I've recently taken one of first websites off the net, here's a memorial
Recently I took the decision to kill off one of my websites — www.borninblood.co.uk.
The first thing I want to say is if you are seeing this page because you were expecting to see BornInBlood I want to say thanks for sticking around all this time, people like you are what keeps the metal scene alive and are part of what makes metal the best scene to be a part of. Hail! Now onto my ramblings around BornInBlood…
On the face of it the site was a forum, ran on PHPBB and it was pretty dead. Whilst there were a few folk who posted regularly it never really achieved a critical mass and it never really made it. Therefore on the face of it it shouldn't have been a big deal to kill it.
The problem is though, it was a big deal to kill it, such a big deal that I have fought with the idea for over a year, here are my reasons that it should stay alive;
- It was my first ever proper domain name, and my first real site.
- It genuinely helped people (back in the day).
- I hate the idea of information and data just disappearing.
- People were using it (in small amounts).
- It had potential, the main driver of the website (after its first inception) was to help metal bands, and I still think this is an untapped area.
Here are the reasons that I decided to kill it;
- I hadn't visited the site as a user properly for years.
- I couldn't find reasons to make the time to make the improvements it needed.
- My love for metal is still there, but my love about talking about metal is not.
- Every time I thought about the site I felt a pang of depression about how much of a failure it was compared to what it could have been.
This last point is really the clincher for me, I am not 100% convinced you have to be a user of your system to make a good system (I am doing a good job with The Footy Tipster and I don't know anything about football), I could find the time if I really needed to, there is always time. But I just hated that feeling.
The feeling always left me with three options, make the site awesome, take the site down, or leave the site as is for now. For years I opted for keeping the site as is and it only prolonged the inevitable and let me tell you — as hard as it is was to make the post and email everyone to say that the site was closing, I wish I had done it as soon as I had doubts.
I don't really know where this blog post is going if I am honest, but for those interested here is a very brief bit of background on the site;
BornInBlood started as a fan site for the death metal band Evoke (they had a lyric that contained the phrase BornInBlood), it quickly changed into a metal blog and then a metal forum. Supplementing the forum was a social network for bands to promote themselves, this came about just around the same time as MySpace but offered a slightly curated list, for example the bands had to be European and had to create the profiles themselves.
Bands could post news, people could write reviews and organise gigs and what have you, it was a pretty good package and it really helped me cut my teeth into learning about how database driven websites work.
One day I took down the site functionality and just left the forum, I should have known then that it probably wouldn't have lasted but I persisted and every so often would run a competition for bands or people to try and breath some life into the project, but I never really followed it up with anything.
There are probably some learnings to take away from this;
- Build on momentum, as soon as something stops it is so hard to get going.
- Don't be afraid to kill something as soon as you start having doubts.
- If something is making you feel bad, fix it.
I have killed loads of sites in my time, including ones that were making me a good living and I never really felt that bad about it, but killing your first site is not a nice feeling, I am going to console myself by listening to some great music;