The new site for Ride BMX dropped today. The new site has been in the works for a while now and it looks awesome. I had the chance to play around on it before it was released and test it out. Once I got a feel for it I lined up a bunch of questions for the guy in charge of keeping that place fresh for you, Fat Tony. This is what he had to say about it!
KC Badger shot this for my MySpace while in Phoenix. I was there with Jeff Z. while he was working on the Raiding Arizona article that’s in the newest issue of the magazine. I’m real stoked on the video I made from that trip, so check that out on the site. (Photo by KC Badger.)
Long Beach, CA
Ride BMX Magazine, Associate Online Editor & Staff Photographer
I can’t imagine too many kids are unfamiliar with ridebmx.com, but give us the rundown anyway.
Well, just as Ride is the most well-known and respected freestyle BMX magazine in the world, ridebmx.com is the same. We hope to deliver news to the BMX community as quickly and accurately as possible, and we also strive to entertain our audience with photos, videos, articles, etc. while educating them through how-to videos and so on. One thing that people should keep in mind about our site is that we try to cater to a very broad audience—everyone from the kid who just got his first $200 complete and can’t bunnyhop, to the pros that we cover.
When did the site originally start?
I’m not 100 percent certain, but I think the site was built about nine years ago or something and has never been changed until now. I’ve been at Ride for almost two years and they’ve been talking about a redesign since long before I got here. The redesign was definitely way overdue and we are all excited about the changes and where the site is heading.
What is the most popular kind of content on the site?
Some of the most popular things on our site are the bike checks with the pros and how-to videos. Every once in a while we will have a video of a crazy trick or a few wild clips from Scotty Cranmer that get a ton of hits too. These days it’s all about the videos.
As the editor of the Web site, being a full-time job; about how much time do you spend working on the site and what are some of your responsibilities?
I spend an insane amount of time on the site, directly at the computer (updating, searching for news and videos, editing photos and videos, etc) and indirectly (shooting photos/videos, meetings, at events, etc). It would be hard to give an “hour per week” type of answer because I’m almost always doing something for the site—day and night. (Like answering these questions on a Saturday/Sunday night to help promote the new site) Obviously my main responsibility is to keep the site updated with news and any other kind of content I can come up with. I shoot photos, film and edit videos, do interviews, write articles, and do other things that end up on the site. But some of the things that I do that most people can’t see are talk to advertisers, have meetings with our editors, sales reps, Web developers, marketing department, etc.
This ad just came out in issue 148. It’s a photo of our network servers in the Ride office. This was another last-minute ad that was put together on deadline. I didn’t even see it until the magazine showed up on my desk at work because I was out of town when they did it.
Who are all of the other contributors to the site?
Most of the original content comes from me, but of course the other magazine editors give me content to post as well. And now, with the new site, they will be able to post content on their own. And up until the relaunch, I had been doing a lot of searching for and posting other people’s videos and photos. But now anyone can upload his or her own content directly to the site. We don’t have a lot of regular contributors, but a few that come to mind who have sent in several things in the past two years are Julien Muguet from France, Chris Saunders, Jonathan Zizzo, and Mykespace. It’s always awesome to see motivated people willing to contribute to the site. We are way more open to contributions than some people may think.
What kind of gear is used to update the site from computer, cameras, editing software; anything really involved with the Web site?
I have a brand new MacBook Pro that I use to edit photos and videos as well as update the site (and I always have to use a second monitor). On the computer I use the typical stuff: Microsoft Word and Text Edit for word processing, Photoshop and Bridge for photos, Final Cut for videos, and of course iChat and MySpace to holla at tha’ shorties, haha. For creating the content I use my Canon 20D with various Canon lenses and Vivitar and Quantum flashes. All the video I do for the site is done with a shitty little Sony handycam.
Our site is updated with a CMS (content management system) that was built specifically for the new Transworld sites. Prior to this new site design, I was using a CMS that was for all the brands in Bonnier Corp., our parent company. That system was incredibly difficult to use and very time consuming. I’m just starting out with our new system, but it is already much more efficient, and I know I’ll get better/quicker at it as I use it more.
I had been wanting to go back to Portland, Oregon for three years to get one of these “Tex Ass” doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnut. Thanks to Nike 6.0 I finally got my huge, tasty treat and loved every bit of it. My second one fell on the floor and I looked like a kid that just broke his toy. I was so bummed, haha. (Photo by Kyle Carlson.)
Are you the man behind all of the coding and design of the Web site or are there other people who are in charge of that department?
Absolutely not… That job is something I’d never even attempt to tackle. Building the internals and back end of a site like ours would be insane. That’s why Transworld hired an amazing guy (Tracy Mikulec) to develop our new sites. He actually had to rebuild and launch all seven of the Transworld sites in six months, which is unheard of. He’s got a team of developers working for him that are doing incredible things behind the scenes with the coding and building and stuff. Big thanks to those guys for all the great work they’ve been doing. However, I have been and will continue to work closely with the development team on the design and testing of the site.
Is there another Ride BMX DVD in the works or any other big things like that?
Well, nine months ago we rebuilt the print magazine from the ground up by hiring a new art director and completely changing the direction of the magazine. The response from the industry, community, and our readers has been phenomenal. Now we just launched the new site and hope to get the same kind of reaction. We will continue to build and improve on the site in the coming months. Part of the great thing about how our site was built is that is has infinite room to grow and change. We aren’t tied down to anything like we were with the old site. So that takes care of the print and Web aspects of our brand. The third element of our media company is the video… Hopefully everyone reading this has already seen the incredible video we put out last year, Insight. (If not, click http://shop.transworld.net/products-page/ridebmx/insight/ to buy it.) At this point, there hasn’t been talk of another full length DVD anytime soon. However, you may see an increase in original, high-quality Web videos from us in the future from a full-time Web videographer. But nothing is certain about that position right now, so I’ll keep my mouth shut.
Where can people pick up the Ride BMX shirts, videos, and other stuff?
We have an online store through Transworld, (http://shop.transworld.net/products-page/ridebmx/) but most of our sales come from bike shops and mail-order shops. One of the things I’d like to have incorporated into the new site eventually is a feature where you can type in your zip code and find the closest place to buy the magazine, videos, and apparel. But for now you’ll just have to call all the shops around you and bug them to see if they carry our shirts and DVDs. I’m real psyched on the shirts we have right now, and we are in the process of designing a few more that will be dope, too.
This is one of the shirts that is currently in our online store. I think it’s already sold out at all the bike shops though. We will have more dope shirts dropping soon that we’ve been working on.
What kind of advice do you have for people who are looking to start up a BMX Web site/blog?
Go for it. Before I worked at Ride, I built and maintained louisianabmx.com, and Ryan Fudger did a similar community site for San Diego before he got a job with the magazine. I’m not saying you’ll automatically get a job at Ride or anywhere in the industry from running a site, but doing things like that help you in so many ways, directly and indirectly. Also, be prepared for jealous people and “friends” that talk shit on you for doing something positive, giving them coverage, and getting ahead in life. Haters will hate, but those who don’t…well, let’s just say there’s a reason I’m doing this interview and they are not.
What are some interesting things about the Ride BMX Web site that nobody really knows about?
The first person to click through every single page in our entire site will win a free trip to the Ride headquarters to build up their dream bike for free. Then they will be flown anywhere in the world for a week to ride their new bike and film a video part for the next Ride DVD called, “That Was All A Lie.”
Um… Maybe the fact that until this redesign, every single item in the site for the past two years was put there by one person. And you wonder why I’m so stoked on the new site? Haha. Also, “bike check” is by far the most searched for thing in our Web site. This is interesting because there was actually a button on the navigation bar for bike checks. I guess that just shows how poorly the site was designed before the new one launched… The second most commonly searched for thing in our site? “Scotty Cranmer.”
Why does the site have so many URLs?
Haha, it’s annoying, isn’t it? When it was first built back in the stone ages it was called BMX Online. Not sure why, but it was. We eventually wanted to get away from that so it was more clear that it was Ride BMX Magazine’s Web site, so we started going for the ridebmx.com approach. And now that all the Transworld sites are getting rebuilt, they are all going to be on a transworld.net server. That way we can tell advertisers how many hits “Transworld” got when talking to companies that want to advertise on all of the sites. So bmxonline.com, ridebmx.com, and now bmx.transworld.net will all get you to the same place with the same content.
This ad ran in a recent issue of Ride (147) to help hype up the new site. Jeff Z. and I worked with our art director to make it happen in about an hour because we were on deadline for the mag.
The new site has the option to create an account. What all will be available if somebody becomes a member?
After you register as a user on our site you’ll be able to post on the forum board, write comments (that’s right, no more anonymous posting), post your videos and photos, and create a blog that will have a direct URL of yourusername.transworld.net. (The blogs aren’t quite finished being developed so those will come later down the line.) The account you create will be the same for all Transworld sites, so if you are into skateboarding or motocross or whatever you’ll be able to post on their site without having to register more than once.
With the ability to upload and share videos and photos, there will also be the option to “Stoke” the uploaded item; what exactly does this mean and what happens when you receive a lot of Stoke points?
Basically we did away with the rating system that other sites use. No more five stars, and no more thumbs up or thumbs down. If you are stoked on the content, you simply click “Stoke.” After you click the Stoke button, whoever uploaded that content will be given a point. This allows people to search for the most Stoked items or the users that have the most Stoke points. It’s is a good incentive for people and companies to sign up because if you are a top user, you’ll be featured on the homepage. We also will do contests based off of the Stoke points…look for a really cool one with DC Shoes soon!
Even though Jeremy Pavia (BMX Plus!) and Kyle Carlson (Vital/Ride UK) are “competition,” we still hang out and have a good time together. BMX is still a tight-knit community with good people at its helm.
I noticed there are blogs; will it just be the editors of Ride doing the blogs? Or is it available to everyone?
For now, we have six featured blogs on the homepage including the four editors along with Brian Kachinsky and Jim Bauer. However, every registered user will be able to create a blog once that function is finished being developed. After a while, we may change it up and feature popular users, companies, or other pros on the homepage. The blogs from the staff will be a cool way to give a more personal feel to our brand. I’m stoked to see where the blogs go. I enjoy writing random shit just as a creative writing exercise or whatever, so I’m pumped to have a blog that people in BMX can read.
What will separate the Ride BMX Web site from sites like Vital BMX, InterBMX, and other sites with similar options?
I think our new interface is a lot more attractive and user friendly than what’s out there right now. And that’s coming from someone who spends a lot of time on BMX sites, not just someone who is stoked on their new site. Also, we will have the ability to change things and grow quickly from now on. We already have a ton of amazing things and features in the works for the future of the site. But really, the main thing is the content. We’ve always had great, original content, and lots of it. Since the site is easier and quicker to update, we can spend more time creating that content. And now you’ll be able to find it much easier and quicker, too. It’s hard to explain this without getting too into it, but once you start clicking through the site, you’ll understand what I mean. And of course our new “Spots” feature will separate us from everyone else once that drops.
Yeah, tell us about the “Spots” section…
Unfortunately that section isn’t being developed by the same people that are doing the rest of the site and is taking a little longer than expected so it’s not live yet. I’m not sure when it will be fully functional, but I can assure it will be worth the wait…
This is something I’m really excited about. I had the idea a long time ago and it was one of the first things I told our developer I wanted to see in the new site. To see it become a reality on our site is amazing. And to see it carried on to all of the other Transworld sites is icing on the cake. When I originally thought of this, I thought of it as a virtual road trip planner. I imagined you’d be able to look at a map and plan out a road trip based on spots you see on the map. Basically anyone can post any type of spot on the map and as time goes by and more people use the site, the map will become more populated. You can search for spots in a certain area or search for spots by type of spot or by most popular or whatever. I can’t wait to see how this thing takes off. Just think of the possibilities—they are endless.
Taking a break from the site on vacation in Okinawa, Japan. Did you ever notice I was on vacation? Didn’t think so…the site was updated every day from across the globe. (Photo by Bobby Carter.)
What was the process like of getting the new site built and launched?
Since our magazine is part of a larger brand (Transworld) under a big corporation (Bonnier Corp.), it was quite a process. Transworld hired an outside guy to be in charge of the entire project—rebuilding all of the Transworld sites in six months. That guy, Tracy Mikulec, went to all the editors at each of the Transworld magazines to see what they needed/wanted with their new sites. Then he had to take all that information and start working on a master plan. I’ve worked pretty closely with him over the past six months on a wide variety of things regarding the site. There was a good bit of back and forth several times on things like the site design, the sections of the site, etc. Part of the big problem that Tracy had to work with was finding a happy medium between all of the Transworld sites—all seven of the brands are very different and we had to come up with a consensus of how the sites would be. Somehow he found the balance and the result is what we have now. There are always little things here and there that we would like to change to fit our title better, but as a whole, and considering the big picture, we are super happy with everything. And there is plenty of room to change and grow, which we will continue to do from here on out. Get stoked!
This is a quick edit of myself that I put together while off my bike after ACL surgery earlier this year. Sometimes it helps when I’m injured to see myself ride so I remember how much fun it is. The clips are from about a two-year period during ’06 and ’07. With work, travel, and the injury, I haven’t been able to ride much lately, which is why I don’t have any new riding photos for this interview.
This is a short teaser for the new Web site that someone from Transworld Surf did for their site and I slapped our logo on it. If you ever visit any of the other Transworld sites, they will all be getting updated in the coming weeks/months.