I've been absent from all my fictional writing projects for about a week now. I've just been so busy testing distros, and then when I finally found one, I had to go through a learning curve just to set things up the way I like it.
I just want to say that I'm really proud of how smol.pub, midnight.pub, and nightfall.city have grown. Like these aren't even my projects; I'm not the owner. But I'm just so damn proud to see new content on them everyday.
Content is the key. Without content, any site will die off sooner or later. So I'm happy to see all these individuals contributing to these projects with their posts.
I've seen a lot of sites which died because of lack of content and active users. I distinctly remember one which had a great design. It had a forum, groups, user profiles and even live chat. It was fucking awesome! What it didn't have was active users. I think it stayed up for around 3 years? Which is a really long time considering that there were only about three active users in total. Then one day I visited the site and it was no longer online. The admin spent the first few months developing and setting everything up, and then she went away. She rarely came online, and I think with such a small site, everyone got inspired to see each other online. And it crushed their enthusiasm when one by one people fell off and the admin wasn't around for months at a time.
The site had spawned as a result of another which had been dissolved after about a decade. I remember three sites had launched development to take over the "homeless" users. One of them looked so cool, it even had an online radio. Boy! I was so pumped up for it! I was on the waiting list for all three. Two sites went live, one of them missed the deadline. Only one site absorbed the majority of the users, the other one sat empty for weeks, then months, then years. The one that missed the deadline officially never opened. I think the owners got scared of the competition and decided to abandon the project.
In my opinion, it was worth a shot. I think if it had opened log ins, it could quite possibly have been the next big thing.
Y'know what's so interesting? Of the two sites that went live, the one that was almost finished got very few active users. The majority of the users flocked to the sites that was very much in beta stage. Users could only make posts, like and comment and nothing else. I found it so weird that people chose to continue using it while waiting for the development to finish up rather than use the site that was already complete.
If it was my project? I would never have killed it off. I would've changed the name, got a new domain name, done some marketing on Reddit and 4chan, and got things up and running! Another thing that would've helped was to get some mods whose primary function would be bringing in more members. Like I've seen so many niche sites that spawned out of nothing and grew into commendable projects. About a month ago, I came across this myspace clone site? Spacehey! Yeah, took a few seconds to google that. It looks great! I haven't joined it. I've been a bit skeptical about it's privacy policies and stuff. I asked one of the admins who hosts a couple of great sites if he'd be interested in hosting a clone of it. If he had, I'd be all over it! I'd be posting on it like I was in the 2000's or something.
I think the most important takeaway from all these is that the users make a site. If you've got great users, posting quality content, you're on a roll. BUT, at the same time, if you've got a large number of users, who ain't shit, don't post nothing, and just idle around? Your site's dead. Like trust me buddy. Without quality content, it's just a matter of time before you kill the site. So people are important. Quality people are very important.