I’ve been looking for a new gaming monitor this week, it’s about time I upgraded my old Samsung. It’s too small, it has a poor stand and doesn’t look great. I recently bought a new GTX970 and I wanted something decent to pair with it.
This obviously isn’t a gaming site, so I won’t bore you with the details. However what may be of interest is that I decided to blog up all the knowledge that I’m gaining doing my monitor my research with a view to create a site that will pay for my new monitor. It’s been a long time since I bought my last one and there is a tonne of new tech to learn about – plenty of material to write up!
I found that there wasn’t a single site that seemed to answer all my questions. What I needed was a site aimed at someone like me who periodically upgrades their PC and needs a quick overview of the current state of play. Nothing too deep, just a round up of what I need to look out for and what the cool kids are buying right now.
I then wanted a list of monitors to have a look at and consider before making my purchase.
So, as soon as I realised that no such site existed, I thought I’d give it a go myself.
And so GamingMonitors-UK was born. I decided to concentrate on the UK, this just makes life much easier when it comes to talking about prices and stuff. I will add some Amazon.com links for the odd US visitor who swings by but on the whole it makes sense to try and target one market well rather than be all things to all people. Most tech sites are US based so doing something for the UK helps to quickly stand out.
The site is WordPress based, of course, but I wanted to automate as much of the site build as possible. I wanted to be able to press “New Post”, write my text, and then move onto the next one. I didn’t have time to look up prices, get photos together, build tables of specifications.
I wanted my posts to have all this stuff, I just didn’t want to do it. This would just slow down my personal research and inevitably lead to giving up on the site.
So here’s how I managed it:
- Amazon plugin: I have a custom Amazon plugin (and there are plenty of similar public ones available) that accepts an ASIN, the unique product identifier on Amazon. Once you put the ASIN in the plugin uses the Amazon API to get pictures, specifications, prices and all that stuff. This is then all available to the post.
- Custom Post Types: By creating a “monitor” post type I was able to design these post pages to follow a template. Show a picture, list the stats, display the price, create affiliate links – all done programatically without any input from me.
- Custom Taxonomy: When looking for a monitor I think most people have basic criteria in mind, for example it must be a 27″ screen with 144Hz refresh rate. Custom taxonomy allows me to manage that and filter on these requirements.
What really impressed me about this project was just how quickly it took to get up and running. I had done everything I needed to do within a week, and as I only work on these hobby projects an hour or so at a time this means it was just hours to get it all going. All I need to do now is get on and research my new monitor and create new posts as I do it. If the site gets some traction I will maintain it, if not well I needed to do the research anyway and setting it up didn’t take all that long.
Interested to see the result? Check it out here gaming monitors. I’ve still got a lot of content to write but there’s no more setup to do.