How to make a game website (plus tips and examples)

By
STASH Team
Mar 11, 2024

Building a high quality website for your game is one of the first and most important steps in going direct-to-consumer. Besides the game itself, websites are often the first interaction players have with a developer - they’re where players go to find all the other ways they can engage with you, whether that’s directly downloading the game, joining your Discord server, or finding social accounts to follow. However, the leading game developers are using websites for more than just distribution or patch notes. They’re harnessing the power of the web to transform their relationships with their players: expanding their game’s IP and lore, broadening the ways players can engage with their games, fostering their player communities, enriching their gameplay experience, and building a brand for their game and their studio. To do all that, most developers either take it in-house, or use a game website maker. 

Here, we’re going to explore why these sites work, the key elements of a successful game website, and how to create a game website of your own.

Why create a game website

Using a game website maker or building your own game site can help new users find your game, keep your high-LTV players engaged, improve your UA, and boost your bottom line. 

Establish a direct relationship with users

Most importantly, creating a game website lets you establish a direct relationship with your players, without any restrictions from third-parties or anonymized identifiers. This unlocks countless opportunities to:

  • improve UA, which is especially critical in a post-IDFA/ATT environment where lookalikes, retargeting, and direct marketing are even more necessary to scale
  • deepen your players’ engagement with your brand 

Take Supercell, for example, with their Supercell ID - players create a single login to access their Supercell account across devices and titles. In doing so, they’re sharing identifying information, like email addresses, directly with Supercell, which they can use for user acquisition purposes. 

Beyond that, Supercell has used Supercell ID to create an unparalleled brand, improve players’ experience, and maximize the value of their portfolio. For example, when a player signs in with their ID, they not only can enjoy seamless cross-play of their favorite Supercell game on any device, they also get promotions and incentives to try Supercell’s other games, which they can easily start playing using the same login.

Distribute your game directly (without the 30% commission)  

More and more game developers are using game websites to distribute their game directly to players, rather than (or in addition to) Steam or other PC storefronts. The obvious reason for doing so is avoiding the commission these storefronts take on in-app purchases and sales - Steam, for example, takes 30%. 

This goes for mobile developers too - with many having had success going cross-platform and distributing PC versions of their games on websites, without Steam. Most notably, Scopely used a game website maker to distribute cross-platforms versions of Star Trek Fleet Command, Stumble Guys, and more. 

Boost your revenue and capture more margin

Using a game site builder or designing your own site comes with major monetization opportunities. Whether you choose to distribute your game on your website or not, your site can also house a web shop

Like we mentioned above, bypassing the 30% commission fee is a major pull. By earning a higher margin on your sales, you can offer IAPs for less than you would in-app or on Steam - encouraging your game’s highest spenders to spend more. Star Trek Timelines has a shop on their website, and used it to grow their total revenue by 25%

Beyond that, you can use your game website to run tiered rewards and loyalty programs, which is also a huge factor in boosting revenue. Playtika, for example, earns 25% of their total revenue from their game websites, which primarily rely on loyalty and rewards programs that encourage direct purchases and drive traffic to - you guessed it - their web shop. 

Expand your game ecosystem

The web is a more dynamic and open environment than native apps (both mobile and desktop) - unlocking countless new ways for players to engage with your game beyond gameplay. These experiences can range from sharing user-generated content and fan art to transmedia content expanding your lore. Housing all of this content on a dedicated and branded website keeps players within your game’s ecosystem and deepens their affinity with your IP and community. 

3 elements of a great game website (plus examples)

The most challenging parts of creating a game website are driving traffic, converting users, and making sure those users return. You can build it, but will they come, engage, and keep engaging? Here are some tips to incorporate as you make your own website or to look for in a gaming website builder. 

1. Build a library of great content

You need to incorporate content that speaks to your players’ core motivations, enriches their experience, and broadens your IP universe - and how players engage with it. Doing this well comes down to making sure your content is tailored to your game and genre. 

For example, a MMORPG like World of Warcraft has an entire section of lore on their website, which offers a rich multimedia experience that immerses people in the WoW world with everything from character tales and comics to short stories and in-game videos. It enhances the entire World of Warcraft universe and deepens player engagement by tapping into their desire for immersive role-playing and escapism. This is how Blizzard transformed Warcraft into a major IP that’s led to blockbuster films, board games, and books.

Meanwhile, a casino game like Slotomania includes pages for earning free coins and joining their VIP program. This website is all about promoting the possibility of rewards and building up the exclusivity features - encouraging users to play, win, and climb the ranks.

Your website is also a place where you can encourage and harness your community’s creativity and passion by hosting user-generated content, fan art, and forums. Angry Birds gives a great look into this side of content on their dedicated game site. Their Birdsona Creator is an interactive page letting visitors design their own custom character and download it to share with friends. They also have a place to upload fan art for a chance to get featured on the Angry Birds social accounts.

The brand is utilizing a big benefit of a game site: establishing a two-way channel with users, which can enhance brand awareness (and help your UA), boost your brand’s value, and increase engagement. This relationship can even help improve your game, like using user feedback to beta test new in-game features.

Along with the gameplay and IP-related content, don’t forget to include developer-created content, too, especially for formats like video that don’t work well in-game. Product updates, upcoming release trailers, and company announcements hold value for your players, too, so include them on-site, like the patch updates published in the Runeterra blog or the dedicated Patch Notes section in the Call of Duty site.

Here’s a quick summary of different content types you can try in your website, either yourself or with the help of a game website maker:

Game Player motivation Website content
World of Warcraft Escapism and role-playing Lore
Slotomania Winning and feeling part of an exclusive club VIP program
Angry Birds Joining a community centered around a recognizable IP Birdsona Creator
Upload fan art

2. Enable social discovery 

There are already plenty of systems for social activity in games and on other platforms (in-game chats, messaging, and community platforms like Discord for example). But social discovery is a harder egg to crack - it’s all about encouraging social interaction and helping players make the most of the social aspects of your game by connecting with their fellow players. Plus, social connection and community building drives higher engagement (and LTV), so this is an aspect worth investing in.

Using a game website maker helps attract and retain high-value players, since it provides web-based functionality for better matchmaking, team finding, and clan finding. League of Legends is a good example of a game site enabling simple social discovery - they have a Community page on their site that connects players across the globe, from their subreddit, which boasts over 7M members, to their official Discord channel.

There are plenty of third-party tools already doing this that your game site builder can integrate with. TEAMS.gg helps users find teams to join across major titles, like Fortnite, Counter Strike, and Overwatch 2, using filters to find a group of like-minded players. Meanwhile, the Recruiting Tool from Clash Champs helps clans find new additions and advertise across their website, forums, and Discord. 

3. Optimize your shop for conversions

Adding a shop to your game website is an excellent opportunity to monetize the traffic and encourage your most motivated players to spend more and feel like they’re getting more bang for their buck (they are!). Getting players to your shop comes down to that great library of content, while encouraging them to convert and spend is about offering incentives they can’t resist. A few web shop strategies we’ve seen from successful game studios include:

  • Create a tier-based loyalty program that rewards playtime, retention, and other in-game activities. Players can use these rewards to unlock items and make purchases at the shop, and even purchase points from the shop, like the Plarium Points program.
  • Host limited-time events that incentivize store purchases, like the multiplier events of The Walking Dead that reward users with 5 points for every $1 spent at the web store. Or the birthday blowout event hosted by WWE Champions that puts money spent on the Portal towards big Milestone Rewards.
  • Offer web-only promotions that help build value for users and feel like they’re getting a deal. Like how Willy Wonka Slots from Zynga highlights the 15% more value users get from purchasing on the Slots Store vs. in-game.
  • Give users a free gift that encourages them to return. CSR2 does this on their site, offering a daily free gift of cash that’s used as the primary currency in the game for everything from refilling gas to customizing cars.

Whether you build these features yourself, or use a game website maker to do it for you, adding the above strategies is critical for growth.  

Quick steps to setting up your own site

Now let’s go over a few high-level steps to getting your own game website up and running.

  1. Get yourself a domain, either through a registrar or a web hosting service that offers registration as an option. 
  2. Choose your platform. You can go the easy route with a fully-equipped game website maker. Otherwise, bring on (or outsource) a web development team that can help you navigate the technical needs of designing a website from scratch, which is quite different from designing a native app.
  3. Add links to distribute your game on PC and mobile - and a link to let people start playing right from their browser, if available. 
  4. Populate with content that builds your game’s universe, taps into player motivations, and encourages engagement.
  5. Set up your web shop and integrate a payment processor to start selling in-game items direct-to-consumer.

The power of a game website maker

Looking for a game site builder to handle the hard stuff and set you up for success? Stash is a full-suite game website maker that lets you build a direct relationship with users and establish your site as a player engagement hub and shop. We work with you to build value and retain players long-term with commerce and community content that users love, and that’s proven to boost spend. 

Here’s a sneak peak into what you get with Stash’s game website maker: 

  • A pre-built shop to sell items and subscriptions
  • An engagement hub tailored to your players’ motivations, whether it’s a grassroots esports hub for your competitive PvP game or a UGC forum for your RPG
  • Hands-on D2C expertise and advice, including custom-made loyalty programs and discount strategies
  • Web development expertise and technology

Reach out to us to learn more about Stash’s game website maker.

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