A couple years ago I needed some team name ideas for a fantasy football league. I searched around the web for a random team name generator, but didn’t find anything that suited me.
I was learning PHP at the time, so I decided building a random team name generator would be a fun project, and not too hard for a PHP novice. I documented the main points of my approach here in this post, which shows a few of the basics.
The random team name generator only generates errors
Unfortunately, I let the original team name generator languish. I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into maintaining it. It still generated team names just fine, so why bother upgrading it? Well, the problem was that my website platform was still being actively developed and changed. WordPress changed so much, in fact, that soon my original team name generator was causing serious issues on my site. It even was generating HTTP 500 errors for a while. Not a good situation. My rankings on search engines for keywords like “fantasy football team name generator”, “funny team names”, “random team name generator” and several others fell drastically. The original team name generator was on the first page of most search engines for those key words, but quickly fell. Traffic ground to a halt.
But, I wasn’t too worried about it, because writing the first random team name generator was not a commercial endeavor. I did it just for fun—to see if I could build something that would give me some team name ideas for my fantasy team.
The new random team name generator
So when a project at work required me to write some PHP code, I thought I should dust off the old random team name generator, and update it, but this time I would make it a little more robust. I probably won’t actively develop it, but the new random team name generator should be able to:
- Be edited and updated easily
- Survive WordPress version updates
- Be independent of theme or other plugins
So, after much research I converted the old random team name generator into a custom WordPress plugin. Many of the core PHP functions are the very similar to the original. I still have a get_random_team_name function which builds one random team name from the three arrays. The get_list_of_team_names function contains a loop that gets 10 random team names. Some other code handles the HTML formatting and appending to the page content. When the plugin is enabled, the random team names simply to the bottom of the Team Name Generator page.
What is next for the team name generator?
There were some features of the old version that I haven’t added yet into the new random team name generator. However, looking bag at my old traffic logs, they weren’t used very often. It seems most visitors come to the site looking simply for a list of ten random team names. The current version of the Team Name Generator does just that.
I will follow the comments closely and see what else needs to be added. I will occasionally tweak my lists that build the random team names. I may need to add some social sharing capabilities. However, I am much happier with the new solution. Hopefully it will be able to provide some good random team names for many people.