In June, I wrote the inaugural State of BFTB post. It gave a brief history of the community, and highlighted some of the more important posts we've had written here. At the end of the post, I gave a rundown on the future of BFTB. Nearly five months later, I'd like to check and see how well we've done.
More traffic, more commenters. Traffic has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few months. In January, during the NFL Playoffs, this blog had over 10,000 users. Seems like a lot, right? In June, with hardly anything going on, we had over 25,000 users. In May, which had Chargers Mini Camp, there were over 35,000 users. That's a lot of people. The comments section has gotten better, but there are still a lot of wallflowers out there who are reading but not commenting. Come training camp, preseason and the 2009 season I think the amount of people that visit this blog will double and the comments section will become a madhouse of debate and hilarity. If you take part in any of the conversations over at Gaslamp Ball, you know what to expect.
Update: Sounds pretty brazen now, looking back at those words. We had just gotten over the 35,000 mark in the month of May and I was already predicting that we would double that traffic in the next few months. Well, it's only brazen when it doesn't come true and this prediction definitely came true. In September, BFTB had it's first month of over 100,000 users. I couldn't be prouder of this community, and the fact that the traffic continues to build means that the people that are finding this site are coming back for more.
The credit should go to the great work of this site's writers and the regular commenters, who have kept the comment sections fun and interesting every day. Keep up the great work, fellas.
Interviews. I know, I keep teasing this, but it's real this time. I have had contact with a couple of players' agents and even have the phone number of one Charger player. We're just trying to find the right time for him to answer the questions. The reason a player or coach interview hasn't happened to this point is part laziness and part busy-ness, but it's all my fault. Expect a couple of interviews in the next few weeks (with rookies up first) and a constant stream of them throughout training camp, preseason and the season. I'm hopeful for one each week, but it's more realistic to expect one each month.
Update: There were interviews. I went in cold and got a handful of quick interviews during Chargers training camp, interviewed Kevin Acee from the Union-Tribune regarding new media, and did slightly longer interviews with Chargers tarting RG Louis Vasquez and former FS Rogers Beckett.
Being outside of the area keeps me from being able to attend Chargers practices and most games. That makes in-season interviews a little more difficult to obtain. Most people associated with the team don't have much free time during the season, and what free time they have they'd prefer not to spend talking to me. Completely understandable. As time goes on, BFTB will continue to develop relationships with Chargers players and get more frequent interviews.
My personal goal is to have either a weekly interview with a Chargers player, similar to Tyvon Branch's situation with Silver and Black Pride, or to have one of them sign up for an SBNation account to either write a weekly post or even just participate in the comments. We're much closer to this being a reality for next season that you probably realize.
More contests. I'm holding off until training camp at least because I want the most involvement possible, but I have some things on tap. Prizes include gift cards to San Diego restaurants, keychains and there's a good chance of another contest for a free ticket or tickets to a Chargers game (a home game this time).
Update: The contest for a free ticket to a Chargers home game is likely coming in 2010. A big reason for that is that I'd like to be there as well, and buying a house has sortof put a damper on my travel expenses.
The gift cards are definitely still going to happen, probably in the playoffs. I just need to think of the contest.
I gave away a keychain to a lovely lady who spotted me at a Chargers practice at the Q, and tweeted a picture of me tweeting on my phone. It seemed like people really liked the keychains when I reviewed them, so another contest should happen by the end of the season with those as the prize.
Bolts Night Out. Mentioned before, BNO would be a gathering of fans of BFTB and I'd be there as well. It would probably happen in a bar in downtown San Diego. The reason it's being mentioned now is we will tentatively be having the first Bolts Night Out next month. No date or location has been set yet. Bar recommendations in the comment section are greatly appreciated. First fan to show up at the bar gets a free beer.
Update: This didn't go as well as planned. Partially because I only let everyone know when/where about a day in advance. Also, it would've worked better during the season. Anyways, matto619 showed up with his dad and insisted on buying their own beers. Then Jonny Dub and jbox showed up and told me I was working too hard. I think I bought their beers, but I honestly don't remember. The lesson learned that night: Give people more warning.
We'll refer to that night as the Pre-Bolts Night Out. It was practice. The first official one is on the way. If the Chargers make the playoffs, I'm planning on doing it during a Chargers playoff game.
More Writing. This one is slightly obvious. As more goes on with the team, there will be more to write about. However, the return of football also means the return of some of our best commenters and writers who have been busy with other sports and projects. I have high hopes that Jonny Dub will be able to do a post every week or every other week. Richard Wade should be backing doing his weekly stat thing. I'm sure Brian (DaBolts) is going to have a hard time not posting stories and comments once things get rolling. I'm also constantly on the lookout for writers who can do high quality posts on a regular basis. If you're interested and want to catch my attention, I recommend you start by writing a FanPost or two.
Update: That happened, except for the Jonny Dub part. Instead of writing from him, we get wonderful pumpkin-carving festivities. I'll take it. Since the initial post, we've added Sam (sdsuaztec4) and Andy (allfield) as official writers. Richard Wade has returned healthy from the world of MMA to blow your mind with stats and occasionally mock you in the comments. If anyone out there is interested in becoming a regular writer for BFTB, feel free to e-mail me and I'll definitely consider it.
Since there are significantly more BFTB members now than there were a few months ago, I'll finish this post with the same questions I had at the end of the original State of BFTB post....
As I've done before, I'm going to ask for any input you have. What have I been doing that you like? What have I been doing that you don't like? What would you like to see more or less of? Feedback in the comments or in an e-mail to me would be greatly appreciated.