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Mike

Happy New Year 2012!

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Happy New Year Everybody!

I'd like to start things off by giving you two presents...

1. The new home page is live! After burning through 3 designers and 4 concepts, we finally landed on a new, more polished look for the home page. It's taken me a while to take it from image to reality, but it's all up! This is not the end for the home page by any means. Just the the next step. More tweaks to come.

Some screenshots of the new home page features...

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2. Rebecca St. James bio is up! Rebecca St. James probably should have been one of our first bios, since she's such a crazy-huge supporter of the Waiter cause. Take a look, and let me know if you have any interesting facts about her that should be included in the bio!

2011 - Year in Review

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The above graph shows our site traffic from Jan 1, 2011 to Nov 10, 2011. I excluded the rest of November and December for happy reasons: we had several articles go viral on Stumble and Facebook during that time, which created huge traffic spikes that throw the overall graph totally off.

As you can see, we've been growing pretty steadily, a little bit more every week, and that has added up nicely. We ended the year with a little over 8x the average daily traffic that we started out with.

Other stats about 2011

  • 33 New articles were posted to the main site.
  • 7 of you became authors and contributed something to the main website (Anna, Jegsy, ThatGuy, Sally, Leo, Markb4, and Andrea).
  • 59 New people introduced themselves in the Introduce Yourself forum, many of whom became regular members (basically everybody we have now joined in 2011).
  • 400+ others joined without introducing themselves. :P
  • The home page was redesigned three times (and I'm still not done)
  • Sunday chats grew large enough to justify buying bigger license of the chat software we use.

A Preview of What's In Store for 2012

2012 is shaping up to be a huge year for WTM.org. I'm not going to give away all the plans, but here are a few key points...

  1. ThatGuy is stepping up his role in the site in a huge way. In 2012, he will essentially become Content Czar (my words). While I focus on building structure and features, he will focus on content (and also helping me plan new development items). ThatGuy has written some of our most popular articles already, and from what I can tell he's just warming up.
    So in the same way you can now go to Markb4 for forum stuff, you'll be able to go to ThatGuy for help publishing articles on the main site.
  2. More frequent new articles. We published 33 new articles last year. Ideally, I want to see that number go to 52 (a new article every week), but it will depend on how much me and ThatGuy can put together...and on how many more of you finally write articles! This means you, person reading this right now. Read my signature.
  3. Faster addition of new Songs, Books, and Videos - Currently it's a pain to add new songs, not exactly fun to add new videos, and only I can add books. This is why I'm behind on adding some of the new additions that you've suggested (sorry).
    In 2012, ThatGuy and Markb4 (and Sally, if she's interested) will be able to add new Songs, Books, and Videos quickly and easily when people suggest them. Plus we'll have a central place for suggesting such things.
  4. Upgraded forums - The forum software we use, Invision Power Board, has a big new version out, which I'll be moving us to in the near future. Expect more reliable profile commenting (no more double comments), more social features, and a bit more intuitive main forum layout.
  5. Location Overlap - Currently we have about 50 regular members. While a good number, that's few enough that we can be scattered all over the globe with little overlap. In the coming year, as we add more members, many of you will meet people who live in your town. And then the real fun can start.

That's just a preview! Lots more stuff in the works that I'm not ready to talk about.

So Happy New Year! Thanks for joining the site and contributing to our growing community. I'm looking forward to hanging out with you lots more in 2012 (well, digital hanging out).

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thnx for the announcement and all your hard work, Mike. New homepage looks great. It's much more crisp and clean, more professional looking.

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