We’ve arrived in 2017 with much to look forward to in the development of our much loved software, GameMaker Studio. 2016 saw the release of GMS2 and the community has taken to it rather well, with games starting to take shape to show off what the new software is capable of.
Last year also saw the revival of this blog, which is what this post is really about. I wanted to reflect on the last couple of months of 2016, provide some facts & figures and begin a series of regular posts to show you the progress with the blog and be totally transparent about the goings on behind the scenes. After all, this blog is here for you, the community.
In November I published this post to detail the change of ownership for GMB but what I didn’t discuss was the specifics are the purchase. If you’ve read the previous owner’s income report for October, then you’ll know that I paid him $2500 to take over this blog. This figure was basically made up of $2000 for the blog itself plus and additional $500 for the social media accounts attached to it. The social media accounts were a no-brainer of course and, as you’ll see with the figures below, there was a considerable following already that would have potentially taken years to rebuild.
With almost impeccable timing (in relation to the change of ownership), YoYo Games announced that the long awaited GameMaker Studio 2 was released into open beta. This allowed me my first opportunity to get some real GameMaker news up on the blog in a post that’s now been viewed over 2700 times at the time of writing this post.
During November I published a further 5 new posts, including the largest ever giveaway hosted on the blog and a new series looking at GameMaker-made projects on Kickstarter. Here’s a list of the November posts just in case you missed them.
- Ownership Change – What Now For GMB?
- GameMaker Studio 2 Is Here!
- Gunpoint Review
- YoYo Games Hosts Q&A On Reddit
- Kickstarter Spotlight: NYKRA
- $3770 Humble Bundle GameMaker Giveaway
- GameMaker Studio 2 Is Now Available to Buy
When I took over the blog I thought I might be able to get out one post per week on average to begin with and then with a team of writers (more on that later) then I’d be able to increase the frequency to twice weekly as a minimum. Obviously with 7 new posts in just under a month I’ve surpassed that so I’m quite pleased with that as a start and I’d hope to maintain a similar level as a minimum going forwards.
If you like numbers as much as I do then this is what you’re really here to see. Here’s the month of November in numbers:
GameMaker Blog Readers
In total there were 10,002 visitors the GameMaker Blog which I felt was pretty good considering it had laid dormant for 18 months. Of those 10k visitors, 7,853 were brand new to the blog – if that is you then welcome to GameMaker and to the blog!
Without doubt, the volumes achieved in November were definitely aided by the fact I ran a giveaway. The amount of interest generated as a result of that, this will have inflated the numbers somewhat…
From December’s figure onwards you’ll be able to see how each month’s numbers compares to the previous month.
Fans of GameMaker Blog
As mentioned in the opening, it would have been foolish of me not to acquire the social media accounts already linked to the blog. After all, what is a blog without fans?! To that end, here is a breakdown of those channels.
In November I tweeted 14 times, which is way too little. I’ve rectified that in the coming months!
At the end of the month there were 17,354 followers of GMB on Twitter which was an increase of 340 since I took over at the beginning of the month.
During November I made 8 posts on Facebook – mainly just notifications of new blog posts.
I’ve always been fascinated by the contrasting numbers between one social media platform and another in certain niches – seemingly, #gamedev & #gamemaker is far more popular on Twitter than on Facebook!
There were just 7 new likes in November, bringing the total page like for GMB to 6,001.
Towards the end of November I introduced a sign-up option for an upcoming GMB newsletter. I wasn’t sure how well received this would be and I didn’t know whether there had been one on the blog before but I thought it was worth a shot…
Considering how late in the month I activated the sign-up process, I was pleasantly surprised to have 152 newsletter subs in November and recent results remain positive!
By the end of November the total “fan” count sat at 23,507 across all media, which was up 499 from when I took over. As I try to drive more and more traffic to the blog as well as introduce & improve the newsletters, I hope to grow this number considerably.[table “” not found /]
November Income & Expenditure Report
I have been struggling with the idea of publishing the income of this blog for various reasons. The first being that I’d hate for the community to think this was all about the money. I bought this blog for the main reason of being a part of this community and driving awareness of new games and upcoming game developers that are looking for a little more reach than the hundred or so Twitter followers that they have. However, I’m also a businessman at heart and so I will be making some effort to generate a small amount of income back from the blog. That said, I also intend to reinvest income into new content, games for the blog and regular giveaways – As a result, I wanted to be fully transparent about the income & expenditure of the blog so that you can see that I continue to invest in you, the community.
The second reason for my hesitance is its relevancy to the blog. The majority of readers (if not all) will be here to read about GameMaker and gamedev and so providing income reports on whether the blog makes money may seem a little odd. However, as I’ll be reinvesting income back into your games, prizes for giveaways and fresh new content, I think I can make it relevant to the community.
I recently ran a poll on Twitter to see how interested you’d all be in this info and the result was a vast majority of you would like to see it, so here goes! Let me know in the comments what you think.
I’ll be displaying the values here in USD due to the overwhelming majority of users that are living in the United States, however, as I’m based in the UK myself I’ll be converting using the latest available conversion rates when the post is made. Given the volatility of my home currency (GBP) this could result in some interesting numbers and so I’ll include both GBP & USD in each report for consistency.
(Exchange rate GBP 1 = USD 1.25)
During November I replaced all Bluehost affiliate links with Google Adsense as I’m more familiar with it and didn’t feel it was right to overly promote a service I have never used myself (this blog is hosted on Vidahost – if you want to hear about my experiences with them as a host then feel free to get in touch).[table “” not found /]
As you can see, not a great deal of income coming in just yet but it’s early days and there will be other opportunities to increase that as time goes on.
(Exchange rate GBP 1 = USD 1.25)
Running a website doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, I could probably get away with just paying for hosting and not a lot else. However, the aim of taking over this blog is to build the community and to use the GMB as a platform for developers to showcase their games and get some free exposure for themselves.[table “” not found /]
Obviously November’s figures are somewhat of an anomaly with the purchase of the blog being included. Even so, with the giveaway prizes, and the fact that the Adsense performance wasn’t very well optimized, the blog ran at a loss of ($30.49) or (£24.39) depending on your currency of preference (ignoring the purchase of the blog of course).
I’m not disappointed in this performance. November was never supposed to be a money-spinner, it was about establishing a regular content stream again on a blog that had laid dormant for 18 months and I felt I’ve gone some way to achieve that.
On to next month…
In early December I decided to reach out on Twitter for some content creators for the blog. I was very pleased with the response and since then I’ve had some fantastic content from those that have had the time to contribute. I’m hugely grateful for those that wanted to get involved, they freely volunteer their time and work to help grow this blog for you, the community.
December saw the draw of the winners of the Humble Bundle giveaway which saw two lucky winners take home over $1800 worth of GameMaker software and games. Also, this month saw the start of a great new series called First Impression Feedback” which is a new video series. Produced by one of the new content creators, this series looks at games still in development and focuses in providing live, in the moment feedback on the game.
Here’s a list of the December posts just in case you missed them.
- First Impression Feedback E01 – DRADIS
- First Ever GameMaker Studio 2 Jam
- Sokpop Drops Bamboo EP
- Inspiration For Your First GameMaker Game
- NAL Is Alive Early Access Release
So, just the five new articles in December which is less that I’d hoped but it was the holidays and readership of the blog was considerably down as a result so maybe it wasn’t a bad thing after all. (Note: there was a sixth post which was simply to let everyone know that the winners of the giveaway had been announced, I wouldn’t class that as an article hence the number being five rather than six.)
GameMaker Blog Readers
As I mentioned, readership was down vs November with a total of 8,012 visitors this month – this was down -1,990 from the month before. Of those visitors, 6,285 were brand new to the blog in December – Welcome!
I alluded to this in the previous update above but I feel like the November figure were inflated by the giveaway traffic and so I feel like theses figures were more of a true starting point.
Fans of GameMaker Blog
I made a little more effort on Twitter in December which didn’t necessarily result in a larger growing of followers this month. Again, the followers gained in November were higher than expected so I’m not disappointed with the results by any means.
In December I tweeted 23 times and gained 186 new followers. This brings the total followers to 17,540 and a total increase of 526 since the start of November.
I intend to add some automation of posts in the coming months to tackle the time difference issues. I’m based in the UK with the majority of readers being in the US – there are also a good amount of followers from all over the world and so the reach of a single tweet just isn’t that high – certainly nowhere near the 17.5k followers that I have.
During December I made 7 posts on Facebook – mainly just notifications of new blog posts.
There were 24 new likes in December, bringing the total page likes for GMB to 6,025. A more encouraging increase than the 7 gained in November but a long way off the Twitter growth.
In December there were a further 135 newsletter subs which I was really pleased to see. However, having sent out the first every newsletter I began to see some bad data coming back from the signups and so a total of 7 emails were removed from the list as a result of undelivered messages.
Those additional 128 brings the newsletter mailing list to 280 in total which I’m really happy to see after less than 2 months since introducing the ask.
By the end of December the total “fan” count sat at 23,845 across all media, which was up 338 from November.
I’m confident that numbers will continue to grow naturally but my main focus will be to get the Twitter follower count to 20,000 and the newsletter mailing list up to 1,000.
What this will allow me to do is reach a huge audience almost immediately with any notification of new content. If I can get that right then, alongside the new visitors to the blog each month, the reader base will become really significant.
I’m getting ahead of myself though and I’ll be happy if the total subscribers surpasses 24k next month![table “” not found /]
December Income & Expenditure Report
I expected December to be an improvement on November mainly due to the fact that I never ran a giveaway. Also ignoring the fact the November was the month in which I accounted for the purchase of the blog.
It proved to be an improvement and the blog generated more income than expenditure so it’s early signs of encouragement at least.
Note: I’ll be displaying the values here in USD due to the overwhelming majority of users that are living in the United States, however, as I’m based in the UK myself I’ll be converting using the latest available conversion rates when the post is made. Given the volatility of my home currency (GBP) this could result in some interesting numbers and so I’ll include both GBP & USD in each report for consistency.
(Exchange rate GBP 1 = USD 1.25)
In December I focused on Google Adsense as a main source of income but also introduced AdFly. AdFly is a very simple concept that allows you to replace regular links with a new shortened link, which makes a quick redirect to an ad page before server the intended destination. I changed a few of the most clicked links on the blog to see how this worked in practice and I didn’t feel like it detracted too much from the experience.
The great thing about AdFly is that you can use these links anywhere so if you have an active social media following and want to link somewhere you can do so with this method and earn a little money for it. I haven’t used it in my social media posts and I probably never will as I want people to visit the site to read my articles. However, if you are a regular tweeter it could be an option to explore.
Anyway, those were my only methods of generating income for the blog in December so onto the figures…[table “” not found /]
Still not a great deal of income coming in just yet but it’s early days and in January I plan on adding a few new mechanisms to drive more income. More income = more content & giveaways!
(Exchange rate GBP 1 = USD 1.25)
What with no giveaways or site purchase to account for, December’s expenditure was nice a low with just hosting fees to pay for.[table “” not found /]
With such low expenses this month it’s really no surprise that the blog managed to turn a profit, albeit a very small one. In December GameMaker Blog made a grand total of…. wait for it… $4.58 or £3.66 depending on your currency of preference.
From small acorns… and all that. It’s a start isn’t it and not a bad one overall. Obviously I’d like to get to hundreds of dollars of income fairly quickly so I can continue to run giveaways and the like but there’ll be more on that in January’s report and, in particular, how you can help support (if you wish to).
That’s it for now, apologies it’s a fairly lengthy post! I’d love to hear what you think of it and what else you might like to see in future reports so please do comment below.