[08.15.16] Update 14 - Details on TechRaptor's Membership, Partners, and Perks
[08.02.16] Update 9 - Introducing the Raptor Shop + New Mousepads
[07.27.16] Update 7 - Editorial Vision for TechRaptor
[07.25.16] Update 6 - Introducing Game Pages
[07.21.16] Update 4 - Podcastin' for the Pack - Meet our Podcast Network
[07.20.16] Update 3 - Base Goal Funded and Mousepads Unlocked!
Because of the number of updates we've posted, we've condensed this section a bit - to read everything - go here!
Physical Rewards Update - Take a look at a full showing of the physical rewards below!
Welcome to TechRaptor, a site as ravenous about technology and gaming as you are! We’re dedicated to high quality news, reviews, and articles about technology and gaming (including tabletop!) as well as the industries surrounding them.
While the quality of our content has been increasing steadily over the last year and a half, the design of our website has remained as lacking as the day we implemented the current theme we’re using. With bloated code, features that we don’t need, and a number of features that we really need to have added, a new site design is an absolute must.
We want to build an amazing site that you’ll want to visit daily, both on desktop and mobile, and we hope that you share as much excitement for our future as we do. We wouldn’t be here without you, and we won’t be around in the future without you as well.
When we got the estimate for the website, we knew that we could probably weather the full cost, but to do so would completely drain the money we’ve saved up for new equipment, events, and new endeavors.
Full disclosure, the cost for us to develop the new site is $3,000. Should the project reach the $1,000 goal, we’ll be able to fund the development of the site in full without having to risk cutting back. Essentially, this Kickstarter helps us keep doing what we need to do now and for the future.
If the Kickstarter is successful, we'll be able to go beyond what we're doing now at faster pace than we could have otherwise. Surpassing the base goal will give us the funds needed to get the resources and services that are necessary to making the features outlined in the stretch goals possible faster.
That’s where you come in, of course. Read on to find out more about what we have planned!
Why should you back TechRaptor?
Our Founder decided to address that very question in the video below, because it's important to all of us at TechRaptor that our supporters realize how much we care about the industry, what we do, and especially our readers.
We work extremely hard to grow TechRaptor every day, and our numbers are steadily growing as we become recognized as an outlet and work with more and more developers and companies on a regular basis. In fact, over the last 6 months, we've grown nearly 59,000 global ranks on Alexa (a service that ranks sites on the web) to become one of the top 90,000 sites in the world!
We truly believe that the reason for our growth is twofold - we love what we do and put a ton of work into all of the content that we create, and we are fully committed to growing an open and fun-loving community around the site. We pour our hearts into our work and interactions with our readers, so giving them the best content we have to give is important to us.
Below is just a sampling of some of the articles/video(s) that we feel highlight the work we do on TechRaptor:
We want everyone to come to TechRaptor for their news, and we are always working to improve ourselves, the site, and what we cover to make sure that we can always have something for you to read or check out on the site.
We hope you'll join us.
What exactly is your plan?
We’ve decided to go with a fully custom theme, built brand new from the ground up (not built off another). The graphics and animations will be new, and the programming will be fresh and clean. By doing this, we’ll have a website that we can be proud to share with our readers, as well as one that runs really smooth.
There’s a number of things that will change with the new site, and we’ll lay them out below, as well as illustrate them as best as we can. As the project moves along, we’ll share updates and imagery from our developer to showcase how things are coming along, as well as to paint a better picture of what we want from our new site.
Different Versions – We’re officially calling the new launch of the base website TechRaptor 2.0, but as more things are added to the list of additions, we’d like to stagger their release so we can do QA testing to verify the User Experience isn’t affected. We’ll refer to those versions of the site as 2.x and beyond!
We ran a big survey back in February as part of the "research" phase of development, and that helped us pinpoint a number of things that we needed some extra feedback on, as well as reinforcement of things that we felt needed work. As such, here are a few of the overarching ideas of what's changing:
Updated Logo – We've updated the logo to match the site, offering a cleaner and better looking version to be used all around, although we've minimalized the logo on the site itself.
Light and Dark – The survey was 50/50 on light and dark preference for the site design, so we aren't going to force you to only have one. We decided to design both light AND dark, so you can switch between them as you wish!
Better Mobile Theme - Our current mobile theme is really poor when it comes to reading, use, and navigation of the site. So, along with the desktop site, the mobile site is being completely redesigned to be significantly better for you to use!
Better Navigation– We're aware that the current navigation is ... less than ideal. We're unhappy about it, and have been for a while, so we're working hard as part of the redesign to redesign the organization of the site alongside the graphical upgrades! (Note: This includes the addition of searching by genre/platform!)
Better Layout – With this new design, the articles you want to read will be easier to find, and with less clutter and redundancy unlike you see on our page now.
Better Pages – Our Staff Page, About Us, and Write for Us pages have become a bit stale, so as part of the redesign we're reworking them completely. Additionally, people interested in working with TechRaptor will see new specializations that we're looking for on the "Write for Us" page!
More than just written content – With the redesign, we'll be adding more streams and video content directly to the site, as well as multiple podcasts right off the bat, depending on the stretch goals we reach!
Continued focus on ethics and integrity – One of the things brought up continually in the survey was how we've been consistently true to our principles of ethics, integrity, and solid journalistic practice. That's not going to change.
A brand-new feature for the site, meant to bring our members together as a community- Pack Membership, detailed below!
The very first thing you see on our site, and the one page meant to show you everything we have to offer, is currently our worst-designed page. We’ve put a lot of thought into how we can redesign this page into something that will display more articles in a clearer fashion, as well as offer the ability to keep browsing through everything without having to go to a category.
Our plan is to do the following: widen the homepage (as well as article pages) and sidebar, take the menu and logo all the way to the top. Readers will be able to see curated articles at the very top of the pages, followed by the latest articles we've posted, with news articles to the left to ensure you see the most content at once! Want to see more? Hit the “load more” button to load additional articles when you get to the bottom of the homepage. This simplified design should help you find something interesting to read in a much quicker fashion!
The Primary Category Pages (Gaming, Tabletop, Tech, etc) are going to get the same treatment as the homepage, with a sleek design that will show you curated articles first, followed by our most recent content with news separated out!
The sidebar is the one thing that sticks with you the entire time you’re on the site and displays everything from ads to most recent posts. We feel this can be improved immensely, however.
We plan to widen the sidebar alongside the main content area, in order to allow for wider ad formats and images, as well as the addition of a widget that will display both Popular Posts and Recent Posts, depending on the current page you’re on. At the moment, we’ve been quite limited on that front.
Just like the homepage, the article pages are going to be expanded in width to allow for more reading space and larger images. The featured image will be changed from a 2:1 ratio to a 16:9, because the 2:1 that our theme requires is ... terrible.
Categorization – We’ll be changing the Meta under the featured image as well, making the author name, post date, and other information clearer, as well as adding an “updated” time for posts that get updated.
Video Posts – One of the big benefits of the redesign is that we get to do a full code and layout overhaul, which is going to allow us to add better functionality to the website for Video Posts. Essentially, we’ll be able to post our videos with short descriptions instead of full articles, with less worry about being penalized for it by Google. You asked for more on-site video, and you’re going to get it!
Short Posts – Along with the ability to post shorter content with our videos, the cleaned up code for the website is going to allow us to post some shorter content without any negative SEO potential.
New Review Score Widget – We’re also implementing a brand new review score widget, which will include a “round” score out of 10, as well as a verdict + pros and cons to allow for more clear reasoning for our scoring.
TL;DR – We’re widening our content area to allow for larger and higher resolution images, as well as the lower amount of code needed for the new design will allow us to do more on-site video postings and some shorter postings to go along with them.
These are two brand new pages completely centered around features that readers have asked for: being able to sort by genre and platform. Just select one of the two under "Gaming" and select the platform(s) or genre(s) you want to see content we've written on!
Game Pages are the feature that we’re the most excited to implement in the site, because having a hub of news, editorials, and review/preview for each game is going to be monumental for readers finding information about the games they want.
Here’s the vision – Game Pages are individual pages for each individual game, offering you everything you need to know, as well as listing all the articles we’ve written about the title. As of this time, you’ll also be able to quickly find out the following information by visiting a game’s Game Page:
- Developer & Publisher
- Release Date
- Monetization / Microtransactions (Yes/No)
- Multiplayer (Yes / No)
- Review Score (Blank Until Review is Published)
- Buy Links (Affiliated and Disclosed)
Here’s how we've had it designed:
The goal is for every news piece, review, and preview to link back to the Game Page it’s assigned to, so that once you finish one article about a game that interests you, all it takes is one click to learn more!
While we previously had forums, and still own the software for XenForo, we've decided to build the new design around community in a big way - which is why we're switching softwares to ensure that site accounts will integrate with the forums - giving you one login for the site, comment section, and forums!
Our forums, much like our comment sections, will remain open for discussions of all kind (So long as it's legal), and we'll be taking major strides to build the community up in a big way so that there's always a discussion you can hop into!
We want open discourse and community to be the foundation upon which our Pack Members communicate, so we hope that these new forums are a place that you'll frequent alongside our comment section!
We plan to have 3 membership tiers, with each one having its own special benefits and bonuses to the member.
Newsletters - With the new site, we'll be building brand-new newsletters that you'll be able to subscribe to in order to keep up with everything we post! We currently have a daily and weekly newsletter planned, which will show you the content that you may have missed, but we may be adding more.
Custom Member Page – The idea with member pages is that you’ll have your own profile where you can fill out custom information, such as what systems, gadgets, and games you have, as well as preferences and more. That’s where we’d like to start, and over time potentially branch out and do more to foster a larger, more involved community at TechRaptor.
Super Cool Forum Titles – With people being able to log in on the site, we’re also going to enable two-way logins between the forums and main site, so you'll only have one login. Because of that, we're planning to be able to give certain member tiers special TBD titles!
State of TechRaptor - State of TechRaptor is our monthly video series in which our Founder keeps our readers up to date on the happenings of the site for the last month, and what's coming up. Currently it goes out to Patrons first, then the public, but with the new design it will be Member-Only.
Voice Servers – We’ve been running staff-only voice servers for a while and would like to offer a number of options to our readers for use as well. To start, we’ll offer 2 voice servers for the ad-free tier of members, and another 3 for the top tier of members to use as they wish - should the load be exceeded, we’ll add more!
"Discount" Page – We want to offer more than just Ad-Free browsing, Member Pages, and Forum Interlinking to our members who subscribe at the highest tier. Because of that, we plan to partner with a number of companies to offer regular discounts on their stores each month, as well as other bonuses with certain partners/retailers. Here’s just a taste of who we have lined up partnerships with so far (in talks with more):
We'll be partnering with Green Man Gaming for exclusive discounts, offers, and giveaways for our members, as well as Games Republic for more discounts and offers!
We've also set up a partnership with Nutaku for premium items for games on their platforms.
Direct2Drive will also be a partner on TechRaptor, offering discount codes and giveaway games to our readers that are subscribers to the top 2 tiers.
We'll have more to announce soon!
Regular Giveaways - Currently we do public and Patron-only giveaways on a regular basis. We'd like to continue this but increase the frequency for Raptor Hunter members and Patrons, as well.
Game Servers - This is a stretch goal that can be unlocked. If so, Raptor Runners will receive 1 pass to the server(s) and Raptor Hunters will receive access for themselves and a guest.
More - We have a number of stretch goals that will be revealed as the Kickstarter moves on, that will bring even more features and options to the site and its members!
Future Ideas for Additions: Game Arcade, Achievements
There are a few ideas we’ve been kicking around that we’d love to get implemented into the site as a whole, more for fun and user enjoyment than for improving our content or layout. Bells and Whistles, as you will.
Those two main ideas are adding the addition of a Game Arcade where you can play various curated browser-based games on our site, as well as the addition of achievements that integrate with the membership platform discussed above.
Now, these will be stretch goals because they’re not a huge part of what we’re focusing on, and will take a lot of extra QA before we can say it will work in an acceptable fashion for readers.
Note from our Founder –TechRaptor is all about community. From our staff (which has become something of a family) to our readers, we want time spent on TechRaptor to be enjoyable for the awesome people that visit. This is why we’re introducing membership—it allows you to develop a “presence” on our site and start making friends. Our community has been incredible as it’s grown, and we want to do all we can to foster that even more.
The goal is to fund the base development of our new site—all the features that we want to start with. At the same time, there are others we’d like that will take more time (and money) to get put into the site’s design, which is what the stretch goals will be for.
Additionally, some of the money will go towards the following:
- Kickstarter fees
- Backer Fulfillment (Both Physical Rewards and the Services that will be required for fulfillment and shipping)
You can check out the FAQ for more details on what certain levels of funding will do for this project!
Check out the below stretch goals that will be unlocked as the campaign progresses!
Can’t contribute money, or want to contribute more? Throw us a share, retweet, or draw us a picture to unlock more goals for the whole TechRaptor community!
Each of the nine individual goals is worth 1 point towards the rewards. Achieving all Social Goals will unlock all 9 Community Social Rewards!
Check out the full list of rewards and add-ons below!
As the Kickstarter progresses, we have a number of Updates, Streams, and Events planned to highlight what we have planned for the site! Stay tuned to this page for regular updates on everything going on!
Risks and challenges
TechRaptor is a site that has dedicated itself to high quality and unbiased news and editorial content. As such, we felt that we needed to upgrade the quality of our site to match both the quality of content as well as community on the site. Development of the site is already in progress, and the primary purpose of this Kickstarter is to get readers involved and to expand upon the scope of the original project. Once completed, rewards will be sent to backers as soon as they are ordered and received (We will give people time to order add-ons) and the project is set to be completed in its base form by August of 2016, with additions being pushed out in “updates” after that.
The purpose of us running this Kickstarter, and the real reason that we have such a low goal when our actual costs are $2,000 more than what we’re asking, is that we want to mitigate the risk to TechRaptor in making this large expense. Should we be able to fund at the $1,000 goal and beyond, we believe that we’ll be in a much better place than if we self-funded and hoped that the expense didn’t cause any issues down the line. Additionally, it allows us to get our readers involved, and get some of our T-Shirt designs out there before we’re ready to get our shop opened up.
We’re ambitious, and we want to do a lot with both TechRaptor and the community that has both interacted with, and supported us. We always want our readers to be involved with, and informed of, what we’re doing - which is why this Kickstarter is open and transparent.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)