Creating a blog couldn’t be easier and yet more complicated in 2020.
There are so many different things to think about, and yet so many different platforms you can use to streamline the process.
Understandably you’ll already have an idea of what you want to write about, I, unfortunately, can’t help you with that, but what I can do is show you how you can set up a killer blog that will drive readers to your website.
We’ll take you through what you’ll need to get started, our five steps to setting your blog up, the best blogging platforms to use, how to get your blog discovered, and the do’s and don’ts of blogging.
But first, we need to establish what type of blog you want to set up.
What type of blog?
Firstly you’ll want to have a goal in mind. What are you aiming to achieve through your blog?
Do you want to pull in more users to your sales pages by writing about your brand, to increase its publicity?
Do you want to build a blog that promotes brands and products from other companies?
Or do you just want to set up a blog documenting your travels around the world?
In order to pick the right software for you, you’ll want to have a grasp before you start of how big this blog is going to be, whether you’re going to monetize it, and what type of blog it’s going to become.
For example, if you’re planning on building an affiliate blogging programme, where you promote other brand’s products and call readers to action to but the products, you’ll be writing a lot of content and will benefit from having a more comprehensive blogging system with lots of plugins to promote sales.
But if you’re looking to just set up a personal, or a personal brand blog talking about yourself and your brand, you may not perhaps need as many comprehensive features as you would if you were building an affiliate blog.
You may also want to build an online portfolio of your work, which could require an entirely different piece of blogging kit, as opposed to the traditional blog that hosts articles and journals.
What you’ll need to get started.
There are 3 key things you’ll need to get up and running.
- A blogging platform.
After you’ve identified the type of blog you want to set up, plus whether you’re going to make money from it, you’ll then need to pick a blogging platform tailored to your needs. Many people chose to operate on WordPress as it is one of the most comprehensive blogging systems going, but they forget platforms like Wix and Squarespace that are great for both helping you save and make money and are great options for those who are less tech-savvy and are new to the blogging game. Plus if you’re blogging for business, you might want to think about using LinkedIn for your business blog.
We’ll go into more detail on what blogging platforms are best for your needs shortly, but make sure to keep in mind your objectives and technical experience when choosing the right platform for you.
- A hosting platform.
Every website needs a web host to store their website’s information on the internet. A web host is an online service provider that will store your website’s information on one of its online servers. This will put your blog out there to the world. The best web hosts will perform a variety of functions for you, for example, Wix is an all-in-one package that will host your website for you, allow you to register a domain name, and has easy to use website design tools to help you start your blog.
Web hosting can be expensive though so make sure you pick the best value for money host that can cater to the amount of traffic you have running through your website. Check out our post on the 11 best hosting providers. [Insert blog link here
- A domain name.
I’m sure by now you already know what sort of blog you want to set up, whether that’s a travel, blog, a blog accompanying your online store, or perhaps an affiliate marketing product review blog. You’ll have a niche and an idea and now all you need is a name. Every website online has what’s called a domain name. It’s included in the website address at the top of your search bar, for example, our domain name is www.digitalsupermarket.com
You’ll need to register a domain name after you purchase a hosting plan, to enable customers to find your site quickly and easily. One good tip is to find a hosting platform like Bluehost or GoDaddy that will provide you with a free domain name when you register for one of their web hosting plans as domain registration can be fairly pricey. Pick a great domain name that is easy for customers to read and type into Google so they can find it easier online.
TOP TIP: To increase your blog’s search engine ranking, and to help more people find you on Google, try to pick a domain name that has either a .com or .co.uk ending. These domains often rank a lot higher in Google searches than .org’s, .net’s, and .info’s, and for that reason can be slightly more expensive, yet can help boost your site’s reach and credibility.
The Best Blogging Platforms For You.
There are a wealth of platforms out there catering to all your blogging or online portfolio needs. We have listed some of the main ones below shedding some light on what needs they service and why they might be a great option for you.
WordPress - The best software to give you full customisation.
WordPress is perhaps one of the most renowned blogging platforms in the world, running approximately 35% of the internet
. It’s favoured highly by professional bloggers because it gives you total freedom to do whatever you want with your blog. WordPress can help you build your blog using one if its search engine optimised themes, you can customise using its drag and drop website builder tool to create a stunning blog.
What’s more, is you’ll be able to use its professional blogging service to post your content online and take advantage of the hundreds of third party app plugins, you can integrate into your blog, to improve automation, add new features, and drive traffic to your site. The only downside of WordPress is that it can be quite technical and can take some time getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of things, you’ll have great control over everything on your webpage.
- Full customisation
- Domain name registration
- Fully scalable
- Tons of third-party plugins and apps
- Technical and can take some getting used to
- Not the best if you’re not tech-savvy or are just starting out.
Wix - Best for monetizing your site.
Wix is probably the most streamlined and easiest blog providers. It’s so simple and easy to use, it’s therefore great for anyone just starting out in the blogging world. You can customise one of its stunning templates with Wix’s drag and drop editor, and then upload blog posts to your site by slotting in pictures, gifs, social media buttons, sidebars, and other widgets that will help your blog stand out.
One of the coolest features about Wix is its marketplace integration, where you can install a whole variety of third-party applications to your blog to provide your users with greater features and usability. Wix is the perfect all-in-one blogging solution to help you easily build a platform to amplify your business to the world, helping you to make more money, but it can also save you a lot of money as it’s cost-efficient plans roll up, web hosting, blog posting, and domain registration all into one product!
Check out our Wix review and our comparison of Wix and Squarespace for a deep dive into Wix’s main blogging features. [Insert link here
- Streamlined and easy to use blogging software
- Includes as a package, web building tools, domain registration, and web hosting
- Tons of third-party plugins and apps on the Wix marketplace
- Great platform to help make money and save money on its reasonably priced subscription plans
- Don’t get the same full control as you see with WordPress
- Locked into using Wix’s templates.
Squarespace - Best for creating visually stunning blogs.
Squarespace is very similar to Wix, in that it is an all-in-one web building and blogging platform that can help you build a blog you can monetize efficiently. It sets itself aside though through its better design and customisation features, making it one of the best platforms on the marketing if you’re looking to design a visually aesthetic blog. I’d recommend using this platform if you are a business operating in some sort of design, arts, or culinary industry.
Although it offers minimal template options, Squarespace’s templates are works of art and offer you great customization when building your blog. Plus Squarespace offers a great blogging tool that lets you schedule posts and customize your blog to suit more mobile audiences.
- Streamlined and easy to use blogging software
- Can build a visually stunning blog on Squarespace with its streamlined tools
- Excellent blogging features
- All-in-one web host, domain registrar, and web builder
- Can’t add third-party applications on Squarespace
LinkedIn - Best for blogging businesses.
Aside from setting up a blog on your own site, corporate entities can use LinkedIn to enhance and amplify their presence online. LinkedIn has more than 575 million users
, most of whom are professionals and members of corporate conglomerates, and you can use this social platform to target some of the most influential people in the world.
If you’re blogging about business this is the perfect platform to use a pre-existing community of people to enhance your social standing. You’ll then be able to build connections and followers on your profile who can easily share your blog on their platform through a couple of simple clicks.
- Utilise LinkedIn’s pre-existing community of business people to amplify your brand
- Target corporate directors and influential people directly through LinkedIn
- Check out what people are looking at on LinkedIn and tailor your content to that market
- Again you are confined within what LinkedIn’s platform will let you do, it’s not your site and you don’t have full customisation
Instagram - Best for the Artists.
Instagram is one of the biggest blogging sites in the world and without realising it, we are all technically bloggers in some way with our Instagram accounts, right? Ultimately for professional use, it is great for building a portfolio that has some form of visual or graphic eye-catching media around it. Instagram lets you post videos, photos, boomerangs, even write a blog in the photo’s caption if you wanted to!
Best of all, Instagram is free, and you can use its business software to link up your online store, to drag users away from your profile, using its product tagging features, and land them in your online checkouts. Our top tip for using Instagram is to post regularly and keep on the theme of your blog. Don’t go off-piste as you’re followers will catch on quickly and unfollow you. And with 1 billion people
using the platform each day, it is a great way to gain people’s attention and build your brand’s presence online.
- Best for the creatives.
- Totally free and easy to use interface.
- Access to a pre-existing community of people.
- Online selling capabilities.
- Again you are confined within what Instagram’s platform will let you do, it’s not your site and you don’t have full customisation
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Blogging
Here are a couple of top tips to bear in mind when building your blog to help you create an awesome, lead driven platform.
Don’t use complicated language too soon.
With that in mind, do include language that your target audience will understand. But remember they are still here to learn, so don’t drop people in at the deep end right away by using complex jargon off the bat. Define terms and spell it out in layman’s terms for people at the outset, and as the post goes on, then introduce more complex writing. Introducing technical jargon at the start of your posts is an instant turn off for most readers.
Don’t waffle - Keep it succinct.
People want to get to the punchline now. 43% of people
admit to skimming through blogs to get to the information they need, meaning to get your blogging site converting leads, you need to engage the reader early on and offer information succinctly throughout your post.
Plus don’t make your blog too long. Depending on what you’re writing, a lot of people will see large volumes of text and will switch off immediately. There is no set limit for what a good and bad amount of text is, that’s something you’ll have to figure out per your industry, but from my experience, the shorter, the better.
Don’t make headlines too long.
Also ensure that your headline is not more than 60 characters long. If it gets too long it won’t rank well in search engines and people just won’t want to read it. Check out this headline analysis tool
which will analyse the effectiveness of your proposed headlines.
Don’t plagiarise or use credited images.
Copying other people’s work is lazy and can land you in a lot of hot water in extreme cases if you breach a copyright regulation. But it’s also just unfair on the person who has worked hard or been creative to write that work. The same goes for images, people need to make a living from the content and photos they’re taking so don’t steal that off them.
Do write killer headlines.
People are like goldfish. You only have about 3 seconds
to get their attention. That’s why it is important to write catchy, funny, and enticing headlines to draw your reader in. One good way to do it is to use the “How To” and “10 Best” strategies. These sorts of titles telling people ‘How to set up a blog’ or ‘the ten best web hosting platforms’ are search engine optimised, lead winning titles that rank highly in Google searches. Try them out and see!
Do post regularly.
The key to creating a great blog that builds leads is posting regularly. Although it is not the best idea to post regularly. Ideally, you want to post 3-4 times a week to get the best influx of traffic to your site. You’ll also want to check out when’s best to post for your target audience, for example, if you’re in the FOREX market, you’ll want to post your blogs perhaps at 8 AM, before the markets open when city workers are on their staring at their phones on their morning commuter trains to the city.
Do share on social media.
Share your content far and wide on your social platforms. Everyone is on social media these days and its outreach is simply phenomenal. That’s why you should always share your posts to your social channels to get greater traffic on your website, and include share buttons all-around your blog to invite your readers to share your articles too!
Do use SEO keywords to drive more traffic.
In a nutshell, SEO keywords are the phrases people put into search engines when they are looking for information on a certain subject. They are how you get found on your website. Depending on what you are writing about, there is always a set of keywords relating to that topic that you can implement, to help you show up higher in people’s google searches. For example, people might regularly search in google, ‘what is the best compost for growing sunflowers?’ When you come to writing about growing sunflowers in your blog, you might want to use these words or incorporate this question into your blog somewhere, to help you rank higher on Google.
Do use call’s to action to take your readers to the next step.
If you don’t challenge your reader at the end of your blog to follow you on Instagram, or check out your sales pages, you’ll never get the leads or sales you are looking for. With that in mind, build compelling calls to action at the end of each of your posts, to pull readers into taking the next step. Check out our post on landing pages to see a couple of cool ways on how to implement calls to action on your site [insert link here
Do identify a target audience.
People will often tell you to write as though you were in the shoes of the person you’re looking to bring to your website, but it’s true! Identify what type of people you’re writing to, for instance, if you’re writing a business blog about FOREX trading, you’ll write with potential traders in mind who have one eye on the stock market and the other on your blog. Or if you’re a wedding florist, you’ll set your portfolio up to target those people looking to get married in the next year.
Leads, Sales, Results.
Blogging is one of the most influential marketing strategies in the world and the best bloggers can reap some awesome rewards for producing some truly awesome content.
It is fairly straightforward to get started and we advise if you’re a small business, or someone with minimal blogging experience, to try out Wix or Squarespace first before you jump into using more technical platforms like WordPress. Once you’re up and running remember our top tips on what to do and what to avoid when writing your blog. Plus don’t forget to think about optimising and adding useful applications to your site to help you build and grow your content. Check out these 39 awesome blogging tools
you can use to drive greater traffic to your site!
Found this article useful? Make sure you share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter and let us know in the comments if you have any other useful blogging tips.
What factors predict the success of a Steam game?
I've seen quite a few discussions, comments and questions on /gamedev
about what determines a game's success. How much does quality matter? Is establishing market awareness before launch the only thing that matters? Does a demo help or hurt? If your game has a poor launch, how likely is it to recover? Is it possible to roughly predict the sales of a game before launch?
In preparation for my game's launch
, I spent a lot of time monitoring upcoming releases trying to find the answer to these questions. I compiled a spreadsheet, noted followers, whether it was Early Access or not, and saw how many reviews it received in the first week, month and quarter.
I'm sharing this data now in the hopes that it helps other developers understand and predict their games' sales.
First some notes on the data:
- One of the important sources of data are the number Steam reviews. There is good evidence that these correlate strongly with copies sold, with frequently cited ratios of 50 sales per Steam review, but there's a wide range. It seems likely that the majority of Steam games fall between 25 and 120 sales per Steam review, but there are outliers. Also, games with a very small number of reviews are much more likely to be outliers in this respect. My own game is the only game I have hard sales numbers for. You can read my lengthy Reddit post on its release, but the relevant numbers are that it sold 1587 copies in the first week and 3580 copies in its first quarter.
- The total number of games in the sample was 115.
- I selected games semi-randomly from from both Popular Upcoming and All Upcoming. This favors the popular upcoming tab somewhat and this was deliberate: I wanted a diverse sample but also one not completely dominated with titles that sold zero copies.
- Games are ordered by their release date which range from 10/26/18 to 12/20/18.
|Game ||Price ||Launch Discount ||Week Guess ||Week actual ||3 Month ||3 Month/week ||Followers ||Early Access ||Demo ||Review Score |
|Pit of Doom ||9.99 ||0 ||7 ||27 ||43 ||1.592592593 ||295 ||Y ||N ||0.8 |
|Citrouille ||9.99 ||0.2 ||16 ||8 ||12 ||1.5 ||226 ||N ||N || |
|Corspe Party: Book ||14.99 ||0.1 ||32 ||40 ||79 ||1.975 ||1015 ||N ||N ||0.95 |
|Call of Cthulhu ||44.99 ||0 ||800 ||875 ||1595 ||1.822857143 ||26600 ||N ||N ||0.74 |
|On Space ||0.99 ||0.4 ||0 ||0 ||0 || ||4 ||N ||N || |
|Orphan ||14.99 ||0 ||50 ||0 ||8 || ||732 ||N ||N || |
|Black Bird ||19.99 ||0 ||20 ||13 ||34 ||2.615384615 ||227 ||N ||N || |
|Gloom ||6.99 ||0 ||20 ||8 ||17 ||2.125 ||159 ||N ||N || |
|Gilded Rails ||5.99 ||0.35 ||2 ||3 ||7 ||2.333333333 ||11 ||N ||Y || |
|The Quiet Man ||14.99 ||0.1 ||120 ||207 ||296 ||1.429951691 ||5596 ||N ||N ||0.31 |
|KartKraft ||19.99 ||0.1 ||150 ||90 ||223 ||2.477777778 ||7691 ||Y ||N ||0.84 |
|The Other Half ||7.99 ||0 ||2 ||3 ||27 ||9 ||91 ||N ||Y ||0.86 |
|Parabolus ||14.99 ||0.15 ||0 ||0 ||0 || ||16 ||N ||Y || |
|Yet Another Tower Defense ||1.99 ||0.4 ||20 ||22 ||38 ||1.727272727 ||396 ||N ||N ||0.65 |
|Galaxy Squad ||9.99 ||0.25 || ||8 ||42 ||5.25 ||3741 ||Y ||N ||0.87 |
|Swords and Soldiers 2 ||14.99 ||0.1 ||65 ||36 ||63 ||1.75 ||1742 ||N ||N ||0.84 |
|SpitKiss ||2.99 ||0 ||3 ||1 ||2 ||2 ||63 ||N ||N || |
|Holy Potatoes ||14.99 ||0 ||24 ||11 ||22 ||2 ||617 ||N ||N ||0.7 |
|Kursk ||29.99 ||0.15 ||90 ||62 ||98 ||1.580645161 ||2394 ||N ||N ||0.57 |
|SimpleRockets 2 ||14.99 ||0.15 ||90 ||142 ||272 ||1.915492958 ||3441 ||Y ||N ||0.85 |
|Egress ||14.99 ||0.15 ||160 ||44 ||75 ||1.704545455 ||7304 ||Y ||N ||0.67 |
|Kynseed ||9.99 ||0 ||600 ||128 ||237 ||1.8515625 ||12984 ||Y ||N ||0.86 |
|11-11 Memories ||29.99 ||0 ||30 ||10 ||69 ||6.9 ||767 ||N ||N ||0.96 |
|Rage in Peace ||12.99 ||0.1 ||15 ||10 ||42 ||4.2 ||377 ||N ||N ||0.85 |
|One Hour One Life ||19.99 ||0 ||12 ||153 ||708 ||4.62745098 ||573 ||N ||N ||0.81 |
|Optica ||9.99 ||0 ||0 ||2 ||3 ||1.5 ||18 ||N ||N || |
|Cybarian ||5.99 ||0.15 ||8 ||4 ||18 ||4.5 ||225 ||N ||N || |
|Zeon 25 ||3.99 ||0.3 ||3 ||11 ||12 ||1.090909091 ||82 ||Y ||N || |
|Of Gods and Men ||7.99 ||0.4 ||3 ||10 ||18 ||1.8 ||111 ||N ||Y || |
|Welcome to Princeland ||4.99 ||0.1 ||1 ||15 ||55 ||3.666666667 ||30 ||N ||N ||0.85 |
|Zero Caliber VR ||24.99 ||0.1 ||100 ||169 ||420 ||2.485207101 ||5569 ||Y ||N ||0.73 |
|HellSign ||14.99 ||0 ||100 ||131 ||334 ||2.549618321 ||3360 ||Y ||N ||0.85 |
|Thief Simulator ||19.99 ||0.15 ||400 ||622 ||1867 ||3.001607717 ||10670 ||N ||N ||0.81 |
|Last Stanza ||7.99 ||0.1 ||8 ||2 ||4 ||2 ||228 ||N ||Y || |
|Evil Bank Manager ||11.99 ||0.1 || ||106 ||460 ||4.339622642 ||8147 ||Y ||N ||0.78 |
|Oppai Puzzle ||0.99 ||0.3 || ||36 ||93 ||2.583333333 ||54 ||N ||N ||0.92 |
|Hexen Hegemony ||9.99 ||0.15 ||3 ||1 ||5 ||5 ||55 ||Y ||N || |
|Blokin ||2.99 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||10 ||N ||N || |
|Light Fairytale Ep 1 ||9.99 ||0.1 ||80 ||23 ||54 ||2.347826087 ||4694 ||Y ||N ||0.89 |
|The Last Sphinx ||2.99 ||0.1 ||0 ||0 ||1 ||0 ||17 ||N ||N || |
|Glassteroids ||9.99 ||0.2 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||5 ||Y ||N || |
|Hitman 2 ||59.99 ||0 ||2000 ||2653 ||3677 ||1.385978138 ||52226 ||N ||N ||0.88 |
|Golf Peaks ||4.99 ||0.1 ||1 ||8 ||25 ||3.125 ||46 ||N ||N ||1 |
|Sipho ||13.99 ||0 ||24 ||5 ||14 ||2.8 ||665 ||Y ||N || |
|Distraint 2 ||8.99 ||0.1 ||40 ||104 ||321 ||3.086538462 ||1799 ||N ||N ||0.97 |
|Healing Harem ||12.99 ||0.1 ||24 ||10 ||15 ||1.5 ||605 ||N ||N || |
|Spark Five ||2.99 ||0.3 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||7 ||N ||N || |
|Bad Dream: Fever ||9.99 ||0.2 ||30 ||78 ||134 ||1.717948718 ||907 ||N ||N ||0.72 |
|Underworld Ascendant ||29.99 ||0.15 ||200 ||216 ||288 ||1.333333333 ||8870 ||N ||N ||0.34 |
|Reentry ||19.99 ||0.15 ||8 ||24 ||78 ||3.25 ||202 ||Y ||N ||0.95 |
|Zvezda ||5.99 ||0 ||2 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||25 ||Y ||Y || |
|Space Gladiator ||2.99 ||0 ||0 ||1 ||2 ||2 ||5 ||N ||N || |
|Bad North ||14.99 ||0.1 ||500 ||360 ||739 ||2.052777778 ||15908 ||N ||N ||0.8 |
|Sanctus Mortem ||9.99 ||0.15 ||3 ||3 ||3 ||1 ||84 ||N ||Y || |
|The Occluder ||1.99 ||0.2 ||1 ||1 ||1 ||1 ||13 ||N ||N || |
|Dark Fantasy: Jigsaw ||2.99 ||0.2 ||1 ||9 ||36 ||4 ||32 ||N ||N ||0.91 |
|Farming Simulator 19 ||34.99 ||0 ||1500 ||3895 ||5759 ||1.478562259 ||37478 ||N ||N ||0.76 |
|Don't Forget Our Esports Dream ||14.99 ||0.13 ||3 ||16 ||22 ||1.375 ||150 ||N ||N ||1 |
|Space Toads Mayhem ||3.99 ||0.15 ||1 ||2 ||3 ||1.5 ||18 ||N ||N || |
|Cattle Call ||11.99 ||0.1 ||10 ||19 ||53 ||2.789473684 ||250 ||Y ||N ||0.71 |
|Ralf ||9.99 ||0.2 ||0 ||0 ||2 ||0 ||6 ||N ||N || |
|Elite Archery ||0.99 ||0.4 ||0 ||2 ||3 ||1.5 ||5 ||Y ||N || |
|Evidence of Life ||4.99 ||0 ||0 ||2 ||4 ||2 ||10 ||N ||N || |
|Trinity VR ||4.99 ||0 ||2 ||8 ||15 ||1.875 ||61 ||N ||N || |
|Quiet as a Stone ||9.99 ||0.1 ||1 ||1 ||4 ||4 ||42 ||N ||N || |
|Overdungeon ||14.99 ||0 ||3 ||86 ||572 ||6.651162791 ||77 ||Y ||N ||0.91 |
|Protocol ||24.99 ||0.15 ||60 ||41 ||117 ||2.853658537 ||1764 ||N ||N ||0.68 |
|Scraper: First Strike ||29.99 ||0 ||3 ||3 ||15 ||5 ||69 ||N ||N || |
|Experiment Gone Rogue ||16.99 ||0 ||1 ||1 ||5 ||5 ||27 ||Y ||N || |
|Emerald Shores ||9.99 ||0.2 ||0 ||1 ||2 ||2 ||12 ||N ||N || |
|Age of Civilizations II ||4.99 ||0 ||600 ||1109 ||2733 ||2.464382326 ||18568 ||N ||N ||0.82 |
|Dereliction ||4.99 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||0 ||#DIV/0! ||18 ||N ||N || |
|Poopy Philosophy ||0.99 ||0 ||0 ||6 ||10 ||1.666666667 ||6 ||N ||N || |
|NOCE ||17.99 ||0.1 ||1 ||3 ||4 ||1.333333333 ||35 ||N ||N || |
|Qu-tros ||2.99 ||0.4 ||0 ||3 ||7 ||2.333333333 ||4 ||N ||N || |
|Mosaics Galore. Challenging Journey ||4.99 ||0.2 ||1 ||1 ||8 ||8 ||14 ||N ||N || |
|Zquirrels Jump ||2.99 ||0.4 ||0 ||1 ||4 ||4 ||9 ||N ||N || |
|Dark Siders III ||59.99 ||0 ||2400 ||1721 ||2708 ||1.573503777 ||85498 ||N ||N ||0.67 |
|R-Type Dimensions Ex ||14.99 ||0.2 ||10 ||48 ||64 ||1.333333333 ||278 ||N ||N ||0.92 |
|Artifact ||19.99 ||0 ||7000 ||9700 ||16584 ||1.709690722 ||140000 ||N ||N ||0.53 |
|Crimson Keep ||14.99 ||0.15 ||20 ||5 ||6 ||1.2 ||367 ||N ||N || |
|Rival Megagun ||14.99 ||0 ||35 ||26 ||31 ||1.192307692 ||818 ||N ||N || |
|Santa's Workshop ||1.99 ||0.1 ||3 ||1 ||1 ||1 ||8 ||N ||N || |
|Hentai Shadow ||1.99 ||0.3 || ||2 ||12 ||6 ||14 ||N ||N || |
|Ricky Runner ||12.99 ||0.3 ||3 ||6 ||13 ||2.166666667 ||66 ||Y ||N ||0.87 |
|Pro Fishing Simulator ||39.99 ||0.15 ||24 ||20 ||19 ||0.95 ||609 ||N ||N ||0.22 |
|Broken Reality ||14.99 ||0.1 ||60 ||58 ||138 ||2.379310345 ||1313 ||N ||Y ||0.98 |
|Rapture Rejects ||19.99 ||0 ||200 ||82 ||151 ||1.841463415 ||9250 ||Y ||N ||0.64 |
|Lost Cave ||19.99 ||0 ||3 ||8 ||11 ||1.375 ||43 ||Y ||N || |
|Epic Battle Fantasy 5 ||14.99 ||0 ||300 ||395 ||896 ||2.26835443 ||4236 ||N ||N ||0.97 |
|Ride 3 ||49.99 ||0 ||75 ||161 ||371 ||2.304347826 ||1951 ||N ||N ||0.74 |
|Escape Doodland ||9.99 ||0.2 ||25 ||16 ||19 ||1.1875 ||1542 ||N ||N || |
|Hillbilly Apocalypse ||5.99 ||0.1 ||0 ||1 ||2 ||2 ||8 ||N ||N || |
|X4 ||49.99 ||0 ||1500 ||2638 ||4303 ||1.63115997 ||38152 ||N ||N ||0.7 |
|Splotches ||9.99 ||0.15 ||0 ||2 ||1 ||0.5 ||10 ||N ||N || |
|Above the Fold ||13.99 ||0.15 ||5 ||2 ||6 ||3 ||65 ||Y ||N || |
|The Seven Chambers ||12.99 ||0.3 ||3 ||0 ||0 ||#DIV/0! ||55 ||N ||N || |
|Terminal Conflict ||29.99 ||0 ||5 ||4 ||11 ||2.75 ||125 ||Y ||N || |
|Just Cause 4 ||59.99 ||0 ||2400 ||2083 ||3500 ||1.680268843 ||50000 ||N ||N ||0.34 |
|Grapple Force Rena ||14.99 ||0 ||11 ||12 ||29 ||2.416666667 ||321 ||N ||Y || |
|Beholder 2 ||14.99 ||0.1 || ||479 ||950 ||1.983298539 ||16000 ||N ||N ||0.84 |
|Blueprint Word ||1.99 ||0 || ||12 ||15 ||1.25 ||244 ||N ||Y || |
|Aeon of Sands ||19.99 ||0.1 ||20 ||12 ||25 ||2.083333333 ||320 ||N ||N || |
|Oakwood ||4.99 ||0.1 || ||32 ||68 ||2.125 ||70 ||N ||N ||0.82 |
|Endhall ||4.99 ||0 ||4 ||22 ||42 ||1.909090909 ||79 ||N ||N ||0.84 |
|Dr. Cares - Family Practice ||12.99 ||0.25 ||6 ||3 ||8 ||2.666666667 ||39 ||N ||N || |
|Treasure Hunter ||16.99 ||0.15 ||200 ||196 ||252 ||1.285714286 ||4835 ||N ||N ||0.6 |
|Forex Trading ||1.99 ||0.4 ||7 ||10 ||14 ||1.4 ||209 ||N ||N || |
|Ancient Frontier ||14.99 ||0 ||24 ||5 ||16 ||3.2 ||389 ||N ||N || |
|Fear the Night ||14.99 ||0.25 ||25 ||201 ||440 ||2.189054726 ||835 ||Y ||N ||0.65 |
|Subterraneus ||12.99 ||0.1 ||4 ||0 ||3 ||#DIV/0! ||82 ||N ||N || |
|Starcom: Nexus ||14.99 ||0.15 || ||53 ||119 ||2.245283019 ||1140 ||Y ||N ||0.93 |
|Subject 264 ||14.99 ||0.2 ||25 ||2 ||3 ||1.5 ||800 ||N ||N || |
|Gris ||16.9 ||0 ||100 ||1484 ||4650 ||3.133423181 ||5779 ||N ||N ||0.96 |
|Exiled to the Void ||7.99 ||0.3 ||9 ||4 ||11 ||2.75 ||84 ||Y ||N || |
For the columns that are not self-explanatory:
- Launch Discount: Percent first week discount, 0.25 = 25% off
- Week Guess: This is my guess, made before the game launched as to how many Steam purchaser reviews it would have after exactly one week.
- Week Actual: The number of reviews that the game had after 1 week.
- 3 Month: The number of reviews that the game had after 3 months.
- Followers: The number of group followers the game had prior to launch. In some cases this recorded just before launch, in some cases up to a week before.
- Review score: The percent favorable score on Steam at the one month mark. Games needed a minimum of 20 reviews to be counted.
Question 1: Does Quality Predict Success?
There was a recent blog post stating that the #1 metric for indie games' success is how good it is.
Quality is obviously a subjective metric. The most obvious objective measure of quality for Steam games is their % Favorable Review score. This is the percentage of reviews by purchasers of the game that gave the game a positive rating. I excluded any game that did not have at least 20 user reviews in the first month, which limited the sample size to 56.
The (Pearson) correlation of a game's review score to its number of reviews three months after its release was -0.2. But 0.2 (plus or minus) isn't a very strong correlation at all. More importantly, Pearson correlation can be swayed if the data contains some big outliers. Looking at the actual games, we can see that the difference is an artifact of an outlier. Literally. Valve's Artifact by far had the most reviews after three months and had one of the lowest review scores (53% at the time). Removing this game from the data changed the correlation to essentially zero.
Spearman's Rho, an alternative correlation model that correlates rank position and minimizes the effect of huge outliers produced a similar result. Conclusion: If there is correlation between a game's quality (as measured by Steam review score) and first quarter sales (as measured by total review count), it is too subtle to be detected in this data.
Question 2: Do Demos, Early Access or Launch Discounts Affect Success/Failure?
Unfortunately, there were so few games that had demos prior to release (10) that only a very strong correlation would really tell us anything. As it happens, there was no meaningful correlation one way or another.
There were more Early Access titles (28), but again the correlation was too small to be meaningful.
More than half the titles had a launch week discount and there was actually a moderate negative correlation of -0.3 between having a launch discount and first week review count. However it appears that this is primarily the result of the tendency of AAA titles (which sell the most copies) to not do launch discounts. Removing the titles that likely grossed over a $1 million in the first week reduced the correlation to basically zero. Conclusion: Insufficient data. No clear correlation between demos, Early Access or launch discount and review counts: if they help or hurt the effect is not consistent enough to be seen here.
Question 3: Does pre-launch awareness (i.e., Steam followers) predict success?
You can see the number of "followers" for any game on Steam by searching for its automatically-created Community Group
. Prior to launch, this is a good rough indicator of market awareness.
The correlation between group followers shortly before launch and review count at 3 months was 0.89. That's a very strong positive correlation. The rank correlation was also high (0.85) suggesting that this wasn't the result of a few highly anticipated games.
Save for a single outlier (discussed later), the ratio of 3 month review counts to pre-launch followers ranged from 0 (for the handful of games that never received any reviews) to 1.8, with a median value of 0.1. If you have 1000 followers just prior to launch, then at the end of the first quarter you should expect "about" 100 reviews.
One thing I noticed was that there were a few games that had follower counts that seemed too high compared to secondary indicators of market awareness, such as discussion forum threads and Twitter engagement. After some investigation I came to the conclusion that pre-launch key activations are treated as followers by Steam. If a game gave away a lot of Steam keys before launch (say as Kickstarter rewards or part of beta testing) this would cause the game to appear to have more followers than it had gained "organically." Conclusion: Organic followers prior to launch are a strong predictor of a game's eventual success.
Question 4: What about price?
The correlation between price and review count at 3 month is 0.36, which is moderate correlation. I'm not sure how useful that data point is: it is somewhat obvious that higher budget games have larger marketing budgets.
There is a correlation between price and review score of -0.41. It seems likely that players do factor price into their reviews and a game priced at $60 has a higher bar to clear to earn a thumbs up review than a game priced at $10.
Question 5: Do first week sales predict first quarter results?
The correlation between number of reviews after 1 week and number of reviews after 3 months was 0.99. The Spearman correlation was 0.97. This is the highest correlation I found in the data.
Excluding games that sold very few copies (fewer than 5 reviews after the first week), most games had around twice as many reviews after 3 months as they did after 1 week. This suggests that games sell about as many copies in their first week as they do in the next 12 weeks combined. The vast majority of games had a tail ratio (ratio of reviews at 3 months to 1 week) of between 1.3 to 3.2.
I have seen a number of questions from developers whose game had a poor launch on Steam and wanted to know what they can do to improve sales. While I'm certain post-launch marketing can have an effect on continuing sales, your first week does seem to set hard bounds on your results. Conclusion: ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES
Question 6: Does Quality Help with a Game's "Tail"?
As discussed in the last question while first week sales are very strongly correlated with first quarter, there's still quite a wide range of ratios. Defining a game's Tail Ratio
as the ratio of reviews after 3 months to after 1 week, the lowest value was 0.95 for "Pro Fishing Simulator" which actually managed to lose 1 review. The highest ratio was 6.9, an extreme outlier that I'll talk about later. It is perhaps not a coincidence that the worst tail had a Steam score of 22% and the best tail had a Steam score of 96%.
The overall correlation between the Tail Ratio and Steam score was 0.42. Conclusion: Even though there is no clear correlation between quality and overall review count/sales, there is a moderate correlation between a game's review score and its tail. This suggests that "good games" do better in the long run than "bad games," but the effect is small compared to the more important factor of pre-launch awareness.
Question 7: Is it possible to predict a game's success before launch without knowing its wishlists?
While I was compiling the data for each game, sometime prior to its scheduled launch date, I would make a prediction of how many reviews I thought it would receive in its first week and add that prediction to the spreadsheet.
The #1 factor I used in making my prediction was group follower count. In some cases I would adjust my prediction if I thought that value was off, using secondary sources such as Steam forum activity and Twitter engagement.
The correlation between my guess and the actual value was 0.96, which is a very strong correlation. As you can see in the data, the predictions are, for the most part, in the right ballpack with a few cases where I was way off.
Based on my experience, multiplying the group follower count by 0.1 will, in most cases, give you a ballpark sense of the first
quarter review count. If a game doesn't have at least one question in the discussion forum for every 100 followers, that may indicate that there are large number of "inorganic" followers and you may need to adjust your estimate. Conclusion: Yes, with a few exceptions, using follower data and other indicators you can predict first week results approximately. Given the strong correlation between first week and quarter sales, it should also be possible to have a ballpark idea of first quarter results before launch.
Final Question: What about the outliers you mentioned?
There were a few games in the data that stood out significantly in one way or another.
Outlier #1: Overdungeon. This game had 77 group followers shortly before launch, a fairly small number and based solely on that number I would have expected fewer than a dozen reviews in the first week. It ended up with 86. Not only that, it had a strong tail and finished its first quarter with 572 reviews. This was by a wide margin the highest review count to follower ratio in the sample.
Based on the reviews, it appears to basically be Slay the Spire, but huge in Asia. 90% of the reviews seem to be in Japanese or Chinese. If anyone has some insight to this game's unusual apparent success, I'm very curious.
This seems to be the only clear example in the data of a game with minimal following prior to launch going on to having a solid first quarter.
Outlier #2: 11-11 Memories Retold. This game had 767 group followers shortly before launch, ten times as many as Overdungeon. That's still not a large number for even a small indie title. It had a fair amount going for it, though: it was directed by Yoan Fanise, who co-directed the critally acclaimed Valiant Hearts, a game with a similar theme. It was animated by Aardman Studios of "Wallace and Gromit" fame. Its publisher was Bandai Namco Europe, a not inexperienced publisher. The voice acting was by Sebastian Koch and Elijah Wood. It has dozens of good reviews in both gaming and traditional press. It currently has a 95% positive review rating on Steam.
Despite all that, nobody bought it. 24 hours after it came out it had literally zero reviews on Steam. One week after it came out it had just 10. Three months later it had demonstrated the largest tail in the data, but even then it had only climbed to 69 reviews. Now it's at about 100, an incredible tail ratio, but almost certainly a commercial failure.
This is a solid example that good game + good production values does necessarily equal good sales.
The big take-aways from this analysis are:
- The success of a game on Steam very strongly depends on its first week performance
- A game's first week performance is strongly correlated with its pre-launch market awareness
- Quality does not seem to strongly impact first week performance, but may have some positive effect on a game's "tail"
- All inferences regarding sales are dependent on the relationship between review counts and sales
Thanks for reading!
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