Monthly Archives: March 2015

Interview with Web Designer Ramona Iftode

The following article was originally posted on The Infinity Program. After the forum closed down, the administrator, Medora, a long-time member for Forum Promotion, graciously submitted this article to the blog. Below is the full text of the article. Thank you, and we hope you enjoy!

– Cosmic / Sinon. Editorial Team Leader. Forum Promotion.


 

Ramona Iftode is a web designer. In 2002, she created Dojo.ro, a Karate website in Romanian and the first website she designed. Miss Iftode started designing Continue reading

Social Networks Promotion: The Good and The Bad

Most of you are aware of the huge potential a Social Network campaign has, but there are also many things that could go wrong with those campaigns. First of all, Social Networks are different than forums and blogs. They are a constant stream of information: news, personal statuses, shared links, funny videos, cat’s and a whole lot more. To give you an idea of a comparison you can make in regards to it, is that your link can be compared to a fish in the sea; that is a single link can be overwhelmed by everything that is there in an individual network. But that’s not the only problem, your visitors from Social Networks may only visit your site once and never come back again.

To stand out on Social Networks, you need to have that something that people are interested in. Therefore for a successful Social Network promotion there are a few important key factors:

  1. Account Popularity
  2. Research and Targeted Audience
  3. Site Content

Account Popularity

We all start off with 0 friends or followers, but to be successful in promoting our site we need to find more followers/friends/subscribers. Nothing makes you look crazy other than by talking to yourself online, therefore you need build up your “fan base”. There are many different ways to do such things, and it all depends of the Social Network that you want to focus on.

YouTube Usually funny videos or how to videos are popular.
FacebookFan Page like exchanges may help you out a lot.
TwitterUsing the correct hashtags with an appropriate message.
TumblrRebloging, liking and posting things that certain audiences likes (anime/artistic/hipster/feminism).
RedditSmart interaction on the shares of other users, and good link shares from your part.
Google+I am not really sure about this but I guess adding people in your circles that have the same interests as yourself.

With a certain popularity online you will reach more users, which equals to more potential visitors and which that in the end means more potential returning visitors for your site.

Research and Targeted Audience

Imagine each Social Network as a person. Tumblr for example likes anime, managas, cute things and discussions about feminism. Tumblrs user base is mostly made of 13-20 year old people who share the things that they like. The key to promote on Tumblr, is seeing what your site genre is and then posting pictures that might get re-blogged, while adding your link in the midst of each post you make.

As I said, imagine Social Networks as people.

I have this information about social networks that might help you:

YouTube Funny videos, Gaming videos, How To videos. If you are good at making such videos you will get quite a few visits to your site, plus you could earn some money along side the video postings on YouTube
FacebookThings that could be shared here, are quotes and and other such things. With that, you would need to also attach your link in the description or add a watermark to the picture, which may help with branding your site there.
TwitterBeing part of a hashtag like #GamerGate, #feminism, #BlackLifeMatter and #micropoetry, are some of the things that could get your link some views.
Tumblr –  Anime reviews, Manga reviews, poetry, fan fiction, drawings, cute things, artistic things, debates about feminism, funny things, all of which could be added to Tumblr.
RedditSome links that can help you gain views, are links that help people out, are news related, motivation related posts, debates, manga and anime reviews, awesome product links, and how to links.

The key is to find good ideas of which links on your site you could post, and the appropriate time that you could post the link. You may fail a few times – it happens to everyone- and you will succeed a few times too!

Social Networks are really unpredictable when it comes to link popularity. An example of this was an article I wrote on my blog, in which I decided to shared it on Reddit. I didn’t expect too much from it really, but when I woke up the following morning, I fount my site was down due to bandwidth overuse. An article that I thought wouldn’t get any attention broke my site. That’s the power of social networks.

Site Content

The first two parts are pretty easy, the internet is huge and I am sure you could work your way up in the popularity ranking, but of course comes the most important part that all sites need to help drive success: Content!

It doesn’t matter what your site is about, so long as it helps your visitor satisfy his hunger for information. The content of your site will make or break a visitor, when they are deciding whether or not they want to come back and visit your site again, or if it will be forgotten. Plus you might not be the first to write or post about a certain topic, but if you explain it better than someone else or the visitor finds one of your articles or topics more interesting or appealing, he will keep coming back for more.

Create a site that members want to come back to, that’s the first thing and the most important part of a successful site. It can’t be stressed enough how important content is! I am sure you have read a few more guides about sites/forums/blogs and found in a large number of those guides, the phrases “work hard” or “content is king”, is somewhere in the text.  Nothing else beats hard work and consistency. If your content is improving and you publish it on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, you are the right track.

After the content is built, all you have to do is then show it to a number of people on Social Networks, who are waiting eagerly for quality content to be posted, and you may be the one who will provide it to them!

What should you do to succeed? Well that’s easy, in which this article is about, is that hard work is what you need to succeed! A combination of providing fresh content, with appropriate advertising on various Social Networking sites will help you succeed.

I hope you enjoyed this little guide to Social Networking Promotion. If this has some positive feedback I will continue my explanation of promoting your site on Social Networks, by going deeper and explaining each and every Social Network in their own individual article.

Stay Awake,
TheSolkotovic(Shole)

Because Random Words Just Aren’t Good Enough

SEO. The dread of most website and forum owners. That horrible thing that is always in the back of your mind, picking away at your brain with no clear way of solving the how and why. Google, while it can be your best friend is at the same time your greatest enemy. How can you truly use words to benefit your site?

The common thing I see happen all the time on blogs is an article being written to best interest the readers. This is obviously a necessity, if no-one reads the post what is the point of making it? However, once this post is written, tags are then added to it that somewhat relate to it, maybe are mentioned in the article once, but in general they are just what the writer believes should be connected to the post. Unfortunately, this is not the way it works. These tags are your most important source of SEO, but only if used correctly.

So, how do you write an article that both interests your reader, doesn’t become too repetitive and despite this uses your keywords several times over and in the correct context? It is starting to sound rather complicated isn’t it? At first it is, and it will take you a lot longer to write your articles. However, after some practice things will go a lot easier and quicker. I am by no means an expert at this, it still takes me a long time to get my articles to a level at which I am happy with them, but it is possible.

Start by selecting your keywords, but stay away from the obvious. Using words or phrases such as “successful forum” or “big traffic” are not going to get you anywhere. Why? There are just far too many occurrences of these particular words and phrases on the internet for them to warrant any attention. Google uses complex algorithms for its search ranking system and it isn’t going to list you above all the hundred of other sites with content similar to yours.

Instead you need to stand out. Look to use phrases that are a bit more unusual, or that have a greater meaning. Select a phrase to build your article around such as “value of forum currency”. Once you have chosen this phrase you can start building your article. Do not use this direct phrase more than twice in the article though, for this is where similes come in. Similes are one of the most underrated and underused items in SEO and Google does recognize them to a certain extent, as long as they aren’t too farfetched.

Once you have built your article around this particular phrase, you will want to locate keywords that are similar. For example with “value of forum currency”, keywords would be inflation, deflation and exchange rate. These are all related to currency, but you would also have to include words such as message board, threads, posts and topics. Tying all these in together within your article isn’t noticeable to the reader, but it is to Google. Have a go, experiment and explore the English language, it could be a good experience!

Forum Economics 102: Inflation and Deflation in FP$

Roughly speaking, inflation and deflation happen when the amount of a currency increases and decreases. So, for example, if the United States Federal Reserve prints a billion dollars, then the US Dollar is inflated by that amount. If a billion dollars are destroyed, then the US Dollar is deflated by that amount. Inflation and Deflation are concepts which are not limited to real currencies, however. Virtual currencies such as FP$ are also subject to inflation and deflation. This article discusses how the FP economy changes over time. You can also use the concepts in this article to evaluate another virtual currency, such as the point system used by your own forum.


Inflation – How is FP$ Created?

At the beginning of the day, there was no FP$ in the economy. When the points system was originally installed, the total quantity of FP$ was 0. However, the supply of FP$ began to quickly inflate, as people earned points by posting around the forum.

There are several ways to earn FP$. Below is a rough list.

  • Posting a Reply: 2 FP$
  • Posting a Topic: 4 FP$
  • Posting a Reply in Community Reviews: 15 FP$
  • Submitting  a Blog Article [Rejected]: 50 FP$
  • Submitting a Blog Article [Good Rating]: 300 FP$
  • Submitting a Blog Article [Excellent Rating]: 400 FP$

These are all ways in which the FP economy is inflated. Whenever a member does one of these things, FP$ appears out of thin air and lands in that user’s FP$ bank. It is equivalent to the Federal Reserve printing dollar bills. What does NOT inflate the FP economy are exchanges between members. When a member donates 100 FP$ to you for completing a service in the marketplace, 100 FP$ is being removed from their account, and then added to your account. No inflation or deflation is taking place.

There are also several ways in which staff members earn FP$. Whenever a user requests a review, they are deducted either 100 FP$ or 300 FP$. The reviewer is paid exactly that amount, which means that there is no inflation or deflation to the FP economy. However, the package team has many different packages which they offer with vastly varying prices. Depending on what package is being requested, the amount which package team members are paid results in either inflation or deflation. Perhaps the one greatest source of inflation for staff members are submitted blog articles. Every time an editorial team member submits a blog article, he or she is paid the same rate as a regular user, which means that 400 FP$ is added to the economy.


Deflation – How is FP$ Destroyed?

Every dollar bill which is printed by the United States Federal Reserve has a certain lifespan. Eventually, after that dollar bill has been passed from hand to hand enough times, it will deteriorate and become useless. Also, dollar bills are regularly lost, thrown away, destroyed in fires, and so on. Every year, a consistently predictable number of US dollars leaves the economy, and US dollars are printed by the Federal Reserve to compensate.

FP$ is no different. There are several ways in which FP$ can leave the economy. From a technical standpoint, this happens when users request services which are deflationary. These services include a few services offered by the Editorial Team, such as a stickied topic or Featured tag, and also all services which are offered by the Administrative Team. In a way, the primary purpose of the admin services are to control the quantity of FP$ which is in the economy.

The ways in which FP$ can exit the economy are as follows.

  1. Text Advertisements: 80 FP$
  2. Signature Advertisements: 50-100 FP$
  3. Featured Site: 400 FP$
  4. Social Advertising: 200 FP$
  5. Auctions: All auction proceeds are deflated from the FP economy

There is another way, also, in which FP$ is removed from the economy. Whenever a user goes inactive, that user’s FP$ supply has effectively left the economy. It’s as if someone locked away a fortune in a bank vault, and never bothered to re-visit it. If that user returns, their FP$ can be re-entered into the economy if they begin to spend it in the marketplace. But otherwise, it will not have much of an effect on the value of FP$.


How Do Inflation and Deflation Effect the Value of FP$?

In the previous article in this series, we defined the value of FP$ as 1 FP = $0.01 USD. That value, though, is one that is subject to fluctuation.

If people began requesting a different rate for posts in the marketplace, in either FP$ or USD, the value of FP$ would either decrease or increase. Whether people change the rates they request depends on how much FP$ they need, and how much FP$ people have, and are willing to pay. If the supply of FP$ increases, then buyers will be willing to pay more for posts made on their forum, or similar services. Sellers will recognize this fact, and begin to charge more. If the amount of FP$ which buyers have decreases, then sellers will be forced to charge less, and therefore the value of FP$ will increase, because you will be able to buy more with it.


Conclusion

This article discussed how Inflation and Deflation effect a forum’s economy. A future article in this series will discuss the different ways in which a forum administrator can control inflation and deflation to set the value of their currency. In addition, a future article will discuss how a forum currency can have an official value, by allowed people to exchange the currency for a real product.

Forum Economics 101: How Valuable is FP$?

JoshuaBux

Many forums, particularly promotion forums, have a virtual currency system which allows you to exchange “points” earned by posting for services, either from the forum staff or from other members. Most of you will already know this, and Forum Promotion is one of those forums which has a particularly interesting virtual currency. FP$ can be exchanges for several types of services, including posts, reviews, and advertisements. These types of services can also be bought for real money, which implies that it is possible to compare the value of FP$ against the value of real money, by looking at how much of each currency it costs to buy a particular service.

How Valuable is FP$?

The question which this article is asking is: “How valuble is FP$?” The type of answer which I am looking for is not “very valuable,” or “not very valuable.” Instead, I am looking for a specific number of US dollars which can be used for the purpose of assessing value. It states in the Forum Promotion guidelines that FP$ cannot be exchanged directly for real cash. However, if you are assessing whether or not to purchase something like a post using real cash or FP$, or if you are assessing whether or not someone is selling an advertisement at a reasonable cost in FP$, it is important to know how much real money that advertisement or post is being sold for, when you take into account the value of FP$.

So, how do we figure out how valuable FP$ is?

When economists deterine the value of the US Dollar against the value of the Euro, they monitor supply and demand. That means that every time I have a euro and want to exchange it for dollars, the value of the US dollar goes up. However, FP$ is not allowed to be exchanged for US dollars directly. But, you can do this indirectly, by exchanging FP$ for something which you could have, alternatively, exchanged for using US dollars. So, to figure out how much FP$ is worth, what I will do is figure out the cost of a post on a forum in FP$ and the cost in US Dollars, and them compare the two.

A single post on a forum, bought from the FP marketplace, is worth about $0.10. That means that if you want someone to make ten posts on your forum, you have to pay them approximately $1. If you want them to make 100 posts on your forum, the going price is about $10. This rate will occasionally change, and better deals are offered, but this is a very common rate which can be found from a number of topics in the board. Here are a few examples of current exchanges in US dollars which use the rate of $0.10 per post. Example #1, Example #2, Example #3.

Now that we have established the value of a post in USD, what is the value of a post in FP$? The going rate for a post in the FP exchange boards is currently 10 FP$ per post. That means that for 100 FP$, you can get someone to post 10 posts on your forum. For 1,000 FP$, you can get someone to post 100 posts on your forum. Here are a few examples. Example #1, Example #2,

These examples indicate that $0.10 and 10 FP$ have the same value. That means that the value of USD and FP$ is governed by the following very basic mathematical equation.

$0.10 = 10 FP$

To make this equation simpler to use, I will use a very simple algebraic rule: I will divide both sides by 10. That means that the equation is still valid, just expressed in a slightly different way.

$0.01 = 1 FP$

That means that every single FP$ is worth one cent in USD. Now that we have established this relationship, it is very easy to figure out the value of a number of other things. Here is a table. Note that the current exchange rate for USD to EUR is $1 =€0.91

United States Dollars (USD)

1 FP$ = $0.01
10 FP$ = $0.10
100 FP$ = $1
1,000 FP$ = $10
10,000 FP$ = $100

Euros

1 FP$ = €0.01
10 FP$ = €0.09
100 FP$ = €0.91
1,000 FP$ = €9.07
10,000 FP$ = €90.77

Using the above tables, you can approximate the value of your own FP$ supply in USD. You can also figure out the exact amount by simply using a calculator to multiply your current FP$ supply by 0.01. At the moment, I have 4,816.96 FP$. In USD, that is worth approximately $48.17.

Conclusion

FP$ is a currency which has a tangible value, even though it cannot be converted directly into a real-world currency. In this article we established a baseline for comparing the value of FP$ and USD. In future articles in the Forum Economics series, I will be discussing how the ideas of inflation and Deflation effect forums, how much other things are worth in FP$, and how to assess the value of your own forum’s virtual currency.

Forum Promotion March Madness

It’s March Time, Baby!

This month, Forum Promotion is going to have a come back. We have four events lined up which will knock your socks off. Between all of them, we will be giving away $125, over 10,000 FP$, a ton of free service passes, and more! We hope that these events will help spark the FP community, just in time for spring break and of course, March Madness!


1. 2015 Site Battle Madness – Starting Today!
More Information: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=128721

It’s that time of the year again! Similarly to the NCAA’s March Madness, we will also be hosting our second annual tournament here on FP. We’re offering some great prizes, including $95, a plethora of free services, FP$, and other goodies! Users will also receive FP$ for voting! Click the topic above to read up on the details and find out how to submit your website. Signups are open until March 17, and the tournament will commence shortly thereafter and conclude in mid-April.


2. 2015 Article Competition – Starting Today!
More Information: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=128745

Interested in showing off your knowledge of how to manage a forum? The 2015 article competition will allow you to submit your sage advice to the FP blog, with the highest quality submission receiving a $10 prize, along with a total of 5,000 FP$. Members will also receive quality awards for second place, or even just sending in an entry. If you’re interested. please check out the global announcement linked to below.


3. Forum Promotion Community Survey – Starting Today!
More Information: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=128752

For the first time ever, we’re conducting a community-wide survey. We would like to know your views on the state of Forum Promotion, and how we can improve the site. We have an external survey set up and will accept comments through PM. All it takes is five minutes of your time, and you’ll be rewarded with125 FP$, and a chance to win $10 and several free services. We look forward to hearing from you!


4. A Very Special Announcement – The End of the Month

Come the end of the month, we’ll have a special announcement that will shake the community as we know it! We’ll be monitoring participation in these events this month and decide how much information we will release come March 31st! Feel free to speculate, but you won’t get any more hints from us!


Talk about a lot to do! We hope to see everyone get involved! If you have any comments, feel free to post them. We are very eager to hear your thoughts and ideas, both on these new events, and on how to improve FP in the future. Thank you very much for helping to keep Forum Promotion around, and we very much look forward to this month’s excitement! We hope you have as much fun as we do!

The FP Staff Team

Why Post Exchanges Work

Introduction

You might think “I can build content myself.” The answer is, yes! You can build content yourself. The unfortunate side effect of trying to build content yourself is it makes your forum look inactive. Your forum will look inactive because there won’t be any conversation. The majority of people go onto forums to engage in conversation.

The other unfortunate side effect of the owner posting too much is the forum can look intimidating to new members. When the entire forum is populated by one person, especially when that person is the owner, it looks intimidating to a new member because they believe they’ll be held to the same posting standards. When someone goes onto a forum to have conversation with people, and only finds conversation with one person, they’ll leave. People will want conversation with as many people as possible on a forum. Post exchanges bring those people.

The easy solution to this problem is to get some new faces into your community. Post exchanges do exactly that. They help bring more experiences and ideas into your community. They can make the forum look less intimidating to regular viewer because there are multiple posters activity involved within your community. The more faces and opinions you have within your community, the more you will make conversation.

They are a quick way to increase conversation

If you currently have three active members on your forum, post exchanges will really help you to increase your forum conversation. Think of it this way. For every one post you do on someone else’s forum they’ll do one on yours. If you have three active members already within your community, you can expect about three or four new posts by the people already active within your community for every one quality post a post exchanger makes. How can it work like this? Simple, those three active members of your community will likely respond to that post that the post exchanger made on your forum. That would mean that you can get three posts on your forum for every one post that you make on someone else’s forum!

They help build statistics

This is an obvious point. If someone is debating joining your forum, they are more likely to join if they see twenty members instead of five. People go on forums to have conversation with other people, both of the same background and of different backgrounds. The more members you have, the better chance you and your members have at quality conversation. It’s your job as a forum admin to find different people of many different viewpoints and backgrounds to help create conversation on your forum. Post exchanges do just that. Post exchanges can help find people of many different backgrounds while at the same time driving up member and post count.

They put new ideas into the community

Whether it’s just you, or it’s many different people, eventually, the members of your current community will get tired of each other. It’s because they’ll seem to know everything about the current community. The same conversation will grow old. In my experience, this can happen very quickly, normally in about a week, especially if no one new joins your community. How will you get some new faces into your community? Post exchanges excel at getting new faces into the community. Think about it, you can do a post exchange with ten people, that’s ten new faces into your community. That’s ten faces that a majority of your current community hasn’t interacted with already. That’s ten people who can bring new conversation into your community! Post exchanges are the best way to make sure you get new conversation into your community.

They aren’t time consuming

Honestly, post exchanges don’t take up much time. It is not very hard (or time consuming) to do ten posts on someone else’s forum. It only takes me about twenty minutes. It will take me much longer to do posts on my own community. Because of the fact, I’ve already posted all of my thread and post ideas on my forum, while I haven’t already posted those ideas on other forums that I might do a post exchange with. It’s a very beneficial system for everyone involved. You’re helping their community, while at the same time they’re helping yours. This partly goes back to point three. Post exchanges put new ideas into the community.

Conclusion

Post exchanges really do work. They are the best way to build content on a new forum. You can’t do what a post exchange does by yourself. They put new faces into your community and ensure new ideas pop around your forum. They aren’t very time consuming and benefit your community, and whoever you do they post exchange’s community.

Securing SSH login on your VPS/ Dedicated Server.

 

Malicious hackers are keen to gain access to your server. Powerful dedicated/ virtual servers, which are always on, form an important part of the hackers botnet arsenal. These botnets are used by the hackers for tasks ranging from bitcoin mining to the more malicious sending of Spam and engaging in Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Fortunately it isn’t all that difficult to prevent the bot scanners from gaining access to your server. Protecting my new hobbie project’s dedicated server took me less than 5 minutes.

What we are going to do is: create a sudo user, disable root login, and change the servers SSH port. This guide is intended for an Ubuntu/ Debian system, although commands can easily be found for CentOS and the like.

Small tip: You can paste anything into putty using the “right click” on your mouse.

    1. Login to SSH, using a program such as Putty, with your root login details.
    2. Create a new user (e.g. replace “username” with admin57 without quotes) with the command:                     #  sudo adduser “username”                                                                                                                                       You will be prompted for a password. Ensure that it is secure and that you take note of it.
    3. Give this user sudo permissions: # sudo adduser “username” sudo
    4. Using an editor (vi or nano) open up /etc/ssh/sshd_config e.g. with the command:                                        # nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config
    5. Near the top of the file, you should see Port 22 listed. Use the arrow keys to get to the text and change 22 to a random port number e.g. 7654. Note this down.
    6. Find (Ctrl W if you are using Nano) “PermitRootLogin Yes” and change it to “PermitRootLogin no”.
    7. Save and exit the editor (Ctrl X if you are using nano).
    8. Run the command: #service ssh restart

To gain access to your server, login to SSH as the new user (remember you also changed the port!). Then type “su” without quotes and press enter. Then enter your root password and you will gain root access.