Should You Make a Website for Your Game?

By Tim Youngblood

Spoiler alert: the answer is yes. Here is why and some tips to get your own site started! A lot of game developers are using Facebook, Twitter, and platforms like itch.io to host the information about their studio and their games. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter will track referrals, there is a lot of data that they don’t include.

 

Why Analytics Data is Important

When people view your game, do you know which website referred them to your page? What part of the world is that viewer from? Do you know what time they viewed your game? Do you know if they downloaded your demo?

Having your own website where you can implement Google Analytics is the best way to keep track of your data. Often times, you won’t know what data points are the most important for your site, so it’s good to track everything until you know you need it. Google Analytics tracks just about every variable you can imagine and you can track more complex goals as you go along. I recommend starting with the basics, which are already set up to be tracked. These include, pages visited, times of visits, referrals, time visited, and the location of visitors. Once, you start noticing patterns with these, you can change the time of things like social media posting to get more eyes on your game.

 

This is the basic page of Google Analytics. From here, you can track just about any variable you can imagine!

 

Making a Website on a Budget 

A lot of developers don’t make a website for their game or studio because they don’t have the money or time. Building a website that ranks for a lot of keywords in search engines can take months and even years. I’ll get into whether or not it’s worth your time to do things like SEO for your site in a later article. For now, the important thing to keep in mind is that your website isn’t there to rank for keywords (Seriously, PC Gamer writes one article about your game and you’ll never rank 1st for it). It’s there to monitor the behavior of people who are interested in your game to get more eyes on your game and to increase your sales or downloads. If you’re serious about making money on a game, you need analytics data.

 

WordPress’ analytics platform isn’t perfect, but it’s great for beginners!

 

Fortunately, web design has become much easier in recent years with templates and services like WordPress and Blogspot. Both of these services are free and easy to use, I have more experience with WordPress, however, so I will focus on that. I do not recommend using Wix because you have to wait a day or two to make even basic updates on your site. Having a .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com domain doesn’t look very sexy, but they’re free and you can implement Google Analytics. Should you decide to focus more on your website in the future, you can easily convert your site to a normal .com domain. If you think a WordPress can’t look professional enough, you’re hurting my feelings, because you’re visiting one right now…

 

A WordPress theme can make your Dev blog look professional for cheap or free. This is the dev blog for Origin Story (Colors have been reversed)

 

As always, this is not a comprehensive list of reasons to make a website or platforms to make a website on. If you’re not sure where to start with making a site for your game or studio, feel free to contact us or post your game in the comments!

Also, be sure to check out our marketing section for more Indie Game Marketing Tutorials and Resources!

 

How to Promote an Indie Game on Facebook

By Tim Youngblood

Facebook is a great way to get more eyes on your game, but there are some things to keep in mind to get the most out of your Facebook promotion.

 

How Facebook’s Monetization Works

First and foremost, it is important to know how Facebook makes their money and how that affects what is prioritized in people’s feeds. Obviously, Facebook makes their money through advertisements, and there are some rules of thumb to keep in mind that most online entities use to maximize traffic and profits.

Most online media outlets have a goal of keeping as many users on their site for as long as possible. For Facebook, this comes in the form of prioritizing content that keeps users on their website. This is why so much of our Facebook feeds are littered with those 1-minute videos that are just clips from Youtube videos with subtitles over them (Facebook also doesn’t care about copyright, so they are really screwing over Youtubers right now). Facebook now plays interstitial ads inside these videos because their greed seemingly knows no bounds…

This means that users have to scroll through several pages of these videos and memes to get to anything with an external link like an article. Facebook doesn’t want anyone clicking on your link, so it’s an uphill battle to begin with.

 

Facebook is a Pay to Play System

If your game or development studio has a Facebook page, you’ve probably seen the notifications where Facebook offers you credit to boost your page or a post. This is done to get your credit card information and get you addicted to those easy likes for just a few dollars a week. It doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but with hundreds of millions of Facebook pages throwing in a dollar or two a day, the money adds up fast for Zuckerburg and the boys.

 

With Facebook boost, you can buy clicks and likes… 

 

Using the Facebook boost system can yield great results and defining your audience and maximizing your budget are a science within themselves. I will get to this in another tutorial later, but for now, I’m going to focus on some free workarounds.

How to Get Around Facebook’s Evil Algorithm

There are two things you can do to get around what is essentially a paywall for anything that takes users off of Facebook and on to other websites. The first is to post more content that doesn’t take users off of Facebook like videos, GIFs, and images (Facebook now treats GIFs as videos). Let’s say you want to post a link to your game’s website, Facebook is going to say “Haha, screw you, peasant, this won’t even make it on your mother’s feed!”.

Instead of just posting a link to your game, try making a GIF (Using Giphy is super easy!) and then adding the link to your game in the comments. When you do this, Facebook’s algorithm will say “Oooo, yes, thanks for keeping users on Facebook and making us more money!”. You can also post lots of memes to get more eyes on your page. Once somebody visits your page, they will see only the posts that you have made, and the ones with external links will not be hidden.

 

I made this GIF in like 2 minutes to promote Origin Story’s Dev blog

 

The other workaround, which I think is more important, is to utilize Facebook groups in the indie game community, which I alluded to in the tips and tricks for free indie game promotion article. Depending on a user’s settings, members of these groups can actually receive notifications when other members post in the group. Facebook groups make a massive difference between getting buried in a feed and having thousands of users alerted on their phones when you make a post. If you came to this article through Facebook, I bet that you didn’t come through Game Borough’s Facebook page and probably saw this in an indie game development or promotion group (If so, thanks for reading!).

 

Indie Game Development and Promotion Groups on Facebook

I’m putting together a list of indie game development and promotion groups on Facebook that I’d like to keep updating. If you know of any Facebook groups that aren’t in the list, please let me know in comments or through our contact page! Be warned, however, it’s very important to read the posting guidelines for each group so you don’t get booted!

  • Indie Game Promo
  • GB Gamers (Join our group! There’s like 50 of us!)
  • There a lot more gaming groups on Facebook, but these two are specifically for promoting your games.