How to get oneGetting a free website has never been easier. The easiest and cheapest way is to have a blog and link to the game files. The benefits of blogs is that they have intuitive editors for writing about your game, a massive selection of free graphics templates and built in widgets to connect to your fanbase.
The biggest two blogging systems are Google's Blogger (which the Free RPG Blog uses) and Wordpress (which I've used elswhere).
A blog won't always let you put your game files in the same place as your blog. For game files, I recommend having a Google Docs account. You can upload big PDFs, Word documents or any other supporting file too. I also like that you manage versions there. The link doesn't need to change but the document you download can.
Having blog subliminally suggests to your visitors that there will be regular updates but do not let that stop you. On the other hand, you can use the blog to put out thoughts about your game, ask questions of the community and write fiction too. Each post can be short - only a couple of paragraphs or an image. That might be annoying on a normal web page but people's expectations of blogs are much mo rerelaxed.
If you find that lots of people want to chat about your game and comment threads aren't really enough then point them to the 1KM1KT Forum. If you end up with a lot of interest, we'll make you your own forum!
Best practisesSome commont things that might help you.
- Have the download front and centre.
- If the game has a nice cover, use that picture as a link to the download.
- Avoid large scripts of text - try describing your game in 20 words.
- Don't promise anything.
- Link to other places you like.
- Avoid putting lots of white text on a dark background, it's hard to read.
- Welcome them and thank them for their feedback.
- Avoid ads if you can.
- Introduce yourself somewhere. It's nice to know the game was written by a human. If you have this section in your game, rip it out and put it on your site.
- If you have a forum, expect to do most of the posting yourself. You will have to power the community, others won't do it for you. If it falls silent, it's better to not have one at all.
ExamplesIt's a wonder that with all that feverish creating, philanthropists have any time to create websites at all! However, they do. And there are some delightful examples. I asked the monkeys over on 1KM1KT what they thought and my good friend and fellow philanthropist Jason 'Chainsaw Aardvark' Kline came up with some super examples. So, here are some lovely sites, in no discernible order whatsoever.
Scribd went evil on us. The Mysterous Anonymous Benefactor (MAB) has done a splendid job on it.
I've probably missed some corkers?Is there a free RPG game homepage that is so staggeringly breathtaking that I should really have mentioned? Is there a homepage where you downloaded the PDF before reading the text and realising you've just downloaded "The Hot Goats' Love Nest RPG"?* Please do tell the world in the comments below!
* If you have, please keep it to yourself.
P.S. I currently hate the Icar homepage, so let's just ignore that one, OK?