It’s strange to think that this site is only coming up on its first birthday, as it seems like it’s been running forever although it doesn’t feel like that. I like to think (and hope that others feel the same way) that’s it’s become a good player part of the OSRscape and a place of both entertainment and utility for many. I was told by many that I was mad for launching this, especially in some of the original comments of the first few posts where many unsavory things were said directly in posts. I’m still here posting to the site and the site is going from strength to strength, so I think history is on my side on this one.
The original design and plans for the site included a number of things that still haven’t gotten up and running yet, and some that have faltered. Some of that is down to the fact that I’m just a one-badger show, I’ve got other publishing concerns, I’ve been sick over the past year and recovering from that, and I also have a family that are very dear to me and I want to make sure that I spend time with. But as we come up on Year Two of OSRToday and the launch of some new projects and projects for OSRToday, it’s actually a good time to get a number of these other elements for the site in place. The site has shown that it has staying power, and is a resource for the community. Content has slowed down a little from the initial launch and burst, but that’s something that also comes needs help from the community in communicating news that needs shared; if all the news the site gets come from a small pool of people then it looks like the site is just playing favorites. That means spending more time to go out and source content to use. Finding content takes away time from writing up that content, so sometimes it falls out of balance.
So, what does Year Two bring?
- A Site Refresh
Just as we hit the actual birthday of the site there will be a site refresh with a brand new theme that is much more dynamic and focused on content delivery. It’ll take on more of a web-focused magazine format, but has a slew of features that we’ll be making use of, with a lot of optimizations to make it run better in all browsers. It’ll be customized to make it look a little old-schoolish, but the focus will be on content delivery and making sure that it’s being served up to you through multiple channels. There’s going to be some tweaking of posts to enable this so things may be in a little in flux till this settles down.
- A Revision of the Posting Schedule
Right now, the standard posting schedule has posts going out at from 11am through 6pm, with email digests being sent out just after that. The posting schedule is going to run 9am-8pm to open things up a little bit more, which means that digest emails will be sent later in the days. This will allow for adding in late-breaking posts and news updates that have been arriving after the normal cut-off. It takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes to put a post together on the site, so lead times on posts help. News posts will still post on odd hours with content post going out on even hours.
- More News Reporters
One thing I’m looking at is bringing one or two people on board to actually do reporting with me, using the site’s standard compensation model. This means writing up specifics on how articles are created for news, but it also helps get more content together. With the increasing number of daily views the site is getting as well as visits to older posts, the site is proving to be a great resource for many people, but I want that to grow.
- Advertising and Integration with Old School Quarterly
As you may know, InfiniBadger Press is launching an old school publication next month called Old School Quarterly, and advertising for the two sites will be linked. This also gives this site the opportunity to improve its own advertising process (see more below). Advertising on the site has always been cost-effective for advertisers, but it’s also going to get a slight review with the new site revamp so that we can offer target options that make sense to old school gamers. Ads will be relevant, and not overwhelming. I’m a firm believer in there’s an appropriate amount and type of advertising, and that good sites utilize advertising well without sticking it into their readers face. There’ll be no pop-ups, no interstitials, and none of the other annoying ad-driven tactics other sites use.
- The Return of OSRecap
This section of the site fell to the side because it was taking up several hours at the beginning of the week and I was having trouble keeping up. I also wasn’t sure that people were using it, but looking at traffic logs shows that many people have been still been using the older posts to find things. So, it’s coming back. It’ll still post on Mondays, but it’ll be getting generated throughout the week so that it’s not all taking up lots of time to do in one go.
- The Introduction of OSRecon
Conventions are a huge thing for us old school gamers, and Origins 2015 reaffirming that for me. Old school gamers aren’t just a niche group, and while there are many conventions that specifically deal with old school games, there are also many old school tracks appearing in major conventions. There’s still some conventions missing thing, but there’s no centralized location giving details on what’s available. Rather than just reporting on cons as they’re announced the site will provide a directory of conventions that are either OSR-focused or have an OSR track, along with a convention schedule that can be looked at at-a-glance.
- Reviews of products through OSReview
This has been on the plate for the site for a while. Using a transparent academic-style rubric approach applied to grading/reviewing along with a strong editorial focus on making reviews useful and allowing reviewers strong authorial voice, as well as publishers the ability to comment before reviews go to press, this is a huge divergence from the way traditional reviews in publishing or on the Internet is normally done. Many reviews are written from a position of authority and opinion without actually providing specifics that help readers and publishers know what is good and bad about products; reviews will aim to help with that. The review process here, including comments after reviews go live, is designed to engender conversation and discussion within the community. There’ll be calls for reviewers shortly as well as details on how creators/publishers can take advantage of the review system. This is expected to go live in July or August.
- More original OSR content
There will be a focus on providing more original OSR content, including continuing The Mountains of Kaban, supplying more tables and monsters, and other content. Old School Quarterly‘s focus is on old school games but there’s some content that just can’t make it into a digital+print product, so pushing it to OSRToday is the logical choice. A new program being put in place, mirroring something in Old School Quarterly, will allow creators looking to drive eyeballs to their products and sites be able to trade in views for advertising credit.
So, that’s some of the current things planned for Year Two. Thanks for being there for Year One, and I hope to see you stay with us as we continue to grow through Year Two and beyond.