There are several different solutions out there for authoring websites, but for any site with lots of content and regular additions, in my opinion, there is only one choice and that is WordPress. It is an amazing solution, completely free and incredibly fully featured and adaptable.
Landing pages and game-specific sites are a different kettle of fish, and a
more design-focused solution such as Adobe’s Muse could be a better option.
What They Say
“WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or
blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same
I have used WordPress to create many different sites: company sites, game
sites, campaign blogs and more. When combined with the numerous free
plugins and site theme templates you can literally create any sort of site
with just a few hours’ work.
One of the most amazingly useful features of WordPress development is the
pre-built themes. With a single click these bad boys will completely change
the design of your site and add all sorts of different functionality. In the past,web design like this would have cost many thousands; now you’ll find
amazing themes for less than $50, or often free.
If you can’t already tell, I really do love WordPress!
There are several points you should look for when choosing a theme for your site. You need a theme that is easy to navigate, with a single click to take visitors to information on your games. Never make visitors hunt for content on your site; everything needs to be intuitive, cleanly designed and easy to navigate.
Make sure your site is optimized for search engines (Search Engine
Optimization, SEO for short). You need to be able to edit the page’s title,
description and header tags and use perma-links for categories. A good place to start is to peruse the free SEO Starter Guide provided by Google:
Ensure the theme features built-in social media sharing buttons, in a
prominent position. You can also expand on this with plugins, which will
add social buttons to each blog post. Make it easy for visitors to share
content from your site.
Other important site functionality includes a built-in newsletter subscription form, which encourages visitors to sign-up and receive updates about your games. This can be a great way to keep in touch with the followers who are most interested in your games and studio.
Last but by no means least, RSS functionality. This is an essential feature,
allowing people to easily follow developments at your studio, and progress
on your games, as and when they happen.
Let’s take a look at some of the best places to find WordPress themes:
A nice variety of attractive and well-programmed themes, with an excellent
framework common to all of their themes. I have used Woo many times, and their themes are rock solid and regularly updated to support current
ThemeZilla is similar to WooThemes, i.e. a small-ish range of premium
WordPress themes and plugins. Apparently, over 30,000 customers use
ThemeZilla themes to power their websites.
Theme Forest offers a massive selection of themes, with many stunningly
good examples of WordPress theme design. Be careful when you choose
though, as some themes can be a little unreliable. Use the theme ratings as a
guide when selecting a theme to buy.
Customizr is a free and easily customized theme offering many of the
standard features you can expect from a premium website template.
A varied selection of WordPress themes, WordPress plugins, tips and
Clean, nicely designed freemium themes. Several additional Pro themes,
with more functionality, are available for an annual fee of $35—this includes access to all Pro themes on the site.
Colorlib offer a few high quality, free and premium WordPress themes. I
have used the Sparkling theme, and it is a really solid and easy to use theme.
While WordPress is a very efficient platform, it can run wild on a server—
especially with several plugins running. This can have a detrimental effect
on your site in a number of ways:
▶ SEOs—although relevance is the primary SEO factor, website loading
speed is also an important factor
▶ User experience—visitors to your site really do hate waiting for pages to
load, it just looks unprofessional
▶ Google ranking—Google will rank slow loading sites lower in their search
results A good plugin to use to improve your WordPress SEO is the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
What They Say
“This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at
Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects. While this
WordPress SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical
optimization, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.”
If you are serious about SEO, this plugin is a great place to start. Just look at
the stats—2989 five-star ratings on WordPress.org—that is the highest rated
plugin I’ve seen.
Web Caching Plugins
On a WordPress site it is important that content is retrieved from your
database as swiftly as possible. The default WordPress settings can be a little slow, particularly for a larger site. Fortunately, there are several free Plugins available to help speed up your database interaction.
One point of note is that these plugins can make it so that changes and
updates to your site aren’t seen by users for a delayed period of time—five
minutes to an hour. Just temporarily disable the plugins when
updating/testing your site.
WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is a static caching plugin for WordPress. It generates html
files that are served directly by Apache without processing comparatively
heavy PHP scripts. By using this plugin you will speed up your WordPress
Hyper Cache is a powerful cache system for WordPress websites. It is made
for those users with low-resources hosting providers.
W3 Total Cache
W3 Total Cache is the most popular WordPress caching plugin. Thousands of WordPress sites such as yoast.com, css-tricks.com, mashable.com and
smashingmagazine.com use this plugin. W3 can help increase website load
speeds by up to ten times.
The following plugins work in conjunction with those above, to further
speed-up a WordPress site:
WP Widget Cache
WP will cache the output of all of your blog widgets. Usually it will
significantly reduce the SQL queries to your database and speed up your
site. This is a good thing as Widgets can be one of the slowest features of a
Ideally, you should regularly optimize your MySQL database to avoid a
‘fragmentation’ effect. WP-DBManager is the tool to use.
WP-DBManager manages your WordPress database allowing you to
optimize, repair, back up and restore the database. You can also use it to
delete backup databases, drop/empty tables and run selected queries. WP-DBManager supports automatic scheduling of backups, optimizations and
There are several anti-spam plugins available for WordPress, some of the
Akismet filters your comments, pingbacks and trackbacks. It performs tests
to filter out junk and pushes all spam comments into your spam folder,
which you can then review and delete as appropriate.
The Defensio web service focuses on threats to social media, such as
malicious content, comment spam, and other embedded threats. Defensio
also acts as a profanity filter to block bad language in comments.
Even smart spam-bots that use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to
decipher CAPTCHAs cannot get past reCAPTCHA, since the plugin distorts
the words to create new images that eliminate spammers.
It is important to make sure all of your plugins are kept up-to-date with the
version of WordPress you are running, and that you also keep WordPress
updated to the latest build version. This can be verified easily via the
WordPress Dashboard, which will notify you if newer versions exist.
In online marketing, a landing page, sometimes known as a ‘lead capture
page’ or a ‘lander’, is a single web page that appears in response to clicking
on a link from a search engine, social media or email marketing message.
The goal of a landing page is to convert site visitors into sales or leads. A
good landing page is designed to get across a particular message regarding
your game so those visiting the page will hopefully purchase the game.
Landing pages are a great way to present your game professionally, and
allow visitors single click access to each of the different stores where your
game is available to buy.
Ideally register your game name as a domain, i.e. ‘yourgame.com.’ If the
domain is not available, try the movie trick and register
‘yourgamegame.com’. This would be where you host the landing page.
The following checklist is a guide to how you should design an effective
Single Page Layout
Landing pages should be a single page layout, although you can include
navigation to anchors within the page.
Keep It Simple
Keep the page simple and make sure the design is clear and there is minimal clutter onscreen.
A strong headline, which is engaging and accurately describes what your
game is about. You can also include a sub-heading that enforces the message in the headline. Try to use the following words whenever possible:
You—You is a placeholder for your name, making the content feel personal
to the reader
Because—Because is an example of ‘reason why’ advertising—give the
reader a good reason why they should buy your game
Call-to-action ‘Buy Now’ buttons should be positioned near to the top of the
page. Use a separate button for each available platform. Make them attention grabbing and a key focal point of the page.
Social Media Icons
Include social icons such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, again near to
the top of the page.
High Quality Trailer Video
Add a great quality trailer or teaser video. A good place to position the video
is just under the Call-to-Action buttons, so visitors can immediately see the
game in action. The video is probably the single biggest-selling feature on a
Dynamic screenshots (scrolling, slideshow or selectable); make these the
greatest shots from your game, showing the game at its best and most fun.
Explain the Game
Include an interesting and descriptive paragraph about the game, followed
by a bullet point features list.
Press Quotes and Review Scores
Prominently display any good reviews or press quotes. You can even work
these into the screenshots.