog (I know that sounds a little cheesy, forgive me).
1. Niche down (but not too much)
The first thing you need to do is choose your niche.
A lot of people make the mistake of going too broad with their gaming blog. They think they need to compete with the big sites like Kotaku and IGN.
This is a mistake. You don’t need to try to be everything to everyone. You need to focus on a specific niche within the gaming world.
For example, you could focus on:
- A game with a long-term playerbase, like Minecraft
- A console or gaming platform
- A gaming genre
- A type of game (e.g., strategy games, RPGs, etc.)
Let’s say you want to focus on the Xbox One. That’s still a pretty broad niche, but it’s a start. From there, you could further niche down and focus on Xbox One exclusives, first-person shooters, or whatever you’re passionate about
The key is to find a niche that you’re passionate about but that isn’t too small.
You need to find a balance. If your niche is too small, you won’t have enough to write about. If it’s too broad, you’ll be competing with too many other blogs, and it’ll be difficult to stand out.
For example, imagine if you made an Among Us blog about the hit 2020 betrayal simulator. Since nobody plays it anymore, you’d be in a pretty tough spot.
2. Register a domain with Namecheap
Now that you know what you’re going to blog about, it’s time to get your blog up. The first thing you need to do is register a domain name.
I recommend using Namecheap—they run a great service and are cheap. You can usually find domains for under $10/year.
When you’re choosing a domain name, try to find something that’s short, catchy, and easy to remember. You want people to be able to type in your URL and know what your blog is about.
For example, a good gaming blog name could be “:.com” or “strategygaming.com.”
Alternatively, you could name your blog around yourself and build a personal brand around your gaming persona.
Once you’ve found a domain you like, add it to your cart and checkout.
3. Host a WordPress blog with Cloudways
Now that you have your domain, it’s time to set up your blog. Trust me, you’ll want to choose WordPress (.org, not .com) over competing CMSs (content management systems).
It’s the most popular blogging platform (and for good reason). It’s open-source, user-friendly has tons of plugins and themes to choose from, and is the most SEO-friendly of any CMS, thanks to its incredible customizability.
While you could set up WordPress on a shared hosting plan, I don’t recommend it. Shared hosting is slow and unreliable, and if your blog starts to get any traffic, you’ll quickly outgrow it.
Instead, I recommend using managed cloud WordPress hosting from Cloudways.
They’re an awesome hosting company that specializes in WordPress hosting. And their plans start at just $10/month.
Plus, they offer a free 3-day trial, so you can try out their service before you commit to anything.
To get started, head over to Cloudways and create an account. For most people, 1 GB plan will be plenty to start out (though you’ll need to upgrade later).
Choose either Digital Ocean or Vultr—both are inexpensive and incredibly fast.
After you’ve added your payment details, you’ll be able to select your WordPress username and password and create your first WordPress site.
4. Choose an Astra WordPress theme
Now that you have WordPress installed, it’s time to choose a theme. I recommend using the Astra WordPress theme. It’s a lightweight, fast, customizable theme that’s perfect for gaming blogs.
Plus, it’s completely free (unless you want a premium theme, like I use).
To install it, head over to your WordPress admin panel and go to Appearance → Themes.
Then, click “Add New” and search for “Astra.”
Once it’s installed, activate it and then head over to Appearance → Customize to start customizing your blog.
5. Install some essential WordPress plugins
Now that you have a theme installed, it’s time to install some plugins. Plugins are like apps for WordPress—they add extra functionality to your blog, often at no additional cost.
Here are the plugins I use:
Elementor is a WordPress page builder plugin that lets you easily create custom layouts for your blog posts and pages. I recommend it because it makes it infinitely easier to design your site and is much more intuitive than Gutenberg.
That said, Elementor’s coding is clunky and can slow down your site. You can use Elementor to design your pages, but use Gutenberg for your blog posts.
Rank Math is an SEO plugin that essentially makes your site appetizing to Google (and other search engines). It creates your sitemap and lets you configure URL structure—both crucial for SEO.
WPRocket is one of the best caching plugins for WordPress, and it’s what I use to speed up my blog.
It essentially saves copies of your blog posts and pages in your server’s RAM, so they can be served to users much faster.
ConvertKit is a marketing service with a focus on bloggers. Bloggers use to capture emails from my blog readers so they can build a relationship with them and eventually sell them stuff.
6. Write your first post
Now that you have your blog set up, it’s time to write your first post. This is where a lot of people get overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Start by brainstorming some blog post ideas. A good place to start is by looking at your favorite gaming blogs and seeing what topics they’re writing about.
You can also use Google to find blog post ideas. Just search for “best PSP games” or whatever you want to write about.
Then, check the “People Also Ask” section in Google and find more ideas.
7. Create a content strategy
Now that you have some ideas for blog posts, it’s time to start thinking about your content strategy—essentially, how you’re going to produce and promote your content.
Here are a few things to consider:
- How often are you going to post?
- How long are your posts going to be?
- What format are your posts going to take? (e.g. listicles, guides,reviews)
- How are you going to promote your content? (e.g. on social media, gaming forums, etc.)
Your content strategy should be detailed enough to give you a road map to follow, but not so detailed that you can’t deviate from it.
It should also continuously evolve to reflect the changing landscape of your niche.
Optional: Use Ahrefs for keyword research
Ahrefs is a super popular SEO tool that lets you conduct market research on your competitors and see what topics people are searching for.
It can help you come up with blog post ideas, view how much traffic your competitors are really getting, and much more.
Ahrefs isn’t cheap, so only get it if you’re serious about becoming one of the top gaming bloggers.
For now, you can use inexpensive alternatives like SEMrush, SpyFu, and Keywords Everywhere.
8. Develop a monetization strategy
This is probably the part you’re most interested in—how to make money blogging. Here are a few strategies to consider:
Ezoic is an ad network that optimizes your ad placements and automatically serves the highest-paying ads on your site.
They have one of the highest CPMs in the market, and they work closely with Google to help you earn more money.
In essence, an affiliate earns a commission for each sale generated from their blog.
If a potential customer clicks on an affiliate link from an affiliate’s blog, the affiliate is given a small commission for directing the sale.
Selling digital products—like eBooks, courses, templates is one of the easiest ways to make money blogging.
Just create a digital product related to your niche, adhere to a few basic pricing principles, and sell it on your blog.
Another way to mkae money blogging is to pursue brand partnerships—basically becoming an influencer paid by brands to promote their products and affiliate links on their websites.
Sell your blogging skills to others
As you continue to grow your blog and become more knowledgeable, you can start pitchings yourself as a freelancer to help design and build WordPress sites for clients.
You can also use your blog to showcase your skills and attract potential employers to offer you full-time work.
Time to level up
That’s it—everything you need to know to start a gaming blog. You may have entered this site believing it’d be way too complex, but being honest, it’s not.
Sure, there’s some nuance to the steps listed above. But anyone following the exact steps I listed can start a gaming blog.
As always, feel free to reach out to me in the comment section if you have any questions.