By following this guide, i've gotten more than 4,000 visitors daily, and still increasing. I followed this guide since two weeks ago and now i am running smoothly, earning good money. Building Traffic on a Game Site It seems as though the web ought to be a natural medium for promoting games; and many bold developers have bet on the assumption if you build it they will come. Sadly, unlike at the movies, it just ain't so. The web is littered with game sites that ought to be considered dead; and scores more have died and disappeared. Sure, if you are Yahoo.com (or name your favorite mega-portal) you can instantly generate an overflow crowd for anything; but if you don't already have a gazillion eyeballs, how do you get from zero to a viable community of players? I'm going to present two cases, one sad and one happier, with which I had some personal knowledge. The Sad Tale of Midigames.com My first example is Midigames.com. I followed this site more or less from beginning to end because it hosted Lines of Action as one of its many games. Dennis Rahaman, who built the site, did a lot of things that were either obviously right or at least obvious. His general plan was to build a great web site, attract players with a free trial period, then eventually charge a small subscription fee. Stage 1: Dennis quit his day job and devoted at least a year to developing the software, which included a server, client, and LOTS of games. The games included many unique games, not available elsewhere; each presumably with it's own small contingent of devoted fans. (Dennis is a developer, not an inventor). The games included lots of card games, chess variants, checkers variants, Lines of Action, and some very interesting hex games. Stage 2: He launched midigames and contacted the obviously interested parties (his is where I came in) who would help promote particular games. He posted on rec.games.* and generally spread the word on the web. Several hundred people downloaded his client and signed up for the web site. On the way! Right? Wrong. Stage 3: Dennis tried various things to populate his wonderful but empty site. He tried mass mailings to his user base proposing "events" at particular times. He proposed tournaments with prizes. He bought other game related mailing lists and spammed them. No response; not a poor response, not a weak response: zilch. Stage 4: When the money (his savings) ran out, he got a day job and tried to market the site to companies that wanted content. Unsuccessfully. When last seen, his plan was to move to France and open a restaurant. R.I.P. Midigames. The Happier Story of Tantrix.com The original Tantrix.com was built "on spec" by a small software company with a plan much like Midigames. They saw Tantrix.com as a demo of their capabilities, from which they would launch a business building similar sites for fun and profit. They built it, nobody came, they decided to pursue more promising businesses. When I first encountered Tantrix.com, it was in a state like Midigames, but worse; Not only was nobody there, but the site was unreliable. I volunteered to help fix it, and I've been "helping" ever since. In the course of 6 years, traffic on the site has increased from essentially zero to approximately 40,000 games played per month. Here are the things I think were the key elements to building traffic to the current level . Reliability. Unless players can play reliably, they will not come back very many times. This is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a successful site. Midigames was always pretty reliable, but it didn't save them. One of the things I added to tantrix.com is an extensive error logging system which has exposed innumerable problems - and knowing a problem exists is a necessary first step toward fixing it. It should be noted that lots of strange things happen "out there", especially with various versions of java on various browsers to contend with, but also due to network glitches and unexpected sequences of events. Robot player. I originally thought the robot would be a bridge, to keep players in the site until other players arrived. That has proved to be true, but to my surprise, lots of players spend lots of time playing the robot, even when other humans are available. Currently, something like 3/4 of all games played are human-vs-robot games. I think it's important that the humans playing robots are mixed with the humans playing other humans, so they have the opportunity to interact, and so the robot players are part of the pool of potential human partners. Ranking system. People love to keep score, and keeping score over the long run keeps them interested in coming back for more. It's more important for the ranking system to give players the impression of change than it is for it to be completely fair and accurate. Tantrix.com has a lot of different score related functions. Tournaments. Self-scheduled tournaments (where the matches are played at times negotiated between the players) are very popular. Site usage always takes a jump when a tournament is on. The key thing is that someone has to organize and referee. Fanatic/site tending players. The most important factor to get players to a site is that they find other players already there. The best way to do that is to have a few fanatics hanging around, ready to pounce on newcomers and make them welcome. Under some reasonable assumptions, you need a pool of 200 casual players to reach the state where finding an human opponent is reasonably likely at any time. Three fanatics who spend 8 hrs/day in the site would do the same. Design to promote interaction. You should have large chat areas, and all players in the site should remain in contact with each other the whole time. Even game nerds like to interact with each other. Low barriers to entry. Java is better than a downloadable client, because it is always there. Guest accounts will snare the curious who would be put off by any registration procedure. To my surprise, guests have played more games on tantrix.com than any single "real" player. It should also be noted that that a lot of the first time visitors to the site following a link from an physical game they bought, not a reference from someplace else on the web; and that the site has had little direct effect on the worldwide spread of Tantrix. If there were accountants watching this, they would be shaking their heads in dismay. However, the web site has been important in another way. Fanatic online players have gone on to become distributors responsible for the worldwide growth of Tantrix sales. The web site found and nurtured the fanatics who make the game grow. The Next Phase: Boardspace.net The next phase (starting March 2004) of the saga is to see if the relative success of Tantrix.com can be replicated. Boardspace.net was created by recycling most of the code and know-how from Tantrix.com, as well as applying the lessons learned. Boardspace.net is to be a multi-game site, not affiliated with any particular game manufacturer. First game is Zertz, which is in a similar position to Tantrix in 1998; it is a reasonably well known and respected game with a live inventor, but not one that is hugely successful. Following Zertz in pretty quick succession over the next 2 years were Lines of Action, Plateau, Yinsh, Hex, Trax, Punct and Gobblet. I had specific motives for each game, all aimed at the "brass ring" of achieving a self sustaining community. It's not there yet. Here are some of the ideas behind the choices and thoughts about the results. Have insanely great games. Once people are exposed to them, players will be addicted and bring their friends. This was the original motivation for Zertz. I thought (and think) that Zertz is a really exceptional game. Maybe you agree, but there hasn't been a spontaneous explosion of Zertz players at boardspace or anywhere else. Gobblet is another application of this theory - it's lots of fun and very simple to learn. We'll see. Get other people to work for you. Not in the literal sense, but for example, who should be more motivated than an inventor with a game to sell? Zertz, Yinsh, Punct, Trax, Plateau and Gobblet all have live inventors and real distributors trying to sell the games. They have all been pleased to see their games at Boardspace, none has made it prominent part of their marketing or promotion effort. Share the wealth. At least 90% of the effort to get a web site with one game is unrelated to the game itself. Boardspace has all that machinery, and a reasonably good framework to add new games, so why not make it available? I added Hex to boardspace as a "programmer's sample" of the simplest possible game. Several game inventors had expressed interest. So far none has actually followed through. Credits : ddyer Good luck & thanks me later after you got more than me after starting for two weeks.