Accelerating Video Game Commerce: Using Xsolla and WordPress to Create The Best-Performing Website
8 min read
The launch or move to early access of a new title in the gaming industry is a huge achievement, often following months or years of development and testing. As such, you want to make sure that the marketing elements around that launch are going to be as well-defined as the game itself.
For the past few years, one of the more popular ways to do this was to create a landing page for your game that offered Pre-Order purchases or Early Access purchases. One way to do this was to use the Xsolla Site Builder, which allows you to easily create a high quality landing page swiftly.
However, once the game is actually launched, or Early Access is underway, that landing page can become somewhat obsolete. This is especially true when launching on PC through Steam, as users can purchase Early Access directly through the platform.
To help you create the ultimate website for your video game and game development studio, we want to show you how to use Xsolla alongside WordPress. Read below to find out how.
Xsolla – The Good, The Not So Good, and The Missing Elements
First things first, let’s take a bit more of a look at Xsolla’s Site Builder, diving deep into the positives and negatives of the Content Management System, and what elements it is missing that we would need to use WordPress to fulfil.
The biggest positives when it comes to Xsolla are focused on the commerce side of the Content Management System. As part of Xsolla’s suite of applications and services, the Site Builder allows you to create a Buy Now page for the game itself, as well as a fully active web-based store for in-game items and other microtransactions.
This can be a huge benefit to the Return on Investment of your game. Plus, the fact that Xsolla doesn’t charge a subscription fee but instead takes 5% of the sale price means you can easily expand and grow without worrying about financial costs.
The Not So Good
On the other hand, Xsolla Site Builder has some serious limitations in terms of growing and expanding the actual reach of your game, and the marketing potential that comes with that.
Xsolla Site Builder is designed at its core to build one-page websites that act solely as landing pages or single-page stores. Whilst it does have the ability to host new articles and blog posts, because it’s not a core design function, that ability is limited and the resulting articles are limited in scope as well.
Since Digital Marketing and Performance Marketing rely on the ability to reach new audiences and grow your ROI, this can severely impact your growth potential.
The Missing Elements
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to growing your audience with a site built on Xsolla’s platform is the fact that the platform is a closed source. The lack of full access to the functions and code that runs your website means you can’t optimise it to its fullest potential.
Due to this, trying to grow and reach a wider range of players is an uphill battle against other games competing in the same or similar genres. With that in mind, you need to be able to overcome these challenges to truly reach a higher return on investment.
Should You Use WordPress For A Game Development Website?
So now that we have looked at the pros and cons of using Xsolla for your video game commerce website, we need to examine how we can address the shortcomings of the Site Builder. To do that, we have to turn our focus to another Content Management System; WordPress.
WordPress is one of the most well-known and highly used Content Management Systems out there, and for good reason.
WordPress is an Open Source Content Management System
This is a huge benefit as it means that you can customise the WordPress setup to meet your specific requirements. In fact, at one point, even IGN.com was built on WordPress and likely still is, although they have blocked the ability to find out.
Whilst WordPress is well known as a blogging platform, the ability to customise it has allowed it to grow into one of the most popular eCommerce platforms as well as the most used Content Management System for websites in general.
Therefore, using it alongside Xsolla will help to open doors to huge potential growth for your Game Development Studio and your video game itself.
Planning A Game Development Website
Now we know what we want to use to build our video game website; the next stage is to actually plan it out. This step in the development process is key to futureproofing and ensuring growth potential, as it will define how the website and audience can grow in the coming years.
Our recommendation would be first to create a Development Studio-focused website and then have a subsection or subdirectory website for the game itself. To do this, we suggest you use WordPress to create the main crux of the website, giving you the ability to create a detailed and engaging homepage, as well as a number of subpages that can offer details and information that potential players would be looking for.
An example of this sort of setup would be Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls website, where they have an attractive homepage displaying different games, the latest company news, social details and more. From there, users can navigate to specific games to find further information about the games as well as purchase them.
505 Games has a similar setup, where the main 505 Games website is focused on the corporate side of their company, showing users their different games, as well as providing access to their Community sections and Support sections. However, if you then want more information about their games, such as Death Stranding, they have a separate game-specific subdomain website for it.
By structuring your website like this, you can use the main Development Studio website to grow your brand and reach new audiences through articles that don’t have to be connected directly to your game and can provide a community aspect around your games.
From there, the game-specific area can be used to provide a point of sale, a web-based store for in-game items, and more. For example, Square Enix uses their Final Fantasy XIV website to provide game news, guides to help new players, and PvP ranking tables. They then have a separate area that acts as their Item Shop website.
How WordPress and Xsolla Can Work Together
With this in mind, we would use WordPress to create the main corporate website and the main content area for the game website. Then, Xsolla can be used to create the corporate store where players can buy the game, and the item store section of the game website.
Doing this, you are able to create multiple different experiences for users depending on what they are looking for at any given time. This works extremely well in terms of SEO as well, since it means that you are able to provide for different types of User Intent, which is a key ranking factor for Google.
By using WordPress and Xsolla together like this, the User Experience you provide will help to increase conversions and sales, both of the game itself and the in-game items. As such, the actual Return on Investment of the game will grow exponentially.
Creating The Best User Experience
User Experience, when it comes to website development, is typically just focused on how users interact with the website. However, when it comes to websites for games, it extends to include how users interact with the game itself as well.
Using the example of Square Enix mentioned above, they realised that new players were struggling to understand how the different character roles worked. To help with this, they created guide content on their website that explained how these roles functioned.
This had more than the expected initial effect, as those guides were then indexed by Google, ranking for terms around those roles, even when users searched for similar roles for other games. By doing this, they were able to expose themselves to potential new players who would have otherwise played other Service based games.
WordPress allows you to create something similar, such as a class guide for team-based First Person Shooters, or character profile pages for single-player RPGs. By doing this, you can improve the overall player experience for your game, leading to better Word of Mouth advertising whilst also widening your reach online to bring in new players organically.
Creating A Merchandise Point of Sale
One final aspect to touch on when it comes to a video game commerce website is merchandise. When games become popular, the potential for merchandise sales skyrockets, and that immediately provides another source of revenue for a development studio. However, it also means that you need to move your website into an eCommerce stage, which can be difficult to add on to an existing website.
Xsolla, for example, is great for in-game digital item sales, but when it comes to physical merchandise, you need something more powerful. That’s where WordPress comes in again!
Through the use of WooCommerce, you can extend WordPress’ functionality to create an eCommerce section of the website with relative ease. It also works with all major payment gateways and systems as well and connects to the likes of Google Analytics perfectly for you to be able to measure performance levels.
So if we were to take the website structure mentioned above, you could create a merchandise section on either the corporate website or the game-specific website using WooCommerce. From there, users would be able to purchase products quickly and conveniently, growing the profitability of both the website and the game even further!
Getting Started With Your Video Game Commerce Website
We’ve covered a lot of different areas of setting up your video game website, and the various aspects around it, and it can seem like there is a lot of work to be done, especially after the successful development of an entire video game.
If you are looking to get your video game website off the ground but aren’t sure of the best way to go about it, we would be more than happy to help you through the process. Our designers and developers can work with you to create the perfect style, layout, design and functionality required. On top of that, our SEO team would be involved from start to finish, ensuring that the website provides the best user experience and the best possible chance of success.
So feel free to get in touch with us and let’s get your new game the headstart that it deserves!