LaunchPad: Starting Your Own Popular Video Game Website, Part 1

LaunchPad: Starting Your Own Popular Video Game Website, Part 1

Starting a video game website

I’m the owner of over 60 domain names. I’m a bit of a whore when it comes to website creation. If I hear a good idea, or create one of my own, and there’s no website associated with it, I jump at the chance. Most of the time, the website never gets beyond “wouldn’t it be cool if,” but sometimes I end up with SideQuesting. Or with CarDesignFetish. Or MakLink. Sometimes that idea spurs a community or a job, opening up doors that I never knew existed and resulting in friendships that I cherish to this day.

When I first got into the video game website business it was with GoGamingGiant, which I created in 2008 and left in early 2009. Later that Spring I started SideQuesting because I wanted to try something a bit different. Since that time, SideQuesting got me into PAX, E3 (something that was always a nerd’s dream for me), and gave me unbridled access to a hobby that became a passion. It’s no surprise then, that friends and strangers ask me about how to do the same.

With this regular column, and with the site posting more content about getting into the biz, I’ll be giving away all of my secrets about starting a compelling website. All of them. Even the dirty ones. From the first ideas, to working with PR, to getting into E3, I hope to touch on as many facets as possible. It’ll take time (I DO want you to come back regularly) but it’ll be worth it… I promise. You may become the next Vox Games.

There are a lot of things that go into a starting any website, not just one geared at video games. It all starts with you asking yourself this simple question:


If you want to get into the gaming industry from whatever aspect, starting your own website isn’t always the best way. There are thousands upon thousands of websites already created that have good readership and consistent visitors. It’s probably easier to join one rather than start your own. In fact joining a website helps reduce almost all risk, like money and legal issues, inter-staff problems, and late late late nights of fixing server issues. And, you can leave almost whenever you’d like to try something bigger and better. But there are limitations. As a new addition to the staff you’re more than likely to be lower in the pecking order for reviews and industry event access, and you may need to build up your seniority for your opinions to have as much weight as members that have been there for years.

So why start a website, then?

If there is anything that creating a website offers most of is ownership. Creation leads to ultimate satisfaction, especially if the product that you create is something that becomes successful. The ability to see something blossom that you’ve built with your (virtual) hands is going to give you more fulfillment than you could probably imagine. Nothing is perfect, though, and you’re going to hit times that make you want to second-guess yourself, and maybe even pushing you to give up.


The Good

  • You’re going to see your baby grow, from the time you hit the “buy” button at a hosting company to the moment that you have your first 1000 views on an article, into something that you will be proud of.
  • You’ll make some great connections, some in business and some in friendship, and meet some fantastic people.
  • You can work at your own pace.
  • You’re going to have great content to show.
  • You can be as adventurous in content as you’d (legally) like to be.
  • You’re going to learn to code web pages and create artwork, learn new software, and have more things that you can put on your resume in the future.
  • You’ll possibly grow into a huge community of visitors and readers.
  • You may be able to get review copies, access to events & people, and maybe even make money from advertising.
  • You will become the “expert” on the subject in the eyes of your friends and family, and it may even lead to some great new things at your full-time job, school, or other hobbies.
  • You’re going to go to bed at night with some of the biggest smiles on your face that you’ve ever had.



The Bad

  • Your health will deteriorate. You’ll lose sleep and gain weight, almost assuredly, if the website consumes your life.
  • Your personal relationships will be strained as you’ll lose much of your free time.
  • You’ll spend a LOT of money.
  • You’ll have just as much negativity as, if not more than, positive encouragement. It’ll come mostly from Internet trolls and doubters.
  • You’ll make enemies and be accused of stealing ideas.
  • You might face some legal troubles.
  • You’ll go through depression and frustration, possibly often, if things start to fall apart.
  • I repeat: you’ll spend a LOT of money!
  • Your website will crash, and you might lose data and visitors.
  • You will have days, weeks, and months when no one will visit your website.
  • You will be told that your site is insignificant, and that you should leave it to those who are professionally experienced.
  • One more time: you’ll. spend. a. lot. of. money.


So again, why create a website if there are so many things to consider? Really, the decision is yours, but we can keep circling back to that sense of being proud of something that you’ve created, no matter how small.

Perhaps the most valuable thing that comes from owning a website is experience. You’ll make mistakes, learn from them, have success, and grow from it. And if you decide to try something new afterwards, you’ll already have gone through the bumps and bruises of a first-timer. You’ll be ready, you’ll be streamlined.

That’s what we hope to accomplish with LaunchPad, or whatever we call this regular feature. We’re going to share the mistakes we made and the advice we have, hoping to help you out a little along the way. We’ll feature other websites and people that started right where you are starting, with columns, articles, and a new podcast.

So tell me one more time: why do you want to start a video game website?


Next time: The Idea