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    Arcade game websites: how to start one
       August 25th, 2006

    At some point I was about to launch an arcade game website of my own – once I have learnt how popular they are. Then I have realized that I know nothing about this stuff and will be not able to compete with knowledgeable site owners.

    Recently I have run into a detailed and at the same time simple guide – How to run an arcade game website. In my opinion, V12Kid Wickedfire forum member and the author of this guide has covered all essential questions for arcade game website newbie’s: where to start, where and how to promote your website and how to get traffic for cheap, what works and what does not work. It is really a good start if you have any ideas to launch a website in that niche.

    Being the gaming geek I am I figured why not try out a flash arcade. Reason being was some other guy claimed he was making $6k a month between 3 arcades and I was dumbfounded a flash arcade could make that much so I figured why not. After researching them I found the following vendors who sold various scripts to do the same thing but each was its own flavor.

    I encourage you to visit each vendors forums if they have them and email them to see how quick support actually is.

    PHParcadescript

    GameSiteScript

    OnArcade

    FlashGameScript

    ShockScript

    ibproArcade

    V3Arcade

    the last 2 require a licensed copy of VBulletin to work and are usually add-ons to an existing forum but I have seen some arcades that use VB just to run the arcade.

    Once you know what script you want to use you have to install it and get the games loaded. Each vendor has different types of offers as far as games so look at forums such as SP and DP for sellers who sell game packs that are specific to each brand. usually they are cheaper than the OEM vendors.

    Ok, got the script loaded with your game packs? Now you can add your favorite PPC or ad network into the layout. I choose YPN for my arcades and just recently started experimenting with Zango so try whatever you feel comfortable with.

    Ok cool, got games loaded, ads running… so you are going to make millions now!! well.. maybe not

    You now noticed that your layout is the default that every other clown has on your block! One of the tricks to arcades is separating yourself from the pack. Sure there are thousands of arcades and the newer brands are cheaper so any guy that can create a sql db is starting one but you have the advantage. You had a custom skin created for your arcade!!!! Yours looks different and maybe even has come custom mods or custom games no one else has!! Get it now?

    So you are here now:

    - Script purchased & installed w/games
    - script changed with a custom layout & mods
    - custom games added or created for your site (if you can afford it)
    - ads placed strategically through out site

    Many people can argue that you need to get traffic first but I feel arcade traffic is broken up into several categories.

    Ok so you have this incredible arcade setup. Now what?! TRAFFIC BITCHES!!!

    First ill explain the type of traffic you might get.

    There are 3 types of arcade traffic imo

    1. users who visit and like the games and actually join so the credits don’t mean anything to them because they are members
    2. users who visit and bookmark but dont join. The play and keep playing until they either get bored and don’t come back or actually sign up. This is what you need to focus on, give them enough credit to play for a while until they decide to stay or leave. All subjective
    3. users who visit, play 3 games and leave never to return.

    Now the issue with Credits only matters if your script even has that option for users as some of the lesser ones do not, so if you don’t then don’t even worry about it!

    Traffic for me and for can come form the following sources:

    1. At first your going to have to count on link/banner exchanges
    2. ppc networks i.e. google, yahoo etc
    3. Top Sites

    and of course with proper seo you can get organic traffic eventually but not initially.

    Top Sites work well only if you send them traffic so its a catch 22. ppc on 2nd and 3rd tier networks works extremely well if you pick the right ones.

    I currently use or have used the following:

    1. Fadclick.com
    2. StumbleUpon

    both provide me with quality traffic that’s targeted to my genre.

    Traffic from purchased links on buy sites in the same genre work as well. I am a repeat buyer from a few sites that send good results to me each month for a fair price. The hope is to get referrals so it always helps to buy a few links a month.

    The trick is to keep experimenting with advertisers, anchor text and viral attempts until something clicks. I have found myspace to be a good source of traffic for me so I spend some time with the bulletin services because the age group is right up my alley. Another technique for advanced webmasters is to throw up a Network page where you feature all your sites that you run. The nice thing about that is you can direct generic traffic to that 1 page and let people pick what they might like from your stable to visit. I don’t have a fancy one up but I through it up and sent it a crap load of bulletin traffic, believe it or not I got about 12k uniques in 2 days from this. 70% of which ended up clicking on my arcade link and the rest spread out over my other sites so it became a win-win situation. I don’t see this working if your selling insurance or credit cards but for the right age group its killer. Ill go over network sites in another topic later this week

    so what have I just tried to explain?

    1. Vary your anchor text until you find something that works
    2. Throw the link/banner on your network homepage if you have enough to justify a network page
    3. myspace! Yes it works, not for everything but def for arcades.

    After some time you will start to get repeat visitors. This is in the hope that you made yourself different and advertised like a banshee. My current ratio is 88% repeats, 1.5% SE and the rest from advertising so its decent. As traffic flows the SE’s will like you more so adjust your site to reflect the changes and keywords that are being picked up and in turn being sent as visitors to you.

    I look at the keywords SE’s used to find me daily and adjust my NEWS or anything relevant on the site to help highlight those keywords to feed the SE’s

    Popular keywords are:

    Free Online Games
    Free Flash Games
    Flash Games
    Addicting Games
    miniclip
    free xxx games

    I focus on a few and make sure that these keywords are featured:

    1. In my Welcome message in the header area
    2. In the description of my Top 10 popular games. Since these games are played the most, they are pulled by the se’s the most…well you get it
    3. in my secondary areas such as registration pages, comment pages
    4. on my most popular exit page. If someone is going to visit and leave within 30 seconds of the visit you might as well get credit for the hit and help feed the se your keywords

    So having used these techniques and my primary goal TO BE DIFFERENT THAN ALL THE OTHER ARCADES OUT THERE! I’m sure many argue that they are all the same believe it or not to the average surfer out there it does make a difference. Most don’t know or care to understand how your script is better as long they can access their fav games and not have any delay in doing so. Looks are important, functionality, load speed all matter! So look different, act different and deliver fast to keep them coming back!

    This leads me to my last point. Make sure you host the arcade on a decent platform. I would not even think about shared hosting if you plan on keeping it for a while. I have 1751 games so space and bandwidth get chewed up very quickly. The sites are php and sql based so when you get busy it will become resource intensive. I started one VPS and within 2 months had to move to a dedicated server. The nice thing is I can now move all my sites to 1 server and not worry too much about bandwidth etc.

    Summary: I do not doubt that if you are in arcade game business you have really enjoyed this post and found some useful tips.

    [tags]arcade games, arcade game websites, gaming websiets, online communities, forums, web forums, traffic, link bait, social bookmarking, web 2.0, domain names, archive.org, adsense, adwords, ppc, text-link-ads, links buying, myspace, seo, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, blogs, content generation, ebay, google, make money online, work from home, home based job, duplicate content, links, earn your living online[/tags]

    How to sell / buy websites
       August 14th, 2006

    Selling or buying websites is a common business practice with webmasters nowadays.

    But what are those features that make the website cheaper or more expensive? I have collected some priceless wisdom from experienced webmasters across the Internet. Feel free to add and share your tips.

    Website value (focus on the upcoming two lists while developing your own websites or look for it in the websites you are about to buy):

    - Opt-in mailing lists

    - AdWords lists

    - Copyright to content/ design

    - Additional domains

    - Merchant account/ stock

    - Ongoing deals with advertisers

    - Length of old stats available

    - Databases

    - Free services (SEO tools, for instance)

    - Where money comes from (newsletter ads, affiliate programs, AdSense, FastClick, CJ, etc)

    - Where money goes to (adv, hosting, salary, other purchases)

    - What’s involved into maintaining? How much time, what skills required?

    - Technical info: stats, BL, # of PR8/ 7/ 6/ 5 pages, indexed page #

    - Any known problems: 301, 302, SPAM blacklisted, SE bans, etc

    - Age

    - Niche

    - Transfer via www.escrow.com, www.paypal.com or how?

    Below is the list of questions from buyer’s point – what questions to ask if you buy or what questions to expect from a potential buyer if you sell.

    Are you truly good at SEO or Search Marketing – otherwise how are you going to run/ improve the website you would like to buy?

    - Unique content sold? Check it with www.copyscape.com

    - Places to sell/ buy: become a regular visitor

    - See what www.archive.org has to say about the website

    - Domain name value: short, memorable, hard-to-misspell, related to the industry; marketability, phone test, name length, brand recognition, dot value, natural site traffic, site traffic by SE, SE popularity, linguistic value, revenue generating, comparable sales value.

    - Pages indexed and backilnks (+ trend – see www.marketleap.com). Most important backlinks can come from the seller websites, he can remove them shortly. Ask.

    - Proof of income/ traffic

    - www.alexa.com data (Inaccurate? But better than nothing)

    - What’s industry (=profit potential)

    - Traffic: where comes from? What’s quality? What do they search?

    - Is the website established? If it looks OK, but no traffic – avoid. Impossible to get an idea of the future profits.

    - How much time to run?

    - Income sources: the more the better

    - Is it fun to run it?

    - Current rankings. Competition ability to SEO to top 10

    - Cross promotion opportunities with other websites from your portfolio

    - Are there flaws in their existing PPC advertising? Could you get more ROI?

    - Is there a forum or a community of website members

    - Value of links. For how much can you sell links at this website (sitewide, home page)

    - How long will the old owner stay on board

    - How can you improve the website in the future? Optimize AdSense, new affiliate programs, more products? Remember of the Sandbox for established, but heavily SEOed websites.

    - Check to avoid link schemes, cloaking, doorway pages, duplicate content, pay for PR (PFPR)

    - Ask for the reason the website is sold

    Normal website price: 8-12 months of its current revenue. If the owner sells the website much lower: he is a dumb or knows something the buyer does not know of the future earnings.

    Buying sites: have a clear idea how they get revenue and how you will support/ update them

    When buying a website with some unique idea implemented: where is the guarantee that the seller will not make the same within a few next weeks? Non-competition clause.

    Summary: I have listed the tips you should refer to while evaluating a website for buying. There will come two more posts on this topic:

    - I will show you best places to buy or sell websites.

    - Also I will point you to the person who is really good at this – someone you can learn from.

    [tags]where to buy websites, where to sell websites, domain names, archive.org, adsense, adwords, ppc, text-link-ads, links buying, links selling, myspace, seo, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, blogs, content generation, news aggregator, ebay, google, make money online, work from home, home based job, wikipedia, del.icio.us, technorati, bloglines, duplicate content, links, earn your living online[/tags]

    Online business ideas
       August 11th, 2006

    I remember that buzz around MilionDollarHomePage website last year. Even Matt Cutts in an interview (I guess to Aaron Wall) says: yes, it is creative (or something of that kind). I could not understand from the very beginning – why are people so excited about it? Why every webmaster forum discusses this? Why people spend money for some space on that page – it was useless for their websites from marketing point of view?

    I guess it is a great sample of viral marketing – people will go and tell their friends: you know I have bought some space on that famous website. The friend has left nothing to do but to buy also and to show that he is in the know… and tell his friends of this.

    As a proof that I am not the only person who think that it was not such a great idea worth one million dollars I have recently read this post on Top 10 Dumbest Online Business Ideas That Made It Big Time

    Was the timing when MilionDollarHomePage project started right? Did the guy make a great PR promotion (I am very doubtful)? The idea is not that great, publicity was limited to some simple steps… as a result – $1,000,000 in his account. I do not envy the guy. He is a student who made a lot of money though he was looking for opportunities to raise some funds to pay for his studies. I wish him all the best.

    What I try to understand: how could idea of that kind be picked up by the entire Internet, produce so much buzz and result in $1,000,000 income? What is the recipe for this sort of success? The only answer I have is it is a pure luck. If there was an algorithm –people will be fast to make it work non-stop. But it is not the case.

    Summary: After much thinking about things necessary to make big online I have made just one conclusion – think, test, try to make it with minimum investment, work at it hard if it shows any sign of success potential, otherwise drop it. Move to the next idea.

    Target is clear: invent Dumbest Online Business Idea #11 (that made it big time)

    [tags]milliondollarhomepage, links selling, myspace, seo, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, blogs, content generation, news aggregator, ebay, google, make money online, work from home, home based job, wikipedia, del.icio.us, technorati, bloglines, duplicate content, links, earn your living online[/tags]

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