Author Archives: Guest Author

Tips to Increase Your Traffic (for Free!)

This is something nearly everyone wants to do, whether you have a website, blog, or forum. Increased traffic leads generally to more revenue from your advertisements, increased community engagement, and, if you have something interesting on your site, more people who will return for information in the future. Once you get the traffic flowing, it tends to grow off of itself as long as you continue to provide good content and/or services. But the problem most of us face is how to get that initial traffic going. Continue reading

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 For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.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.

Spillit – Full Review Spotlight

Spillit
Full Review by Lucky!

You can access Spillit to see for yourself what it looks like, by clicking here.


I would like to preface one thing, and it’s kind of good. I was looking through Spillit for 30 minutes before starting this review and I would like to state that this review may not be too long for the reason being that there really isn’t much to comment on and because I cannot find a lot of things that warrant a negative score. However, I will try my hardest to make this full review somewhat long, kinda.

Scoring:

Image First Impressions & Appearance – (18 out of 20)

Before I start, I would like to say that I had been on Spillit before and have always been fond of the overall look and appearance of the layout. Starting with the navigation, everything is laid out really well and I like the shade of blue that you have chosen for the background color. We have a couple of links that lead to different areas of Spillit, which I would expect. Going down, we have some sort of welcoming area that gives a quick synopsis of what Spillit is and gives the guest a quick way to create an account, which is really important in hooking guests. Keep scrolling and we see yet another area that lists some of what Spillit has to offer and links to those parts of the site that allows guests to get a chance to explore before signing up. I really like this approach because the same thing works in selling items, if they customer can touch it and hold it, they are the most likely to purchase. Nearing the bottom, we get a really easy and quick form to fill out should one want to register an account. Overall, when I first load up Spillit, I am very happy with how everything looks and it makes me want to stay and look around mainly because I know exactly what Spillit is about, because it’s right on the homepage. The colors work really well with each other and everything just flows together for an overall great first impression! I like what you did here!

Image Site Layout – (18 out of 20)

Now, I would like to say that this section is going to be fairly brief. The reason being, there really isn’t much to comment on. The navigation bar consists of four links, excluding the login and register, that users would use often if they were already logged in. This enables users to quickly jump between pages without having a lot of links to choose from. What you have left on Spillit are the different pages that users can view, such as the live feed and their own page where I am assuming their answers would feed. What I like about the lack of pages is the fluidity that comes with a simple site layout. You have pages for the basic things that make Spillit tick and then the standard links in the footer. Aside from that, that’s all there is in terms of pages. I really like this part of Spillit, it’s, and I have to say it like this, it’s stupid easy to navigate. Everything just makes sense, and I just have to commend you on that. You did a really, really nice job on making sure everything has a place and that it’s easy to get to.

Image Statistics and Activity – (18 out of 20)

Upon looking all over, I was unable to find any type of statistics section to inquire about users or their posts. However, one thing that I was able to look at was the live feed, which was just buzzing with new content being shown. As I am typing this section, I am looking to my other monitor, which has Spillit shown, the live feed just continues to update with new content, which shows that your users are active and are posting answers a lot. Since I don’t have much to go by regarding stats, I will have to stop here. However, from what I can see, very nice job activity wise.

Image Content – (18 out of 20)

Again, there really isn’t much to touch on here. All of your content is user generated which always has some drawbacks. However, I find this area of the review hard to properly fill out mainly because the genre allows for short little blurbs of content to other users, I mean that’s what it here for. I wouldn’t expect full on content on Spillit just because that’s not what it’s meant for. It’s more of a confessions box that you can share what you think about someone either anonymously or not. Because of this, I will leave this area rather brief because there isn’t much to talk about. The genre doesn’t allow, and it’s not a bad thing, a lot of content to be posted that could be rated on the quality and quantity of content and so on as much as you would on a blog or a forum.

Image Spelling/Grammar & Professionalism – (20 out of 20)

Apart from user generated content, which isn’t bad on Spillit, everything looks great. I looked over all of your pages linked in the footer and used software to look them over and we both cannot find anything to correct. I can tell you took the time to read over what you wrote on these pages before publishing them. I like when webmasters do this because it shows they took the time required to fully look everything over in detail before showing the public. Again, not much to touch on.

Total Score – (92 out of 100)


Final Remarks:
I really love what you have going on here with Spillit. Everything is very well done and it shows that you have taken emense time to make sure everything not only works like it should, but the attention to detail is amazing. Thank you for allowing me to look over Spillit and I hope you enjoyed!

Image Strengths:

– The overall theme
– How everything is laid out – it just makes sense

Image Weaknesses:

– To be 100% honest, I really cannot think of one.

Ivandis – Review Spotlight

Image
Full Review by Lucky!

You can access Ivandis to see for yourself what it looks like, by clicking here.


Scoring:

Image First Impressions & Appearance – (18 out of 20)
When I first look at Ivandis, the first thing I noticed was the logo and the overall look of the theme, both of which were well done and looks like it took time to get right, which I commend you on. When I do full reviews, I like to break the impressions and appearance sections apart to make things a little easier to read and follow. So, let’s start off with the header.

Header and Navigation
As I commented on already, the logo is very nicely done and looks professional. I like what you did with the “I” with the sword instead of the letter, very attentive to detail. Looking over to the navigation links, I see some links that are appropriate for the game, and not so much for the forum itself, which I really like. The hover over effects are a nice touch, again, very attentive to detail. However, the “Shoutbox” link leads to an error message, probably because you have it set so guests cannot see/use it, which I can understand. However, If it was meant to be like that, you should remove the link from guests.

Guest Message
Reading the guests message, it looks very generic. If I didn’t read the description of your OP, I wouldn’t have known what Ivandis was. Now, that could have something to with my lack of knowledge of Runescape, however, I won’t be the only guest on Ivandis that may not know what the forum is about. If you give a little bit of information on what you are and what the features are of registering, guests that don’t already about it won’t want to register and learn. You are never sure, your website may make someone want to learn more and play the game, but they don’t know much, kind of like me.

Overall Content
After looking at the header and the guest message, the rest of the theme is just as nice. Normally, I am not a huge fan of dark themes, however, I really like what you have going on here. The colors are really nice together and are soft on the eyes. A lot of the time, people with dark themes have really bright text colors that make looking at the theme hurt, however, not on Ivandis. I really like the background that you have chosen as well because it just sets the tone for the main theme and just ties everything together. Overall, I am very impressed so far, let ‘s go on!

Image Site Layout – (18 out of 20)
Beginning, navigating Ivandis is very smooth, which is a big deal to capture a guest’s attention. Navigation links lead to where they are supposed to and do so in a quick manner. Looking at the actual forums, I like the layout. The layout of the boards is logical and what I really like is the amount of forums are just right in compassion of the amount of posts you have. The one thing that I did notice was “Player Support” really doesn’t have enough posts inside of it to warrant its own category, maybe move it inside the “Ivandis” category would make more sense? Doing so would leave four categories, which are perfect. The sidebar looks nice too, with the hooks that I would expect from an IPB powered board. However, near the bottom, there is some wasted space that could be utilized to display some more content. You could possibly make a “Top Player” hook or a “Random Topic” hook to expand the sidebar and offer more content to fill that gap. Other than that, I really can’t say much more because the content on Ivandis is amazing and I just can’t stop thinking about how meticulous the theme and layout are.

While looking at some of your forum descriptions, I feel they are lacking length and a good enough explanation of each forum.A good rule of thumb is descriptions should be at 2-3 sentences long and give a good enough idea of what the forum is about without the user having to click the forum to find out. What you have now isn’t bad, but could definitely be worked on to add more length and quality.

Image Statistics and Activity – (18 out of 20)
Looking over the averages of Ivandis, things are looking nice, noting you’ve only been open for 55 days. Let’s throw down some numbers shall we.

  • You have been open for 55 days and you have 9,953 posts. That equates out to 180 posts per day from your members. That’s a great number to start out with, really it is!
  • Currently, you have 228 registered users since you’ve been open, which results in 4 users registering per day since opening. Again, that is a nice number, especially due to the niche, which is narrow.
  • This is where things look really nice. You have 9,953 posts and 228 users, averaging that out comes to 44 posts per registered user. Again, a really nice number to have this early in opening. Keep that up!
  • Adding today’s posts up, it comes out to 84 posts, 20% of which were posted by LordMinix.
  • Adding up the staffs post totals, it comes out to 1,135, which is 11% of the overall 9,953 posts. Now, this can be a double edged sword here. Seeing a number like 11% is nice because it shows the other 89% of the community are the ones supporting the discussions, not just the staff. However, you also want to make sure that your staff are doing their part as well to post. To achieve this, normally a number around 20% is a good line to draw when it comes to overall staff participation. However, where you are now numbers wise is a really nice start and if you can keep this numbers up, you are on a track of success.

Another thing that I like is the posts are spread out amongst the forums, not just in one particular forum. Overall, I am very happy with this section! Nicely done!

Image Content – (14 out of 20)
I can’t go too much into detail in this section primarily because Ivandis isn’t supposed to be a forum, more a game. Therefore, I wouldn’t expect the forums to be littered with general discussion topics and such. However, the posts that I have looked through looked good and of good quality. Like I said, I can’t go too far in ratings here just because of the usage of your forum, but overall, good job.

Image Spelling/Grammar & Professionalism – (16 out of 20)
Overall, this section does really well on Ivandis. There really isn’t much to look over mainly because you have a lot of user generated content, which is subjective in itself when it comes to quality. However, regarding your “Vote” page, I did find a few things. Suggestions to the page will be edited in blue.

// Why should you vote?
If you enjoy the server, and want the server to continue running with a fair amount of activity, you should vote daily so we get higher up the RuneScape private server lists. By getting higher up these lists, people are more likely to join, thus making our server more and more popular!

// What do I get out of it?
Well for a start, no one likes to play a server by themselves! So, by voting you’ll be helping us but also helping yourself because the more players there are, the more fun it is for you!

Secondly, you will get a reward! When you vote on all the websites you can choose from a list of rewards and can claim this reward in-game, read further for instructions on how to claim your reward.

// How do vote points work?
Vote points are a way of saving your votes in order to spend them later. You can gain a vote point

// How can I claim my reward?
Once you have voted on all the sites, you will be requested to enter your username and choose a reward. After choosing your reward, simply log into the server or if you’re already logged in then just reload and the reward will be added to your inventory.

// How often can I vote?
Unfortunately due to the restriction on most of the RSPS Top Lists, you can only vote and claim a reward once every 12 hours. This is not something that we can change.

// Important!
Make sure your vote has been submitted before you click next! If you skip a website and try to claim a reward, you may have to start again, usually you can just reload the page and the sites you’ve already voted for and vote for the ones you skipped.

Total Score – (84 out of 100)


Final Remarks:
Overall, I am very impressed with Ivandis and where it has come in little over a months time. Keep up your statistics and content and I think you will do just fine. It was a fun time looking over Ivandis and snooping around to find the things I did. I did very well and you deserve the 84 score!

Image Strengths:

– Statistics
– Dark theme is nicely done

Image Weaknesses:

– Condense some forums that don’t need their own category just yet
– Maybe watch the profanity within posts?

Taking Advantage of Promotion Forums

Hey there, I’m going to tell you some useful tips for taking maximum advantage of promotion forums, as a lot of people only get a small percentage of what they could get from forums like this. I’ll tell you all the methods I use!

Promotion Topic

Okay the obvious one, make a promotion topic but just making a promotion topic isn’t good enough. You need to make a topic that really draws people in, a topic that makes potential users, users! Having a logo at the top is always good. Then give a general description of the site. Some statistics, staff team details, site announcements, stuff like that. Also play around with the colours, boldness,underline,centering and things like that to make it presentable. Also make sure you have decent spelling and grammar in your promotion topic, if English isn’t your first then ask someone else to have a look through it.

Bumping

Okay there’s no point leaving your thread to die, you’ve get to update as much as you can within the rules, now I will admit sometimes I go bump, please join and I really shouldn’t do that. Include some new statistics, any new announcements, maybe a few of the latest threads, things like that to make your bump more interesting.

Exchanges

Sometimes it’s good to exchange with other users. Do things like 10 posts for 10 posts. It’s a great way to make your forum larger and if your lucky you might get a few people you exchanged with deciding they liked the forum so they carry on posting also for a potential member, the more quality content there is on the site the better.

Signature

Post your website link in your signature and maybe a logo in there, this gets you backlinks and gets you more publicity. If you don’t know how to add things to your signature then here’s a few things you can do.

Code:
[url=http://yoursitelink.com]YOURSITENAME[/url]

Also why not add some bold or underline to it.

Code:
[b]BOLD[/b][u]UNDERLINE[/u]

Maybe even some colour.

Posting Around & Getting a Good Reputation

This is a massive one that a lot of people miss. If you get a decent amount of posts and trust among the members then people are likely to want to do deals and exchanges with you and they are more likely to join your site. So make high quality posts, maybe ways to promote. Engage with members in threads like Hello/Goodbye Thread and most of all don’t get into arguments with other members.

Requesting Services

To make full advantage of a promotion forum you need to request services. Save up your forum credits. I think the two crucial services are the posting package service because it gives your a forum a boost in bad times and also the review service because it highlights problems with your websites and helps you improve it which leads to more members.

Be Helpful

I’ve already touched on this subject previously but been helpful really does help. People love to join a forum if they know the owner is a kind and helpful person. Reply to people’s promotion threads giving them constructive feedback and help people when they ask questions in sections like this one.

Affiliations

If a forum has an affiliation exchange section then use it! I know not everyone wants affiliation images plastered on their homepage but why not make a affiliations page? Your members won’t be bothered if there’s a little text link somewhere saying affiliations. So set up your affiliation page, make an affiliation image and head over to section’s like this. What you do then is up to you. What I would do is make a post saying something like ‘Hey, would you like to affiliate with {YOUR FORUM NAME HERE}. My affiliation page is here (HYPERLINK THE WORD HERE) This is my affiliation image code:

Code:
[url=YOURSITELINK][img]AFFILIATIONIMAGE[/img][/url]

If you accept this affiliation I’ll add yours soon as’. You don’t have to say that but it’s a good guideline. I’d post that on as many affiliation topics as I could that’s starter has logged on recently and their websites still open. Then I’d make a thread asking other people if they want to affiliate. You do this list as it makes yours at the top of the list.

Monthly Contests

Many forums run forum and site of the month contests. I would suggest entering them. There’s no harm in it. It doesn’t matter if you lose. Even if you lose people may still have found your site from it and signed up. However if you do win it can gain you a lot of exposure and a lot of new members. If you do win then I’d suggest mentioning it when you bump your thread.

One off Contests

Your good ol’ regular contests. On promotion forums the prizes of contests are often website related so I’d suggest having a look at the prizes to see if it’s something you would want for your site. If so, there is no harm in joining in with the contest. Even if you don’t win it may still benefit you in other ways. If it’s a posting contest then you’ve got more posts which means you’ll be known more around the community which can lead to people viewing your advertisements and joining your site. If it’s a referral contest you’ll get respect from the community if you refer some members. If it’s a graphic related contest then people might ask for graphics from you and you could say; ‘Yeah I will do. Would you please make 5 posts at my forum as a thanks?’ So there’s more than meets the eye to contests.

Forum Battles

Some forums have fun little forum battles. They’re quite fun to do and have benefits. First of all, what are they? Normally it is where two forums go head to head in a poll where the members of the forum were the battle is hosted vote on which forum is best. There aren’t usually prizes for this except for special occasions. However some forums have a leaderboard and people looking for good communities to join or to partner with may use these leaderboards to decide as they give a general idea of popular or quality communities. Now there are other benefits. It gives you a backlink and voters may have never heard of your site before and when they check to see if they want to vote for your forum they might decide they want to sign up and post. Another benefit is sometimes you and the other contestant can decide to have prize money. This could be in the form of real money or forum credits so that will help you if you win.

Interview Threads

You may think, how does this help my website? Well it doesn’t directly help but it does help in another way. An interview thread is somewhere were people can ask you questions and get to know you. Now when you first join the forum your a bit of a stranger so sometimes people don’t pay much attention to you but if you start an interview thread people will get to know you better and they then might decide to go and sign up to your website. Also if your the one asking the questions you might find someone is a big fan of Call of Duty. Now if your forum is about Call of Duty you could ask them if they would be interested in joining your Call of Duty community or you could even ask them if they are interested in working for your Call of Duty forum so I hope I’ve convinced you that interview threads are worth it.

Premium Membership

For those of you with spare cash hangin’ around then premium membership is a good way to take advantage of a promotion forum. You may think it’s money wasted. Premium Membership is a group which you have to pay to get in that have special benefits and usually a coloured username. This forum has a premium membership. Now on to the advantages. The special benefits of premium memberships at promotion forums are often website related. For example this forum has ‘A Sticky Sponsor ad for one week – normally sold for $5.00 on it’s own.’ as one of the benefits. This will give you a massive boost for one week, way more people will see your advertisement and hopefully way more people will sign up. ‘Your Username in Black recognising you as a proud supporter of FP’. Having a coloured username helps more than you think. It makes you stand out. If someone is looking at a list of promotion threads they’ll often go for the one’s that are started by someone in a coloured username. It’s just a psychological thing. Other promotion forums may have other handy benefits like a free service every month. That kind of thing.

Technical Support

Often you have a problem with your website and you rush of to your forum software support forum. However sometimes it can take a long time to get a reply so to help you with this. Some promotion/webmaster forums include a technical support section. This decreases your wait time and means you can get problems solved on your forum quicker which keeps members happy. Also answering question there can help improve your reputation and I’ve explained the importance of that previously.

Other Promotion Forums

Who needs Google when you’ve got a promotion forum? Stop searching ‘promotion forums’ and finding dead websites! Start using forums to find more forums. Many promotion forums have a list of advertising/promotion forums where you can find more forums to promote on. This of course leads to more members and you can use that forum to find forums that weren’t listed on the first one. Another great place to look is the promotion directory where you can search through for promotion forums. Some websites help us further by sorting their promotion threads into sections so all you have to do is look through the Advertising/Services section and the Webmaster/Graphics section. You can also take a look through people’s signatures as they often have promotion threads listed there.

Guides/Tutorials

You might think you know all that there is to know about websites but you don’t! No one does! So it is important they look through guides/tutorials wrote by members of the community. This will help you improve your forum and learn new ways of promoting it. It also stops you making mistakes. Now if you do know a lot about forums then write your own guides. This gains you reputation on the forum and if your clever it can gain you a backlink and some members. So do this clever trick first you post your guide on your own forum then at the bottom of your post on the promotion forum you put; ‘originally posted at [url=LINKTOTHREAD]SITENAME[/url]’ so members will hopefully click on that link and sign up. It will give you a backlink when the search engines browse your post as well.

Completing Your Profile

I’ve already mentioned about signatures but you should fully complete your profile. For one, it helps people get to know you when you fill in things like occupation,hobbies,interests but it gives you a bit of free advertising because usually you can put your website link in a website link field. Some forums have fields for youtube, twitter, wordpress, etc which also gives you free advertising. Also don’t forget to add an avatar because it looks more friendly and sociable to have an avatar. If you want an avatar like mine, if I’ve changed it then it’s basically a manga face, then go to Face Your Manga.

Status Updates

Unfortunately this forum does not have a status system. However some do and I’m going to tell you why to use them. Writing status updates helps people get to know you better and makes you more part of the community. You can also secretly advertise your website in a status. Now most sites will disallow putting a link to your website in your status but you can still say things like ‘{FORUMNAME} it 10,000 posts today :)‘ , ‘{WEBSITENAME} got 25 new clients today’ or ‘{USERNAME} made an interesting post on {FORUMNAME} today’. People may see one of these statuses and hunt for the link of your website then they might decide to sign up.

Introduce Yourself

I forget to mention this before but remember to introduce yourself when you join a forum. Most forums have an introduction section. This is the first step towards people getting to know you and building a reputation on the forum. Make sure to include a bit of information about you. Also you could include a bit of information about your site to gain user interest but do not post a link to your site in your introduction as it is against the rules of most forums.

Selling your services

Some forums have a place for real money exchanges. You can sell advertisements on your forum here. It helps generate money for you and your website and some people who purchase advertising may decide to sign up to your website as well. Now something you can do on all deals which helps you get a backlink and hopefully some members is for example your selling twitter followers at the bottom of your post you could put something like ‘Supplied by [url=SITELINK]SITENAME[/url]’. People who have bought your service and like it may sign up as a thanks and anyway it gets a free backlink which is always welcome.

Signing up to referral links

You may think how does this help in anyway whatsoever? Well wait a minute and I’ll tell you. Many forums have a place advertise referral/affiliate links. Now when you sign up to these referral links the person who owns the referral link will be happy about this so why not comment saying something along the lines of ‘I’ve signed up to your referral link, could you please sign up to my site in return?’. Now make sure to not include a link as it will probably be against forum rules. The person can easily find it in your signature. Now a lot of times they will say yes and sign up so you’ve got yourself a member there.

Get friends to post referral links

Ask your friends to sign up to your website and then use these referral link sections to promote your website for you within the rules. Make sure your website has a referral system first. Your friend just has to sign up to your website, copy their referral link then say something like ‘I signed up to {FORUMNAME} and really enjoyed it so I’ve decided to recommend it but please use my referral link(hyperlink that with their referral link). Make sure your friends do this, don’t make new accounts to do it yourself. It will most probably be against forum rules.

Keeping members up to date

You need to make sure members are up to date with your forums happenings. Conveniently most promotion forums have a section dedicated to your forums happenings. First make sure to read the guidelines as you don’t want to be posting news that is disallowed. Then you make your topic. Give it a catchy title and in the thread make sure there’s bold bits, colourful bits and pictures. Now post your news there and add a link to your website at the bottom so members can see it then sign up.

Hiring for your website

Ever waited months to find no one wanted to be a moderator for your site? Wished there was an easier way? Well there is! A lot of promotion forums have a job centre section where you can make a topic declaring that you are hiring and how to apply. Now a lot of people looking to work at websites will constantly scout this section and hopefully will decide to apply for your forum.

Completing graphic requests

If your a designer with a website then your in luck! A lot of promotion/webmaster and graphic forums have a place where users can request graphics. Now a lot of them are willing to pay a fee of either forum credits or real money but you could tell them all they have to do to get graphics from you is to sign up to your website or if your a forum, make a few posts. Many people will do this and will significantly help your website if you actively complete requests.

Selling graphics

Related to the previous section you can also sell graphics. To help your website from this what you do is for example make website design then say you’ll give it to members if they make 50 posts at your forum. Now, if your design is of a good standard and would be worth real money people will often do this instead of splashing out there cash on a new design.

Requesting graphics

If your website is looking a bit tatty then save up some forum credits and request some graphics. A lot of people will make graphics for forum credits as long as you give them a reasonable amount. Over a period of time you can request a fair amount of graphics and it will improve your websites appearance greatly and will lead to new people signing up.

Using free graphics

Some forums have a section of free graphics. Often they can be found among requests and paid graphics like here at Forum Promotion. Now if you find some you like it can be really helpful because it improves your site’s appearance which of course leads to, lets say it all together, new members! I bet your tired of hearing that, eh?

View new topics

If you watch new topics you can often find new sites to promote at, good deals, contests that could benefit you, interesting discussions and more so I suggest to keep looking at the new topics for anything interesting. It’s just a little tip, not very important.

View active topics

If you’ve got your site’s link in your signature and you want some quick backlinks then you should try the view active topics feature. These topics are popular and more likely to be indexed by a search engine and they are the backlinks that really count. Of course most topics should hopefully be indexed eventually but they’ll be the first to be indexed and I believe the more views a topic gets the more that backlink is worth.

Signature advertising

Advertising through signatures is a fantastic way of getting backlinks and sometimes members. Even if the backlink is only up for a month or so you can only hope that google indexes some of them during that time. It’s worth to pay some forum credits or even real money for this. Also if you get your site’s link in a trusted member or staff member people will often click on the link and sign up as well. Forum Promotion’s very own Signature Advertising is a great service because it gets your link displayed in the signatures of staff. So you get people clicking on it but staff are generally active and if Google indexes the forum at that point your going to get a lot of backlinks. You can also buy signature advertising through exchanges and the marketplace.

Profile comments

Forum Promotion like many other forums has profile comments. If there’s an event, and I’ll use an example of an event happening at the time of writing, Halloween, then you can say for example ‘Happy Halloween!’. This helps you get to know members of the forum and remember how important getting to know members of the forum is. As a side note, in MyBB 1.8 profile comments will be inbuilt instead of a plugin.

Purchasing advertisements

If you spare cash lying around then many forums sell advertisement space. It’s a fantastic way to gain massive amounts of exposure for your website. Epically if you buy advertisements on big forums like this one.

I hope I’ve helped you with this, it sure took a long time to write and I hope to update it in the future so please give me suggestions to write about. By the way, a lot of these things, I and others don’t do to help our websites. We just do it because we like to do it. We like to get to know people, we like to get involved in the community, we like to help others. Finally, the best way to thank me for this if you liked it would be to give me a +rep, it would be greatly appreciated

Being a ‘Social’ Administrator

Greetings everyone!

In this article, I am going to tell you about the finest details of being a good administrator. I will not cover the technical aspects of forums, but I will try to enlighten you how ‘social’ an administrator should do.

Greetings: Always greet your members. No matter how busy you are or how huge your forums are, the administrator greeting you directly is a sign of welcome. It rejuvenates the newly registered members and also sets the right example for your staff to welcome all members. Remember, first impression is the key!

Be the accessible Mr.Busy: I, for one person, understand how busy you can get. But on top of everything, if an administrator does not reply to my PM, I would have the feeling that I am being kept waiting. When you become too busy, ask yourselves ‘Why would my members have time for my forum when I do not have enough time for it myself?’

Friendly: No matter how terrible a member’s crimes are (maybe, lets exempt posting porn, staff member harassing and racism) always, greet people in a friendly manner.

Here is a terrible example of a private message

Hey!

Please stop making low quality posts. I will ban you on your next offense.

 Here is an example of a more refined private message

 Hey!

I am very pleased to see that you are enjoying our forums because you seem to come back every now and then. However, I was wondering why your posts are of low ‘quality’. Just keep an eye on them and don’t hesitate to let me or my staff know of any problems you are encountering. This is just a friendly reminder 😉

 

I know its huge work typing all these out, but hardwork pays! Really, it does! 😀

On the same page: Always keep your staff on the same page of things. Let them all know of any exceptions you make for your members. Remember, members of staff contradicting their own administrators are not healthy and is a big turnaround for members.

Be willing to take note of suggestions: No matter how laughable a suggestion is, always be willing to hear it out. If it comes from a member, it means that you, as an administrator, has a duty to satisfy that member. If you think that a particular suggestion is do-able but not good for the community, let them know that ‘they will be seeing it in the near future’ even if its not your top priority.

I am sure that I will see you all as excellent administrators. And keep the energy high!

Twenty7c – Full Review

Image
Full Review by Lucky!

You can access Twenty7c to see for yourself what it looks like, by clicking here.


Scoring:

Image First Impressions & Appearance – (17 out of 20)

I have looked through your website before and I was intrigued by it, so I am happy to go deeper into it and look at the nitty-gritty. What I like to do in this section is to break things down into different areas of focus to make it easier to read.

Navigation bar
Your navigation bar is very simplistic, which fits well with the overall theme. It spotlights your logo really well and the logo fits nicely as well. Across the top, you have the links for the main categories for articles that are published on Twenty7c, which I love right off the bat. As a guest, I don’t want to have to look around for what I want, I want it to be right there for me to find, so nicely done. To the right of the links, you have a really simple search feature that offers a subtle drop-down holding the actual search function, I like it! However, one thing that I must comment about the search function is the flow of which it opens and closes. The animations that leads and follows it opening and closing is jumpy and often times took an awkward second to open, which isn’t the biggest issue, but I am nit-picking.

Main Content
Looking at all of the main content, I see a quick spotlight of some of the articles posted in the “Tech” and “Psychology” categories, followed by a larger preview of the “Curiosity” category. Something that I would do, if you have control of it, is to make that larger preview something that really sparks my “curiosity” and makes me click on the link to view the full article. When I was looking around before writing this review, I saw an article that was touched on maybe we know why people dream. Personally, I clicked on the link because I wanted to read more, because it’s a topic that I have consistently wondered. If that were intended to be placed on that larger preview on the homepage, I feel it would help with user engagement and time spent on your site because people would read the main article and click on another related article because they’re hooked. Something that I noticed scrolling down to the footer is you have two instances of “Connect” and “Tags”, which is inconstant. If you ask me, I think your homepage should show-off your articles first and foremost. Then have the “Connect” and “Tags” left in the footer like they are now. Not only do they look better down there, but it makes your articles the focal point on your homepage, which is important. I like the list of articles that I can scroll through and see a slight preview of the article before I read it, which makes user engagement that much better. After typing this section, I had to suggest something. On both of my monitors, the content seems to run into the background, and it is hard to see the box-shadow on the edge of the main content. When I opened up my Chrome Dev Tools, I found that changing “box-shadow” to “0 0 30px -10px #000” defined your edges better and helped to see where the edge stops and the background starts.

Footer
I really like your footer that you are using, it is simple and contains things that I feel are really important to include. Number one, you have your mission statement ready for the user to read what twenty7c is all about, which is nice to see from a guest’s view. I see a list of the latest posts which I can click-through and read. Subsequent to that, we see the tags feature, which I commented on above regarding removing the one on the homepage but leaving this one in tack. Something that I have to comment on is the placement of the: “Home”, “About Us”, and the “Contact Us” links. They look “odd” placed in that space where they are now and I would personally place them inside your description as anchor text.

Image Site Layout – (18 out of 20)
This is the one section that I was pleased to comment on after I looked through the different categories and articles. The articles are beautifully laid out in the homepage and the respective categories. This is very important because you never want to let your guest’s have to spend time looking for content, because it will only cause them to click off your site because of guests’s make judgement before actually looking in deeper. However, this is not the case on twenty7c, so nice job! Looking at the layout within reading an article is really nice too! You have a cover image for each article followed by the main category in which it is posted in and the title, which just makes it look that much better. Near the bottom of the article, you have the writer’s bio followed by the comment section. If you want my honest opinion, you rocked this entire section! I was really impressed.

Image Statistics and Activity – (11 out of 20)
This is where my positive view of twenty7c kind of took a turn for the bad. While I love your articles and most of them are really well written and are meticulous in length and content, I hate to say that some of them are old too. Something that I noticed was the absence of more current posts, in different categories. When a guest now comes to look at your website, the first thing they want to see is a thriving website, that makes them think there is always going to be new content for them to read and comment on. However, if everyday they come back hoping to read new articles and they see the same posts they have already read, hate to say it, but they will just look away and won’t come back. Now, I did see you have re-launched twenty7c on the 19th of July, which was a little over a month ago. Within a months time, I would have liked to have seen a little more content both article wise and comment wise. Something that I used when I use to write articles was offer a question at the end of the article, something that would offer users a reason to comment, and it paid off really well.

Image Content – (15 out of 20)
The articles that I did read were awesome! Not only did most of them offer quite the length to read, but most of them were a really nice read. I did learn some things just in my time reading what I did than I did beforehand, and that’s impressive! For the most part, the articles were really nice and if you keep up that expectation, the amount of articles on twenty7c would be higher and the quality of them would be the same. The niche of twenty7c is really interesting because you answer peoples inquires about life, which is interesting to a lot of people. For example, I really didn’t know that much about the stock market, but after reading the article explaining it, I felt like I actually learned enough to tell someone else what it was. Content like this is what makes a website professional and will make people thrive for your content because it answers what they don’t know. For someone like me that is really inquisitive, that is imperative to keep your readership.

Image Spelling/Grammar & Professionalism – (17 out of 20)
Looking into the user posted content, you did well with this section. I used a grammar tool to cross check certain posts and they did fairly well. Most of what my tools found were simple grammar issues and often times offered suggestions for different use of words based on the context of the article. However, I really didn’t find anything that raised an eyebrow or anything that comes out and slaps you in the face, spelling wise. I would defiantly keep up on checking user content before it’s posted though, you don’t want to let the quality of posts slip, because it will be difficult to fix after that.

Total Score – (78 out of 100)

 


Final Remarks:
Overall, I am very pleased with the look of twenty7c. I feel like the niche is one that would attract a lot of people that are thirsty for knowledge. Other than the few points that I touched on. I think you have a solid foundation to build on and I am excited to see where you take twenty7c and your writers as well. Keep posting interesting stories and I feel you will find a large readership. Best of luck!

Image Strengths:

Overall layout of twenty7c
The articles

Image Weaknesses:

Lack of frequent posting
Lack of content on the “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages.

Newbie Guide To Promotion Forums

Newbie Guide To Promotion Forums

It’s all good and well for experienced forum users to join new forums and know exactly what they are about. What about newbies to promotion forums though? Below I have written a short guide for newbies about certain aspects of a promotion forum.


1) Introduce Yourself – this will allow the community to point out good things for you to check out before you get properly started. It also gives you a chance to gauge how friendly people are going to be. It is also a good idea to remember at this point, that first impressions are often the lasting impression.

2) Services – what are they? Promotion forums will often offer ‘services’ to help your forum grow and make improvements. 9 times out of 10 these services can be paid for with virtual forum cash( earned via posting and other methods). Lots of forums offer the same services, so its always a good idea to look around for a little bit first and see if you can find any feedback on the services that the forum is offering.

3) Packages – this is one service that a forum can offer. This is when a user from the promotion forum will come over to your forum/blog and post on it for you after you request a specific package. This is almost always paid for via forum cash. So it effectively costs you nothing and helps you out! You should always check out the feedback section before requesting, as you are more likely to find out the true quality of the service.

4) Reviews – this is another service that a forum can offer. This is when a user from the promotion forum will come over to your forum/blog and review it for you after you request a specific review type. They might be reviewing anything from content to design to grammar. It depends what you as for. This is almost always paid for via forum cash. So it effectively costs you nothing and helps you out!

5)Ads – this is a varied service across promotion forums. They can offer banner ads, table ads, signature ads, bubble ads etc. each type has it’s own benefits and pitfalls. Before you request one it is best to read up on where you can advertise/where it’s going to be displayed and pick whichever one suits your requirements best. Some options will be more expensive than others, however, it is more likely that the more expensive it is, the more exposure you will get.

6) Participate – try your best to participate in the forum. It let’s people see that you are going to be sticking around and want to be part of a community. This is also the best way to build up your forum cash. It can be spent on services to help your forum or website. The more you contribute, the more you are likely to get out of the forum.

7) Freebies – keep your eyes open on promotion forums. There is always some kind of giveaway going on usually, or a free service week. This is the best time to take advantage of all the services as it will cost you nothing but hopefully benefit you a lot.

This is just a simple newbie guide to a promotion forum – there is a lot more to know but those are some of the basics.

Promoting a Forum For Dummies

This article was first posted on our blog on 02/04/2009. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


Introduction

Well, by reading the title, you can pretty much assume what this article is about: Me teaching you how to promote a forum. (The blind leading the blind, right?) :D I can tell you that every forum owner wants more members and posts, but barely any of them are trying! If you are interested in starting a forum, you have to look at where you want to be, find another forum owner that has met this goal, and ask yourself, “Can I do what this person has done to make their forum ‘great’?” If your answer is “no”, you should definitely reconsider opening your own forum.

Building the Castle

So, you decided that you wanted to start your forum, eh? Well, to start off, don’t ever make the forum in two-and-a-half minutes, go and advertise it, and then say you’ll do all the “minor stuff” later. I’m very sorrry to say that it just doesn’t work like that, because, the minor stuff matters more than a lot of new forum administrators think it does. Here are some things you may want to look over before getting your forum out to the public;

A Good Logo/Banner – Nobody likes to click on a link to a forum and see a banner made in MS Paint with Times New Roman as the font. >_> If you get to the point where you think you should open MS Paint to make your logo, you might as well not make one at all. There are many forums where you can request a good logo for your forum, and it normally just takes 2-3 days to get a result in.

A Decent Style – Nobody wants to visit a forum and see a style they have seen a million times in other places. First, never use the default style, as it makes you look really lazy if you can’t even change the style. Second, choose a unique style. My suggestion is to go to some less-known styling sites and choose a nice style that barely anyone uses! And if you still can’t find a good-looking unique style, it’d probably be worth the money to get a custom one made.

Awesome Grammar – Whether you like it or not, some people get really mad when they see a simple grammar mistake. If a member spots one, they will instantly dash to the Feedback forum and write an 8,000-word essay on why that mistake shouldn’t be there. (I hate it when they point out the problem in the middle of their post, so you have to read through the 4,000 unnecessary words to find out what the problem was.) So, why not get a spell check (*pokes Firefox*), or maybe even take the time to copy what you write into Microsoft Word? If that isn’t available, why not pull out some of your kids’ ol’ “School House Rock” videos and watch those?

The Layout of Greatness – Build a nice attractive layout where guests and new members can easily find what they are looking for, and navigate around the forum. Also, when starting off, remember to keep the amount of discussion forums to a minimum, probably ten forums at most. This makes navigation easier, and it makes your post count look bigger since a lot of topics belong in one area. If you start to see some type of topic become popular, you should then create another board for it.

Uniqueness – You don’t know how many times I have visited two forums that look exactly alike, and their forums are exactly alike. I’d suggest not looking at your competition until after you have made the layout of your forum, and you have applied your ideas. After you’ve done this, you can look at your competition, see what they have, and try to improve upon your own forum to make it better. Also, be creative, and create some unique titles and descriptions that users haven’t seen before. If another forum already has it, guests will most likely choose to join the one that has more posts and isn’t just starting off.

——

After you have looked over these and made sure everything is in tip-top shape, you should invite some of your friends in to post a little bit on your forum, and give it a little boost before it opens up. You can also choose one or two of these users to be your starting Moderators, which will also keep them active to show you have some activity.
Open The Gates…Loudly

There are a lot of ways to start advertising, and when you start, I’d suggest getting your forum known everywhere, by registering to a bunch of forums, adding the link in your signature, and making a bunch of posts. This is probably the best way to start promoting a forum, as it shows you are willing to be apart of the community, which makes people more comfortable with joining your site.

Some of the other ways that you can promote your site when you are first starting:

Advertising Forums – This is probably one of the most-known ways to advertise. Go to a resource forum, order a couple of services, and it is really a great way to get a boost for your forum. Also, advertising forums are probably some of the best places to become active and get members through your sig. Becoming a staff member at one of these places can get you a lot of attention.

Make Friends – A lot of people that are going to join your forum are the people that already know you, just because they are more comfortable with it. You should bring your site up in normal conversation, without directly telling them to join. Maybe share one of the experiences you have had while building the site, and what has been fun about it. You never know, they may become interested.

Post Exchanges – When I say Post Exchanges, a lot of people think of a 5 for 5 post deal, which is what most Post Exchanges are. But what I am suggesting is long-term post-exchanges. This is a way to get you a guaranteed post increase, even if it is just 20 posts each week for each other. Something like this could lead to 1000 posts a year if you exchange a decent amount, and if you don’t like it, you can always stop it any time you want.

Any of the ideas above could help you start out your forum, and I highly suggest that you use all of them to start off.
Don’t Let Them Escape!

Once you’ve gotten a couple of members, you will then realize it is very difficult to get a lot of them to stay. A good way to keep new members active is to send them a PM asking a little bit about them, and maybe referring to a couple of the posts they have made. Ask for their IM address, E-Mail Address, and try to start a discussion about something. If you keep the discussion going, they will come back to continue to respond.

Another great way to keep members active is to start a non-promotional contest (which means referral contests or posting contests should not be made at this time), something like a “Most Creative Contest” or “Wallpaper Contest”, it really all depends on what the topic of your forum is. If they have an area for it, always remember to go and post about this contest on a couple of ad/promotion forums. Members will always read and reply to these to get their post count up, and they can actually get you more attention than a general advertisement topic would.
Keeping Things Awesome

Once you are getting a decent amount of posts per day, it’s time to continue to keep your forum going by doing everything you can to increase your member count, using some of the following suggestions:

Continue Advertising – Continue to put your link in as many places as possible. The more places you put your links, the easier it is for a search engine to find you, and your link is still being displayed for someone to click it!

Get Your Forum Reviewed – Get a Review to tell you how your forum is doing every once in a while. This can be a great way to get some good advice on your forum, and what you are doing wrong. When you do decide to reveiw, you should get a review from three to four different places rather than one, that way you are getting lots of feedback from different users, who have different views on your forum. If two or more of the reviewers all point out a problem, it definitely needs to be fixed.

Submit to Topsites – Submit your site to a topsite, and encourage your members to vote for it every day. If you can get enough votes to put you on the top, you can get a lot of incoming traffic. ;)

Hire Some Staff – You shouldn’t hire staff members too often, but once you get some need for it, you should open an announcement stating that you will be selecting some new staff members, and will be accepting applications. Have the application process last for about two weeks and you’d be amazed at how much the user’s activity will increase.

Affiliates
– You should affiliate with as many sites as possible that fit the same style as you, and if you get the chance, why not affiliate with some larger forums? Becoming an affiliate with someone is completely free, and it only takes a little bit of time to set up an affiliate with someone.
Closing Notes

Well, that is pretty much all I have to write for this article. If you think this article should be improved, please send me a PM on the forums and I may edit in your idea, along with leaving you credit in the article! Thanks for reading!

~ Carsonk, Ex-Packages Team Leader

New Forums – MODs to help you start (phpBB3)!

This article was first posted on our blog on 04/02/2011. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


When people start a new forum, it’s normally very exciting, and they want to experiment with everything. I know from personal experience; I would start to build a forum using one forum software, get bored, and want to try another one.

For me, the next big step was to add countless MODs to my forum. Most of the MODs I added had no effect, and sometimes, I even stopped maintaining them out of boredom (e.g. larger mods like cash).

This post is to give new (or experienced) webmasters more insight into what people really want to see on a forum and which MODs simply bog down your forum.

Simplicity is bliss!

Many new forum owners who run forums on free software often miss the key developing points to kicking off a forum. You have to remember that MODs alone won’t increase your activity; the posts on your forum make the MODs worthwhile. Overflowing your forum can lead to slower load times for each page, which can drive readers/posters away.

About a year ago, I did a post exchange with a small forum, and it was almost painful. The load speed, amount of MODs–everything. I recently saw it here in a bubble ad, and it was cleaner, lighter, and as active as my mind after a red bull.

There are a few MODs which are essential for new forums. I’ll be using phpBB for all the examples, but I’m positive that MyBB and Zetaboards have the same or similar MODs.


 

NV Last Topic Post Title

This is an extremely simple MOD that requires minimal effort to install. In layman’s terms, the title of the last post in the latest thread in a forum is displayed on the index. For an example of this, look at the Forum Promotion index.


 

Avatar Resize 1.0

This MOD is one of the most handy ones I’ve ever had the pleasure to install. It simply resizes all avatars that users upload automatically, meaning that each member hasn’t got to worry about finding a 100×100 picture of Pikachu to fit his/her profile.

Now, there is a slight downside to this. Instead of the MOD resizing the picture, uploading that, then displaying it; it simply shows the picture you used in smaller dimensions. This means that if you uploaded a 2mb picture for your avatar, it would still be a 2 MB image; its dimensions would just be smaller. Keep that in mind when you use this MOD.


 

3. PM on Registration

This can be used to welcome new members, link to the forum rules, link to the introduction page, and anything else you like! This MOD is widely used on forums of all types.

You can even make a slight profit from it and have people pay to advertise in the PM! If you were to do this, you probably would only want to sell one link, and it should probably be a text link (maybe in a different colour to differentiate between normal and sponsored links).

Making the PM look spammy is the worst thing that you can do. If you registered to a forum and the first thing you saw was a PM with tons of animated GIFs and spam links, you’d Ctrl + W and leave the forum for good.


 

It is recommended that you download MODs which have been approved by the MOD development team of your forum software. They will test for bugs and exploits, and only approve clean ones. Use BETAs and User Developed MODs at your own risk!


 

However, these are only some of my personal suggestions; if you need support starting a forum (i.e. under one thousand posts) and would like a free service from me, feel free to PM me!

I’m an expert in phpBB who has helped a forum with over 200,000 members with technical problems, so I’m more than capable!