Posted on February 05 2011 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
It’s been a few days (5 to be precise) since I last did a daily reflection and I need to apologize for that. I’ve been sick, however I can’t really use that as an excuse. I just haven’t felt inspired enough to really “write” anything. Call it writers block if you want, but it is what it is. Now that I have put those 5 days aside let’s just jump right in. We’re living a dream here at Zelda Informer, and with every dream coming to fruition you learn that things just aren’t as much fun as you thought they would be.
(I apologize for not containing links to the community news, as well as our own material today, but time constraints have put pause to this tonight. Sorry!)
When I was around age 13 I started my first website, Pokemonsojo, on geocities. Within 3 months I started a second site some may remember as Zelda Domain. When you’re young and just doing a hobby (heck, the internet itself was young back then) you always have this feint dream in the back of your mind. It usually goes “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if like, this site got really popular?” As you grow older the dream expands into “popular… and could make money?” to eventually “make money… enough to live off of”. For 95% of people out there this dream dies out as reality sets in: The internet is a harsh and will reject you for no other reason than just being you. You also learn that you don’t get anything without giving a lot without any guarantee of return.
Kevin at GoNintendo last month revealed how his life twisted and turned as he started his site with small aspirations and finally expanded it into the Nintendo blogging standard many have grown accustomed too. In many ways this is how a lot of new and eager webmasters and site creators think: They see that sort of success and go “why not me?” Why not indeed.
The voice to this topic is my own experiences coming forward. Zelda Informer has grown far beyond what I had ever hoped it would become. At best I was going to be elated at providing my love of Zelda to really anyone who wanted to listen. In the back of my mind 1,000 viewers a day was to be our peak, and hopefully something we could maintain. I love writing about gaming in general, and being a Zelda/Nintendo gamer above all I hoped this site was interesting enough to warrant that sort of viewership. After all, reading the comments is pretty exciting as a writer, both good and bad ones.
I stand as the only staff member of this site to be active every single day since the site returned after a 2 month down time in 2009. Let me say this: The more popular we get, the harder it is to run this site. Back in 2008 I was just hoping we would be popular enough to get into E3 someday (more on this later), but I never knew what laid ahead. There are financial and income concerns, not to mention finding the time and dedication to continue pressing this site, as well as finding just the right sort of staff. Thankfully when I showed up there were already a handful of excellent staff on board, but getting them to be consistent was a big challenge.
Earlier I mentioned that as you grow up as a site owner you become a realist. Sites cost money, therefore you need to make money in order to maintain the site. Sites also cost the people that work for them time, time they generally have to take away from other areas in their life. In order to take this site to new heights, more time is going to be needed, which means in the real world that time needs to be compensated so it can be afforded. In the end, this means the site has to ultimately make more money.
You get lost in that trail of thoughts before you know it as money and time become a bigger problem the more viewers we get, and then you have to start wondering if your passion is still worth it. In the back of mind I always thought it would be “neat” if I made a living off this site. If I was able to fully pay for all my bills and work full time for the site. All the projects that could get done, the increase in the amount of daily posts, and I imagine the compensation I could then provide fellow staff members in return for their continued work. It’s really a nice little pipe dream that is the ideal life for me. Of course, this may never happen. I accept that fate. Money can really poison the mind.
The thing about running this site in particular is that to run any successful site you need to have passion for your profession. While ZI has become more a “part of my every day life” (trust me, my family, my friends, everyone I know has heard about my site, because I am on it or working for it more than anything else in my life). There are a lot of directions I want to take ZI because of my passion, but they are slow coming for lack of time. Take this daily feature – time constraints sometimes put pause to what we want to do.
We have created expectations at this site. While I greatly regret the debacle of “E3 2010 Zordiana”, it showed me that, above all, we have such a strong following that the things expected of this site today are far greater than what was expected in 2009. What you guys want to see from us in 2011 is even more time consuming, more professional, and ultimately more entertaining than anything we did in 2010. Every year brings new expectations, and as we continue to try and fill those new opportunities arise. All of this is hard, hard work. You guys reading this right now is what makes me continue on.
One benefit of having this sort of site, outside of personal gratification, is the ability to go to E3. Today we discovered that E3 is limiting access greater than ever before. If you have 8,000 unique hits in a month you are only allowed to send 2 people to E3. Previously just “having a registered site as a business” was enough to get however many you wanted in, should your site have the credentials.
Because of you guys enjoying our site and visiting us every day, we pulled in 142,741 unique visits last month. If you take that 8,000 for 2 people as a standard we can send 17.8 (so roughly 18) people to E3. Think about that for a moment: We get so much traffic that E3 determines we could be supported by possibly 18 staff. Man, what I wouldn’t do for 18 active staff at this joint. Of course, that’s not how it works. Because we get over 100k we are allowed to send an unlimited amount of people. Who knows, we could send one of you guys WITH US one of these years. Wouldn’t that be neat?
Zelda Informer is a unique place on the web, and we hope to continue to grow and continue to raise what is expected of us as a site. It’s a fun challenge for me, and I am sure the staff enjoys it as well. It’s a lot of hard work, some of which isn’t all that enjoyable, but to see us bring debate, smiles, and anger to the voices of thousands of gamers is what makes it all worth it. You guys are a constant reminder of why I do what I do. Thank you for keeping me grounded. Thank you for making my “internet home” as lively as possible.