A couple months ago I developed my first Flash game and tried my hand in the world of FGL and getting my game sponsored. In the end I did land a deal and the amount wasn’t horrible but given my skills as a web developer it made me wonder how much more money I’d be able to earn in the long run by building my own game portal and self-publishing my future games.
Before going anywhere with the idea I did a lot of research. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at successful portals and determining what their strong points are. Ultimately, I boiled down a list of goals and requirements that I need to launch and maintain a successful game portal.
- Target a specific genre or taste, in this case I chose what I do best which is retro games.
- The site needs a unique look, you don’t want to look like another cookie-cutter arcade.
- Build a sizable catalog of quality games, I don’t want people to associate my portal with bad games.
- Maximize ad placement without being overimposing.
Obviously, my draw to hosting my own portal is that with a decent amount of traffic I can make a good amount of ad revenue. Having recently joined MochiMedia as a developer recently I also found that by hosting games from Mochi’s catalog on your portal you can make money whenever somebody play them on your site.
So, a couple weeks ago I decided to build the site absolutely from scratch. I found that there are a lot of arcade plugins out there for WordPress but I felt these supply more functionality than I need. They also cost money and I’m worried that they’d make my portal look generic. Building the portal didn’t take long as I identified that it needed to do the following things.
- Front page with sections for featured, new, and lonely (don’t get played often) games.
- Integration with social networks so that users can share or like what they’re playing.
- Use a Twitter feed for site news.
- Have games broken down into four basic categories (Action, Adventure, Puzzle, Strategy).
- Lastly have a basic system for searching games.
Just over a week ago I finally launched my portal Hammerstache. And here’s my logo.
Being that I’m starting a retro game portal, I went with a pixel-art look. Since the portal launched it hasn’t really started getting any organic traffic yet, just a few visitors by referral. Based on experience with this site it generally takes a while to build yourself up in Google and I’ve been doing everything I can in regards to maximizing SEO so that hopefully within the next month it’ll start to pay off. I think the big thing that’s really going to jump-start my traffic is when I self-publish my next game Bunsen Blocks. As long as it maintains at least 2,000 sessions a day I think it’ll help to bring the traffic in consistently. Here’s hoping, look for an update in another month or two to see how Hammerstache is panning out.