A hearty thanks to the readers who help us continually improve

Allow me to take the time to thank everybody who has given us feedback during the past couple of polls.

Recently, a few of us have been wrestling with how to move forward with the future of Rattling Chains. I have always realized how big of an undertaking this blog is and I’ve often felt blessed with having so many talented writers join the staff.

The reality is, I’d never have gotten through nearly 10 months without having a staff — an unpaid volunteer one at that.

Alas, one thing I always knew would happen would be change. Jumping into something like this, there was always the realization we’d have to change with what worked and what didn’t. And, with no money involved, you have to roll with the punches the blog brings, such as content.

Remember, everybody who writes for this site does it because they love to write about a sport they love. And, real life takes precedence.

During one of those stretches, my will was tested. Not because I was mad or upset at anyone, but because I faced the reality of what this site is. It’s an endeavor I took on without having anybody else to write. I got lucky people wanted to be involved and jumped on board. And they believed in what the vision was.

As the site has grown, it’s taken different forms. We went from being a seven-post per week site to three and, currently, back to five. We’ve been pretty good about doing things on a regular basis and it’s been fun.

This isn’t a job, however.

Writer’s block happens. People have other things come up. The site becomes a bore in stretches because one just doesn’t want to write. I spent many years in newspapers — I understand it happens.

But being the leader of this site, if there’s a lack of content, it falls on my back. Whether I need to fill the gap or find somebody else, I need to figure something else.

Blogs are successful when they do certain things. Those include:

  • Producing solid and original content
  • Posting things on a regular basis
  • Allowing interaction between readers and writers
  • Being open to constructive criticism

We attempt to do all of these things.

I believe our content is unmatched. I’ve yet to see any other disc golf blog or website put the time and work into journalistic in-depth stories we do or have the diversity we do. We don’t just do a Q&A — we research, interview, write, edit and re-write to try and give readers our best.

It’s showed, too. In the past month, our page views have rapidly gone up. I think I can speak for everyone on staff when I thank you — the readers — for making us a daily stop.

Originally, this post was going to tell you we were going on hiatus — a three-to-four week one. The idea was that it would help us all recharge. But in reality, it would make it so we were used to not doing stuff for the site. It’s my belief it would hurt more than help.

We will be taking a one-week break from Dec. 22-30. I want our writers to not have to worry about doing a story during that week and to have time to spend the holiday week with friends and family.

As for changes, we’re slowly going to tweak a few things around here. We’ve taken some of your thoughts and comments from these polls to heart and we’ll try and implement a few things.

One major thing that’s in the works is a new look. This won’t be for a little while as I’m just starting to work with somebody about a theme for the blog. I have ideas, though, and a vision on growing the site. So hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.

The second thing is that we’ll be shaking things up a little. By that I mean we’re going to do some lighter things as well as our in-depth stories. For those of you who have done stories like that where it requires many interviews or research, you know how mentally exhausting it can be.

We can’t be serious or in-depth all the time or it can burn you out. So we’ll be doing things such as the Photo Focus and such. I have some ideas for some other fun features, such as games.

That leads me to make a call to readers.

We want to continue to do things like the Photo Focus, or bring back the “What’s in your bag?” feature. But we can’t do it without you guys. So we ask you to submit your best photos. Or your bag. If you have any questions on what we are looking for, take a peek at our submissions guidelines.

This blog has always been about giving disc golfers the types of things they want to read about. It’s also about you and we can’t succeed without occasional contributions and feedback from readers.

So this is a hearty thank you to all of you who voted in the past few polls and left comments with thoughts and ideas. We can’t do this without continually improving and readers help us do that. Thank you many times over for making this blog a part of your online world.

P.J. Harmer is the founder and executive editor for Rattling Chains. E-mail him at: pj@rattlingchains.com.

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