Over the last two months I have been working on a new website, volleyhead.com. As you may remember in the middle of the summer I made an ugly website called sandcourts.info. The point was to give outdoor volleyball players access to information that I’ve often found myself desiring; where can I play. Over the course of about a week I got 60 courts to be submitted to the website, which to me was a massive success. All of a sudden I realized that there was information that most players don’t have access to. Like where tournaments and courts are, or even the best products for volleyball players. So I decided to get started building it.
After that, I realized that I had a great jumping off point with sandcourts.info, I just had to make it look better. With that I was able to start building. That being said, there are a few funky things on the site that will be updated soon. It’s by no means done, but is ready to be seen… I think.
Learning to make a modern site
After doing some research and talking to a few programming friends I realized I needed to learn a modern front-end framework. In previous projects I had always used really basic building blocks, simple HTML and CSS. With these tools you wind up with sites that have the looks and functionality of websites from the 1990’s. At the time I didn’t realize how much more powerful modern tools are. I decided to go with React for no reason other than liking the name.
To start learning I did the first half of a really basic Udemy course called Modern React with Redux. I planned on finishing it but got too wrapped up in actually building, which was the right way to go about it. The first iterations were really fucking rough, one friend checked my sanity after showing him. Every time I put it in front of people I became more aware of what I could improve and would take those necessary steps.
I decided to skip building a backend and chose to use an all in one solution that would eliminate a lot of pain for me. Long term I am going to have to engineer a good backend system. However I needed to move quickly so I could release as quickly as possible.
One of the people I consistently asked for advice on direction was my buddy Eddie. I’ve known him since I was 16 and he’s always been unbelievably honest. Every time I went to him for feedback he came with tons of ideas about what I could do to improve the site. Eventually we started sitting down for longer periods of time and he really helped me build out functionality. He made the logo, wrote most of the copy and helped me keep moving. Every once in a while we would FaceTime and not speak a word, both just work on volleyhead.com.
Working with him was an awesome experience, and such a fun experience to have with one of my closest friends. Last night during a last run of writing copy for volleyhead.com we agreed that if this site doesn’t work, we’re both quite happy with the time we’ve spent on it. We got to learn a ton, and try and help our favorite group of people, volleyball players.
What’s next for volleyhead.com?
Good question. I don’t know. Keep building.
Update: I didn’t really edit this post because I just checked google analytics and people are on the site. This is getting real and scary.
If you see any errors or anything I can fix please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.