Remember when blogging was a hobby? It was some random teenager on Tumblr just reposting their favorite celebrities and quotes. Any blog with its own domain was relatively unfollowed and unread.
Well, both digital advancements (the rise of the digital age, the conquering of the internet) and SEO changed all of that. Suddenly, blogs were all the rage, with more and more popping up out of nowhere. Google was able to essentially categorize everyone into niches by using keywords and descriptions. All that was left was to get better at blogging and make every blog more searchable.
But how does this pertain to you, as a developer?
Well, it pertains to anyone running a business, and as a developer who is actively creating and selling games, you’re a business. Blogging leads to growth, marketability, easily-found sample work, testimonials, and community building, among other benefits.
So, how do you grow your dev blog fast? Read on.
1) Seed to Social Media
Here’s a Marketing 101 tip: recycling content is perfectly acceptable. It’s highly encouraged! Your objective is to get as many eyes on each post as possible. That means each time you post something new, it needs to be announced on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.. Instagram in particular is super popular with bloggers, since the most popular blogs out there are a combination of original photography and writing.
One majorly key place you should be posting is LinkedIn, as it can make your profile more fleshed out and industry experienced. It makes you look like a leader, and announces to the world what it is you genuinely know. So, assuming you don’t want to work in indie forever and aspire to join AAA, this can come in handy.
Jut don’t be spammy about it. Don’t post 2-3 times a day and seed every single time. No one likes that, especially Reddit (notoriously anti-spam).
2) Post Regularly
This is also elementary, but it’s surprising how many people don’t do it. If you want to grow your dev blog fast, you need to pick one or two days out of the week, preferably the days when you get the most traffic, and post then. On a weekly basis!
This means you should have a way to check metrics. For about $4 a month, you can do this on WordPress.
It also helps to keep track of the time of day. Posting at 7am, when everyone is just getting to work, or waking up for work, isn’t going to generate as many views. But posting around lunch time, when everyone is on their phones is.
3) Only Post Relevant Content
Have you ever spoken to someone who interjected random information into a conversation? Maybe you were talking to a friend about work, and another friend came up and mentioned their new exercise routine.
Now picture what your readers would think if you randomly posted about your diet, relationship, shopping excursions, or hobbies, on your dev blog. They’re not there to read the “insert your name here” blog, they want to read about your projects, updates, patches, DLC, and studio behind-the-scenes.
Surprise, common sense. Add keywords to your meta descriptions, alt descriptions, and headers. Make sure you add relevant images and video (if applicable), and always ensure that you create a snappy title that also incorporates the keywords.
If this seems like a lot to keep track of, there are tools that can help you grow your dev blog fast. WordPress has a plugin called Yoast SEO that can help keep track of SEO for you, so you know exactly what needs to be changed for the better.
Also, add your blog to Google Webmaster Tools. It registers the domain as yours, allows you to track all traffic, and figure out who is linking back to your blog. Reach out, thank them, and offer to guest post since they love your content so much.
More on guest posting below.
5) Read Between The Lines
By this point you might be thinking, “Well, this is all very technical. Maybe I can post whatever is dev related and build a nice blog.” Well, that’s a nice assumption, but it’s not actually accurate.
Blogs that prevail and become popular are the ones actively posting valuable, actionable content that readers want to, well, read.
So just how do you know what kinds of things to post? There’s two things to keep in mind: your target audience and engagement.
Your Target Audience
You’re a developer, so your audience is players. They’re the ones buying your games. Keep this in mind at all times, as everything you post needs to be interesting to them.
Players typically enjoy anything related to the games themselves. How they’re made, how decisions are made, what updates can they expect, what new merch is there, etc..
All those likes and comments on photos on Instagram are more than just engagement: they’re tells. They tell you what people like the most, and what they could do without. If you know how to read that, you know how to build a better feed, and hence, draw more traffic to your blog (your blog link should be on all your social media channels).
6) Guest Post
Tricks are essentially all you need to grow your dev blog fast. One trick to ranking higher in searches is to gain exposure. The more you’re mentioned online, the higher the rank you get. Your objective is to get on the first page of Google results.
As such, link building is imperative. That means each post you write needs to link to at least 5-6 other websites with relevant information. And as such, other websites need to mention you in turn.
The best way to accomplish this is to guest post on other blogs. Game development blogs are a dime a dozen, and reaching out to fellow studios who want to gain exposure is a smart start.
7) Be Everywhere All the Time
In order to grow your dev blog fast, you need to make yourself known. Put yourself out there. That means you need to be everywhere all the time.
Sounds impossible, right?
Well, think of it like this: you can have a Twitter, an Instagram, a Pinterest, a Reddit account, and a Facebook account, just post different things on each outlet. Twitter has less engagement than Facebook, so use it to make connections within the industry and reach out. Instagram is visual, so use it to highlight a great image from each post. And so on.
Still feel like you need more help with it? Check out these helpful tools.
8) Comment on Other Blogs
This is simple. You probably follow other game development blogs, so anytime you see a post you like, let them know! This promotes community, helps their blog grow, and in turn draws attention to you.
The same goes on social media. The more you like other people’s posts, the more your posts get likes and comments. An account with few followers can grow rapidly with this method.
It’s very much “give and you shall receive.”
9) Build a Kickass Landing Page
Good landing pages are the ones that clearly understand that most people are lazy. Readers don’t want to have to click five times to find the post they’re looking for. This means your website’s landing page needs to be filled with valuable content right from the start.
Some Things To Include Are…
- Your studio’s name
- Your niche (video game developers)
- Recent posts
- Links to social media
- A call to action (buy this game now!)
- A combination of images, video, and copy
10) Be Yourself
In this digital era, it’s become all too easy to copy others. Especially if you’re trying to grow your dev blog fast. It’s tempting to copy their looks, their blogging styles, their social media images, their networking skills. And while educational, it’s also dangerous.
Rather than be like everyone else, you should use the one thing you have to stand out and get exposure: your own identity. There’s no one in the world like you, and that’s a good thing.
Learning from others is fantastic, but not at the expense of losing everything that makes you unique.
So don’t post something just because a blogger or developer you admire did it. Post something because it appeals to your audience, advances your blog, and reflects who you are.
As always best of luck!
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