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The Small Site Survivors Guide
It was with great interest that I came across the articles a while ago
posted up at RTS Nation (NOTE: Since
departed from the scene) about the plight of the small sites, and why so
many have gone "dead" over the last few months. I can understand
the problems that many small, and not so small, sites can go through over
the course of time, especially considering all that I personally have gone
through over my short existence. Those articles have prompted me to write
my own, hopefully a small series of what I learned about my own small site,
and what I learned about myself in the process. But first, a little history...
This site was "born", I believe March 4th. It was pretty ugly
to say the least, not that its all that great looking now. I don't think
anyone will be surprised when I tell you that my total "web"
experience was zero when I started this, so I guess you now know why this
site looks the way it does. Of course, it's something I would like to
improve, but its a learning experience to say the least for both myself
and the people who visit me. I have had a bit of help, and some
were even kind enough to offer help with the design, but they are all
busy people in their own right, so I couldn't take them up on their offers.
I really started out in late February, after being around the web
for several months to feed my "passion" for StarCraft, emulation
and pinball. I was pretty new to the total Internet experience, and soon
got frustrated with the fact that it usually took 30 minutes to find one
bit of infomation, especially news on one of my loves. It gradually grew
to the point that I decided that I wanted to have my own site, dedicated
to news, where it was easy for people to find all the infomation at one
place, and pointers to where to go to look for more infomation to feed
So I started out, and I have to admit the first month was pretty bad.
I totally redid the site at least 3 times, worked very long and hard hours
every day, and totally ignored my family. (which I still do unfortunately)
And for all my work and troubles, I got about 50 hits other than myself.
It was, when I think back, pretty discouraging to have all that
effort to go to waste. And then I got lucky. Well, I guess it wasn't all
luck, it's was just one of those things that you don't think of when you
plan out your site. I spent days planning and going through the "search
engine" route, but of all things, it was because I sent a email to
another guy at another site that started this whole thing. I received
a email back that encouraged me for what I was trying to do. And from
there, anyone who has gone to StarCrafters knows, that things escalated
into a "war" between me and them on who could promote each others
site better, and at the time, I thought I had won, but as it turned out,
Because it attracted attention, and it got me "entered" into
the news contest, which has since meant that my site has grown considerably
since then. Before I joined HitBox last Sunday, I had a shade over 500
hits, since then, I have had 599 more hits in 6 days. To a big site, that's
pretty sad, but to me, that's pretty incredible. I entered this with the
full knowledge that it was gonna be long, hard, time consuming work, and
I had to be prepared to be in it for the long haul. And I wasn't prepared.
In fact, there was a day when I thought that it was time to give her up,
that I was going nowhere fast, and if it hadn't been for David Shipley
sending me the banner I now use, I might be in that long list of dead
sites right about now.
I guess what has kept me going was the fact that several people took
the time to send me one little email and encouraged me to continue. To
a large site, they more than likely get hundreds a month from people praising
them, but to a small site like me though, its priceless. There is no better
feeling in the world, when you get a message from someone that says "great
job", especially for something you love and have spent
a lot of time and effort into. To me, that's worth 100,000 hits
on my hit counter.
And maybe that's what we should all do. Find a site that needs the support,
and send them a "great job" of our own. I have done so, and
now I count several people as among my friends, that I never even knew
last month. The simple knowledge that someone took the time to write a
message, goes a long way. I can't help but wonder how many "dead"
sites would still be alive today if they had received some encouragement.
Now you may think that what I have just said is absolute rubbish. You may
even be right. But it worked for me. And maybe, it will work for someone
else. A lot has been made of "the community", and I guess it's
time we all acted like one. It's time we looked after our neighbors as well
as ourselves, because we all become stronger from the experience.
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