Today is the first official day on our new platform. If you're only now finding out about this change, I'd recommend reading these stories where I explained the reasoning as well as some of the more procedural aspects of the move. (The TL;DR is that we've parted ways with Vox Media/SB Nation and are now a primarily reader-supported website.) Today, I want to show you around the site.
The first thing I'm sure you'll notice is that this is a very different looking website! That's on purpose. We wanted it to be obvious that this is a new venture. Among those changes are a new logo:
We put a lot of work into this with Jasmine Woo, who is also working on redesigned logos for Nos Audietis and Ride of the Valkyries. In the coming days, we'll be launching a merch line for all of them and dig into the thought process behind the design.
While that may be the biggest visual change, the most consequential change on the site is that there are no ads. The intention is to eventually pick up some sponsors, but even then their ads will be far less obtrusive than you've grown accustomed to. They'll mostly be in stories, with maybe one or two on the front page.
Let's start the tour of the rest of the features:
Starting in the top left corner, you'll notice that you can toggle between light and dark mode. Personally, I love dark mode, but there are still a few parts of the site that are aesthetically buggy when you're using it. If you can't see something, try toggling to light mode.
Staying at the top of the page, you'll see a series of links. These might periodically change, but you'll always have a home button, as well as a link to our Reign coverage and our merch table. You'll also probably find our Sounders Depth Chart and a chart that is our best estimation of the Sounders' salary-cap position. Both of those are only available to paid subscribers and will be updated whenever we are able to get better information. We also have a link to one of my favorite tools on the internet: Matt Montgomery's Form Guide. This is a treasure trove of information that I highly suggest checking out.
The final element at the top of the page is what is essentially our news feed. This isn't actually the complete feed as it doesn't include stories that are featured, but if you click the "Latest" button it will take you to the actual reverse-chron version of everything we've published.
The largest bit of real-estate on the page is dedicated to our featured story section. This is what would have been considered "above the fold" on our old platform and most of what you see if you're browsing the site on mobile. These are the stories we think are the most important and timely. Clicking on the headline will take you into the body of the story.
Below the featured articles is a series of featured sections that will also rotate based on what's going on in the world. We suspect Ride of the Valkyries will almost always be here, along with links to our analytical pieces. Sometimes you'll find links to our podcasts, newsletter, transfer rumors, #TheFuture and whatever else fits our fancy. Clicking on the section name will take you to all the stories with that tag.
Below the featured sections is something called "Editor's Picks." These are intended to be more evergreen stories that we think you'll find interesting. Some of them will be timely, others won't, but we'll use this to showcase interesting articles you might have missed if you're not visiting us daily.
Paid-subscriber only icon
There aren't many of these on the page right now, in part because we're making most of the articles free for the first week, but once we settle into more of our normal process you'll notice that some articles have a gold anchor next to the date. That signifies that the story is only available to paid subscribers. This is a good time to note that we have plans available for as little as $19/year. There are also plans available for $74/year ($7/month), $206/year ($20/month) and $500/year. The biggest perks with higher levels of membership are discounts on our merchandise and access to our Discord server.
Way down at the bottom of the page, you'll find links to our mission statement, our masthead, our RSS feed and various social media channels. Eventually, we'll also have a link to our Sponsors and Benefactors page.
The other big change is in our comment section. While this looks pretty similar to what you're used to, it's actually reasonably different. For one, you'll need to create a new user ID that's separate from the one you use to read stories – you can use the same username and email address for both, but they're technically separate accounts. This comment system also lacks some of the bells and whistles of our old one, but we're working on bringing those back.
Eventually, we should have comment counts visible on the front page and we're exploring how to track read/unread comments. But just like before you can mute annoying commenters; rec comments you like; embed gifs and other social media; and link to comments you want to highlight. Our community guidelines are pretty much the same as they were before and we're also creating a more formalized process for applying for reinstatement if you get banned. Please note that we hope to start off on a mostly clean slate, but if particularly bad actors return we're not inclined to be very forgiving in terms of re-banning them.
When you sign up for an account, you'll be presented with a handful of newsletters you can subscribe to.
- If you liked Major Link Soccer or the old Nos Audietis newsletter, I'd recommend subscribing to "Sounder at Heart - Everything you need to Know" aka "Ship's Log." We'll be publishing that twice a week, with a short column at the top and links to the most important stories of the week following.
- If you really can't get enough of our content, subscribe to "All Content." That's not literally everything we do, but it will send you the full version of every story we publish that's not in any of the newsletters. That's going to publish a few times a day.
- If you want Reign news delivered to your inbox, be sure to subscribe to "Ride of the Valkyries." That will probably publish 4-5 times a week.
- Our "Sounders Analysis" newsletter will just be email versions of "Realio's Ratings" and my "Postgame Pontifications," as well as our paid-subscriber-only preview column "Sounder Strategy."
- The other newsletter is all things development, "#TheFuture", which will mostly be Tacoma Defiance stories but will also include anything about the Sounders or Reign academies.
We're very open to adding more newsletters in the future, so if there's something you would like to see feel free to reach out.
That should be just about everything. If you have questions or suggestions, please don't hesitate to reach out. We are incredibly excited about the future of this site and we're on a very promising path toward sustainability thanks to a frankly humbling level of support over the last week or so. We genuinely believe that this change will result in a better and more enjoyable product and we thank you for putting your faith in us to make it happen.