Tag Archives: Guide

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.

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!

Forum Administration – The Comprehensive Guide!

This article was first posted on our blog on 11/02/2011. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


This question has been on the lips of webmasters and forums owners all around the world. I often get direct messages on twitter asking how its done, but 140 characters is never enough!

All content here is learned from past experience. I’ve been a webmaster since the age of 9, ran 4 forums and been staff on 6. I’m helping everyone here by sharing my experiences!

So let’s begin. In this post, you’ll read about the following:-

  • Kicking off your forum with the right attitude.
  • How to effectively publicize your forum.
  • Generating original posts and threads to get users involved.
  • Effective forum group permissions (only for older forums).

1. Personality, perspective and motivation.

The one mistake I see when people begin a forum is in it for the cash. Forums won’t tend to make money from the get go. Guides you read elsewhere are written by people who have started a forum in a brand new niche, and people responded well to it.

Running a forum is much like growing a flower. It takes time, care and attention. Those looking for a quick solution to an empty wallet, I’m sorry but this guide isn’t for you.

When starting a forum, many people will have a massive drive to make it successful. You spend all of your free time making posts and promoting it, but many people lose this very quickly. Many have risen to the challenge and not many came out of it at the other side, and I’m no exception. I helped run the Discussion Bulletin Board, it had great potential and over 1000 active posts a week.

This guide will help you to make the most out of your forum and having the most fun from it in the process! Everybody can learn something new, so older webmasters will get tips from this too!

2. It’s all about appearance.

From now ( dot dot dot dot) to now. That’s all the time you have to make a first impression. I see so many people with great forums but have an awful theme. Many webmasters will have spent a lot of time on their forums, meaning they would have gotten used to it and don’t pay much attention to it.
New users? Not so much. If they load your page and see the default logo, MySQL errors all over the place and thousands of spam threads, say goodbye to a returning user!

After research I conducted personally (through a psychology project for college), ~60% of the people I asked judge the content of a website on it’s appearance. This means that your theme and in some cases your MODs* possess the crucial seconds you need to convince a user that your forum is worth going to.

* This is for people who have a shoutbox and Topic Notifications installed. Meaning that every new thread is shouted, so if you have spam your shoutbox is full of spam threads/shouts.

So how do you optimize your appearance for others? Well I’ll tell you!

  • Custom Logo (Just request one on FP!)
  • Custom Theme (More expensive but worth it)
  • Uncommon but good MODs.
  • Unique niche (so your threads aren’t common!)

The last point above links in to the next section, so if you’re confused now, don’t worry!

3. Content, content, content!

First off, I’ll define niche for those quote don’t know:

A focus within a particular area, which is either popular or unpopular. This works to an advantage, as you can tap into a resource already producing results, or begin a trend and get results from the start!

For those who have experience in administrating a forum, but not so much posting in it, this is for you. I’m tired of seeing people not posting on their own forum, yet paying extravagant amounts of money paying others to do it for them!

Generating content is the most strenuous part of running a forum. I’m not going to lie to you, it gets slightly boring when you have 200 threads but only 26 posts. It’s demotivating, but that’s where post exchanges come in! I’ll go into that later on though.

Creating original threads that don’t make you look like you’re copying every forum is hard work. I often look round forums whilst browsing FP (just out of curiosity, I’m a natural born geek and I love to spy on others progress and look at page sources when I find an interesting feature) and see that many have the same “Favourite song?”, “Favourite sport?” etc. You get the idea. Forums nowadays are filled with generic content, and it gets boring! People are always out looking for excitement and something new. So why not be the next Facebook? The next Youtube? The next Myspace? Well maybe not Myspace, but you get the picture.

Try and research before buying a domain. Your domain is the 1st protocol, the first thing a user will read before looking at your site. If you have reeetylsswr.co.cz it’s not going to look too attractive. Whereas is you look at a site such as Facebook.com; the name is genius and relates directly to the content. This is EXACTLY what you want to be achieving.

Whilst doing your research:

Make sure that you write down a variety of niches. You need to compare what’s available and what you can achieve greatly in. Nobody wants to come to a forum where the owner hasn’t got the first clue about what he’s writing about. It’s like going to a gaming forum and the owner being 95 and asking if the new Gameboy Colour has come out yet. Yes, for those wondering I still play pokémon on my GBC.

You need to then write down a list of preferred domain names. Try and make a header/box with preferable/necessary words for the domain, and base your ideas around those. I spent around 3 days researching just for my domain alone, and ended up running the financial side of the Discussion Bulletin Board. This is literally the extend people go to to make successful forums, so if you get it right from the start you’ll be fine!

Creating activity around the forum, and keeping it there!

This is most likely going to be the most read part of this article. I ran a poll a few weeks back and this was requested, so for those who wanted it, here goes!

Activity. The most bewildering factor when it comes to starting and running a forum. As I said in the introduction, I have around 3 – 4 direct messages on Twitter daily asking me how it’s done.
Webmasters the world over have written guides on how it’s done, but I assure you these are my tips and I’ve seen them in action.

First I’ll list an overview, and go into detail later on:

  • Turn your cap backwards, relax!
  • Everybody’s equal!
  • Nobody likes spam, get nutritional!

Turn your cap backwards, relax!

Strict modding of forums is a major downside. Many people look for a place to hang back and relax. So why remove loads of posts or warn people constantly when they’re having fun?
Obviously warning/removing racial or hate content is the exception, but swearing isn’t exactly murder so don’t treat it like it is! Everybody needs to let off steam, so let them do it online where they’re comfortable and you’ll see the posts come rolling in. If you create what is essentially a Youth Center but online, you’ll become popular in no time at all. I used to be a GMOD (Global Moderator) on a popular hacking forum (won’t mention the name) and they allowed anything up to and leading to swearing in all manners. People were happy to post, argue and debate all over the board because they could act like themselves on the board as if they were talking in real life.

Everybody’s equal!

This has to be the most annoying part of any forum; the admin who thinks he’s superior to everybody else because he runs the site. People will often leave the site if they think their opinions are not valid, or that they are just posting to keep the staff happy and not because they truely want to.
When I ran my first forum, I took the attitude that it was an honour to have each member. In my opinion, every admin should take the same approach and should come to realize that a forum is nothing without its members. So if you come across as too arrogant, try loosening up and letting people have their say. Take all suggestions into consideration, because if 1 person wants something, I can guarantee more people will want it too.

Nobody likes spam, get nutritional!

This witty one liner made me laugh when I ripped it from my overly active mind.
People won’t want to come to a board covered in ads, the Admins hoarding 352094492 links in their sigs and posting 1 word answers to increase their post count. Generating discussion amongst members is the easiest way you can increase your post count and keep the members there! They will want to constantly keep checking their threads to see if new replies have been made, and then post again. It’s a cycle, but not one of the vicious kind.

To create such discussions, try and avoid religious or moral discussions. These will almost always turn in flame threads where members have arguments and turn out very badly. So badly that members reading the thread may consider you to be a slacking MOD and turn their back on the forum. So take the first point above into consideration, but keep a careful eye out.

4. Advanced administration – Forum Viewing Permissions

This is just a short section to give people a tip that not many new admins use. Allowing guests to read threads when the forum is new is important. They will want a reason to come back to your forum, and won’t want to if they feel like they’re being forced into doing something they may regret later on. I mean, as a user you never know who has your email address. Why give it out more than you should have to?

When you start to get regular activity (I’d say more than 20 active members, deny guests the right to read threads. Much like myself, they will most likely check out the forum stats before they leave. If they see that you have an active member base they’ll be tempted to see what all the fuss is about. This is the critical point where all the tips above come into play!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this lengthy guide, it’s taken me 4 days to write and I’ve stayed awake till 1am GMT tonight to finalize it!

If anybody has any questions, be they elaborations on points above or additional information, give me a PM or post below!

Why New Promotion Forums Suffer – Introduction

This article was first posted on our blog on 01/05/2010. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


In today’s world, there is usually up to 100 new promotion forums popping up on the internet every day! Promotion forums come and go faster than regular forums for some reason that admins are yet to comprehend. New forums receive very little, to no traffic at all in their first month of opening; (so services containing links are very useless and will turn the member off to not requesting the service.)

Promotion Forums suffer because they are no different from the rest. I have seen a few forums that add a special touch. Poorly thought out forums consist of everything Forum Promotion has such as Social Ads, Banner Ads, Signature Ads, Packages, etc. My favourite line is “Dare to be Different.” Forum Promotion has put a lot of time into making itself unique, so why copy it? Develop your own unique services and a different way to carry out those services to make your promotion forum larger, better, and more professional/successful than it was before. Uniqueness is important if you want to be successful at a time when there is so much competition around. You need to stand out from the crowd and give users a reason to join your forum, against the other new promotion forums that are opened daily.

I hope these first few tips help you in your quest of building a successful and active promotion forum. This series will cover Admin Dedication, Dull Services, and more! Stay Tuned!

Promotion Forums: Do They Really Help?

This article was first posted on our blog on 31/01/2011. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.

I’ve been a member of Forum Promotion for a little over a year now. I’ve used several of the services offered as well as the services that many other promotion sites offer. To help you decide which services may be useful to you, I decided to break down the pros and cons of each of the services I have used.

Almost all promotion sites use their own virtual currency that you can earn by posting/replying to topics. This currency can then be used to purchase different posting packages, reviews, and other promotion tools.


 

The “Basic Promotion” service is probably the most common service provided by promotion sites. On most promotion sites, this service doesn’t cost anything. You can simply create a thread that markets your website or forum and wait for results.

Pros of Advertising Services:

  • People will see your link
  • They’re usually free
  • The links can increase your page rank

Cons of Advertising Services:

  • Usually the only other people who look at these “Basic Promotion” boards are the ones who are there for the same reason as you are. It’s not very common for someone to look through these boards to find a forum to join.
  • Due to this service being free, there are many users taking advantage of it. This causes a long list of threads that can very quickly push yours to a second page which decreases the chances of your thread being noticed. Most promotion forums that offer this service will allow you to bump your thread, but you often have to wait twenty-four hours or more.

 

Posting packages are also commonly provided by promotion sites. Users who have accumulated a certain amount of a site’s virtual currency can apply for a package of their choice from a list provided by the “Package Team.”

Pros of Posting Packages:

  • They offer an easy way to increase your forum’s post count
  • They add one to three members to your member count
  • They make your forum appear more active

Cons of Posting Packages:

  • After the posting package is completed, the user that completed the package usually becomes inactive.
  • In some cases, users completing packages may make lower quality posts than you would like due to the large demand for the package service.
  • You may request a package to make certain boards on your forum active, but the members of the package team may not be knowledgeable about those specific areas. Thus, the package cannot be completed to your liking.

 

Reviews are a great way to get feedback on your website/forum. Most promotion sites have a review team that will log into your website, look through it, and let you know what they like or dislike about it.

Pros of Review Services:

  • They offer you quick feedback on your site layout, theme, and features
  • They give you an idea of what other people would like to see on your site/forum
  • They offer you a perspective from a person who is generally knowledgeable about forums

Cons of Review Services:

  • You’re given a pretty biased review. The feedback you’re getting is from one or two people and they grade you based on their own personal opinions
  • To get an accurate review, I would recommend asking your own users what they want to see in the site/forum

 

These are the services that I have used so far. I just recently launched my own website and forum, so I will be looking into the other services that FP and other promotion sites provide. I will give my pros and cons for these in a later blog entry. My general opinion of promotion sites is that they aren’t as effective as we might think they are. However, it is possible that different users with different sites may have different results.

Using Reviews the Smart Way

Reviews are very common on Forum Promotion and elsewhere in the world. The types of reviews that we might receive on a daily basis vary widely, and with every review, there is a proper way and an improper way to use it. I find that the reviews on Forum Promotion are consistently misused by the people who request them. Being an ex-reviewer, I have a lot of experience with giving reviews and being dismayed when people receive them the wrong way. I am going to go through some myths related to reviews on Forum Promotion and dispel them.


Myth #1: People who have never run successful forums* cannot review because any advice they offer will be invalid.

This is the biggest myth that I see. Ignoring the fact that some of our reviewers have run or helped run many successful forums in the past and the fact that there is no universally accepted definition for “success,” a reviewer does not need to be a successful forum owner to review forums. Every person on our review staff has been a forum user for a long time and has seen thousands of forums, both successful and unsuccessful. Looking at what makes these forums successful and unsuccessful makes these people aware of what characteristics make a good forum. Reviewers don’t have to look at the admin control panel of these forums just to see what makes them successful. Also, with every review, you see your forum through a slightly different lens. The reviewer may see something that you and your users never noticed because you use your forum so much, and this particular thing may very well be deterring members from joining.

Myth #2: Scores are a very important part of reviews.

This is absolutely false. Because reviewers have differing perspectives, a forum that scores ninety in one reviewer’s opinion may score seventy in another reviewer’s opinion. Due to this, the scores earned in Forum Promotion reviews are not good indicators of how your forum stacks up against other forums reviewed. Even if the review was done by the same person, you can’t necessarily compare the two reviews based on score. For example, I tended to be much harder on forums that I thought were good because I felt that if I gave them too high a score, it might make them feel that they don’t have much room left for improvement; I wanted to see these forums do even better than they already did. For example, Hcfwesker’s Brawl Domain (an excellent forum by anyone’s definition) only earned an eighty-nine in my review. That doesn’t mean that Hcfwesker’s forum is worse than other forums that got higher scores by any means; it simply means that I emphasized his weak points a little more to try to coax him into doing even better than he already was.

Myth #3: If one reviewer gave your forum a high score and another reviewer gave your forum a low score, it means that the latter is biased or wrong.

As I mentioned above, each reviewer has a different perspective and different idea of what he/she thinks a good forum is. I know that I gave low scores to certain forums that had already been reviewed on Forum Promotion before and received very high scores. I almost undoubtedly got marked down in the “Rate Your Review” topic because of this, but I certainly wasn’t trying to be unfair or biased against the forum in question. I simply have a different perspective (and perhaps I’m a bit harder, admittedly). You must also take into account that different reviewers have different strengths. For example, I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about grammar (I’m not being conceited; it’s just an interest of mine). Because of this, I can spot grammar mistakes more easily than other reviewers. Some other reviewers have been knowledgeable about graphics, so they may be a bit harder on forums’ styles. Reviewers who are very organized may be slightly harder on the layouts of forums (I admit that I was a bit hard on this section of the review as well). Just because two reviewers have differing perspectives of your forum does not mean that one is wrong or biased.

Myth #4: If a reviewer gives your forum a low score, it means he/she hates your forum or thinks your forum is bad.

During my time as a reviewer, I gave low scores to a lot of forums that I thought were great. For example, I gave Anathema’s blog a relatively low score (mid-seventies if I recall) when I reviewed it. Although I marked her down a lot in some areas, I thought that her blog was actually very interesting, and I believe I mentioned that in the review. Reviewers may also not care about certain areas of the review despite the fact that they still deduct points. For example, I do not care much about the styles of forums, but I still review them and deduct points because many people do care about styles.

Myth #5: Reviews mandate that you take all of their advice. We think that our reviews are more important than what your users think.

This is absolutely false. I have always said that active users are the most important reviewers that forums have. Also, I recognize that many people disagreed with what I said in reviews; I never expected everyone to take all of the advice that I gave. However, be advised that if you request a review and simply disregard the whole thing, the reviewer who wrote it for you may not want to review your forum the next time because it’s a waste of his/her time.

* – Although we review forums, websites, and blogs; I’m using “forums” because it seems more efficient for the purposes of writing this. We also review forums much more than we review websites and blogs.


 

I hope that reading through my explanations will make you more likely to properly use your review the next time you request one.