How Your Donations Affected TLDR (& Other Info)

This was originally published on Patreon.

Hello, patrons and patronesses! This is Sinan, the founder and lone developer of WoW Lore TLDR. I want to thank you all for having been part of the website thus far, and I hereby would like to share this status report with you.

Over the past few months, we managed to complete a few goals -as well as start working on several others- which would’ve been very hard or costly to accomplish have I had to handle them alone. Much of the credit of that goes to your kind donations!

Your donations put in perspective

In the world of development, be it mobile, web or video game, developers tend to rely a lot on pre-existing tools and assets. That tendency cuts the need to reinvent the wheel, but said tools/assets usually require a license to use, oftentimes a commercial one.

To give you a solid idea, here is a list of what several website builders cost (cheapest license each):

  • Duda: $15 monthly or $300 one-time. Hosting included.
  • GoDaddy: $15 monthly. Hositng included.
  • Themeco X: $60 one-time. No hosting.
  • Themeco Pro: $80 one-time. No hosting.
  • Page Builder (AKA Visual Composer): $45 one-time. No hosting.

These are website builders, which come bundled with several basic functions & act as a backbone for whatever content you tailor your site to accommodate. However, many specialized functions require development from scratch or a dedicated web addon. Examples of that would be the Story’s filtering panel, as well as the interactive maps currently in development. If you gain access to the alpha*, you would see that the content and stylization are still being worked on. However, the map functions are fully operational right out of the box. That is the great part about web plugins sold on websites like Envato, which is now within my grasp thanks to your donations.

*If you are a tier 2 or 3 patron and haven’t received an early access invitation, please message TLDR’s page on Patreon.

And now, speaking of patrons, those who have made their first pledge from day one probably remember the “no ads” bullet point topping the campaign’s page. Wait, where did that bullet point go?

Let’s Talk About Ads

I think that we can all agree that ads are annoying and usually irrelevant to the reader. However, they are rather important for website owners to mitigate the costs of keeping a website running.

Luckily for us, between the pre-order button on a product’s page and the trash ads that sometimes show up on YouTube, there’s a grey area where things might not be your exact intent of visiting that page, but might interest you nonetheless. Within that category, there’s something known as “affiliate ads.”

Put quite simply, affiliate ads are a way of marketing. You promote a 3rd party’s product on your site, and whenever someone buys it, you get a small commission (customer doesn’t pay extra). Using this method, I can promote products which are naturally relevant to the content of WoW Lore TLDR. For example, World of Warcraft: Chronicle (this is an affiliate ad by the way) rounds up all the information presented in the first 3 chapters of the Story in the form of a more eloquent prose, complete with a cosmology section and dozens of stunning paintings. That is a book that I would recommend whether I was commissioned or not. So, there goes!

Now, as for the removed bullet point, it’s not just to clear my conscience about the affiliate ads, but because I realized that TLDR might grow, and sooner or later, my feelings about fitting ads somewhere might eventually change. So, I am hereby announcing that the no-ad policy will not be a solid guarantee, but more of a soft goal.

Will we be getting big updates soon?

With the Patreon campaign up and people clicking on affiliate products, you might think that I make enough revenue to get some great web assets/hire great web developers to execute big things fast, right? The answer to that is “not quite.”

Admittedly, the affiliate ads bring in a nice income boost. However, it has not yet exceeded 60% of Patreon’s monthly pledge total, which has averaged at about $18 since the page launched.

As you can very well see, this small income is very nice for getting a new premium web plugin once every month or two. However, things can easily stall, and one big reason for that is the fact that my start was costly and rough. By now, my income and spending totals are almost even, and that’s not counting the enormous times I’ve put into the whole ordeal.

With that in mind, I’m slowly getting the excess I need to hire freelancers to edit and develop the site with me, which would be the real time-saver for development.

Development Status Report

Since before Christmas, there has not been much progress on any visible aspects of the site so far. I’ve been slowly tweaking the site to be more streamlined, adding the new homepage to give people a glimpse of what the site offers before they delve in, as well as trying to tweak ads and copywriting.

Frozen Throne TLDR: As of now, the Frozen Throne’s base text compilation is at about 50%, and that’s before editing. Quite a lot of work to go, unfortunately. I might very well hire an editor just for that.

Interactive Atlas: the events of Warcraft 3 in Chapter 6 from the Story page have been integrated into the map of Eastern Kingdoms, and will soon come to the maps of Northrend and Kalimdor as well. Although the maps’ core is mostly complete, the feature is still considered in alpha state due to the long course of tweaking that’s lying ahead.

Chronicle Retcon: I plan to complete this after the Frozen Throne, perhaps even after releasing WoW expansions’ TLDRs. It’s perhaps best to get an editor to do this as well, once I have the peace of mind to actually sit down and distribute tasks around.

This wraps it up. For any questions or suggestions, feel free to hop right on the Discord:

WoW Lore TLDR on Patreon

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