Oh, hello there! It seems you found one of my secret hideouts… Of course, this is meant to be the easiest to find. If you came here, you probably came while trying to look up my old site, the Seafoam Gaming Forums. Well, I suppose I should tell you this, even if it might seem obvious depending on what period in time you viewed this page…
But SeafoamGaming is moving to WordPress!
Now of course, people who know me may be utterly surprised on why this move is being made. You know how I feel about free website makers, and with good reason! So, I’ll start out by explaining some common Q&As about this format, so that way you don’t have to ask a question (But feel free to do so anyway)
Q1: Why did you dislike free website makers, Connor?
A1: Because everybody uses them to start out with a website. Do you even realize how many kids and adults gain the ambition to make a website? While this opens up the possibility for great content from new creators, this also opens the floodgates to allowing literally ANYONE with a mouse and a keyboard to slap together a few pages and call it a website. Unfortunately, this causes many people in the bigger parts of the industry (like PR reps, folks you interview, ETC) to look down on websites clearly made with free website maker tools, like Wix, Freeforums and this very own WordPress. I can’t say I blame them, as while these tools ARE great for those who aren’t the best with code, the fact that there are a lot of young children out there who throw together a review site just to get free review copies/interview their idols really hurts the reputation for the rest of us, unless we work hard to make ours stand out.
For example, here’s a scenario that some PR reps know all too well, and why these tools aren’t always looked at nicely by such organizations:
Kid A reads a game review from IGN. They are jealous of the perks of a reviewer, such as early review copies and bug testing. But wait! They just discovered “Free Website Maker”, a powerful device that lets kids all over the world put together websites in minutes. Kid A gets an idea, and decides to put together a professional looking website, copy and paste stolen reviews with minor edits, claim it as their own and send it off to PR agencies for game companies that Kid A loves, hoping to get a free review copy. PR Agency A agrees, sends over a code in hopes of feedback, and never hears back from Kid A, as Kid A only wanted free games out of this.
Kid B on the other hand, is interested in becoming a professional game reviewer someday. He’s unsure how to code a website of his own, and he doesn’t want to join his local newspaper. He gives “Free Website Maker” a try, finds that it’s a great tool and decides to give feedback to Independent developers, not really caring if he gets games early or not, as he’ll probably buy the games he wants to review the most with his own money anyway. He emails PR Agency A, who unbeknownst to him realized that Kid A scammed him. Seeing his seemingly sincere email, the PR Agency feels that they’d love to get feedback, but the big problem is that Kid B’s site has “FreeWebsiteMaker” at the end of its URL! Not wanting to trust someone who might be trying to scam them, PR Agency A declines.
So the logical solution, you may be thinking, is to just buy a domain and remove that bit at the end of the URL! Well, that’s not going to cut it. Sadly, there are folks who still take advantage of game developers in need of feedback, even after buying a domain name. While it usually happens with the free tools, even domain name websites aren’t a guarantee for PR Agencies. So what do you do if you are Kid B, hoping to help out as many developers as you can?
Well, since I was pretty much Kid B at one point (and for a short time until things get moved, Kid B all over again), I just continued what I was doing. Even with my initial start as a free forum, I worked hard on the reviews I did get, no matter what personal issues got in my way. I gave honest feedback, and eventually I created Seafoam Gaming last March out of the ashes of my old free forum. I no longer feared that folks would see my website as a shady underground forum, but as a review forum where I gave feedback to developers nearly every single week. In conclusion, just be yourself and write for the fun of it! So what if you may not get PR Agency A to trust you until you expand? Buy games that PR Agency A distributes and send them your review anyway, showing them that you really want to give them feedback, and help out other developers too. Domain or not, it’s the writer who makes the website look the best, which is why I’m a bit sad that these free website creation tools get such a bad rep.
Q2: But wait! You said at one point that they aren’t a good idea, yet now you seem… In favor of them?
A2: Well, yes and no. I still firmly believe a domain is the best way to show that you are serious when it comes to the hobby of reviewing, but for those starting out, I feel that my advice of just keeping up the good work until you find the time/money/etc to expand to a domain is helpful for those who may be feeling down due to their limitations.
Q3: So what did you really think of your old forum format? Surely you didn’t move to WordPress without a good reason…
A3: Honestly, I loved it for the most part, except for a few big issues which stopped SeafoamGaming from reaching its full potential:
- Forum Layouts can be a mess to navigate: You won’t believe how many times I’ve had friends and family members come to Seafoam Gaming in the past only to complain about the forum being too much of a maze to navigate. While it’s super easy for me, I now realize that unless you are an active visitor of someone’s forum, nearly every forum on the planet will be a nightmare to navigate, especially if it has tons and tons of articles. Good luck finding the Chubbins review without using the search tool.
- Forums also suffer from being judged by appearance: It’s not just free website makers, simply forums as a whole tend to be judged harshly by their design. No matter how excellent the quality of the content may be, the simplistic design of a forum isn’t for everyone. Ask N4G if you need any further evidence.
- My Host was very, very limiting on what I could do: Now now, I’m not going to play the “Blame Game” on anyone in particular, nor name names, that’s not courteous and that’s not how I roll. Instead, I’ll just simply state that while my website WAS a domain owned by me, the host of the forum itself was the freeforum agent. Sadly, they still had stupid restrictions that blocked me from letting my site be my site. For one thing, they flat out refused to let anyone use Google’s HTML Tools to help increase your site’s performance in their search rankings. (I think it’s called Google Sitemaps but I’m not sure…) This was a serious issue as it hurt the visibility of my website. The next big issue is that they REQUIRED their advertisements to display on my website upon a user registering. Some of these advertisements, as I was told had irritating messages and other things displayed that I had zero control over, since my host owned all of the ads and wouldn’t remove them. This is why I never had people commenting on my website, and I feel awful for not realizing it was an issue until recently. Therefore, I decided to migrate to WordPress because of a better possibility for a community.
Q4: Yikes. That doesn’t sound good. Well, why didn’t you jump at the first sign of trouble?
A4: I was paranoid that I would lose everything. I’ve heard horror stories of some hosts being downright cruel to the websites they run, all because they were honest with their opinions on the behavior of the host. I’m not one who calls out people (and I still won’t name names out of courtesy) and I was scared that if I did, every piece of information on my forum would be wiped. Five years of history, just gone because I stood up. I didn’t want that to happen, so I remained silent, despite feeling a bit depressed about the lack of a community on my website because of the bad ads from my host. I feel that if my family told me sooner that those ads truly were a turnoff I would have acted sooner.
Q5: Now that you are making the jump… Who or what made you decide to pull the trigger?
A5: Thank none other than the amazing FederationForce on Twitter (no nothing to do with the upcoming game silly). What initially started as a simple request for a new banner turned into a suggestion at making a wordpress website. Remembering the horror stories from game developers, I initially was nervous to take action. Then he showed me a website he works for that ran on WordPress, and I was convinced. He went to work and I thank him many times over for being willing to help push me to this next step. He may not realize it, but this was the motivation I needed to finally be free from my old host!
Q6: What about your old content? Will that be moved over, or…?
A6: I plan to move over all of my reviews to this new site over the month of February. I feel that this will lead to a bright future for Seafoam Gaming, and I feel bad with myself for not taking this step sooner. Paranoia is unfortunately a problem I suffer with in real life, so to have it affect my website wasn’t my intention.
Q7: After it’s all transferred over, what are your goals?
A7: Once all of my Opinion Articles and Reviews are moved over, I plan to continue the reviews that were being written before the move and finish them up. Hopefully the developers of said games won’t mind the extra wait (Especially Frozenbyte for the Badland Delay, good god I’m so sorry it’s been buried in the review queue for so long!). Then I plan to get out a custom email (But would redirect to my real personal one so I don’t have to have all of the PR reps I’m in contact with edit their lists), and transfer the domain name here.
So those were some Q&As about the site that I answered before you could ask them! Thanks again to FederationForce on Twitter for his amazing work, and feel free to ask a question about the move in the comments below!