Best of BT for 2016

author : alicefoeller
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A Year in Beginner Triathlete History

It's been another year of victories, goals met, personal bests, and firsts for our awesome members. And of course, everyone's share of injuries, disappointments and DFLs.

The same goes for our beloved website, where we all work to participate in the community and build each other up.

Beginner Triathlete has always been a great source of information and training plans for people taking up triathlon, and because we take care to moderate our forums (and enlist your help in doing so) it ends up being a fun, safe place for veterans to hang out as well. This creates a valuable balance between triathletes with questions and worries and triathletes with answers and reassurance.

At the end of the year, "the management" here at the site would like to thank you for all that you do to maintain that atmosphere of fun and openness. We don't make fun of people for asking newbie questions here. We welcome all comers.

I would also like to take the opportunity to more formally introduce myself. I'm Alice Foeller and I joined the site in 2008 during my second "bout" with triathlon. I started my triathlon journey in 1999 and participated heavily in another website for new triathletes at that time, which no longer exists. I took time off from the sport from 2004 until 2007, when I was pregnant and caring for two little ones. In 2008, my youngest child was a toddler and I wanted to get back in shape. I went back to the old website where I was a member, but it wasn't the same. People had become mean and disrespectful. I asked a question and someone made fun of me for asking. So that was it. I logged out of there and came over to BeginnerTriathlete.com. I was a free member for years, and an active participant in the forums. I competed in triathlons and running races every season in Ohio, and in 2010 I completed Rev3 iron distance at Cedar Point.

Also in 2010, I inquired about helping with articles for the site, and in 2011, I started working with BT's founder, Ron, on a regular basis. I edited article submissions, wrote some original content, and edited a lot of videos for the site. Ron and I continued working together off and on until 2015, when Ron asked if I would be interested in additional management duties here BT. Over the past year, Ron has taught me how to manage training log issues, respond to support requests, handle advertising, ban spammy posters, and send out the monthly email newsletter. I take care of these duties in balance with running my own online marketing company in Columbus, Ohio.


Site Successes


In 2016 we had a great Mentor Program, as well as a successful "First Triathlon Story" contest.

From a technical perspective, we took a leap forward in syncing with other devices and other training logs when we introduced our partnership with Tapiriik, an online software that can sync across multiple platforms. We've always done a good job of importing workouts from Garmin into the Beginner Triathlete Training Log for Performance Members (paid members). However, not everyone has a Garmin, and some people prefer the community at BT, but the data presentation at Strava or Training Peaks. By partnering with Tapiriik, our users can now have it all. After a one-time connection is made between accounts, syncing your device to any of the supported platforms or logs will automatically update your Beginner Triathlete log, too.

We've gained a few new advertisers, which spices up your visual experience and helps us support the site. Thanks to our supporters!

We've had great content all year, thanks to some new contributors, coaches and experts who are writing for us. All content is curated and edited before publication in the Articles section to avoid clickbait and articles filled with backlinks or poorly researched material.


Failures


We haven't done everything right of course. This month (December 2016) we had a fairly major site outage. Or it appeared so because the homepage was not loading properly. Because of the nature of the error, none of us on the team received a notification of the problem, and interior pages were working. However, members who pull up the homepage to begin interacting with the site encountered the White Page of Death or a server error. 

Once we discovered what happened, it was quickly corrected. However, the problem did persist for several hours before it was discovered, which is no good. We are committed to doing better.

We have examined what happened and put into place an additional safeguard to alert us of problems.

We've also had our share of junk posts making it into the forums. If you see this, please click "Report Post" and one of us will be alerted. Our procedure is to delete all of the posts and ban the user. Unfortunately this happened because BT is such a popular site with good search ranking. All of the spammers in the world want to get their links on our site.


The Future


Our Founder, Ron, has been pursuing some exciting new business ventures. Concerned about not having enough time to manage BT, he has continued to mentor me to handle more and more duties, including content, membership, forums, advertising, newsletter, training plans and the technical platform.


As Ron has been delegating more responsibilities to me, and I need extra time to learn how to reply to a particular issue, it may occasionally feel like "no one is minding the store." I apologize for any oversights and appreciate your persistence in pointing out problems via the Support forum or other methods of contact. There are a lot of moving parts here on the website, and there will continue to be gaps as I try to get a handle on everything. However, we are all committed to maintaining excellence, technological compatibility, and most of all a warm and welcoming place for triathletes.

We are excited to let you know that our next major focus for site improvements is usability, particularly around training plans. We feel that if you have to read the instructions, it probably doesn't work as well as it could. We will be working on plans to improve the user experience throughout the process of choosing and importing a training plan.

Additionally, if you have suggestions for the site, please post them in the Support Forum or in comments to the Suggestion Box article.

Thanks for another great year, BTers. So many of you spend hours every week answering questions, supporting others and buoying the spirits of those who are frustrated or down. You make this place what it is. We are privileged to provide the platform.


- Alice


 

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date: December 27, 2016

alicefoeller

Editor at Beginner Triathlete, web marketing consultant at SiteInSight, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for unstructured nature play for kids.

avataralicefoeller

Editor at Beginner Triathlete, web marketing consultant at SiteInSight, writer, entrepreneur, advocate for unstructured nature play for kids.

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