Dare to be DBZ-different!
Right now, you're probably saying, what the heck does that mean? Well, this pertains primarily to all those Dragonball websites out there. It's a plea actually. If you surf a good portion of the popular (ahem, elite) sites that are currently on the net, you'll slowly begin to yawn and say, "didn't I just see something like this at so and so's?" I know the elite webbies who may read this if they even bother to visit an unknown or nonpopular site such as this one are probably beginning to feel a little disgust, but please, take this with a grain of salt, I'm doing this to let you know of the pattern forming amonst yourselves.
There are obvious similarites in layout designs and diction that become dull and boring if seen over and over again. Ah, and for those of you who may not know what "diction" is, it is "choice or use of words in speech or writing." I mean, how can one dare use "unique" or "original" in criteria for an affiliate when these are flaws in the host site? I'm not trying to bash elite sites, but I am trying to make them aware of the potential of becoming a hypocrit. Right about now there's an ego/pride-driven webbie saying, "But MY site was up first, others copied ME!" Forget it. It doesn't matter since most of the first Dragonball sites ever on the internet are now gone and those currently available have probably evolved from a template of the orginals. I'm concerned that nonelite or new sites will continue to "copy" elite layout designs,etc. thinking that's how it's supposed to be done and the essence of creativity and orginiality will fade or be bashed for not living up to "the norm." And of course elite sites will continue to compete against each other yet none ever gaining an edge because in the big picture, they're too much like each other.
So let me get to those obvious similarities amongst the popular sites:
Those small font table menus with bold category dividers between them are very commonplace. I agree they're nice, clean, and organized, but they're popping up on too many sites. How dull. Try and image map, fancy small buttons, or something? I know if you can make one of those table layouts then you have the software or HTML capability to make those other things too.
Title banners with those lines through them. This is somewhat hard to explain, but these are images that have a texture on them that look like small lines. There are just too many DB sites sporting these on their title banners. C'mon man, there's other textures one can use to spiff up a title banner!
Flash intros. This is a fairly new concept, but there are many DB sites jumping onto this wagon. I almost did that myself for this site until I realized that there's too many out there already. Oh, I'm not going to put the Flash concept on the shelf, but I think I'll use it beyond the intro...just to be different.
How many times does one hit a site and decide to read the latest updates? I know this is one of the first things I do when I visit a site. Here's where the redundancy happens: updates that have stuff in them that is meaningless to the visitor reading it. By this I mean, a good portion of visitors really don't need to hear about your personal life or an update saying nothing more than why there isn't an update. A site update pertains to the site itself. If there's nothing new or upcoming in the site to mention, then don't write an update until there is. It's safer for you and by getting to the point, you help your visitors.
Also, is the use of profanity really necessary? (I can hear somebody calling me a nun right now). I'm not saying profanity shouldn't be used at all, but in the update or mainpage, who needs it? You're talking to the entire world when you place stuff on your website, use a little courtesy and respect. You'll gain some of that for yourself and your site if you do rather than lose a visitor permenantly out of disgust. Your mainpage is the seller of your site. It is the viewer's first impression of your site and the one that the viewer will likely remember. Do you want to come off sounding like a jackass on your mainpage? (See, I don't mind a little profanity, but it's NOT on my mainpage).
And the greatest dare to be different...ever try to do an entire Dragonball site on your own? Most elite sites have an entire "staff" working for them. While that's not a bad thing in itself, it's sometimes rather confusing. If a viewer has a comment, they sometimes aren't quite sure who to refer it to or if it's even going to be read or lost in the shuffle of people working on the site. A solo site shows a webbie's devotion and dedication. It'll not be shrugged off to another due to lack of interest,etc.or be playing ring around the webbies. Contributions from fans,etc. may be more inviting on a solo site and less restrictive. Give solo acts some credit. Most may not get the massive hits or daily updates, but they are showing a quality and interest as strong if not stronger than perhaps some of the more popular sites. They are likely to have a greater sense of personal touch and accomplishment than staffed sites.But I digress, I can't speak from the perspective of the elitist or staffed sites so I won't condemn them. They may be just as gratifying. It's just from my intial point of view, I find them too packaged and business-like. Not very fun.
So what I'm saying in this whole editorial is that you need to pay attention to what's going on with the Dragonball internet community in general and be yourself. Do what you want to do and not what the crowd is doing. You'll draw greater interest, respect, and loyalty for your website.
And on a side note to those staffed sites (especially the males): when looking for an affiliate or assistant for something with your site, don't rule out the opposite sex. I once read a request for assistance and it said: "Multimedia man wanted: We're looking for a guy who..." You're going to come off as sexist and shun a good percentage of visitors who'll then tell other visitors, who'll then tell...well you get the idea. Just because it is assumed that Dragonball's fanbase is majority male, doesn't mean there's some female fans out there and perhaps some with as much knowledge in computers and software as yourself.
Okay, I'll stop nagging (or preaching...your choice) now. I just needed to get this stuff out and inform others that this stuff exists and to not get too frustrated if you're trying to find a decent formula for your website or surf sites, especially if it's a Dragonball site. Don't let the popular sites get to ya, just break from the mold and set your own path.