My website philosophy
I like to create stuff and share the product or the experience with others. This can be to help others, or to get money to feed my family, or just for selfish (very human) reasons like boosting my ego.
The thing is that the current world is fragmented over specialized websites: your portfolio on LinkedIn, your personal story on Facebook, your game on Steam, a game dev blog on Indie DB and a thought about game dev on Gamasutra.
I’m not in control of this data. Nor do these sites create a good picture of me or my capabilities. And if I ever want to add something to this that doesn’t fit in their specialization, like selling game stuff on my own, I then have to start from rock bottom.
So my philosophy is to create 1 website for my personal experience and 1 website for my business. And then to get interested souls to find my content.
To be discoverable by these interested souls I have to make myself known to the search engines.
Being known to these search engines is just the start. If you know this stuff just read ahead, but for those who don’t know about link building or SEO (Search Engine Optimization):
The Google and kinds have a system in place, it is called ‘ranking’. They will rank your website’s relevance depending on keywords, actuality, writing quality, ability to deliver on your promise (of information), your authority and many more parameters.
The main thing here are keywords and authority.
Keywords are relevant to know when to show you when people search on a subject. Not all keywords are equal because some are so overcrowded with websites that want a slice, others are so specific nobody searches on them.
Authority is build with links from external websites to your websites content. The better the external websites rating, the more relevant the link, and the longer people stay on your website after the link, the higher your authority gets.
Websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit and Steam are massive platforms with massive credibility. However the search engines know that there is a low entry to get a link on this platforms to your website.
But if just a lot of people follow a link from this platform to your website, you still must be doing something right.
And that is when the rank of your website starts to increase. On the given keywords.
I utilize the specific platforms to maximize their gain too. A good YouTube video will get more people to view it, YouTube will value stuff of my creation more and show it to more people, thus showing links to my website to more people.
Getting people to know you is in the end just a numbers game.
Time intensive content
I keep track of my time invested in activities. So I know how much time I spend creating content for my website or just keep it up to date.
I did spend 100 hours in 2020 on content. That is 14 hour / month. In that time I maintained 2 websites, created 29 posts, created 1 YouTube video, attended 2 conferences and had a presence on Twitter/Facebook/Reddit.
Results (personal website)
My personal website erikderoos.nl was a failure from the start. I did 4 blog posts on it in 2 years time on a very specialized subject. Further more I have a glorified portfolio on there to give more background to my LinkedIn profile.
In 2018 I got 110 visitors with 2.4 views, in 2019 I got 174 visitors with 2.4 views and for now in 2020 I got 178 visitors with 2.9 views.
No one ever referenced visiting my personal website during my time as a software consultant when doing interviews on new projects. Because this was my main goal this website didn’t work out.
But not all is lost, there are some solid visitor numbers. And it seems that 50% of the visitors follow personal links, probably to get a better idea of who I am. Maybe this helps people to better judge me and my online activities.
Lets forget this website and focus on my game dev website where I intent to make money off.
Results (business website)
My website gamefeelings.com is a much more alive site where I blog about my game dev endeavors. I currently have 50 posts in total. I also use YouTube to host support video’s for my content, and I have a few games on external game portals that link back to this website.
In 2018 I got 109 visitors with 2.9 views, in 2019 I got 78 visitors with 1.5 views and for now in 2020 I got 343 visitors with 2.1 views.
Furthermore I added a mailing list in 2020 and got 6 natural non family/friends subscriptions in the last 2 months.
What I find interesting from my referrers, is that from the 343 visitors in 2020 there were 70 from following a link on (only) 1 YouTube video I made.
I never did any marketing, aside from a review request in 2018 with the launch of my game Find the Gnome. Nor did I ever post content that wasn’t something of my own or was click bait.
With me putting more effort in creating better content more people gradually find my website but I haven’t hit the jackpot either.
With 100 hours put into the website and the content on the website, I attracted roughly 3 people per hour spend.
However If I look into the YouTube video I did, it took me 9 hours to make it and I got 82 people to my website with it (so far). So that is 11 people attracted per hour spend.
It seems that over time my content posted on socials is the best way to get people to my website. The number 2 and 3 are Facebook and YouTube with both 70 people attracted.
Funny is that the nr 1 is search engines: 47 people got to me through Google, and 42 got to me trough Baidu, with 91 attracted people in total.
I have one last thing about my website’s efficiency: I got 2 freelance game dev jobs in May 2020. One was a jobpost from Facebook, the other contacted me by LinkedIn. They both mentioned visiting my website. These were small projects with small payments but as my 2 first gigs these were worthy starter projects.
This is what I take away from this:
- If people want to find you they will.
- My content isn’t magically discovered by people minding their own business, I have to stay active in promoting and distributing my content to them.
- Socials are a good way to distribute my content. However, content quality is important and that can be measured by people organically finding me on search terms.
- Having a compelling website is very time consuming. Just creating content about random subjects isn’t the best way to spend my hours. It is wiser to limit the subjects to what I am good at or can write interestingly about.