January 3, 2015 – Update
Tried the core piece this morning, and the plans didn’t go as desired. This upgrade will still occur… it just needs a new form. Hold tight, it’ll happen.
Sometime in early January, a site update will occur. During that time, the site will be down for maintenance and a more localized version will appear.
Hard to believe that this little site we call F3nation.com has had three versions over four years, each time requiring an update when bursting at the metaphorical seams or as growth dictates.
This time is no exception.
When I first started working on F3nation.com in 2011, there was one region — and we didn’t even call it that. It was just “F3.” Today, there 12 established regions and even more “nomads.”
Then, the site had under 100 users; today there are over 2,500 PAX registered with many, many more unregistered.
Posts were entered around 3-4 times per week, matching the number of workouts. At time of this writing, there are over 23,000 posts available over 100s of workouts.
Growth has come with some pain, almost always related to the central challenge of a site like ours: It has to do many things for many people in many different places. It’s a communications hub, a place to connect, a place to learn the basics of F3, a place for someone already initiated in F3 to learn the lexicon or get workout ideas. It must be easy to use but advanced enough for a bunch of Type-A men who want control.
Mostly though, there are two over-arching themes. One, it’s become “local.” Most of the time, regions want to promote their best stuff and we don’t (today) have a way to do this. Second, at a main site level, we’re not serving the people who want to know more about us as best as we can any more. It’s intimidating for some to not get “what is F3?” right up front.
So over the last couple of months, I’ve been working on a plan to move us ahead. A fair warning — this will come with some bumps, but in the long run it’s best for F3.
Matching our themes, there are three big initiatives:
- Provide each F3 region/nomad location an opportunity to have their own area to share backblasts, their own blog posts, keep things “pinned” to the top of their areas, etc. This will look like http://columbia.f3nation.com, http://area51.f3nation.com, etc.
- Separate news from workouts. Over time, on one page we will consolidate all the workouts — regardless of region — into a single place that makes it much less intimidating for the new F3 EH candidate to figure out where he should go.
- Redesign the home page to get F3 PAX and FNGs to the places they want to go most quickly.
There are some anticipated pain points:
- Registered users may not have the correct “posting” rights right away. I’m going to ask you to be patient with me and your fellow, (unpaid) IT colleagues who help manage region rights. If you see something odd AFTER the transition, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best.
- When we move to location sites, such as metro.f3nation.com, some or all archives may have broken images. I can’t predict this 🙂
- The first “all-in, all workouts” page will take longer to launch than the first site. That will come later.
Lastly, when I’m ready to do the work, the site will have to be down for a couple days. At that time, I’ll repost this message or something similar on the home page to remind folks to check twitter for the time being.
Thanks for all you’re doing to grow F3!