Monthly Archives: October 2014

Postloop Review

Postloop

Review written by Joshua Farrell

For those who generally need a little extra kick in their overall forum post and topic totals, one would tend to try to utilize post exchanges of any sort that they can go after. So what would this article be on? A posting exchange service that is one of the few that actually launched plenty of forums into activity. The service? Postloop.

What is Postloop?

Postloop is a website where you can actually do a number of things. First, you can exchange posts or comments with fellow forum and blog administrators. Second, you can earn money from posting on forums or blogs. Third, you can pay people to post on your forum or blog. That is the basics of Postloop.

Postloop was established in 2010.

So, now on to the review.

First Impressions

When I load Postloop, I notice a number of things as it loads. First, I see that they have a relatively uncluttered and “quick to inform you” type of menu. It has a home link, a “How it Works” link that leads you to the page that describes a little more of what the website is about, a register link, links for the type of websites that you can post on, which are forums and blogs, a link to their support board, and a login link.

Below, in the main area of their home page, you see two things, a description of what you can do if you are there to earn money, and a video. The video is informative, and it covers everything that one can do. The description on the other hand, only covers those who want to earn money, and you don’t find anything about exchanging posts, or anything for forum or blog owners. This can be improved if the owner wants less confusion when someone lands on the page, considering that first impressions are everything, and the site is supposed to be catering to everyone, not just those who want to earn from posting. Infact, how many people will watch an introductory video, if they are assuming that a website is about one thing, when it shows that it is dedicated around something else?

Under the above mentioned section, you then find under the video, the current posts exchanged through Postloop, which at the moment, is at an amazing 2,785,000 posts exchanged or earned! That is allot that had been posted! And that is allot of posts exchanged on generally any site in general! BUT, one would have expected more, even though they had only been running for 4 years so far. Still, that is pretty amazing to see that forum and blog owners were able to get that many posted for them, in the course of the site’s current age.

Now at the bottom, but not in the footer, you will find three boxed off areas. The first is for forum and blog owners, telling them what they can do at the website to get activity. That is great, but this could have been mentioned in the introductory area above this, next to the video! The second box shows a few reviews that were given of the site, but is mislabeled for what it is about. The third box shows news of the website, but doesn’t make mention of the 2.5 million posts that was earned through them.

Inside Pages

The How It Works page, tells you a little bit more on what can be done there, but entirely misses the third point of the site, which is the pure exchange aspect of it, which is I post on your site, you post on mine part of it.

At the bottom of that page, you will find links to more parts of the website, like a link to the FAQ.

Generally speaking, the menu system for everything isn’t exactly user friendly. I can see why people find it slightly difficult to work with, to figure out answers to stuff, without posting on their support board.

Their support board appears to be semi active, but could be more active, based on the number of users that are just registered on the support board.  It also appears as if the staff are not doing as much replying to various support related topics. I have been observing topics made, and not many of the questions have been answered by staff for some time. So this may be a worry, if the item is not deemed urgent by them.

Logged In Pages

For the most part, everything that is in the “My Dashboard” area is pretty good on what needs to be shown. It shows your average point per post, your overall rating, and some other important information.

When you go through the dashboard, it has a area that lists all of the forums or blogs that you have submitted to get posts on. Then you have the subscriptions page, which shows you which forums you have subscribed to, and the posts you did, along with the points. Next you have the messages page, where it shows you the conversations you had with fellow Postloop users. Then you have the ratings selections, which you can see the ratings you received, or had given out to others.

The deposits and withdrawals page allows you to either add points to your account via real money (if you are paying for posts), and it also allows you to withdraw points into real money too, via Paypal.

The referrals page, allows you to see all the users you had referred, and how much points you earned from them. For future note, they currently give you a 20% rate on the points your referrals earn or buy. They also have promotional graphics and such that has your referral link in it.

All of the stuff relating to this, is nicely organized; which I like to see. ūüôā

Subscribing to Forums/Websites

The one thing I dislike about the forum and blog listing pages, is the fact that the list that is provided, is a long list. They don’t start the second page, till 100 forums/blogs are listed! Which makes the page seem even longer, due to the amount of information that is provided on the page! I believe these pages should be worked on just a little, to make the list seem shorter, yet still have the same number of listings on it.

Final Comments

Though I like the concept of the site, some of the things on it needs to either be changed, or more clear.  I think it is a great idea to allow people to use a service that basically lets you get members and posts, without spending a lot of time promoting! I also think it is a great idea for those who also want to earn money, by spending a little bit of time each day to post!

Though the biggest concern I had with the whole thing, is how the service appears from the beginning, and how some of the site is not user friendly.

I think that the website has even more potential, considering how few and far in-between websites like these are found on the internet! It is just, that if the owner wants to be able to provide a service that can provide a even better job at providing an exchange medium, he needs to make some changes that will let people find things much easier!

And that wraps up my review! I hope you enjoyed reading it!


Joshua Farrell is an Administrator of Forum Promotion, and a member of the Editorial Team that runs this blog. He can be reached on the forum of this website, via PM if you would like to suggest things to be added to the blog, or if you have any questions or comments in general in relation to the blog itself. He can also be reached by commenting on the articles he writes. Feel free to comment on any of his, or anyone elses’ articles.

Weekly Staff Member Interview Series #7 – Cosmic

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Staff Member Interview Series!

This week, we have decided to interview Cosmic. This member is a staff member of Forum Promotion, and is part of the Editorial Team!

Now on to the interview!


Hi Cosmic, the question I like to start off with, just like everyone else, is what can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Matt E, and I also frequently go by “Cosmic.” My day job is as a software developer at a defense contractor. In addition to that, I develop websites, and also write science fiction when I get a chance.

How has your time here at FP been? What do you like about the community?

Forum promotion is a very good website. There really isn’t any other place that I know of which lets you bootstrap a forum like you can do at FP. You can start with a forum that has zero posts and go to a thousand, and beyond, pretty quickly if you play your cards right.

What can you tell us about the Feedback Exchange?

FeedbackExchange is a forum dedicated to one thing: receiving feedback on your websites and ideas. We have sections for websites, forums, businesses, open source, projects, graphics, writing, and more. All you have to do is post a single topic, no other posts required, and we will guarantee you one lengthy review, and will answer any questions which you have about how to better improve your project.

You can find FeedbackExchange at the following URL: https://feedbackexchange.org/

Are there any other forums you are part of the staff?

Not currently. I was a forum moderator on the RuneScape Official Forums a few years back. That was a very interesting experience, and I think it made me a better forum administrator. Also I’ve helped out with a few websites started by other people here in the FP community, although most of them have disappeared over the years.

What advice can you tell newer admins here at Forum Promotion, on what they could do to better their new forums?

Start with an idea: If you want to create a successful website, you first need to have a good idea. An idea which, above all, interests you enough to keep you interested until the website is a success. Let’s take my own website as an example. I started FeedbackExchange because I wanted a place where I could get high-quality feedback on my ideas, so I decided to create that place myself. That brief sentence “a place where people can …” is the idea behind your forum. Kind of like a mission statement, but short and to the point. This is what you will need before you can do anything else, and as I said, it needs to be a mission which interests you.

Then, build a great website: Once you know what kind of website you’re going to make, you need to go ahead and build the website. This is the fun part. Give it flavor! Pick a good looking theme, but also make modifications to it to make it your own. Choose a logo! The more flair your website has, the more people will want to use it. Also make sure that your website is different enough from the competition that people will want to use your website over the other ones. You don’t have to be better than the competition, you almost never will be at first, but you can always be different.

Build up your post count: Now that you have a good website, you will need to start promoting. When I monitor my website’s progress I look at only one statistic. Not page views, not visits. Post count. Page views are so transitory. One day you might have a thousand, the next day a hundred. But posts will persist. Your post count tomorrow will be greater than or equal to your forum’s post count today. It always goes up, never down. The higher your forum’s post count, the more valuable it is. The better people will think of it when they are considering joining your forum.

To increase post count, you will need to promote. The most effective ways to receive posts on a few forum are, in my opinion (and also in order):

1. Posting messages yourself – you can only post so many of these, but in the beginning, you will always have more posts that every other member on your forum. Make sure to reply to as many posts by other people as possible.

2. Posting Exchanges – Posting exchanges may seem inefficient. How can a 15:15 exchange be that good for my website, you might ask. The reason why post exchanges are so useful is that you can reply to the posts other people make on your website, which means that doing a 15:15 post exchange with someone else will result in about 23 new posts on your forum (you probably won’t be able to replay to every post they make, which is why I say 23 instead of 30). If you have other members, that factor can be even greater. Until your forum has a couple thousand posts, you will need to do post exchanges, and a lot of them.

3. Staff Members – Generally you will get more posts via post exchange than your staff members in a new forum. This is alright. Don’t push your staff members too hard, because they may just give up. If you recruit a few administrators or moderators and make clear to them that they are part of the team rather than just hired help, they will make your forum a better place, and increase the post count.

I guess you can say that that’s my plan to make FeedbackExchange a success. I think it’s a good one, so I recommend you try it. Either way, good luck with your website.

Since you have been here for a number of years, what would you suggest to improve Forum Promotion? It could be anything.

One thing I think could be improved in FP is the promotion directory. Back when I first joined FP the promotion directory was a single forum, rather than several different subforums (Advertising/Services, Webmaster, etc). The idea when the subforums were put in was to make it easier to find what people were looking for. However, ever since that happened I’ve noticed one problem.

With forums divided into so many different categories, people rarely venture outside of the forum where their website is being advertised. People don’t discover new things as much, and each individual subforum is a lot quieter than the one, single section used to be.

What I’m trying to say is that when you first start a forum (generally speaking, not just on FP), all you hear are crickets. The silence is so deafening that your ears feel like they’re about to burst. No one is interested. No one cares. No one says anything. If the FP promotion directory could become a place where members and staff members post “maybe you should fix XYZ,” or “That’s a pretty good website, good luck!” with more frequency, then I think FP would become a much better place. I think removing the subforums would be one way to help fix this problem. Another way, of course, is for FP staff members, and members as well, to post comments on peoples’ threads in the promotion directory. Let people know that someone cares. To a new website, that could be the one push which keeps the owner from giving up.

In the years that we had the older Content Team, and the current Editorial Team, what are the things you know that they did as part of their team?

The blog has come a long way since it was first introduced, I think. The layout looks better and the content is good too. Good luck with the blog, and I hope the articles you publish in it can give a lot of new forum admins a helping hand.


And that wraps up this weeks staff member interview! Thank you for reading this, we hope you will continue reading these every week that they are posted!

Feel free to comment below on the interview. Also, feel free to ask the person that got reviewed any questions you feel like!

Creating Email Accounts at your Domain

There are many benefits to have a @yourforum.com email address. First, you are able to more easily prove to services that you are, indeed, the owner of your website. Second, your forum appears more professional when you contact, or are contacted by, members and other webmasters. Creating these email accounts, however, can be more difficult than it may seem. You must ensure that your emails are not blocked by spam protection services, and that your email always functions correctly. This article is a tutorial on how to configure these email address.

There are three different options which this article will cover for hosting email addresses. Each option is viable, and has its own pros and cons.

1. Hosting Email using cPanel

Most web hosts today offer cPanel with their services. While not universal, many of these hosts also allow you to create @yourdomain.com email accounts using cPanel. To create one of these email accounts, you will need to follow the below steps.

Step #1: Log into cPanel and visit the “Mail Accounts” section under “Mail.”

Step #2: Enter the email address and password.

Step #3: Click “Create Email Account.”

Alternatively, you can set up a forwarder to send all emails to that address towards your personal email account, but that way you cannot send email using your forum email account.

The benefits of using cPanel for email is that it is completely, 100% free (unless your host charges extra for this feature, which a good web host probably won’t). Also, the UI for email is pretty good (RoundCube is the best option), but it could be better. The negative side of this feature is that spam identification services will often treat your emails as spam. Services such as Spamhaus deliberately mark IP blocks owned by web servers as spam, because it is very common for someone to register a shared hosting account, only to send a bunch of spam emails to a list of recipients. Because of this, there is a step #4 which you will need to follow to get your email to work for many email providers. Getting your email to work universally is very difficult, expensive, and beyond the scope of this article, unless you use one of the other methods discussed here.

Step #4: Go to the Spamhaus Removal Center and request your web server’s IP to be unlisted.

Your IP may not be listed. If it is not, then you’re in luck. If you are, then you may be able to get them to unlist your IP Address. I have done it successfully before using a Rackspace IP address, and it was not very difficult, but it may not be possible to convince them to unblock your free host’s IP address. For that reason, if you use a free web host, your email may very well be seen as spam by Gmail and other services.

That is why you may want to consider using one of the alternative options.

2. Google Apps for Business

Google Apps for Business will take any domain name (such as yourdomain.com) and allow you to create unlimited @yourdomain.com email addresses – for a price. However, you get full access to Gmail, google calendar, and other services. It is not cheap, but for many people, it is also not terribly expensive.

An important note relating to their pricing: you can have unlimited aliases. That means that your account can be your.name@yourdomain.com and that’s the account you can send email from. You can also set up aliases to receive email from. For example, you can have community@yourdomain.com and security@yourdomain.com, all pointed to your account. That counts as one user, and costs $5 per month. If you have a second admin on your website, then that’s a second user, and you have to pay $10 per month.

To set up your website with Google Apps for Business using cPanel:

Step #1: Log into cPanel and go under “MX Records.”

Step #2: Type in the MX records for Google Apps for Business. These can be found here.

Step #3: Once you have created your Google Apps account, you will receive a one month free trial. You will need to verify your domain name, which they walk you through on their website.

Again, this option can be expensive. For a better price, there is a third alternative which will still prevent your email from being marked as spam.

3. Rackspace Email

Rackspace, which is a good quality hosting company, also offers email hosting. Their price is $2 per month per user, although they require that you pay for a minimum number of email accounts to use their service. Rackspace email is less than one half the price of Google Apps for Business. The downside is that you cannot use Gmail or Google Calendar, but this may not be a requirement.

To set up Rackspace email using cPanel:

Step #1: Log into cPanel and go under “MX Records.”

Step #2: Type in the MX records for Rackspace. These can be found here.

Step #3: Create your account at Rackspace. They will walk you through everything else.

In Summary

For creating email accounts @yourdomain.com, you have several options. The ones discussed in this article include cPanel, Google Apps, and Rackspace. The one which is best for your forum is a choice which depends on the needs of the individual forum itself.

Weekly Member Interview Series #7 ‚Äď Raees

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Member Interview Series!

This week, we have decided to interview Raees. This member has been a member of Forum Promotion since October 26th, 2013.

Now on to the interview!

Hi Raees, what can you tell us about yourself?

Hello Joshua, first of all thanks for selecting me for this interview. To begin with my name is Raees Nazeer, a 15 year old and I am from Karnataka, India but I have been staying in Saudi Arabia for the past 8 years and will be returning to India next year after completing my 10th grade. I spend most of my time online actually its my only hobby. I am also a huge Cricket fan and never miss any matches of my favorite Team India. I also spend my time designing themes and other things online.

How has your time here at FP been, and what do you like about the community?

It has been a great time since I joined FP, its really wonderful place and I have got lots of inspiration in my online world from FP. I like the friendliness of the members of the community and always ready to help and the services which the forum provides like the Package & Reviews are just excellent.

Do you own any forums, and what can you tell us about them?

I have started my journey of making forums in 2012 since then I have made many forums though most of them were unsuccessful, I haven’t given up in making more. I am still trying my best and working hard to make a forum popular like FP. At the present my mine project is PromotionCurve.Net which is also a Promotion Forum like FP, I have just began it and everything is going good till now, hope I will be successful with it.

If you had the chance to do anything in the world, what would it be?

If I had that chance I would like to wipe poverty from this world and make this world a better place to live in. First I would like to snatch all the money from those corrupt politicians and officers.

If you had $25,000,000 what would you do?

Thats really huge amount I would use to achieve my above goals by spending on poor peoples and helping the world to be a better place and I would also like to invest some for sites and forums for making them wonderful.


And that wraps up this weeks interview! Thank you for reading this, we hope you will continue reading these every week that they are posted!

Feel free to comment below on the interview. Also, feel free to ask the person that got reviewed any questions you feel like!

Naming Your Forum

This article has been awarded “Editor’s Choice” by Twisted Fairytale for its originality and helpful content.


Coming up with a good name for your website or forum is very important. A good name could mean the difference between a website which is successful, and one that it not. When you are going through the process of selecting a name, there are proven techniques which are designed to come up with as many names for your website as possible, and then eliminate the names which you do not like.

Before examining the method for coming up with a good website name, you need to come up with a list of requirements which you have for a name to be a “good name.”

Requirements for a Good Website Name

This list is fairly subjective, so feel free to use your own list of requirements. It is important, though, that you understand your own personal list of requirements for a good website name. Here is the list that I recommend.

1. The .com or .org domain must be available

I recommend only registering .coms or .orgs, because of the infrequency at which .net domains are typically used. If you tell someone you know in person to visit yourwebsite.net, they are as likely as not to type in yourwebsite.com instead, and go to one of your competitors. If you would like to use a .club domain, or even a .net, though, that is your choice.

2. The name must be short and to the point.

Long names are hard to remember, so it is best to keep away from them. Usually a name is a combination of two english language words: ForumPromotion, CreateSpace, DigitalPoint, StackOverflow, etc, etc. Most of the domain names for single english words have been taken, such as Amazon.com and Hover.com, so looking into those names may be a waste of time. Names which are composed of three words are usually too long, unless one of the words is “the” (such as TheAdminZone.com). Also, a name can be a misspelling¬†of a real english language word, such as Google, which is a misspelling of Googol. In summary, there are three types of good, short names: One word names, two word names, and one word misspelled names.

3. The name must be pronounceable by yourself

This is very important. If the name is a tongue twister, which is common for two word names, then it is not a good names. You need to be able to say it. Also, if you have a speech impediment and cannot pronounce a particular name with good clarity, it is best not to use that name (you are the website’s founder, so you will be saying¬†the name a lot).

Method for Generating a Lot of Website Names

This technique is known as brainstorming. It is seen by experts as one of the best ways to come up with a large number of names in a short period of time. It requires only a piece of paper (or a text editor), and a pencil (or a pen, or a keyboard). You can turn on some music if that helps your creativity flow, but that is purely a matter of personal preference.

What you will need to do is write down a list. A very, very long list. It is imperative that you keep writing until you have a lot of names written down. It is also crucial that you do not take a break from writing these names down. Do not check whether a domain name is available, and do not stop to consider whether a name is a good one. Just write down names.

Here is what you will need to do:

Step #1: Write down your keywords

Write down a list of “keywords” which apply to your website. For example, if you have a debate forum, then those keywords would be: “Debate, Policy, News, Politics, Washington, etc,”

Step #2: Expand your list of keywords

Find a thesaurus, such as the one from reference.com, and type each of your keywords into the thesaurus. Add any good synonyms to your list of keywords.

Step #3: Write down two word combination names

Start making a second list. This is a list of potential names. Keep writing down possible¬†variations on your keywords until you can’t think of any more. The best way to convey how you should do this is by example. Again, using a debate forum as an example, here is a list of possible names which is right off the top of my head.

DebateForum
DebateCentral
DebateZone
DebateSpot
PolicyForum
PolicyZone
PolicyNews
NewsSpot
PolicyPlace
PolicyBoard

Here are a few different formats which you can use in coming up with new items for your list.

(keyword)(place)          example: DebateSpot
(keyword)(activity)      example: DebateTalk
(verb)(keyword)            example: ThinkDebate
(keyword)(keyword)    example: PolicyNews

Step #4: Write down misspellings of keywords.

Start by taking your list of keywords and removing vowels from each. Remember, a vowel is one of: A E I O U. You can also try replacing one vowel with a different vowel, because several of them sound pretty similar when pronounced. Also, if you think of other¬†misspellings, write those too. Here is an example, again using a debate forum. Note that if you don’t like “Web 2.0” names, then you can skip this step.

plicy
policie
policee
dbate
debte
debat
debt
deb8
debayte
washingtn
washingtun
washingtin

Most of the names you will come up with will not be good, but if you keep writing for long enough, there will be good names in your list. The key is sorting through them.

Method for Selected a¬†“Good” Website Name From a List of Possibilities

Now that you have a three lists of names, combine them into a single list.Taking the lists I mentioned above, that list would be:

Debate
Policy

DebateForum
DebateCentral
DebateZone

plicy
policie
policee

Every item in this long list of names is a potential name, but since brainstorming is a very spontaneous process, 90% of these names will be, to be completely honest, awful. You need to weed out the bad names. This is done by applying your list of name requirements to your long list of possible names. Here is the process which I recommend. You can use a different process, but that is your choice.

1. Use a Bulk Domain Name Availability Checker

This process will usually weed out more than half of your candidates. Go to the Godaddy Bulk Domain Name Availability Checker, type in your really long list of candidates, select which TLDs you are interested in, and press the submit button. The list of domains which Godaddy returns should be your new list of candidates.

2. Go through each existing name and roll it around in your mind.

For each name in your list, stop for¬†a moment and ask yourself: is this a good name? If it’s a bad name, remove it. It comes down to a matter of personal preference.

3. Try Pronouncing each remaining name.

Say the name aloud. If it’s a tongue twister, remove it.

4. For each remaining name, google it.

Google the name to make sure that it’s not being used by someone who is likely to sue you. This is particularly important if you are making a product. Less so for a website.

5. Do a Patent & Trademark Search.

This is not required, but generally a good idea. Go to the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office, or the trademark office in your country (or maybe both!) and type in the name into their trademark search system, both with and without the TLD in it. If you find a trademark, then seriously consider whether using this name is worth the risk of legal action. If not, then the name is good.

The list of names which you have remaining after this process are all good names. You can pick the one which you like the most, or one of them randomly. It doesn’t matter, since each has fit your own personal criteria.

This process of coming up with names is a good one, and will produce a long list of potential names which you can use for your website.

Are promotion forums as effective as we think?

This article was first posted on our blog on 07/02/2010. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


Are promotion forums as effective as we think?

Over the last couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about how promotion forums work and whether they are effective. I would of course love to think promotion forums are the most effective way of advertising forums, websites and blogs, but I do have some points I would like to cover.

Promotion forums came about around 7 years ago (3 years, when this article was first written), I myself joined a lot of them around that time, they were, as you know, a big hit! People joined at once, having found it hard to get members before the introduction of promotion forums. However, many users, including myself, quickly discovered some of the important caveats which have to be taken into account when using promotion forums.

Services such as basic promotion, where you will post a link and description of your website or forum, while effective in some ways, depend on the types of people who use the forum you are advertising on. By definition, the only people who are going to join from a promotion forum are other webmasters. I, myself, do not consider this to be desirable, because I want members with a keen interest in the topic of my forum. While members who join from a promotion forum will make posts on your website, their primary interest is most likely in getting you to join their forum, which means that if you do not, then they will stop posting on your forum.

Consider large¬†sites such as http://neoseeker.com, which¬†have 1000’s of members, some of them over a million! I am willing to bet that a¬†forum like Neoseeker has never¬†advertised¬†on a promotion forum. This brings up the question: how did they get¬†so many members? I think it’s a combination of a quality website-building,¬†good SEO,¬†and¬†affiliations¬†with other sites of the same sort. Of course, the entire purpose of a promotion forum is to advertise to its members, just as you would when affiliating with any other forum. However,¬†when you affiliate your forum with a website that has¬†the same subject matter as yours, then you are appealing to a group of people who are¬†more likely to register, more likely to post interesting messages, and more likely to continue to show interest in your forum for the months to come.

When you want to find a new forum, what do you do? I myself go to Google.com and type in what I’m looking for. I don’t think anyone¬†uses¬†promotion forums to search for forums¬†they want to be a part of. Any popular forum¬†will be on google, and is a single search query away, so that is where most people go looking. Many¬†popular forums advertise¬†on ForumPromotion.net, and similar websites, but it is much easier to search for these websites using Google, rather than a promotion directory. I know it, and most of your forum’s potential members know it.

Promotion forums are not useless. Reviews, posting packages, exchanges. These are valuable services which are offered by promotion forums, including ForumPromotion.net. If you want to make your website a success, however, you cannot rely only on promotion forums. You have to recognize that the advertising services offered by promotion forums are only useful to a point. Find other websites similar to yours and make affiliate agreements with them. Research how to build strong SEO on you forum, so that people will discover it using google. These are the proven, reliable ways to make your forum successful, and the ones which will best serve your community both now and in the future.

Building Content Using Post Exchanges

When a forum is first created, it has only a single post; usually a boilerplate message from the software, posted by a user named “phpBB” saying something to the effect of “Welcome to your new website! Do log into the admin panel, do such and such.” As the owner of a new forum, it is your job to fill up all of that empty space, so that people will want to join your website. There are several ways to build content on a forum, but this post will focus on using post exchanges, because it is perhaps the most effective method.

First of all, what is a post exchange? Simply put, a post exchange is an agreement between two forum administrators, where both people agree to post a certain amount of messages in each others’ forum. Admin #1 (that’s you) will post 15 messages on Admin #2’s forum, and in exchange, Admin #2 will post 15 messages on Admin #1’s forum (again, that’s you).

The best way to start a post exchange is to go to the post exchange section of ForumPromotion.net, which can be found here. If you want, you can start your own thread, but often that is not necessary. Simply scroll down the list of threads until you find a forum which meets your fancy. For example, if you are interested in webmaster forums, find a post exchange offered by a webmaster forum’s administrator. Just make sure that, at the very least, you receive one post on your forum for every one post you make on someone else’s. Otherwise, the exchange is not fair from your point of view.

Once you find the exchange thread you are interested in, ask the poster whether they want to do an exchange with your forum. Make sure to post a link. If they say yes, then create an account on their forum and start making the posts. If you want, you can go ahead and post all of the messages you agreed to post as part of the exchange. Or you can make the posts as the other person makes them. This is your choice, so long as you fulfill your end of the promise.

That’s all there is to it, really. Keep doing post exchanges, over and over again, until your forum has a few thousand posts. Make sure to reply to the topics and posts which¬†other people make, that way you receive even more new posts on your forum than you made on other peoples’ forums. Also make sure to post a lot of new topics on your forum so that people doing exchanges with you will have threads to reply to.

In summary, to build content on a new forum, you need to:

  1. Create a lot of topics in your empty forum so that people will have something to reply to.

  2. Go to the exchange section of FP and participate in post exchanges with other members until you have a good number of posts.

  3. Start promoting your forum via traditional methods (links, SEO, ad banners, etc.)

It may take a little while to build content on your forum. Months, definitely. If you’re busy, then maybe even a year, but if you follow this process, you will build content. With every post, your forum becomes better. Given time, this process will guarantee that your forum receives enough content to be marketable.

The Difficult Aspects of Moderation

As we all know, running a forum can be rewarding at times, but it can also be difficult and stressing. One way it can prove to be difficult is the moderation and administration side of things. Now of course, while administration tends to be tedious as far¬†as technical aspects go, it is pretty much veiled to the community with the exception of the Staff. Whereas with the moderation side of the forum, this is where it can ultimately make or break a forum in so many ways. I’ll touch base on three different sections regarding the difficulty of moderation with an in-depth report on each issue.

 

We will start with¬†setting up moderation on the forum. Life is not perfect, and the same can be said for the internet. One of the tasks that may prove to be daunting for an Admin is setting up rules and developing a moderation policy to be put in place for the community. Now you might be thinking that it might be a piece of cake and not to sweat it. While that can be said for some forum topics, the same can not be iterated for other serious topics. This first issue may be commonly found in heated forums such as political forums, religious forums, and other topics that tend to follow with arguments. So when working on the moderation policy and guidelines, one should always be keeping in mind how things will play out. Obviously you want your community to be welcoming to those who stumble upon it so they can root themselves in and become active, but you also do not want for it to become a playground for those to run around and do as they please with violations. While it might not be the most pressing issue covered in this article, it’s one that does merit some deep thought when in the early stages of your forum.

The second issue is consistency of moderation within the community. So I’ll give you an example: Billy Bob signs up to my forum and decides to insult one of the staff members. His post is reported and he receives a PM about the vulgarity rule. A few hours later, John Doe insults a new member inside a political topic on the forum. His post is reported, but the report is closed without any further action. John Doe is a former staff member with no previous moderation history on the forum. The issue with this is that the moderation was not consistent between the two reports. Even though John Doe was a previous staff member, his moderation history is the same as the new member, who got a PM for insulting someone else.

This brings me to my second point as I mentioned with consistency of moderation. Regardless of the member’s position or history on the forum, it should not warrant an override of your policy. Moreover, it eliminates all fairness to other members who were in the same situation in regards to moderation history. While it may be hard to not give a friend a grace pass or just to turn your head away to the violation because you’re worried about what will happen(we’ll cover this in the third section), it’s not only fair to your members, but it also shows your staff that you’re consistent in your decisions and policies. Even if the member was a former admin, they are still held to the same standards as a regular member, which does include following the rules and being subjected to the moderation policies set in place.

The third and final issue is member correspondence to moderation within the community. So let’s continue the scenario of John Doe not receiving¬†a PM for insulting another member, while Billy Bob got one. Sally Sue saw¬†the report on John and decided not to issue a PM. You might be wondering why he didn’t get a PM while the other member did. The reason he did not get a PM was because of his previous staff tenure. Sally did not want to cause any issues between her and John that would have occurred from John receiving the moderation PM from Sally. It has happened between on countless occasions to where rule violations have been passed off in fear of losing friends, damaging their reputation, etc. However, this can not impede the moderation of the forum. As a staff member, the first and foremost job is to essentially ¬†serve the community and moderate it within the guidelines and policies, regardless of all personal views/opinions. So if it comes down to them issuing a PM or Warning to their friend, while it might not work out good on the personal side, it’s strictly business; and it is strictly business since moderation is your job that you applied/were invited to do for the community. Of course as I said, life isn’t perfect and some will not like your actions as a Moderator, but in the end, your actions will good intentions will only serve to better the community.

 

So with guys, that pretty much wraps up these three difficult aspects of Moderation. You may find more as time goes on, but I just decided to touch base on these three commonly found issues.

 

phpBB 3.1 Launch around the corner

After many months of work and beta releases, the phpBB Team has announced the launch of phpBB 3.1, formally known as Ascraeus, on October 28, 2014. While the gold release is revealed on 10/28, you can download the newest beta release which was released today here. For those wanting some statistics on the development of Ascraeus, phpBB has announced the following:

  • Over 1K bug fixes

  • 1.5K Improvements

  • 11K commits

In the Ascraeus release, you’ll find quite a few large improvements to phpBB on all sides. For the Administration side of the forum, modifications have been replaced with the new extensions system. With extensions, all manual code edits have been done away with as all extension installations are done within the Admin Control Panel. Additionally, all updates are applied automatically by installing the new package within the Admin Control Panel.

The Moderation side of phpBB has received quite a few improvements including Soft Delete, and improved Global Announcements. Soft Delete allows you to effectively delete(hide) posts within topics from non moderators. As far as the Global Announcements, the permission system has been improved which allows you to tie one into a specific forum. Finally, The Team page can be customised to have separate tables for each usergroup. For those who use an external modification for a contact us page, 3.1 includes a built in Contact Page to contact an Administrator.

Lastly, the community can expect an advanced notifications system which will tag members when their post is quoted. And one can not forget the staple theme prosilver which is included in the default phpBB release, which has been cleaned up to be delivered with a modern look on all avenues of viewing the forum.

If you’re wanting to see the full list on what has been added to Ascraeus, check out the Launch Page here.

 

 

Weekly Member Interview Series #6 – Jamie

Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Member Interview Series! This week, we have decided to interview Jamie. Jamie has been a member of Forum Promotion since August 29th, 2010.

Before we get to the interview, the questions in bold type are questions asked by Joshua Farrell. The answers below them are Jamie’s answers to those questions.

Now on to the interview!


 

Hi Jamie, what can you tell us about yourself?

Hi there! I’m a twenty year old webmaster and tech lover from England. Monday to Friday I work at an IT company as part of a web development team, and in my free time I manage a couple of websites and projects of my own.

When I’m not sat behind a computer screen, I tend to spend my time shooting air rifles or at the pub. I’m a big sports fan and also love listening to music and watching films.

How has your time here at FP been, and what do you like about the community?

I’m been at ForumPromotion.net for over four years now, and it’s really helped give some of my projects a kick-start. There’s a strong community who in nine times out of ten are more than willing to help out another member which is essential with a community of this niche.

In my early days I always received support when I didn’t really know what I was doing, and it’s those early days that really matter in the webmaster world. Many will give up before they’ve even started, but when you have support from others who are patient with you it makes the experience and learning curve much more enjoyable. It’s this reason why I try to help others as much as possible, whether it be with knowledge or finances.

What can you tell us about The Blazon?

The Blazon is a little project I founded back in March 2014. I used to be Editor-in-Chief of a technology blog, but after the owner sold it on I realised I’d had enough of running a project but not having full control of it. This is why The Blazon was created, and I felt it would be more fun branching out to other topics rather than solely technology and the internet. This is why we now cover other niches such as entertainment (films, music, television), sports, world news, science as well as technology. This means it was a bit more refreshing for the team members and I as we weren’t writing the same things day in day out as we could change it up with a different topic if we wanted to.

Due to my limited free time, the website has suffered a little due to my lack of dedication, though I have recently sold one of my projects (FPS Forum) so that I can hopefully put some more time into it.

Do you own any other websites?

I own my personal blog/portfolio website JDAB.co.uk. This is rarely updated, but I occasionally write blog posts, as well as updating my current portfolio and domain names that I have for sale. I’m also Lead Administrator at a popular administrator forum called Admin Forums. I recently took management of the site to give it a new lease of life, and I’ve got lots of plans for the future for it.

What advice can you tell newer admins here at Forum Promotion, on what they could do to better?

Ask for help: Never be afraid to ask for help. There will always be people with more knowledge that you on topics to do with your website, so don’t be afraid to ask people. That’s why forums such as Forum Promotion and Admin Forums exist – they are communities designed for people to share knowledge.

Set aside some money: Yes, it’s possible to set up a website for free or a low amount, but if you want to succeed and grow, you will inevitably have to invest some cash. This may be for upgraded servers, designs or staff payments, but if you want to grow you eventually will have to inject cash.

I noticed you had previously been part of the Package Team. What can you tell us about what the Package Team does to help forum owners?

I’ve actually been part of the Package Team three times! The Package Team does a great job of boosting activity – though it’s only temporary, it does give your website a little boost which is often what can get your legacy members posting or commenting. It’s a fun team to be a part of too as you get to experience lots of different communities.

In the years that we had the older Content Team, and the current Editorial Team, what are the things you know that they did as part of their team?

I wasn’t really around in the days of the older Content Team, so I can’t comment on that. However, the new Content/Editorial Team seems to be putting in a high work rate which is exactly what’s needed – tips and guides for new members will prove a hit if done correctly.

Did you know you can write an article for the blog? If invited, would you like to write something about being a webmaster or a forum admin?

Sure – if I could have another day in the week! Time is limited these days!

If you had $25,000,000 what would you do?

I’d buy a nice house – not too big, mind. I modern style house with lots of parking space for all the cars I’d buy! I’d have a few Rolls Royce’s, a Nissan Skyline R34 and a Mercedes G-Wagen (to start with)! I’d still go to work Monday to Friday as I’d still want to live a relatively normal life. Of course I’d buy nice things like I mentioned above, but I love my job so why would I quit? I’d share my wealth with family and friends, as well as to charitable organisations.


And that wraps up this weeks interview! Thank you for reading this, we hope you will continue reading these every week that they are posted!

Feel free to comment below on the interview. Also, feel free to ask the person that got reviewed any questions you feel like!