Last Updated: October 20, 2017 | 7:30 p.m. (PST)
The Baker is Out: A Memoir
Sweeters Cafe is closed.
For those of you who are interested or curious, I will tell you my story and experience here in the site community. I love this place. The people on here are great and incredibly talented. If you're new to site making and reading this, I will tell you that it takes hard work and hours of your time to start and run a site. It takes even more time and energy to keep it running and generating good results.
I first stumbled upon the site community in early 2012. I remember the first site that I visited was a pixel site. I believe it was Sugarrush. I remember clicking through the site and marveling at the little characters and cute content. I thought, I want to make something like this. However, little did I know that creating pixels and graphics were so much more than drawing stuff and putting it on the computer. That site led me to even more sites. Soon, I discovered that there were different types of sites, each serving a different purpose. Every site that I came upon was different and unique. All had different themes and produced beautiful content. At this point, I really wanted my own site. But what kind? Then, I clicked Frequent Flyer's button and entered into the world of reviewing.
When I first saw a reviewing site, I remember thinking, This seems easy enough. Afterall, it's just writing. It's not like I have to put effort into creating graphics. I remember thinking that by owning a review site, I could finally join the site community. In my eyes at the time, the site community was a big and vibrant place full of talent. And being much younger than I am today, what kid would not want to be a part of something that bright? So I started a review site with a premade layout from Sugary Premades. It was a simple anchored layout with a chocolate flower shaped cake to the left and a light gray background. I thought it was beautiful. So I began setting up my site by using the various data and rubrics that I gathered from other review sites. I wanted my site to be cafe themed since at the time I was going through an obsession with sweets. And so, the name Sweeters Cafe was born.
Sweeters Cafe is my first site. It is also my most successful. The site is like a child to me. I got it reviewed multiple times. On its first review, which was a couple days after the launch, by Frequent Flyer was an in-depth review that earned a 26/50. I remember being so ashamed because I thought my site was amazing. However, I learned to notice its flaws. At this moment, I realized the role of review sites. And that is to critique and give constructive advice in order for sites and site owners to improve. I realized that a reviewer not only has to be knowledgeable on their own site, but just about every other site out there.
Fast forward a few months. Sweeters Cafe had changed its layout multiple times, tweaked the rubrics, as well as added extra features. The site's popularity had also grown and requests were in high demand. I remember coming home from school and jumping to my computer just to check and respond to neomails. The neo addiction was real at this point. At school I would go on my phone in between breaks just to see if I received a message. I remember being excited to write review after review and improving the quality of my work along the way.
However, the good times slowed to an end. I suddenly became busy with school and life. The site was inactive for a period of months. I would come back occassionally, only to leave without a moments notice. The quality of my reviews were consistent and requests continued flowing in but there was no more passion. And so the site remained inactive for about a year. During this time, I spent more time in RL. However, neopets came into my life again. I had the sudden urge to open a writing site. And so Parchment was born. After a few weeks on that site, I opened a competition site, Demure. I was the most active when all three sites were running.
However, at this time, the site community was dying. Sites were closing faster than opening. So then community centered sites emerged to help facilitate site news. The first successful community site was, Always Connected. More opened up later on but this site was like the town square of the site community. Site owners were able to post short news, participate in interviews, post events, advertise their sites in a form of posters, and more. For a time, this site helped bring life back into the community. However, the community died down again and the site became inactive due to the lack of participation.
From there on, I was quickly overwhelmed by my studies which forced me to quit being a site owner for a while. There were short periods when I came back but I was away longer than I was active. This then leads to where we are today.
Running my sites have been incredible. I learned so much and met so many people. I loved and still love each and every moment that I was active. This place holds so many memories and nostalgia that it makes it hard to leave. Overall, my experience has been an incredible one.
There were certainly a lot of highlights during my time in the site community. Here are just a few of them:
1. Christmas Compliment Event - This was an event run by me during my first year in the site community. The event was one where everyone in the site community could sign up to participate. Everyone gave each other compliments and graphic presents. I remember it being such a festive Christmas in the community because the amount of participation was astounding and everyone was buzzing from receiving and giving compliments.
2. Reviews - Asura was a popular site review page that allowed others to review different sites. The first time that Sweeters Cafe got a review was a special one. I remember feeling so giddy and happy that I couldn't stop smiling. I remember being so grateful that my reviews were actually helpful. It showed that I had come a long way since opening.
3. Awards/Prizes/Gifts - Since coming into the site community, I have received multiple awards and gifts from others. Awards ranged from competitions to just "because" awards. Gifts were mostly from other graphic makers expressing thanks for their review or advice. Thanks to everyone who made me feel appreciated.
4. Friends - Many of the friends that I have made on here are no longer active, have moved on, or we have grown apart because of our inactivity or other reasons. However, this does not mean that I do not appreciate, remember, and love all of you. I have managed to move beyond just talking about our sites with some of you. I remember talking about life, RL problems, or just about random stuff. I remember the fun, laughter, and gifts. Even though we were just online friends, you treated me like a real life one. I will not name any names but you know who you are. Thanks for the birthday and holiday wishes. Also, thanks for the baby paintbrush, rare books, and other gifts even though I never asked for any. If any of you are ever on and somehow stumbled upon this page, I would love to reconnect. PLEASE message me because most of your accounts are frozen with no way to reach you.
5. Other - A lot has certainly happened during my time here but there's so much that I can't simply name them all. I have been in multiple site competitions, been asked for advice, received gifts, participated in events run by other site owners, made friends, and wrote for a magazine. All of these helped shape my experience into one that I can look back on fondly.
What I learned?
Even though running a site is purely for fun, I also learned a lot of real life lessons that I still use.
1. Coding/html/css - At the beginning, I knew nothing about coding. Slowly, I learned by constantly editing and asking for advice. Now, I use the codes that I learned on here on other chat forums that requires it.
2. Customer Service - Bless the site community for teaching me this. Running a site is very much like running a business. It does not matter how good your content is, if your attitude is bad, no one will come to your site and vice versa. Not every requester has been polite. I had to deal with a handful of owners who were unsatisfied with their scores or did not follow the rules. Running my site has taught me to be patient and to try to talk the situation out with the person in a calm manner.
3. Importance of Credit - Giving credit is a big deal in the site community. No one likes having their work taken without acknowledgment. I have had people who do not credit me for their reviews and know how it feels like when credit isn't received. Because of how serious it is in the site community to give credit, that feeling of making sure the creator deserves acknowledgment never leaves. I always make sure to give credit on every project I take on in real life.
4. Love for writing - I have always liked writing even before opening up a site. However, after opening up a site, I found that I really liked it. My writing drastically improved after every review. It was not until after opening up my writing site did I tap into my love for creating stories. Now, my love for stories and writing is everywhere in my life.
Will I ever come back?
Only time will tell. For now, the answer is no. As for my other sites, they are up for memories sake. I am much too attached to them to delete everything. So whatever content is on my sites, feel free to look through and enjoy. If you're inspired by anything from my sites, credit.
There are certainly people that I have forgotten to thank so this section is dedicated to them. Thank you to every site owner and person who have helped me with coding, improving my site, reviewing, and improving my content. Thank you to everyone who has inspired me and taught me how to be efficient. Thanks to my friends who were always there to lend an ear. Thanks to all the graphic designers and site owners that created sites that allowed me to use resources and decorations. Thanks to all my affiliates and listers for taking the time to work with my site. Lastly, thank you to all the visitors and requesters. If it wasn't for all of you, I would not have been able to improve so much within six or more years. Thank you for all the support and love.
Oh dear! Due to the sudden closure of the cafe, we seem to have leftover supplies! As a goodbye, feel free to leave with some of our specialty treats.
This section contains all of the past orders that I have fulfilled at Sweeters Cafe. I have currently completed 109 orders
Link Back Buttons
There were many other amazing ones, but they had to be removed due to the broken links. Thank you to everyone who has ever made me a button/graphic.