Wondering where to start when thinking about making a new Pokémon fansite? There are lots of sites and lots of help out there, so please consider these suggestions as well. Note that the following is merely advice, not rules, based on my personal observations of Pokémon fansites throughout the years.
Don't try to be a news/info site. Leave the job of reporting the latest Pokémon news and information to the big sites like serebii.net, Bulbapedia, and #pocketmonsters. With so much information, it's an overwhelming responsibility for anyone, and an individual fan site should be exactly that, and unique to its owner rather than just stating the same things already posted elsewhere. Information you do provide should be in your own words, as well as confirmed, as opposed to rumors.
Focus on Pokémon, obviously. It's sad to see so many Pokémon fan sites that have slowly transitioned to sites for mainly personal blogs, graphic designs, HTML/script tutorials, and even other animé/game series, with many eventually omitting the Pokémon content altogether (while ironically sometimes keeping their Pokémon-based site name!). Consider making separate sites/pages for these other subject and interests. When I visit a Pokémon site, I want to read about/see Pokémon.
Keep current; be timeless. Pokémon fan sites have been around for as long as Pokémon has, and subsequently have come and gone with each new era. Therefore, I always admire those sites that highlight all of the Pokémon generations, up to and including the most recent.
Finish what you start. I've seen many Pokémon sites with potentially large and detailed sections for series/episode summaries, game reviews, articles, etc. that go unfinished with little content or menu items that go nowhere (no link) or to a 'page not found'. Instead of linking pages that may or may not be completed, finish them before uploading the page or link. Sites that promise lots of content are fine, but frustrating when 'coming soon' never comes; while a website is almost always a work in progress, it should otherwise look like a finished product.
Stay positive. As a fan, always focus on what you enjoy about Pokémon, and not what you don't, if anything. Sites/articles that are openly critical toward any aspect of Pokémon (the animé, characters, generations, etc.) is the biggest turn-off I've found and the last thing I want to see when visiting any kind of website, Pokémon or otherwise. I also make this same important suggestion regarding AAP Help as well as being an Affiliate rule. These are fan sites after all.
Introduce yourself. People like to know a little about the person whose site they're visiting; including an "About me/the webmaster" section can tell visitors just that without having to reveal any information that's too personal, as well as more about your interest in Pokémon (see above). If you want visitors to contact you (for affiliation, etc), be sure they know how to reach you (always be safe online).
Host your own work first. While it's nice to offer to post other people's Pokémon fan art, fan fiction, custom sprites, etc., I often encounter empty 'submission' sections, waiting for others to send in their work with nothing belonging to the site owner. It's your site, and should reflect your work first and foremost.
Keep links local. When posting your own Pokémon art, fanfic, etc., link files/pages through your own host/server whenever possible rather than using external links to potentially unsafe sites such as deviantART, etc. that people may be hesitant to visit. Consider first finding an affordable host that can support the necessary size/storage and bandwidth/transfer.
Join fanlistings. Having your name and site link on Pokémon fanlistings is a great way to advertise your site while proudly showing what you love about Pokémon (be sure to link back). Approved Pokémon-related fanlistings can be found at both thefanlistings.org and animefanlistings.org.
A forum is not a necessity. Though technically a way for visitors to interact with your site, it takes time for a forum to establish a community, and fans may not be inclined to sign up for a brand new forum on a small, individual site when there are much larger and more well known message boards available on the same topic(s). Aside from discouraging unmoderated posting of any kind, I have seen many an empty forum on personal Pokémon fan sites sadly with posts by no one but the owner.
Review external links often. While the content of other people's sites is not your responsibility, knowing what you're linking to is. Check for moved URLs, dead links, and affiliate requirements (changes in your rules or their content); update new links (make sure they're safe) and remove dead, unsafe, or inappropriate ones. Webmasters often worry about updating their own content, but regular site maintenance is just as important; be sure all of your pages, graphics, etc. are safe and working as well.
Keeps ads to a minimum. Blinking, annoying, irrelevant, and potentially dangerous ads/pop-ups are enough to scare off visitors from even the best sites. Research safe and affordable web hosts and, if possible, eliminate ads altogether.
Don't intimidate potential affiliates. While certain rules are important and necessary (such as those that protect visitors from computer threats or protect Pokémon's good name by discouraging inappropriate content), when linking with other Pokémon fan sites, don't set your affiliate standards so high that others can't meet them, such as requiring a set time to update or an enormous amount of pages. Remember that every site is unique, and affiliate rules should be general enough so that others feel welcome to apply, and that even the largest sites had to start somewhere.
"People always think the past or the future would be so wonderful. But the great time we're spending with Pokémon is right now!"
-Pokémon Trainer (Floccesy Town, Pokémon Black2/White2)
|Text and artwork copyright © 2000-2013 by Kimberly (RageOfInnocence)
Pokémon © Satoshi Tajiri, Nintendo/Creatures, Inc./Game Freak, The Pokémon Company International
The beautiful screenshots of Ash, Pikachu, and their friends and Pokémon are from various themes and episodes from Pokémon
(Kanto/Orange Islands/Johto series), Advanced Generation, Diamond & Pearl, and Best Wishes!/Black & White
Dream Valley | Oak Branch Woods | We All Live in a Pokémon World | Kimberly's Attic