Hello fellowgamers! I thought I would take a different approach with my article this week. For those of you who don’t know I have been going to school pretty much full-time over the past 2 months getting my certification in Web design and development( with a smattering of Photoshop skills on the side). This means I have become much more attentive to web sites I both visit and have a hand in creating for people. My ongoing blog ( the site you’re visiting now) is just one aspect of my creative side and all of the graphic designs and elements that you see on all of our internet platforms ( Blog, Facebook, Forums,Website, Twitter etc..) all stem from me and my learnings over the past year.
Recently I have been bombarded by friends and acquaintances asking for help on designing a web site for their gaming clan. If you have read my previous articles on clan building you’ll know that I have stressed the importance of being organized and cohesive. Having a website for your clan sounds at first very vain but in actual fact it is the glue that will hold your fighting unit together over the months or years.
Having said that im sure your thinking ” I can’t design a web site by myself!?!?!?”. Well fear not. This article is going to cover off a VERY easy way and effective way to build a club house for your newly formed ” boy band” or a home for the blossoming family that has been living on the virtual streets of video game land.
Welcome to Shivtr.
Taken directly from their website :
“Meet the gaming world’s most advanced hosting service for guilds, clans and communities.”
Not everything on this planet needs to be created from scratch. I stumbled upon these guys after a friend of mine needed a website for a clan he was inheriting from me. The clan site needed to be functional for organizing his soon to come members as well as aesthetically pleasing so that members felt there was a bit of polish at work behind the scenes. Building a clan web site is much like furnishing a house. You want to make it comfortable for your family but also be appealing when guests arrive for a visit. Believe it or not when a player is applying to join your clan he/she is also evaluating you at the same time and all it takes is a sniff of unprofessionalism or a hint of disorganization to make them consider moving in to another house.
Not only does having a clan site give you a immediate boost in the ratings when it comes to recruitment it is also makes life easier when it comes to actually recruiting players. Think of it as handing out a business card when someone asks. Your new URL ( web site) should be plastered all over your XBOL/PSN profile and even your social network feeds. When you chat up a good player in a game of Battlefield or ghost Recon , flip them your web site address and tell em to look you up. If you play your cards right you’ll be signing that phenom free agent to your team in no time.
Designing your site
The nice thing about Shivtr is that all the heavy lifting has been done already. The website offers a multitude of options and features some of which are FREE and some are paid via their premium service. Take the time to pick and choose which are important to your clan and go from there. The default graphical options are limited to color palettes and built-in themes revolving around some of the industry’s more popular franchises( a lot of PC fantasy games like Warcraft and Warhammer) but if you are skilled enough or know someone who is you can customize your site with little work. Get a header banner made up and pick a good color theme. add some backgrounds and a way you go!
Use your site
Once you have it all set up and start getting people joining your clan you need to start interacting with your site. Shivtr has a built in forums section that lets you share information with members. You need to champion this and treat the clan website like your own personal business. Updated information about the games you’ll be playing as well as interesting forum topics to get people chatting. The house you have built may be pretty but if everyone inside is board they will not be inclined to spend time hanging out .Make your Clan website fun and informative and give them a reason to visit it each day.
Link topics in your Facebook as much as possible and soon your friends who are gamers will be knocking on your door wanting to visit.
I have designed d a quick website for my aforementioned friend using the Shivtr template and with less than 20 minutes I had it customized and looking pretty for him and his new clan.
If you want to refer to it you can find it here
If any of you reading this are interested and make the jump to Shivtr but need some help in the graphic design side of things just drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or subscribe to this blog and leave a comment below. I would be glad to help you out and if I have the time I can whip up a quick banner for you ( you MUST first register with my Forums and copy me your username so I know your involved with our community on some level)
Happy house hunting fellow gamers and I can wait to get an invitation to your housewarming party !
Dwayne”EVO Knight” Morash