Sunday, June 6, 2010

Big Changes

Summer is upon us and MatthewsCalorieCounter will be turning a year old next month! So I thought this would be a good time to update our ever growing community over what is and what’s to come.

We have added a sister site, Diet Combat which has many updated tools and information and works great on most media devices.

I have been so busy with school, family stuff and trying to complete my Senior capstone project ‘’ that I've not had the time I've wanted (needed) for this site. That’s changing. My other project is just about done and then I will be focusing on MatthewsCalorieCounter, and the changes that are going to be made will be radical. The site you see today will not be the same at the end of the summer.

Right now I am two classes from gradating SOU with a CS degree, unfortunately ( on how you see it), I will not be able to take those classes until the fall, which means I get this whole summer off to work on websites, what a blessing! Soon after that I will be starting on my Masters.

I started building this site about two years ago and then officially went public almost one year ago. This site started out very simply, much like my development skills. There never was any real direction; I just added utilities, functions and modules as I came up with them. Because of that, a lot of the back end has been more or less “band aided” together and the overall site flow is somewhat… lacking. Many systems need to be rebuilt, retooled or totally replaced.

This year I spent between $5,000-$7,000 on this site (server costs, development costs, production costs) and too many man hours to count. To date I have only made about $300 back from it, all in Ad Revenue. I somewhat expected this, as I never really expected to commercialize this site. It has been hard to compete with the quality of the other competing Dieting sites, but that should change after this next major rebuild.

Right now this site if run off of Ad Revenue, I am dedicated to NOT have to convert to a Paid Service. The business model of running a site off of Ad Revenue is very risky and you need LOTS of people to make it worth it. Right now it’s just not working, but I am not going to give up! After this next big site update I can finally focus on some real marketing, which should help.

What can you do? Refer this site to friends and family, or better yet, if you have a website or blog, give me a link back. Those will help significantly. The more people that use this site, the more ads will be clicked, and I can keep this site Free to use.

The Plan
For those who like lists and like to see upcoming changes, read on!

In somewhat chronological order:

-Friend System
I am in the design stage of building a friend system. You will be able to request and add others as your friends. This will allow more of a community feel , give and receive support and help with accountability. More on this later.

-Message System
This will allow you to PM others (within your friend and support groups), answer friend request and get site updates. More on this later.

-Total Back End Rebuild
This will be the biggest update; it’s needed and should increase overall performance.

-Total UI Rebuild
The biggest visual change. Say good bye to the nasty side bar, and that claustrophobic feeling. It’s all going bye bye. Much much prettier things are on the way.

-Calorie Counter and Exercise Log Page Rebuild
Those two pages were the first I designed for the site and reflect my then current development skills. How embarrassing ; ). This is the core and heart of the site and should reflect that.

Some of the changes:
-Full Nutritional Tags
-Drag and Drop, no more page Refreshes. These pages will feel more like a desktop application, not a web page
-Total redesign of how you interact and whats displayed in your statistics and data
-For more info please visit: http://www.matthewscalor...need-your-feedback.aspx

-Meal Strategy/Battle Page
I am really excited over this one. This page will display a 30 day calendar that you will allow you to plan out your meals and exercises in advance. This will allow you to see how many pounds you could lose at the end of those 30 days, and better visualize and strategize your diet. This will be ghosted within your main calorie counter food page, which should make adding your days eaten foods as easy as one click.
Intelligence is the key to winning any battle, diets included! More to come.

-Public Food Additions
When you add a food you will have the options of adding it to the public food library.

-New Chart
No longer will you use something that looked like a preschool drawing, but a professional looking chart that you can easily see your Weight, BMR, BMI and other weight loss statistics. If I have time I would also love to have the capability for you to upload pictures when you weigh in. These would combine into a slide show that you can share with friends to display your overall weight loss.

-FaceBook and Twitter Integration, Apps
This is the icing on the cake and cannot wait to start working on this.

That’s about it for now.

If you have additional suggestions, please leave them in this thread:

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!