Starting A Gaming Blog – Phase 3: Structuring Your First Post
Welcome back to this series of articles on how to start a gaming blog, and do it in the right way! In the last entry, we looked at getting the basics of your gaming blog setup, so that it could hit the ground running once you publish your first post (which you can read here).
Now, it’s time to do just that! So, let’s get started and see what you need to do for your first post and how you need to structure it.
Choosing Your First Topic
The very first thing you write about on your blog is both the most important and most insignificant at the same time. That needs to be stated before we go any further.
What I mean by this is the following two points;
- Your first post denotes how you see your blog in terms of overall topic. For example, if you write about your favourite AAA games from the current console generation, that shows potential readers that you’re likely going to focus on big budget games and latest releases. Therefore, it is really important.
- In all honesty, very few people will ever read your first post. It sets the groundwork for your blog, but don’t expect people in the future to navigate back to the first ever thing you published. Therefore, as almost no one will see it, the post can be seen as insignificant.
However, it is only insignificant in that people won’t really read it. That means that, if you aren’t happy with your blog following the direction of your first post, that’s alright. Very few people will ever get to that post anyway.
I would recommend, however, that you try to make your first post follow the overall topic that you want your blog to cover. It just makes things like growth easier in the future.
With that said, you will need to choose the topic of that first post and, whilst I can’t recommend one to you as I don’t know which niche you are going for, here are some to avoid!
- “Hello, this is a post introducing me.”
- No offence meant by this, but honestly, no one is going to care who you are to begin with. They don’t know you as a “gaming expert” or anything. So do yourself a favour and steer clear of this type of post.
- My all time favourite games
- Whilst this sort of post is good to show the types of games that you like, letting people know whether they can relate to you, starting off with it will likely alienate potential readers, as you haven’t build up any level of trust or rapport with them yet.
- Why Chrono Cross Is Better Than Chrono Trigger
- Just because this is how I feel about these games (for example), doesn’t mean it is the same for others. In fact, it is a somewhat controversial opinion. You want to avoid writing Unpopular Opinion posts to begin with, until you have built an audience around your content.
Basically, you want to try and stay away from any topic that could alienate people until you have already build an audience.
So, how do you choose a topic? Well, something like “7 of the best PS1 RPGs” could work, as you aren’t saying that those 7 are the best games ever and that’s it. Instead, you are telling the world that there are a large number of great games and those 7 are just part of this list.
Structuring The Post
Right, so you’ve gotten your post’s topic and title ready, but now you need to write the post and it’s proving difficult. Part of this difficulty is likely caused by the way you have structured the post.
When it comes to a blog post, there are certain guidelines to follow in order to get the best results, including aspects for both SEO and your potential readers. Let’s take a look, shall we?
A Strong Title
The very first thing that anyone is going to see when it comes to your blog post is the title. It is the headline of your article and, therefore, needs to be able to explain the post and sound interesting at the same time. That, being honest, is very hard to achieve.
You need it to act as clickbait, without sounding like it is clickbait. To try and explain what I mean by that, here are a few examples;
- 7 Games So Awesome That The Bank Don’t Want You To Know About Them
- This is 100% a clickbait title and you can guarantee no-one is going to read the article.
- 7 Top Games That Will Make You A Better Person
- This is a bit better, but still very clickbait focused.
- The Top 7 PlayStation Games Ever
- Now we’re getting there! This is a good title for a list post (which is also a great type of post to get readers), but it also invites negative comments, as you are claiming that the games you listed are categorically the best.
- 7 Of The Top PlayStation Games Ever
- This title is much better, as it builds intrigue around the list, but also says that these games are some of the best, not the only ones.
The Right Hook
With the title sorted, the next step is get the best hook that you can. This, in effect, is the introductory section of your article. You should explain what the list is (even though the title says it anyway) and give a short bit of background around why you are making the list and what sort of games to expect on it.
If you’re not doing a list post and, instead, focusing on a specific game, aspect of game design, or news about the gaming industry, then the introduction should give a brief overview of that item. Effectively, think of each article as an essay. In school, we were taught that the introduction to an essay should summarise the essay itself. Your hook introduction should do the same thing.
Moving on from your introductions, no matter what type of post you are writing, it is going to cover a variety of different things around the subject you have chosen. For example, if you are reviewing a game, there will be various aspects of the game that you’ll want to talk about (gameplay, graphics, soundtrack etc). Each of those will form a separate section of the post.
For each of those sections, you’ll want to make sure that you have a Heading. These act as markers, signalling the start of the next section, as you can see in this very post.
Not only do these help readers to understand the structure of the article, but they do the same for the likes of Google. This means that they are really important when it comes to your blog post’s SEO. In that sense, it is also really important that you get them structured correctly. In order to help with that, here’s a rough guide on how to use them;
- H2 – These should be used as the main separators between sections. In this article, you can see that I’ve used them to mark off the sections about choosing a title, structuring the article and the conclusion.
- H3 – These act as subheadings for when you need to breakdown a section even further. For example, this bit about Headings sits under the “Separated Sections” H3, which itself is part of the Structuring The Article H2.
In practice, it is unlikely that you’ll ever need to go beyond an H3. However, should you decide that you need to, H4 and upwards work in the same way as an H3, only that they are subheadings of the previous level.
So, we’ve cover the basic structure of the post. That means that the next thing on the list is an ending (or a conclusion). These can be as long or as short are you want, but they must round off what the reader has just finished reading. They need to act as a conclusion.
I tend to keep mine relatively short, as the reader will have already invested time in the rest of the article if they have reached the Ending section. However, it is entirely up to you how you sign off an article.
Mix Up The Text
The final aspect of a post, in terms of the written content, is the make sure that you mix things up. No one wants to read a wall of text, and no one will. However, as we are looking at blog posts, text is the large majority of what we have to work with.
With that in mind, you need to find ways to break up the blocks of paragraphs to keep things moving and interesting. For example, in this post I have also included a number of bullet points. Even though these are still text, the change in formatting can trick a reader’s brain into feeling that there is a variety to the article’s structure. Make use of this as much as possible, but only when it is warranted.
Get Some Imagery
The very last thing you’ll want to do is add some imagery to the article. I would recommend that this is the last step you take when composing a gaming blog post, though. The reason behind that is simply because you can get lost in trying to add the perfect image that you have in your head.
After a small amount of the game in question has been played, and you have written out your blog post entirely, that is when you should look for images. Imagery makes the post stand out and flow much better for the reader.
And That’s All Folks
That concludes the third part of this guide on starting a gaming blog. Now that we have covered how to structure a blog posts, especially your first one, the next step is promotion. We will look at ways to promote your gaming blog post in phase 4 of this guide, so keep an eye out for it!
How would you structure a blog posts? Did this explanation help? Let me know in the comments below!