Google AdSense is a mythical creature. Their policies are so long and technical, that it seems almost impossible to know for certain what you can and cannot do whilst using the service. This article will enable you to know some of the main reasons why AdSense accounts may get disabled, and help you prevent yourself from falling victim to an AdSense Employee that is having a bad day. Continue reading
Using a new hosting company is very risky, but there are a few things you can look out for. Here are some of the things I look for when choosing a host.
When did the hosting company start?
If the company started a few months ago, I’m not going to trust them as much as I trust a host that has been around for a decade. The longer lasting host has already proven itself to be worthy of my hard earned cash. An older host can still randomly go bankrupt or experience technical difficulties, but at least they have the track record to work through any financial or tech problems that may arise. Continue reading
When you are looking for reliable hosting, understanding the benefits and features of all the available packages is vital. This guide will help you learn about all the different types of hosting, popular hosting terminology that is used in plan feature lists, and more. This is a very long article, but aims to help you figure out what type of server you need. By the end of the article you will be able to explain the difference between Shared, VPS and Dedicated Hosting plans. Continue reading
Online Security is becoming more and more of an issue today. Hackers and crackers seem to be more and more common. If you’re following the admin community as closely as I do, you’ve probably been aware of the recent issue involving Brivium and their recent hack of The Admin Zone. If you aren’t already aware of this, Continue reading
If you are someone that has spent any amount of time on the Internet, then you might have noticed that some websites always contain “www” in their URL and then there are some that are fading away from that trend, and do not contain the “www” in the URL. However, how do you do this? Is it simple? Is it a good thing to do or does it just look nice? Well, sit down and let me explain a few things.
First off, Continue reading
When you first start your first forum, the thought of becoming a webmaster can be a daunting task. Fortunately for you, most rookie webmasters make the same mistakes that can be fairly easily avoided when starting out. This article is a guide on how to avoid those classic mistakes that rookie webmasters always seem to make when starting a new forum, which are three things I normally seem to see Continue reading
Google Adsense – Probably the first way many people try to monetize their content. I don’t blame them, Adsense has the highest earning rates of all. It can be argued that no other ad companies can beat them. Many guides and tips you see online now are for maximizing Adsense on your blog, website, etcetera. So, I thought I’d write up a some tips for all of you forum owners out there.
Most of you are aware of the huge potential a Social Network campaign has, but there are also many things that could go wrong with those campaigns. First of all, Social Networks are different than forums and blogs. They are a constant stream of information: news, personal statuses, shared links, funny videos, cat’s and a whole lot more. To give you an idea of a comparison you can make in regards to it, is that your link can be compared to a fish in the sea; that is a single link can be overwhelmed by everything that is there in an individual network. But that’s not the only problem, your visitors from Social Networks may only visit your site once and never come back again.
To stand out on Social Networks, you need to have that something that people are interested in. Therefore for a successful Social Network promotion there are a few important key factors:
- Account Popularity
- Research and Targeted Audience
- Site Content
We all start off with 0 friends or followers, but to be successful in promoting our site we need to find more followers/friends/subscribers. Nothing makes you look crazy other than by talking to yourself online, therefore you need build up your “fan base”. There are many different ways to do such things, and it all depends of the Social Network that you want to focus on.
YouTube – Usually funny videos or how to videos are popular.
Facebook – Fan Page like exchanges may help you out a lot.
Twitter – Using the correct hashtags with an appropriate message.
Tumblr – Rebloging, liking and posting things that certain audiences likes (anime/artistic/hipster/feminism).
Reddit – Smart interaction on the shares of other users, and good link shares from your part.
Google+ – I am not really sure about this but I guess adding people in your circles that have the same interests as yourself.
With a certain popularity online you will reach more users, which equals to more potential visitors and which that in the end means more potential returning visitors for your site.
Research and Targeted Audience
Imagine each Social Network as a person. Tumblr for example likes anime, managas, cute things and discussions about feminism. Tumblrs user base is mostly made of 13-20 year old people who share the things that they like. The key to promote on Tumblr, is seeing what your site genre is and then posting pictures that might get re-blogged, while adding your link in the midst of each post you make.
As I said, imagine Social Networks as people.
I have this information about social networks that might help you:
YouTube – Funny videos, Gaming videos, How To videos. If you are good at making such videos you will get quite a few visits to your site, plus you could earn some money along side the video postings on YouTube
Facebook – Things that could be shared here, are quotes and and other such things. With that, you would need to also attach your link in the description or add a watermark to the picture, which may help with branding your site there.
Twitter – Being part of a hashtag like #GamerGate, #feminism, #BlackLifeMatter and #micropoetry, are some of the things that could get your link some views.
Tumblr – Anime reviews, Manga reviews, poetry, fan fiction, drawings, cute things, artistic things, debates about feminism, funny things, all of which could be added to Tumblr.
Reddit – Some links that can help you gain views, are links that help people out, are news related, motivation related posts, debates, manga and anime reviews, awesome product links, and how to links.
The key is to find good ideas of which links on your site you could post, and the appropriate time that you could post the link. You may fail a few times – it happens to everyone- and you will succeed a few times too!
Social Networks are really unpredictable when it comes to link popularity. An example of this was an article I wrote on my blog, in which I decided to shared it on Reddit. I didn’t expect too much from it really, but when I woke up the following morning, I fount my site was down due to bandwidth overuse. An article that I thought wouldn’t get any attention broke my site. That’s the power of social networks.
The first two parts are pretty easy, the internet is huge and I am sure you could work your way up in the popularity ranking, but of course comes the most important part that all sites need to help drive success: Content!
It doesn’t matter what your site is about, so long as it helps your visitor satisfy his hunger for information. The content of your site will make or break a visitor, when they are deciding whether or not they want to come back and visit your site again, or if it will be forgotten. Plus you might not be the first to write or post about a certain topic, but if you explain it better than someone else or the visitor finds one of your articles or topics more interesting or appealing, he will keep coming back for more.
Create a site that members want to come back to, that’s the first thing and the most important part of a successful site. It can’t be stressed enough how important content is! I am sure you have read a few more guides about sites/forums/blogs and found in a large number of those guides, the phrases “work hard” or “content is king”, is somewhere in the text. Nothing else beats hard work and consistency. If your content is improving and you publish it on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, you are the right track.
After the content is built, all you have to do is then show it to a number of people on Social Networks, who are waiting eagerly for quality content to be posted, and you may be the one who will provide it to them!
What should you do to succeed? Well that’s easy, in which this article is about, is that hard work is what you need to succeed! A combination of providing fresh content, with appropriate advertising on various Social Networking sites will help you succeed.
I hope you enjoyed this little guide to Social Networking Promotion. If this has some positive feedback I will continue my explanation of promoting your site on Social Networks, by going deeper and explaining each and every Social Network in their own individual article.
What is design?
We all perceive design differently. For some, it might be lots of whitespace and less content, while others like bright colours. When you play webmaster, you have to make sure that your forum has the best possible design possible, because it is the first impression your user has of the forum. Sure, activity is important too, but the first thing the user notices is how does the forum, or in fact, any website looks? Is it too bright? Is the colour scheme conflicting, or do all the colours ‘go’ with each other? How easy it is, to use the forum?
Notice that I highlighted the last question – How easy it is, to use the forum? But we’ll get back to that in a minute, first let us define design. It can be agreed upon that the real definition of design is ambiguous, with many conflicting definitions. Let us attempt to lay down our own definition of design, one that we can use for the remainder of the article with no ambiguity. We know that if something is well designed, then it is called beautiful, or pretty, or aesthetically pleasing or any of the synonyms of the words. This is perhaps one aspect of design that is universally agreed upon, but there is another aspect of design that is rarely touched upon. One that you won’t find in any run of the mill book or blog, but is discussed on only the best. If you ever got serious about design, you probably know it – this aspect in general terms is called solving problems.
Shocked? You better be. Design is not just about making your website aesthetically pleasing. It is about solving problems. Where should the username box go? What should be the size of the header? How many posts must I display before implementing pagination? Taking all of these into account, we can perhaps term design as beautiful solutions.
Most of these solutions, most of the questions have already been answered by the developer of your forum. But usability and good design is not on their priority list. They are under a lot of pressure to ship the best possible product in the least possible time and this pressure often means that good design is sacrificed. You might have an aesthetically pleasing forum, but that does not mean that it is good design, because it might only be barely usable. This is where you, the committed and determined web master come into the picture.
While the developers of your forum are under the pressure of the community to continuously keep fixing bugs and rolling out new and new features all while handling support requests etc. you are under no such pressure. The only pressure you have is to keep the forum active and this is good – because that pressure encourages you to do the best you can do to improve your forum, and one of the best things you can do to your forum is learn how to design. No, you don’t have to be able to make awesome themes like the ones popular designers like envira or Audentio make. No. But you certainly must develop that eye for good design, which will take you a long way, especially when you are choosing a theme for your forum. But more than that, you want to be able to customize the forum to the best of your ability – perhaps you would like to remove the captcha, which annoys many people, and implement better anti-spam measures such as a simple addition or a simple question which does not require a lot of thinking (I am strictly against having the user count the number of letters in a word also, because it is too time consuming and there’s always the possibility of an error). You might want to implement features such as a popup login and register box, and you will be able to do it yourself, like how YOU imagined it, without having to rely on an external designer whom you’ll most likely have to pay.
And that is not all! Design exists all around you – it exists in nature and in all the buildings that surround you. Learning design allows you to perceive all of this in a different and more beautiful way. Believe me, just do it. Take the jump. You will not regret it.
YOU can be this guy – a rocktstar webmaster!
Starting a forum is easy. Running one, however, is not. There are several great articles here on Forum Promotion that touch upon the topic how to run a forum. But none talk about what it takes. The qualities and skills YOU must possess, to be a rock star webmaster. Here’s a small grocery list:
- A Good Eye
- Writing Skills
- Steal, don’t plagiarize
The list is by no means exhaustive. I’m sure that if some of the other more qualified members of Forum Promotion were to write this post, the list would go on throughout the page, but I digress. Let’s move on to a small description of each.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #1: Time
When you start a new forum, it is likely to take up a lot of your time, but time is one thing everyone seems to not have these days. Whenever we are confronted by an activity or task that requires a considerable amount of time, we usually put it off by making the excuse that we don’t have the time, and then miraculously, we get the time to burn a couple of hours on World of Warcraft. You NEVER have time for a task if you are not dedicated, and when you are running a forum, you need all the dedication you can get. You must take out time, perhaps watch a little less TV and spend a little less time playing games. But you need to give that forum time, if you are a responsible webmaster.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #2: Determination
Time, you say? Well, I have plenty of time to dedicate to my forum!
Good! Now that you have got one aspect of webmastering, let us move on to the other – determination! Determination is important not only for your role as a webmaster, but for any thing you want to do in life. The fact that you have enough time to run the forum to a large extent proves that you are dedicated, which, in turn to an extent says that you have determination, but determination goes far and beyond just that. You must have the determination to not lose hope when your forum is going through its darkest time – when it’s fading away, when the members are leaving one by one and the activity is going down. You must continue to keep posting, and promoting and do everything in your power to take your forum back to its glory days. But of course, after an extent your forum reaches a point of no return – for example someone running a forum on floppy disks (extremely hypothetical case) back in the 1990s might have had a good thing going, but now it’s virtually impossible to run one unless you are smart enough to spin the topic in such a way that it is still relevant.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #3: Passion
Now I can possibly not stress this enough, but passion is absolutely integral if you want to be a successful webmaster. This is by and far perhaps the most important factor you must account for when running a forum, because it’s your passion that directly feeds your determination and keeps you going. When you are in the early days, your forum won’t have a lot of activity and you are likely going to be spending most of your time promoting and writing new content, trying your best to culture an active and engaged community where you can make new friends and connections. It’s the passion that will keep you determined and going and eventually you will have this thing going where you will realize that you don’t have to keep posting anymore! The forum is self-sustaining. Great feeling, I know, one that is greatly augmented if you have that fire within you.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #4: Tech-savvy
I really should have chosen a different word, but I couldn’t think of something else so, yeah, tech-savvy. If you have attempted the brave task of actually starting a forum, it means that you already have some tech-savvy. By tech-savvy I don’t mean how to open your web browser and successfully navigate to a website. I mean working with MySQL databases, and having a basic knowledge of the programming language your forum is written in. The thing is, your forum is likely to run into a lot of issues, especially after it gets mature and you really want to start messing with the nuts and bolts of the forum so that you can you know give it a more custom feel. In English, installing and making plugins. And if you DO mess with it, you are likely to run into issues, which you’ll probably have to fix yourselves unless you have an active enough community that people are willing to volunteer. So like I said, this is not really necessary but it IS a nice perk.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #5: A Good Eye
By a good eye, I mean a good eye for design. This is another quality that is not very important, but it can give you a big advantage, because most forum softwares are not built with usability in mind. If you can get out of the pack and be one of those webmasters who modify the forum to be more usable and look better, you have a significant advantage over your competing webmasters. Not only must you focus on usability and functionality, but also on the aesthetics. Because after all, design can be defined as ‘beautiful solutions’. Most webmasters would advocate investing in a custom theme and spending a minimum amount of money etc. but I think that as long as it is beautiful, it doesn’t really matter, because if you follow this advice, you can cover the solution part of design as well. And not everyone really pays attention to the solution part. For a primer on usability, read The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman. It’s a good read.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #6: Writing Skills
Another one of those optional skills, but again, I’ve only included it in the list because I feel it is important. You can think of a forum as a blog where you are not the only author and the two-way interaction is more significant than the interaction between comments and a blog, which automatically means that you must have good writing skills. I am going to repeat again that writing skills are not essential as long as you are able to think up though provoking topics, which directly leads me to…
…Being a Rockstar Webmaster #7: Steal, don’t plagiarize
Being a student of the IB Diploma, a high school curriculum that has us writing mini research papers in high school, the don’t plagiarize notion has been drilled into me since the very start. However, there is this quote by Picasso that I am sure everyone here knows about that I’ve been wondering about:
Good artists copy, great artists steal.
After an amount of time, you are going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel, and this is when Picasso’s golden words come into the picture. When the apples get over, and we are still hungry, we are going to steal. Go to a couple of your competitors. Search for the most popular or liked posts and then combine a couple of them to get ideas for threads. You have to make sure that you don’t plagiarize, i.e. copy everything verbatim, but make a thread similar to the one you found in the other forum with the content in your own words. Something I do when I run out of thread ideas is go to reddit and search for keywords related to the forum, for example bicycles or Pokemon etc. I usually find a few questions, and sometimes a link to an article. I then make a new thread on the forum based on the answers to the questions and my own independent research on the question. I’d like to stress again that please don’t plagiarize. It’s looked down upon and for a good reason too.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but just my opinion on what qualities and abilities a webmaster must have and develop in order to run a forum successfully. This article took an incredible amount of time and I hope it helped you!