SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    That's a bulldog skull... StateDOG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    204
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Advice on a community site, please?

    I currenty run Mississippi Sports Talk, a forum site I began last May, that primarily covers high school sports in north Mississippi. I started it because I'd been visiting a forum on a newspaper's site that I felt was running sub-par software and there were too many immature people on it. I went with phpBB as my software because it was free (it was a hobby/project and didn't have the $$ to throw @ vBull) and got decent reviews here at SPF. I chose phpBB over Snitz, iKon, and the remotely hosted ones.

    The forums were begun at a time when school was getting out for the summer and there wasn't any activity at all in the way of high school sports. So it was pretty slow until fall got here. But with some word of mouth and a little pimping of myself on some Mississippi State and U. of Miss websites the membership grew and posting activity expanded. After a big hosting disaster that wiped out everything the day before the first weekend of football games, it recovered and did pretty well. A community was born.

    It was clear that football is KING and the other sports didn't get as much activity. We got a decent amount of posts on College Sports too from the regulars on the forums. Now it's summer again, and posting activity has understandably decreased.

    So, in the down time of the summer (the nature of the subject matter) I'd like to make some changes to give the site more punch. That's where I'm asking if you have any advice.

    1. Right now the site has been focused on North Mississippi because that's where I am and that was the focus of the board I was fed up with. How can I effectively expand the scope/vision of the board to encompass the entire state of Mississippi, not just the north half?

    2. Do I need a portal/entry page? I have the forums at a subdomain right now. But I'm wondering if I should just make them the home domain. What benefit would a portal have for me? A few things I've thought of is weekly rankings of statewide sports, polls, weekly game schedules, chat options, a listing of links to all knows high school sites in the state. But I don't know that I'm able to have many news stories from around the state. I'd feel they'd be too infrequent and far between to warrent any now and then. So not a lot of updated articles.

    3. I'm considering changing to IPB. They're about to release 1.2 later this month. But phpBB2.2 is out later next fall/winter. But if I know I don't wan to use php/post-nuke, then it's not an issue. But I think I'd like IPB a little beter.

    4. vBull....it costs $$ and I'm not making any $$ off of the site. Is there any way you'd see a site such as this being able to turn a profit? Or is it just good for community right now? I don't mind paying the nominal hosting fee I've been paying to host free software. But would vBull's options give me enough punch to at least break even?

    5. Anything else you might think of that could make this be more of a successful site? What tools could I employ to create something "special"?
    Now Here........ Mississippi Sports Talk
    This is me blog... StateDOG.com

  2. #2
    Non-Member Icheb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,474
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Since your forum focuses on a rather small region, I would ask local companies if they are willing to advertise on your site.

    You have two different links which lead to your forum, this may confuse some users.

    And dude, it's vB , not vBull and iB, not iKon.

  3. #3
    That's a bulldog skull... StateDOG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    204
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    vB and iB...okay, I knew that.

    What do you mean by two different ways into the forums?
    Now Here........ Mississippi Sports Talk
    This is me blog... StateDOG.com

  4. #4
    ********* and Coffee Addict SmellTheCoffee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    256
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hi,
    If you are trying to drive more traffic to effectively turn this from a hobby into a profitable venture I would definitely say adding content is the way to go. Also, it would allow you to expand your market by posting schedules for other parts of the state.

    I think most high schools have weekly papers now. You might want to contact the editors (students) and ask them to write a story about the success of your site. They are always looking for material and this might give another boost to your traffic.

    Also, if you are trying to expand to covering the summer month's I believe there are a bunch of intramural teams. Ie. company football/softball leagues, etc. you could track them down and call for their schedules which might get them to the site and posting.

    As a first step I would change the name reference from North Mississippi to Mississippi. This will de-regionalize (is that a word or what?) you for future promotion.

    Trying to make profit on the site could be tricky but you could approach all the local sporting good shops and offer them cheap advertising while you build more traffic. It looks like you have a great base to start with so I'm sure some would be interest.

    Hope those ideas help...Good luck!

    John
    "Your Internet Coffee Filter"

  5. #5
    ********* and Coffee Addict SmellTheCoffee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    256
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hey,
    Had another quick idea for content. Install one of those picture gallery scripts and users could post pics from the games. That one may be silly but figured I would throw it in there...

    John
    "Your Internet Coffee Filter"

  6. #6
    That's a bulldog skull... StateDOG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    204
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The forums were originally called North Mississippi Sports Forums with a domain of www.NorthMissSports.com. I changed it to www.MissSportsTalk.com so it could eventually be targeted at the whole state. I've just not changed the title and graphic on the board.

    Thanks for the ideas...esp. the school papers and I might try to send a press release of sorts to other local papers as well. Who knows, it may be a slow week in sports stories and they may publish it or at least follow up on it.

    I'm not necessarily looking to make a big profit on it. Breaking even would be fine (but more is better, of course). But I wondered if adding some things that would make it a better community would cost $$, but would pay for themselves. I too had thought of getting specific regional ads (static ads?) instead of the normal banner click through programs and all.

    Any other advice from anyone is more than welcome.
    Now Here........ Mississippi Sports Talk
    This is me blog... StateDOG.com


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •