Many of you are loyal readers of IZC, and have been for a long time. If you are, or if you simply like reading editorials, you have probably heard mention of the "Dark Age of Zelda Sites" here at IZC. Or, for short, simply "The Dark Age". What the Dark Age actually is, is the sudden or gradual decease of several Zelda sites due to a lack of updating material, such as core elements like News that was the very reason many sites were even alive to begin with. And well, Zelda 64 has been out for almost half a year now, and it's quite safe to say that the Dark Age has begun. This is a time where there will be no actual new Zelda info or material for probably a matter of several years, and many sites, no matter how strong they may be, will eventually wither away and just fade out. More or less, most sites will die. Sure, there are many strong sites out there, but a majority of even the strong sites rely heavily on their fan base for their update material.
Then, there are other sites who don't rely on their fans as much as they do their webmaster and partially their staff. IZC falls under this category. The two types of sites described above are most likely the only ones that have a chance to survive. Even though it has been many people's dream, right now is just not the time to begin a Zelda site. If you have a strong desire to own a Zelda site, while the Dark Age is still in full swing, might I suggest working at one instead. There are many benefits to this, at least until the Dark Age is over and a new Zelda game is in full development. Being a staff member instead of the actual webmaster has a heck of a lot less obligations and responsibilities. Plus, it's a much easier way to instant fame. Working at a site such as IZC that gets nearly 4,000 hits a day, or the few others that get even more, gets your name and work to thousands of people in a matter of a few days, rather than the year or multiple years it takes to create a popular site.
In the Dark Age, the top sites that we have now are pretty much the only ones that stand a chance to be popular until another Zelda game appears. The popularity of Zelda sites is going down, not up. The only people that remain now are the few thousand die-hard Zelda fans. The Zelda internet world isn't acquiring very many new users. I know this for a fact by the hundreds of e-mails I get a week. Right now, Zelda fans aren't looking for info as much as they are fan stuff and interactive material, such as Fan Fiction, Editorials, and all other forms of Interactivity. That's what the popular Zelda sites are supplying. So if you have a Zelda site, try to lean things in that direction. If you want a quick way to fame or don't want the responsibilities of maintaining a site, then join a staff and supply such things. Right now, IZC is looking for quality staff members, so you can apply to us, or there are other Zelda sites who are looking for quality staff members.
The first, and most important thing, is that your site needs a lot of interaction. Message Boards are a very good idea, and sections such as a mail-bag and editorials are absolutely necessary. However, for such things to really take off, you need a strong fan base. And that's why this isn't a good time to begin a site, because all the fans now are pretty dedicated to whatever sites they frequently visit. But, if you DO still want to start a Zelda site, as I said above, these things are a necessity. Those aspects are basically all that Zelda fans look for during this Dark Age. However, to be all interaction and not much actual game info won't get a site much of anywhere, though it does work well for a site run by one of my best friends, Charlie Lemmink (TGL). It's rare, but in some cases, it DOES work. But don't count on it working for you. It CAN happen, but it's a strongly variable factor, and nothing to put your trust in.
So what I suggest is to get at least somewhat of a walkthrough together before your site launches. That way, when someone goes to your site, they at least know that you know what you're doing. Another important aspect for your site is too have lots of eye-candy. Graphic skills are important. I myself never had much of a talent for graphics, but I found SCNWO and Magisuth, who excel in that area, so IZC has been very well off there. However, it took me several months and lots of popularity to find people with their talent. So what I'm saying is, have at least a decent look BEFORE you launch. That way, people won't be completely turned off to your site as many were to IZC many, many months ago.
Another factor is content. During the Dark Age, this isn't as important as it has been in the past. At least touch the surface on the most popular Zelda topics, such as the Triforce in Zelda 64, the quality of the music in Zelda 64, which game is the best, or even, as one of my fans put it, Zelda's bra size. It's important for visitors to see that you have an interest in such things (except maybe the bra size...), or else they'll question your ability as a Zelda webmaster.
Actually, something that I should have mentioned earlier, you MUST have a strong flame burning for Zelda. If not, your site simply won't even score 50 hits a day. It takes a lot of hard work and luck to begin a Zelda site in the Dark Age. Are you up to it?
Stalfos333: On the other hand, if you feel you have enough good ideas to propel your new site into the future, feel free to join the rat race. Remember what Ice said about Zelda fans, though. People really don't like change.
Crysaler: This really isn't the right time to start a good zelda site, like Ice said. The best thing to do is work on another site for a good game. Try a classic traditional RPG, like Lufia 2 or the like.