What’s going on everyone? Happy new year!
I just want to pop in and give a “state of SixPrizes” update because I haven’t done one of these in a while. I want to let everyone know where the site is now and where it’s headed.
My big focus right now is rebuilding the framework of the website. I knew almost nothing about coding, HTML, PHP, or CSS when I first started the site, so as is, the site isn’t constructed with the most structurally sound methods. Everything works, but the perfectionist in me wants to make it better. So right now, I’m basically taking the site apart, piece by piece, and rewriting the code.
While this isn’t totally necessary, I’m hoping it will help improve 2 things:
1. The site will load faster
2. The site will be more flexible for design changes in the future
Not to say any design changes are necessarily upcoming, but I’d like to know it would be relatively simple to adjust the layout if need be. And if I ever had to take a hiatus from working on the site, it would be easier for someone else to pick up where I’ve left off.
I’ve also been doing a lot of work on the back-end WordPress interfaces. WordPress is the software we use for the blog portion of the website. Anyone who has submitted an article probably knows what the administrative interfaces look like.
My goal here is to simplify the admin interfaces to make them a more user friendly, and to make it much easier for anyone to submit an article.
I’ve made some strides in this regard by removing a lot of unnecessary options from the WordPress menus and re-enabling the visual editor. As you type a post for submission, you’ll now be able to see what it will look like on the site, in real time. It’s pretty cool and you’ll be able to get your article to look exactly how you want, without as much help from the editors.
Of course, editors are still a vital part of the site, as all articles need to be proofread, cleaned up, and scheduled. But now you can do things like insert images yourself, insert decklist tables, and create title heading with a few clicks. I think it makes the writing process a little more enjoyable.
That reminds me that I also need to redo the submission guidelines and instructions again to reflect these changes…
I think we’re starting to run into troubles with figuring out way to organize all the information on the site. I’m starting to learn a lot more things you can do with WordPress, and it offers a lot of cool ways to organize information (if you know how to do it).
Right now articles are assigned categories and tags. Categories are usually broad and tags are specific. For example, some categories we use are “Card of the Day” and “Deck Analysis.” Example tags are “Luxray GL LV.X (Rising Rival RR 109)” or “LuxChomp.”
I’m thinking in the future instead of using “tags,” I could make a custom namer called “cards.” And each post will be assigned with the cards in the article.
Then I’ll make another custom taxonomy called “decks.” And each post containing a deck will have a deck assigned to it. And so on… I don’t know if there are many other ways to organize by card and deck though. If you have any suggestions, please drop a comment.
I’m also considering getting card scans on the site. I’m thinking each card will have its own page with a description and history maybe, then below that we can show a list of all articles or decks mentioning/using that card.
Again, I’m just beginning to learn how to do this stuff and I’m not totally sure the best way to go about it, but it’s something I’ll be thinking about.
Be More Beginner Friendly
I want to include resources or something of that nature for new players, but I’m not sure how to do it. Again, this is a problem with organization. I’d like to be able to point someone to a page that has a list of all the articles they should read, in order, as a beginner.
Like a “Start Here” page that guides a new visitor through all the must-read articles of the site and tells them how the site works and how to do things.
Maybe even have tutorial type stuff… like series of article that explain how to do things. I dunno… this is just a somewhat vague idea I have in mind.
Improve the Forums
Forum activity has been up as of late, and I’d really like to continue to help them grow. I’ll probably need some people to be mods and help me with that, so either e-mail me or comment if you’d be interested in modding.
I am not great at using vBulletin (our forum software), but I know I should be able to assign people to moderate certain subforums and stuff. That’s something I’ll eventually work on.
I also want to improve the functioning of the forums and improve any aspect of them really. Layouts, colors, options, etc… if you have any ideas, let me know. I focus most of my time of the blog portion of the site, but the forums are important too.
I’m pretty happy with where we’re at so far, but I want to continue to improve the program and make it no-brainer for any serious player. The writers have been incredible and I’ve been seriously impressed with how knowledgeable and helpful these guys really are.
I want to get all the Underground systems and processes streamlined… like when you first join, I don’t think I have things user friendly enough yet. Again, we probably need a step-by-step guide of what to do when you first join.
I really want to work on improving the community aspect of the Underground as well. I want the members to be able to interact with each other more and have easy ways to communicate… like if they’re looking to play an online game or something, it should be easy to get in contact with another Underground member.
I’m almost thinking a private Facebook group or something of that nature might work, but I don’t know. I’d rather have an on-site community portal type thing. If you have any ideas, let me know.
My “big picture” goal for the site is to get it to a point where the Pokémon TCG community can pretty much run the thing. Eventually I won’t have to do so much work on it, and the collective efforts of Pokémon TCG fans like you will be the ones keeping it afloat.
My big thing is to get really good systems and processes in place, so that it’s easy for anyone to become a member and contribute to the site. I’m going to continue to streamline things and eventually I’ll be able loosen the reigns.
Anyway thanks for reading if you made it all the way to the end of this, and thanks again for supporting the site!