Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dos and Dont's For Creating a Professional Gaming Industry Website


If your company is within, or caters to, the game industry, your company's web site should present information about your company, describe what your company creates or provides, make your products or services attractive, easy to find, and easy to purchase, support your customers, and establish your company as relevant.

Many company's web sites do few to none of these. They don't include company information, they don't describe what they do, they hide their products and services or make them difficult to purchase, they provide no support to their customers, and/or they are annoyingly self-indulgent messes that make their companies look bad.

Here are some of the DO's and DO NOT's for a game company web site, all of which I've recently seen violated.


DO get a simple, single word domain name. It's inexpensive and it's professional.

DO get a domain name that matches your company name or a well-known term within your industry, if at all possible.

DO NOT, if at all possible, include strange or extraneous characters in your domain name.

DO make the URL of the initial page of your website "http://www.yourdomain.topleveldomain/", where yourdomain is your domain name, and topleveldomain is "com", "net", "org", "biz", or your country code. "http" can be "https", as long as the former redirects to the latter. "www" is not necessary, but the home page must work both with and without it. The home page should not have anything following the trailing "/" after the page has finished loading.

Why? Because people are going to cut and paste the page or bookmark the page. And, if the first landing URL is not plain and undecorated (e.g. includes a database instruction, or a cgi script path, or a session id), it's going to be a broken link in three months.

DO make the title of your home page your company name. Optionally, add three to five words about your business. The title will be in the user's bookmarks/favorites only if it is not a mess.


DO include an About page that defines what your company does in its first paragraph: "We make plastic miniatures". "We are game distributors to Southern Hooplah". DO NOT assume that anyone knows what you do without this. A picture of a miniature on your home page doesn't tell me if you sculpt them, paint them, produce them, distribute them, or sell them.

DO NOT start your About page creatively with fantasy stories or a history of your company; you can do that later on in the page. You can also include the fantasy story on your home page.

DO name your About page About, About Us, or Company Information. Not History, Info, or Who Are We?

DO include Terms and Privacy pages, and ensure that they have actual content, and not gobblygoook or the sentence "This page is where you add your privacy info".

DO include a list of your major product brands, former names for your company, information about relationships to other companies (your distributors, if you produce, or your producers if you distribute, etc), and links to these.

DO NOT have a really long home page with different fonts and tables and other crap. Unless your home page is a blog or news, the home page should not be larger than the browser window.

DO make an effort to look professional, and DO NOT use garish contrasting colors, glow in the darks, sparkles, or anything else that would appeal to a 13 year old girl or boy (even if that is your target).

DO NOT play any sound of any kind of any length when the website is opened. This includes embedded videos or flash that automatically play. The reader is probably listening to music or has other pages opened that make noise, and the result is a cacaphony of hate.

DO NOT feature anything that blinks.

DO NOT use heavy Flash or other features. Remember that some people don't have, or block, Flash.

DO NOT make the entire site one big Flash program. It makes navigation difficult, and impossible to find the terms or information on search sites. Save the full page Flash content for your online games.

DO NOT disable right-clicking in a vain effort to prevent people from stealing your content. There are many valid reasons for right-clicking other than stealing your content. And many ways to steal it without right-clicking. All you will do is annoy the people who need to right click.

DO NOT have any dead pages, or dead features, anywhere.


DO include pictures and prices.

DO NOT require registration, login, or payment information before telling the customer what the total cost, including shipping and taxes, will be.

DO use a secure payment method.

If you have shopping, DO include a telephone number as part of the contact info.


DO have a way to contact you, other than by purchasing a product, or applying for a job or to become a new distributor.

If you do not include an actual email address on every page, DO name your contact page Contact, and not Feedback, Info, About, or anything else.

DO NOT simply include a contact form, without also including a live email address link.

DO link to the email, or the contact page, on the home page and/or navigation bar, and preferably on every page. DO NOT hide your contact email in your Privacy, About, or Terms pages, or somewhere far down on your home page.

DO NOT use anti-spam techniques that make it difficult to contact you; get a spam filter on your email account. If your contact email is info@yourdomain, sales@yourdomain, or contact@yourdomain, or similar, the anti-spam technique won't work, anyway. DO make your contact email info@yourdomain, sales@yourdomain, or contact@yourdomain, or similar.

DO list a contact name beside the email address, or as the link text for the email address.


Nadine said...

Excellent points. If you saw some great websites, please list them.

Philip said...

Great content!