Review Section: Our initial goal for the Hard Drive Review Section was to add a section to our website where fans can read all of our review content, including articles and videos we have made in the past. We have successfully created and categorized this section for readers to peruse: https://thehardtimes.net/harddrive/reviews/
Content: Since beginning Grant for the Web, we have produced a number of reviews for the new section.
Technology: In order to announce the new section of our site and incorporate Coil technology into articles through the ability to vote on reviews (for Coil members), we wanted to revamp the design and layout of our website. The new design of the website is coming along great and can be seen here: https://dev.hard-drive.net/ - please don’t share this publicly, as it is a WIP.
The new layout of Hard Drive deemphasizes advertising in favor of content, Coil, and community. We’re working to make sure that our articles are the most prominent feature of the website and encumbered by fewer (and, often, zero) ads. The next biggest thing on a review article will be the voting feature for Coil members. Thirdly, to keep subscribers staying on the website, we want them to feel like it’s a home for them to interact with like-minded people. That’s why we are incorporating a larger chatbox that works across articles, so that fans can converse with each other about the content they are interested in.
We also think that the above will create a more user-friendly experience that will keep users on the website and encourage them to sign up with Coil for more content.
Outside of our website, we also have had success uploading our videos to Cinnamon and loading them directly into the body of our review articles to direct users to paid views if they have a Coil subscription.
Difficulties: Rebuilding the website has been slow. We were hoping to have the voting feature for Coil subscribers sooner than later, but we really want to make sure that the website is ready before we announce it. With any paid subscription feature, we know that you only get so many chances to show people what they’re able to do, so we don’t want to mess up our first impression. We’re making great headway on the website, however, and hope to have it ready soon.
As for content, we were hoping to have more reviews up on the site by now. Unfortunately, there simply have not been many big releases in video games (and nerd culture in general) since the beginning of Grant for the Web due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost every major release, from video games to movies, have been severely delayed. The reviews that we have released have done very well, but we want to focus on quality over quantity, so we have not been digging into smaller releases to hit our content goals, knowing that most people will not be familiar with the content.
In order to solve this problem, however, we were able to produce some meta content about the review section (our article about review scores) and turn old reviews into new videos (the Microsoft Flight Sim video, as well as an upcoming video about Link’s Awakening).