State of the Website: 2012 Recap - 2013 Outlook.
Just the fact that nothing terrible happened and the site had almost perfect uptime and functionality is a win in this newbie-admin's book. There's more to say though, so let's get started.
While the site is still just a small blip on the Internet map, 2012 has been a constant growth year for TF, as the graphic below clearly illustrates. Not bad for a website that is 100% focused on something that doesn't officially exist yet and is completely unknown.
- Blizzard registers Project Blackstone domain, leaves everyone guessing, which is responsible for the huge traffic spike towards the end of the year and drew in links from all over the place, including from PCGamer's frontpage. Funnily enough, the whole BlackStone thing will probably prove to be nothing, at least when it comes to Titan.
- Former Blizzard GM drops a few small Titan teasers on reddit. And a bomb. This one hasn't been an instant hit, but has been constantly drawing traffic to it since it's been published. Makes sense, since it's pretty much the closest thing to a "leak" we've had all year.
- Forget the FPS rumors, Titan = MMORPG. Instant hit, drew in lots of traffic from MMO-Champion and reddit. Together with Rob Pardo's annual status report (which conveniently came close to the date Blizzcon 2012 was supposed to happen), these two are the only official reveals we've had this year.
I've done many experiments on the site this year and trying to see how viable it is as a revenue source has been one of them. To this end, I've introduced Ads almost a year ago and more recently I've opened up the Support page, with two options on it.
I'm happy to say that most of what I've tried has been a success, from the revenue point of view but also, just as important, from the feedback I've received from you.
I don't think I can give out all the details, but I can say that after balancing all the expenses and all the revenue, the scales are pretty much on the same level. In other words, I've almost come out even, which is much better than what I was expecting at the start of the year. The site can only grow from now on, there are still many tweaks to be made, so I'm very optimistic when it comes to having a self-sustainable website and maybe even more.
I'm going to start this with a small regret, as I wanted and feel I could've had much more to write about in this section, but unfortunately other aspects of real-life have intervened and also I've ran into a couple of problems while I was working on developing new features.
It definitely wasn't a wasted year though and even if we ignore all the visible changes, I've done considerable progress behind the scenes, understanding the technology that powers the site and learning how to integrate it with future tools.
Here are some of the major changes that the site went through this year:
- Added a Videos section. It's still quite basic, but I think it's something I can heavily build on, especially when all the content there will be related to Titan.
- Forum tweaks: Special Forum Titles (soon to receive an upgrade), introduced the Reputation system (and also recently built on it) and optimized the entire forum for more speed and less clutter.
- Chat. Man I'm glad you guys made me add this. It's been a blast chatting with everyone and I think it really added to the community feel.
- The frontpage and the editor powering it have gone through many changes: completely redesigned the sidebar, the social icons, the look of the article pages, created special BBCode for stuff like Blizzard quotes, special links, special text alignment, made it easier to add entire albums or just single images form inside the Pictures gallery, etc. All small changes but when added up have considerably changed the look and function of the News section.
- Added Twitter and Facebook connect, making it easier to create an account and also import your pics / status etc from your favorite social network.
I'm also planning to branch out a bit, another experiment if you want, and start a Titan Wiki (as some chat users already found out ). More details on this soon-ish (hopefully before January ends).
Considering this might be THE year, one of my main objectives is to get the News system as production-ready as possible (so more text-editor changes) and also make sure the site will be able to handle all the new visitors (wishful thinking again ). Better safe than sorry though.
Enough about the website, but since we're on the subject of future, you should know that there are currently two prediction threads open in the forums, one of them with prizes! (although still unknown). Check them out and maybe leave your opinion:
I'm really looking forward to 2013, not only because of the chance of a Titan announcement, but also because of the small but tight community that has grown around the website this year. Everyone that joined has been extremely supportive and awesome and the fact that I managed to provide you guys with a worthy "home" has really been one of the highlights of my year.
Also, big thanks to the lurkers too and also to those that have anonymously sent in tips, no matter how true or not they turn(ed) out to be. You guys are the engine that enables us members to have fun speculating. Just don't forget that you're always welcome to join-in on the fun!
A Fantastic New Year to everyone!