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 Post subject: Forums, your opinion?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:48 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:35 pm
Posts: 14
Server: Moonglade (EU)
Hey folks!

When I first started planning C-Edge It was build with a forum in mind, in fact there's a forum there now all set up and ready to go. The user database even shares the same with the word press one so only one user registration is needed for the full site. It's a simple mix of vBulletin (forums) and Word Press (blog) plugins, but anyway.

I am a big fan of forums, I love the discussion that gets created and really enjoy the whole community feel it brings to a site. I especially believe that it also adds a bit extra to the site in terms of search engine pickup if done correctly (especially with the vast amount of addons available for various forum software these days).

My point is, do you think a forum is a nice way to go? If so when would you launch it? In my head I wouldn't launch it until I was getting xx amount of visitors a day and as I've only just launched the blog then obviously I'm no where near those numbers, i'd probably wany my current visitor numbers to pretty much expand x10 before I'd consider launching it, it's there for now though, waiting in the background, who knows when it might get called into action.

Any thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Forums, your opinion?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:41 pm 
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I -did- have a forum attached to my blog, just waiting for when it would be viable. Fortunately (but perhaps unfortunately for me), the Warlock community already has a viable forum in the Warlock's Den, so I never bothered doing anything with it. I think other bloggers have had varying success with attached forums (BRK's was big from memory, I think Lassirra was a bit disappointed in the membership numbers with hers [I think, don't quote me on it]). I think that you really have to have a niche that hasn't been filled to have a successful forum - if a forum already exists for that purpose, people won't head there. But, if you really want a forum and think you have a niche, I would certainly wait til you have viable numbers then go for it!

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 Post subject: Re: Forums, your opinion?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:26 am 
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Server: Blood Furnace
I just came to look to see if anyone else were talking about a forum, and what do you know...

I've been formulating one in the background for the past week or two now. Not some plugin version, but a full phpbb. An entire forum for a little ol' blog, you ask? Well, since my blog is Guild Leadership themed, it pertains to bigger audience than merely WoW as I have just come to realize. Thus I've been venturing into other communities w/ a few buddies who reside there and the word has been spreading.

Back on subject though.

I've picked up a few contributors to keep the perspective broad, and with the more frequent posts, bigger audience, and lack of 43256431 Officer blogs competing with me in comparison to if it were a druid one, I believe some good may be able to come out of this.

Spread the word, More posts, More traffic, Open forum for discussion based content, instead of merely responses to my posts (opinions). I'm planning to start a wide-interview on a spread of guild leaders once the forum gets set up and active. I'm hoping it will provide an extremely broad view of what a multitude of Guild Leaders have experienced and found memorable throughout their time in the position. More of a "What was your most xxxxxxx experience?" followed by a story from each poster present. I intent to combine and analyze them into the most obvious traits of that particular aspect of management.

Enough rambling from me. I'm just a tad excited w/ events on the horizon. Let me know how that forum goes if you get yours up and running!

-Sedge

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 Post subject: Re: Forums, your opinion?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:44 pm 
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Hey, Plague! I think that given the concept of your blog, forums would be an excellent addition. New content is something people like to speculate and argue about. Sedgewick as well. Forums for you would be a place for guild leaders and offices to discuss issues that pertain to them. I think you both have topics that would lend well to forums, and not all blogs can say that--which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Forums, your opinion?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:30 am 
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I'm still in the 50 / 50 camp on this, I've put the site through a couple of re-designs over last two weeks (the ones I was using just didn't handle content very well at all).

Obviously, by result the forums need to be skinned as well, which although should post a problem, at the moment I'd rather spend time generating some more content.

Again, biggest issue is viewer numbers, having only launched just over a month ago my viewing stats are quite low, although it is showing growth on a week by week basis.

The double edged sword I suppose is, if I put forums live now, it could help generate more visitors as well as create that nice community I want. Other side of the sword is that with a small viewing base it could mean that the forums become stagnant and hardly used - which looks quite bad in my opinion with a forum with only 1-2 posts a week at max.

It is getting there, just not quite ready for them yet - will keep you posted (pun intended :P)

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 Post subject: Re: Forums, your opinion?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Forums are something I have a lot of experience with -- I've been running a very large forum for more than 10 years now. The forum has over 3 million posts and nearly 40,000 members at this point. It's also revenue generating. :D

You're right that participation is a big factor -- no one really wants to hang out at a board that seems dead, but getting folks to participate can be a bit of a challenge. The way I've done it is to get moderators early into the game, as they stimulate discussion, contribute their own voices, and keep a board a good place to visit. You need to hand pick them, train them in the values you want for your site, and keep in regular touch with them. Keeping the numbers of forums in the board limited is also important -- you need a critical mass in at least one forum to get things kickstarted. Using decent board software is also really helpful, as if there are too many bugs or people find it hard to login/post, they'll just give up. I like vBulletin personally.

A forum, when done well, is a HUGE asset to a site. In my case, my entire community revolves around it. And keep in mind that many of your posts can be indexed in Google, making it easier for people to find you. Forums are also "sticky," giving your readers a reason to come back and back again.

On the flipside, a forum can be a bear to maintain, especially if you get cranky posters. Software updates can be tricky, though this has gotten much easier in recent years. And, of course, a successful board needs a solid backend, so your costs can rise.

I do recommend forums, but I don't think they are for every site. If a good forum exists on your topic already, it's still worth considering. If two good forums already exist, you'll probably find it very hard to get visitors to stay. If you do decide to do it, don't expect folks to rush over right away. If you have an established reader base, you're ahead of the game. If not, you'll want to seed your forum with posts, and answers to your posts, using a variety of usernames -- and invite anyone who drops by your forum to post, whether it's through a request on your site, in your articles, or an e-mail once in a while.

I'd be happy to help with more specifics -- feel free to contact me. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Forums, your opinion?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:46 pm 
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Perhaps let your visitors know that there may be a forum in the near future when you get chance to add it. This means that you won't have a stagnant forum AND people may check back waiting for it? Who knows. I do think you should wait for more visitors though :) Because not everybody who reads your blog will sign up for a forum. :)

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