February 4th, 2008

How to get your poker website up and running

Now that you are have done your research, learned about what poker players are looking for and have the motivation to get started it’s time to get your very own website up and online. Before you start there are a few things you might want to double-check off your list before branding your back window with the new URL.

Research and picking the right niche are two very important and often over-looked steps new webmasters tend to miss. There are many different niche areas in poker that players are looking for. Anywhere from large tournaments, to low limit tables and Omaha; different players play poker at all levels and cash limits. Decide on a niche under the poker umbrella and make sure to gain some insight on that area of the game.

Chances are that aspiring poker affiliates have a base knowledge of poker and what to look for when choosing topics to write about. However, even if you are an avid player that doesn’t mean you know what all good keywords and phrases new players are looking for. Discovering what people search for when looking for a poker room to make a new account at is extremely vital to your success. A good idea before ever ordering design work is getting a keyword study done. This can be done via free tools or through software like Keyword Discovery. Whatever you decide to budget make sure that selecting keywords from your niche is in your plan before getting started. This will save you time, money and resources when your site gets bigger and starts to gain traffic. Another key benefit of this is the SEO gains that will be made from having a focused site.

Finding a good web design/designer that can accommodate both your tastes and budget can be a difficult challenge. However when it comes to converting traffic to real money players the way you present your content and sales text is crucial. Often the more professional and personal your site looks the better your stats will look also. When a person searches for a term that you rank well for they are expecting to easily find information on the topic presented in an orderly and factual way. Adding a personal touch such as a review is a nice touch so long it doesn’t scream “buy me” at the reader. If you have a good background in design and feel that simply modifying a template (I always suggest Wordpress) will work then by all means do it. If you are like me, and don’t have a clue how to make a professional looking website, then look for a freelance designer online. You can enter your needs and budget at sites like iFreelance and others to find the right designer.

Check around with other webmasters to see what the best hosting options are. This is pretty self explanatory but too important to overlook. Personally I have had many issues with various hosting companies that sound great with their sales pitch and then never work out. The best way to find a good host is to ask around. First you have to narrow out which hosting companies have issues with gambling related sites and obviously pass on them. Secondly, check with other webmasters and see who they use and recommend. Remember these people are affiliates and will try and send you links (with their tracking codes in them) so simply ask for a name and email. Taking some time investigating their services and support will be worth the effort.

Organize a proper CMS (content management system) and keep yourself on schedule. Even one year ago I would have left this point out and skipped past it. Now after launching several portals and trying to keep an eye on my SERP’s I am making sure that I keep my content and my resources focused on where they need to be. It’s simply too easy to get lost in the daily grind of producing content and lose sight of you are trying to rank and get noticed for. After choosing your niche and developing your site you’ll want to fill it up with good content. Categorizing these articles/blog posts in a way that lets the search engines know what the copy is about and matches the text is a vital task. If you do not add the right topic headers and keep a good organizational flow to the content then it’s just a big mess in the long run and you’ll never get the rankings you deserve. If you are looking for an open-source CMS then there is a list of good ones here: http://www.la-grange.net/cms

POSTED IN: Design and Coding


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