I’ve really had a blast writing this feature for the whole week. I can’t wait to wrap it all up tomorrow. I know the whole story, yet even I’m excited to relive it! I’m telling you, there’s all sorts of fun elements to talk about in the final chapter tomorrow. You enjoy this piece for tonight, and I’ll see you in a few, short hours!
I am 99% sure I’ll be able to wrap this up with one more feature tomorrow. I have the rest of the story outlined in my head, and hopefully I can type it out in a way that won’t bleed into Saturday. I just hope you guys are still enjoying this week-long feature!
It’s funny how things work out. Something that started out as a hobby was turning into a project that was my main focus of free time. With every day that passed by, I was learning more and more about the world of online video game reporting. I was also getting more attention for what I was doing. It was a very strange and great thing to see people coming to check out what I had been working on. I can’t believe how it all came together, especially when it was never meant to be anything more than a fun hobby.
Before I knew it, things were getting bigger than I could have ever imagined. The blogger page was becoming something that I would share with family and friends. It was a crazy side project that was getting some attention, and I was really proud to show off what I had done. While I was doing things for the Blogger page that were brand-new to me, there were plenty of friends and family that didn’t even know what I was doing on the most basic level. That’s alright though, since this was a learning experience for everyone! I would learn things, I would spread the news to family and friends, and then I would push forward for more information.
All this great stuff coming together had me living in a fantasy world. I wasn’t thinking about a future for the blog or anything like that. I was just enjoying the great things that were going on at the time. I was living in the moment, and while that’s a good thing to do for some time, it wasn’t my plan just a few months ago. This blogger page wasn’t something that was going to eat up so much time. It was going to be a fun time-waster while I was figuring out what I would do with the rest of my life. Unfortunately, I seemed to forget all about those very important goals while working on the blog.
A few more months continued on, and there were two things that were really getting to me. First off, I had been receiving a steady stream of emails from readers of the blog. These emails were telling me to open up my own site. They felt it was time to move away from a blogger page and turn the site into something more official. Second, I still felt really bad for having a blogger name that was exactly the same as an already established Nintendo site. These two things came together for a perfect storm situation. Perhaps it really was time for me to purchase a domain and try giving things a second, bigger push.
This big decision came along as I was just starting up a podcast as well. I didn’t know hardly anything about podcasts, but I knew that it would be a fun and interesting way to spread word on the site. After figuring out how to do a podcast and make it work, I thought about making it a weekly feature. Before I knew it, that’s exactly what the case was. We were already 3 shows deep, and this content was bringing brand-new people to the blogger page. Combine this with the topics listed above, and I decided it was definitely time to move the blogger page to its own site.
Of course, this brought up a few problems of its own. First off, I had absolutely zero knowledge about how to build a site. I seriously mean no knowledge at all. I first had to set out and find something that would allow me to create a website with the least amount of programming possible. I also had to find a place to host the site, and not knowing anything about traffic volumes made this a difficult decision as well. After some time and research put into both areas, I found a host that I wanted to run with. On top of that, I decided that WordPress would be the perfect way for a newcomer like me to put something together.
Quite honestly, I managed to figure out WordPress without any big issues. All I needed was a banner image to post up on the top of the site, and then the rest of the WordPress defaults would be fine for just starting out. Thankfully, I had someone that I met through a news post that was more than willing to help create a banner. With that completed, I posted it up and began running test posts. I remember being extremely nervous about the entire idea, but I felt it was the right step to take.
The site was up, the hosting had been chosen, and the WordPress features were all set. The last thing to do was to find a domain name…a new name for the site. I had to pick something that no other site had, of course! I remember putting out the word on our blogger messageboards at the time. We were looking for domain suggestions for the big move. We actually got a ton of great submissions, but ended up going with something that our own podcast crew came up with. It was a name that just randomly popped into the head of Nicky Hill, I believe. That name happened to be GoNintendo. Simple and to the point, and with the tagline of ‘What are you waiting for?’, I thought we were set.
Before I knew it, the blogger page was out and the new GoNintendo site was in. I had moved into my new home and continued work like usual. Almost immediately, I started to notice more attention from some of the other news outlets that I was following. The move to a domain and fresh coat of paint really did seem to work wonders. I was getting more attention from ever before, and that includes readers and other site staffers. Unfortunately, this is where the big problems started to come in.
First off, and the one that truly still upsets me, is the amount of horrible comments I was getting on stories and in my email. I cannot tell you how vulgar and mean some of those comments were. There were plenty of people that had no problem telling me that I was wasting my time. I wasn’t ever going to last on the internet. My work sucked, I was an idiot for posting certain stories, and all other sorts of really ugly comments. This was truly my introduction to just how dark the net could be at times. These comments shook me right to my core. They made me feel absolutely miserable, and I was quickly questioning my decision to continue on with this project.
It would take a few years to learn that mostly everyone on the gaming blogging scene would go through the same sort of hazing. Those sort of things will unfortunately never end, but they do subside. Again, I didn’t know this at the moment. These verbal onslaughts were really tearing me apart, but there was another problem that was even worse heading my way. All of my money that was saved up was now disappearing faster than ever before.
Regardless of the mean-spirited comments, more people were coming to the site. With the more traffic we got, the higher my bills were every month. It seems so stupid to say now, but at the time I really wasn’t paying attention to funds. I was thinking about how this internet situation was all coming together. A whirlwind of crazy attention and new things happening to me every week. It wasn’t until I moved over to GoNintendo that I realized just how expensive it was going to be to run a site.
I tried to not think about all that as I pressed forward, but then my brain actually started working again. One day I received a bill in the mail, and I realized that I was going to be in big trouble very soon. Hosting expenses were almost doubling with each month that passed. If things continued on like this, I would be absolutely broke in just 2 months. I kid you not, absolutely penniless. Again, I was still living at home with my parents, but I wasn’t about to take their money for this situation that I put myself in. Any cash that came in from Google advertising was going right back into the hosting fees. In both good ways and bad, I had created a monster.
This all lead to one particular night where I nearly lost it. The realization of all the different situations I was in had hit me. I needed a big amount of money to pay for hosting. I had created a site that was getting attention. I had met some truly wonderful people through the blogger site and now GoNintendo. I was also getting bashed beyond belief by a handful of people. So many new things going on…so many different emotions hitting me at once. What a confusing situation to be in, and I had no idea what to do.
Could GoNintendo actually become something that could turn out to be a job down the line? Did I put in all this work on the blogger site/GoNintendo just to lose it all? Was it time to call it quits and go back to school? Even if I did want to continue on with GoNintendo, how in the world was I going to get the money to do so? No matter what decision I made, I knew it was going to be painful.
Without a doubt, this was the biggest crossroads I had ever come upon in my life. I had to make a decision, and my time to do so was quickly running out.