We have a problem at RHP central at the moment, and I shall share it with you here. Someone may have some good suggestions.
After loads of effort, we are now well placed on Google – higher than ever. (Target phrase ‘online chess’ – placed 6th as of yesterday.) Getting a good Google position was one of my main targets (it is not easy), but it hasn’t reaped any reward – in fact our situation has worsened. This was not expected.
After some analysis, the cause is quite clear. For sometime, this site has tried to get people up and running as quickly as possible – so after registration, a couple of prospective opponents are picked for you, and you are taken straight to the board view to make your first move. It is now very easy, and most people manage to makes their first moves
But then nothing. It appears they were never really committed to playing a complete game at all. So, when someone who is very interested registers at the site, and then gets paired against someone who only wants to play a couple of moves, I lose them both. This appears to be what is happening.
Previously, I guess only the committed could work out how to take/create a game – and the problem never really existed. It appears it may be just too easy at the moment to get started. (Please just take my word for this, don’t go creating dummy accounts to see what it is like, that will only make the problem worse.)
Solving this problem is my priority at the moment (sorry, anything else promised previously will need to be delayed – including the work on the clan leagues.)
So, a few things are going to change –
1) Email verification is going in. This will weed out time wasters from the start.
2) My current ‘wizard’ mechanism of assigning games to new people will be improved to match more parameters – such as estimated move frequency.
3) There will be more encouragement to invite friends –and the wizard will be just one of a number of options for getting started.
But there is one other idea I want to trial. And that is a mentoring programme. I propose that anyone can sign up to be a mentor if they have played over 50 moves.
When someone registers, one way to get started will be by selecting a game with a mentor. (Where they could almost be guaranteed an active game.) The problem here is obviously the ratio of new users to mentors. So I propose that any non-subscriber can go over the 6 game limit, IF the extra games are mentor games. These extra games would be beneficial to the site, as they would be bringing people on board.
So, there you have it. A lot to read, sorry about that, but would anyone be interested in becoming a mentor? Any further ideas?