I'm just curious what others have done with community sites. What type of promotions you do. What type of software you use and how you've modified it. What's been successful, what's failed. I'm looking for real life examples here, so don't be shy.
The one I'm working on now is my hobby forum.
Hi Peter, my site, www.dietdiscussions.com , has been up for roughly a half of month now. Site promotion consists of SEO, submitting the url to other health minded websites, and believe it or not, some local flyer advertising to "get the word out". This community is growing extremely slowly, but I have faith. Weight loss as a whole is a very competitive keyword market on the serp scene, so I'm contending against some heavy weights.
I'm using PHPboard, utilizing a number of different modifications, and styles. For me, it's tweak as you go along. I like the flexible nature of it. I'll tell you in a couple of months whether it's a failed or successful venture
I'm working on building the community at www.xqpoetry.com/forums
It's not very big yet, and it's still in the process of being built.
I use phpbb and skinned it and made some small modifications. But nothing big.
I've submitted the site to as many directories as possible. Although a lot of them takes a lot of time, and some are not active at all. I keep the link in my signature at all forums I'm a member of. And I've tried my hand at some SEO...
Not vastly successful yet, but I'm trying to build an active little poetry-community with reviews, and discussion etc...
in response to jeeplaw about the diet discussion...i went and looked and i think your problem as to why its going so slow is that you've got WAY to many forums....20 forums w/ 2 posts looks so much worse than say 6 or 7 forums w/ like 5 or 6 posts....you need to condense some of those forums and add as you need them....atleast thats from my numerous experiences...
check my sig, theres 2 of them listed there
I'm not just looking for a url or two. I want to know how you got your community site to where it is now, what worked, what didn't work.
I think one of the things that are hampering growth on my part at the moment is the fact that I haven't got enough time to help it grow.
To grow a community takes a lot of time and dedication methinks...
well ok then...
iphotoforum.com started as a concept in early feb 2003 from the photography forum on vwvortex.com - a vw enthusiast site. several of us are advanced amatures, semi-pro or pro photographers and couldnt deal w/ all the n00b questions all day everyday and random photos of people cats.
that, along w/ the fact that of the 2 dozen + website forums im a part of that specialize in photo and/or art were getting old. photo.net is the web's largest photographer info site, but there forums are antique to say it nicely. deviantart.com has some great talent, but its like weeding thru a haystack for a needle. some of hte other boards im on are full on snobby wedding photographers who dont think anything is good enough unless u are doing weddings or portraits, while others are just for fun, not real serious, picture posting forums.
they all have their niche market, but i couldnt find comfort in any of them... myself and several friends from the internet all have unique styles and are pretty diverse
so... i bought the domain name, aquired hosting and on feb 14th at like 5am i launched the site. the first 2 weeks we had like 173 registered users, mostly coming from vwvortex (currently that site has 105k users on it) so that was a BIG boost for the site.
after that... i made suer i had a link in my sig for every forum im on, just like here, not to the point where its spam, as i am actually active in the other forums, but just so its there.
i made and still do make personalized responces for everything i think i can contribute to, welcome all new users and still read every single post every day.
my moderators do the smae thing for all the forums they mod.
ive made a "link us" page full of all differant sized banners for users to add to their own websites
i run a monthly photo contest
i made a small modification to phpBB to allow google to spider the site more freely
the other forum site in my sig, realityshowforum.com isnt even a week old yet... and im in the process of setting up therealworldforum.com too
I am still gathering the staff and rebuilding the site !! it will be ready soon: here it is : http://www.kyscorp.com/board/
Yea, that was a decision conundrum I had to deal with when I made the site. It's a lot like the chicken and egg syndrome. Do I offer people a place to talk about their individual topic, or a forum that encompasses all topics. I think also I am not getting the desired keyword traffic either. I need to work on those two items.
My community is at www.shadowgamers.com. Its about PC and Console gaming. Its quite new, so its not THAT active... Well, I am using Invision power board with a massive amount of hacks.
In the past six months took http://mba-forums.com from IPB 1.12 to 1.2, messed with some free skins and recently built my own skin. I have done quite a bit with search engines and have greatly increased traffic. I still have a ways to go before I can say I have an active community but building the system and awareness was a good first step.
I think once the site is in dmoz and yahoo directory then things will really get moving.
The portal is here...http://www.gigabikes.com/
Just click on the Forum link on the header.
Then to see the forum itself, it's username: testing password: testing
Have one at www.ozperformance.net
Basically a forum for vl enthusiasts, the originol site was created by 'sin' and I offered to help him set up a new community which is what we have now! Runs vBulletin currently
Mine is in my sig, which i run with a friend. I don't really have much to do with it right now as we're expanding it, and I'm developing a CMS to go with the vB3 we're going to be using (easier said than done tho!)
What did we do? Not much really. I most popular thread is about posting photos of womens butts! But we did launch the site a good few months before the phone came out, and when it did, he had a good member base with alot o knowledge.
We've added alot of vB hacks to expand the functionality a little, but the shop one has been rather popular. Admin wise, the best one was to save attachments to the server, not the db, as we only got a 100mb MySQL. We did offer POP3 accounts, so people could have an nokia3650 email address going stright to their phone. I thought this was a really good idea, but it failed dismally. The leading factor in getting people to our forums tho is that the members have been good at helping each other, so we left them to it mainly.
Our next community site will be an expansion of our current one (nokia3650.com/net will merge with it), basically covering all smartphones. For this we're going for a community/content based site. We'er looking a pumping some money into it this time, maybe getting some adwords, offering t-shirts, running contests, etc.
Little worried about bandwidth and mysql space, we currently go thru a gig a day, and our database is at 30meg...
I launched the community aspect of my website about three months ago. Fortunately, I've got an email subscriber list of about 15,000 people so it was pretty easy to get people to come to the forum. Just shy of 800 people have signed up in just over 2 months.
Here's what I've been doing:
- mentioned the forums and additional functionality in about 10 different editions of my newsletter
- incorporate interesting discussions into the newsletter
- make sure the forum is well crawled by the search engines. Every now and then one of my topics gets a #1 spot for a topic in the news and it sends over a burst of traffic
- participate in all the conversations I can stay on top of.
- welcome every new user, and encourage other forum members to do the same.
- take people's questions about space and astronomy and then pass these along to official people in the industry and encourage them to post a reply back to the forum. This gives the forum an air of legitimacy.
- the moderation team is great, and we talk a lot about the kinds of threads we're moderating.
- one thing thing that kind of troubles me is the number of people who sign up but then don't even come back. Anyone had any luck getting them active again?
Recently launched community: www.passportcanada.com/forum/
It is there mostly to recude the HUGE amount of emails asking for basic information.
It is immigration related.
I am working for ESPN and we have a community, well initially it was doing well, picking up fast, now we are at the 2nd phase where we shd move into the next phase of the community building project.
Well we've opened up a Template Community:
It does ok for what it is.
The chronicles-network was originally a small support board for my own Chronicles of Empire writing.
I used YaBB SP 1.1 - one day it died on me. Re-installed 150 members manually into a new YaBB SE board.
A couple of weeks ago I converted it to the much more superior Vbulletin 3.
It reached critical mass at 500 members, and is now on track to become a major force on the sci-fi and fantasy circuit.
Ever going forward...
The comparative-religion forum is only 3 months old - growing steady. Did spent a couple of months prior running as a "foundationist" board on a Supermodded YaBB SE - but went to comparative-religion and then converted to vBulletin 3.
About 350 members so far, but rising steadily. About to re-organise and assign some moderatorss.
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