Site Updates and Upcoming 2020 Plans


Now that I have had a break, I have a clear head to think about things. Update plans are pretty much in place for the rest of 2020.

Hi everyone. 🙂

My break last week allowed me to recharge. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I was so drained it took me far too long to recognise how drained I indeed was. The good news is now I realise I still need a much bigger break, and I already have another holiday booked in for late November. Countdown to the relaxing!

Right now, I am kicking back on the couch with my laptop. If I tried to do this two weeks ago, I would have been trying to get in some more work before starting to write this. By consciously putting down everything for a week, I have had an opportunity to sit back and look at both work and personal from a fresh perspective.

Enzo is not impressed I am paying more attention to the laptop than him

So what does this mean for the site?

One thing I started doing incrementally was trying to make JohnHQLD.com more like a gaming business site, minus the business. I wanted to crank out reviews and do gaming news. While not a bad idea, the bottom line is JohnHQLD.com is a hobby site for me.

There are already many people in a much better position than me to do this kind of thing properly. Even people whose opinion I differ with a lot are in a much better place to give you more up to date information than I am. Not just in terms of time – being a reviewer is a full-time job, and these people/organisations have better contacts and relationships for gaming than I do.

But gaming is a passion for me. My approach for gaming is similar to my approach to people. A gamer is someone that enjoys playing games. That’s it. Some people focus on board games, RPGs, wargaming or video games. Sites that concentrate on more than one of these groups tend to have people that work with them to cover so much.

What does that mean?

From now, I am just going to concentrate on documenting my gaming experiences and talking about the bits and pieces that interest me. Last Week’s Gaming on Mondays will remain. It’s an excellent way for me to summarise what I have been playing and giving my quick thoughts on many different games.

So articles on the site will take a very personal ‘blog’ slant. There won’t be set days for content, and no timelines imposed on me. Just what I have time to write.

So you are down to one summary article a week?

Nope. I will do reviews, but I am no longer going to try and turn out one a week. There might be a spate of reviews initially as I start writing them, but it really will be just as I get time to do them justice. There have been a few reviews I have tried to get out that are definitely worse than others, and I want to take my time and get out reviews that I think do the games justice.

Crowdfunding articles will be coming back when I see projects that grab my interest. I have tried to never take the ‘easy’ path of just writing about this weeks hotness – there are way too many ways to see what is popular already. So, like my ‘Lost in Straya‘ piece, I will write about lesser publicised projects that I think fit for individual circumstances.

So, you will hardly be spending time on the site at all.

It might look like that, but in the background not at all. I will go more into what I will be spending a lot of extra time on away from public eyes below. I also have a couple of plans to stay in touch and talk to you all even more.

One of these ways involves streaming. I haven’t fully worked out how I will be doing this, but the plan at the moment is to stream a couple of times a week.

Streaming? Do you mean Twitch?

I haven’t fully worked out how I am going to do it, but I will likely be streaming on Twitch or YouTube. During this week, I have set up sound dampening panels in my office to help with sound recording.

Streaming PC/Console content I already have mostly worked out, but it’s not only video games I want to stream. I just need to work out how to set up another camera to record an area next to my desk.

There will be some video games, but I want to do lots of other things

Why do you need another camera? I thought streaming was for video games?

It can be. It’s certainly the stereotype. But even before Covid-19, there was already a lot of fantastic creative content being streamed. One of my favourite background streamers plays the piano on screen. Lots of groups have begun to stream RPG sessions. There are lots of different things that can be streamed.

So sometimes, I will stream video games. Other times, I want to stream board games. These will be solo endeavours, but it should be good to play along with me or join in on decisions I am having trouble making.

I also want to stream some new content I have in mind.

What new content?

This is the only ‘teaser’ section I have for today. Basically, I want to do a bunch of different things. For example, finding time to paint my minis. I think it would fun if I could set up a couple of minis to paint and chat with everyone while I attempt to paint some minis.

More on this kind of content will be coming up soon, but I think this kind of approach will let me have downtime while keeping in touch with everyone.

OK, you have done the teaser thing. What else are you working on in the background?

So, the site itself. Not content, the actual site to get it to you. On the desktop, I am pretty happy with how everything is working. On mobile, not so much.

I have tweaked WordPress well past my initial knowledge over the years. With a few of the significant changes in the web and WordPress itself, I have a lot of bits and pieces that keep breaking. Sometimes you can see these problems, mostly not. But I am spending on average a couple of hours a month nursing the site along, and I would rather not be spending my time doing this.

I really want the mobile experience to be much bettter than it is

So, a new site is coming. I just haven’t fully decided how. You wouldn’t see anything different (except for better load times), with a focus on much better mobile performance.

But you already have a website – what do you mean by a new site?

I could spend my time writing a ‘static’ website – just straight HTML, CSS and JavaScript. This would be easy for me to control, and much cheaper for me to run. I would lose timed publishing and a couple of other things though.

There is also the option of just making a new WordPress site from scratch. This would make my life easier in terms of not nursing old code and plugin maintenance, but it means I would probably have to repeat this process in a couple of years.

I could also go in a completely different way. The number of technologies that I work with and am more comfortable with definitely offer choices.

The bottom line though is no matter which way I go, I need to bring across four years of content. I also need to completely rework how my images have been done over the years. No matter which way I go, there is going to be a considerable amount of work involved.

So when I am not working or playing, time spent writing reviews and articles will be spent in this kind of tech work. I will probably be making two or three sites concurrently and testing them all to see which way I decide to go.

Hence, things like streaming will let me have downtime and talk to everyone without spending any extra time preparing content or editing videos. I am hoping this will be a win/win solution until the new site is up.

But what about all of your other plans?

I still want to do everything I talked about earlier this year. The program to grab and collate game collections for Board Game Geek users kind of works for people with small collections, but I am shelving things like this until next year. Or if I just want something else to work on.

My gaming challenges are mostly on track, except for the number of new games I wanted to play this year. Oh, and getting a couple of games to the table.

These things are all examples of self-imposed timelines. If I miss a gaming goal or shelve a couple of projects until 2021, it’s not going to hurt. Ultimately, I am hoping that by focusing on the site tech now and starting a couple of new ways of interacting with everyone, JohnHQLD.com will actually come out stronger. And I stay sane.

So what do you think? Is this something you would be interested in joining me in? Let me know in the comments, comment on Facebook or shout out on Twitter!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD