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  1. #1
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    How do I increase my forumactivity?

    I am the webmaster of Midtown Madness 2 Central and the website is getting many visitors, only I always think a forum reflects the site's activity. Welp, my forum is almost dead =(

    I was thinking of some sort of vBulletin hack which displays the 5 Recent Threads on the mainpage but haven't found it yet.

    Suggestions to increase my forumactivity are welcome.
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  2. #2
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Well, upon visiting your site, I have one major amjor MAJOR complaint. Why do you have so many freakin' ads popping up? I had to close 8 ad windows!!!!! Try eliminating that...then try putting something advertising your forums more prominietly on the frontpage. Personally, the forum doesn't look totally dead. Seems like you have alot of threads. Not as active as Sitepoint, but not dead either.

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  3. #3
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    I am hosted by the hosting company Behind The Wheel Inc. and as everyone knows, the ad revenue sucks these days. That's why these popups and since the CPM is really low the worse popups (behinds actually) are displayed.

    But before these popups the activity wasn't that great too, some days people post something but comparing to the amount of visitors I get it's nothing!

    But did anyone hear about the hack I described?
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Before you do anything else, pull out a credit card and move that site to a paid server .
    http://www.sianews.com: an independent, politically conservative news site

  5. #5
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    Oooh k, great reply, not!

    Anyone else?
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  6. #6
    What's HTML?
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    Actually sianews did have a great suggestion, paid hosting.

    How can you expect people to invest their time and effort posting in your forum, when you won't invest $10 a month to eliminate the pop-ups?

    I don't know about everyone else here, but I never revisit a site with consistent pop-ups. If SPF ever went to pop-ups, I'd be gone and wouldn't come back.
    Ryan Kuhle - A Proud Advisor - Got Questions? Just Ask!
    Get your website started for less than $20! Click Here

  7. #7
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    Don't really understand what you suggested.

    1. I leave the company and buy my own server
    2. Due to low CPM's etc.. I need money to cover bandwidth and server costs
    3. Tada! My own popups =)

    So uhm, that didn't really help me =\
    And there are a lot of reasons why I would stay with the current company, but no more about popups. How would you increase forumactivity (ok, let's assume there are no popups at my website)?
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Do a search for $5 hosting, there are a few quality services out there that with minimal cost that will free your site from those annoying pop-ups.
    http://www.sianews.com: an independent, politically conservative news site

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast Stallion's Avatar
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    Maybe if you didn't have popups, there WOULD be an increase in forum activity...seriously. :-)
    /* Chris Lambert - chris@php.net
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  10. #10
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    Come on guys, read what I say =)

    "But before these popups the activity wasn't that great too, some days people post something but comparing to the amount of visitors I get it's nothing!"

    *sigh*
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  11. #11
    What's HTML?
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    Ok I'm looking through your site right now. Hang on, need to close the pop-up. *closing*

    I'm looking but not finding your forum link at a first glance, this is one problem. Now I see it, down below the first fold.

    Wait, closing another pop-up. *closing*

    Another problem I'm having (possibly just my connection), the forum is loading pretty slow because of all the threads. I might suggest some kind of splash page explaining what's inside and that it could be slow loading.

    Otherwise everything looks pretty good. Maybe offer a give-away to a random member.
    Ryan Kuhle - A Proud Advisor - Got Questions? Just Ask!
    Get your website started for less than $20! Click Here

  12. #12
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    Ok, I thought the Forum link was a problem as well
    *opens box of 1337 Photoshop skillz *

    Slow loading? Hmm, some people are experiencing slow speeds at the server, but I am on ISDN64k and almost on the other side of the world where the server is and am getting VERY good speeds =\

    Thanks for the reply
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  13. #13
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Something to remember, RMulder...a website is made up of components (i.e. forums, news pages, polls) but the components make up the whole enchilada and if one part is bad, it drags the whole site down. You cannot say "I want to improve one thing and expect that to solve all your probelms if you have another thing dragging your site down. Right now, you have a decent site. If you made your forums a little clearer you still won't have the traffic you want. A site's success is based on what people like and if they don't like something, they won't explore the site, or they won't come back.....you have too many pop-ups and people won't like it. Get rid of those. However, that probably won't solve your problem by iutself because you have a great big enchilada to take care of....if you don't want to hear professional advice, then don't ask professionals. We want you to suceed. We're not giving bad advice. I want everyone in this forum to do well with what they do. Cool?

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  14. #14
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    *JMulder thanks

    I wouldn't come here if I would not want professional advice now would I? I was completelly NOT satisfied with sianews' reply. I ask you guys how to improve my forumactivity and with an answer like that I can hardly start working on it now can I? =)

    Enchilada? I got an idea what that means, I know I cannot increase my forumactivity just like that. RKuhle made a great comment telling me the Forum link isn't visible at first sight and that's one thing I will change. Also, I cannot control these popups because -once again- I am hosted by a company. They're are so good and you will not find the support they give you somewhere else for free.
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  15. #15
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Okay, but, honestly.....5 bucks a month for no-pop ups and comparable customer service wouldn't be worth it to you? Also think about this...you don't control the content of the pop-ups. What if some company paid your hosting company for advertising and popped a child porn ad up there. We'd all like to think it doesn't happoen, but I for one, knows that it does. Now a child porn ad pops up on a site and suddenly your name and site is connected in the users head to that porn site. It's not really, but to the innocent user who doesn't know better, he doesn't understand that that is a webhosting gimmick for free hosting. He thinks it's part of your site. Worse yet, a kid who is a ten year old gamer surfs onto your site looking for help on the Midtown Madness game and gets assaulted with these kinds of ads. granted most of them are safe, but I had a singles service ad pop up at me. Do you REALLY want that? Is it REALLY worth it? I can't answer that for you, but I know it is completely unacceptable for me. I am 100% responsible for what a viewer sees and is advertised to upon visiting my site. That is a safety net that the user gives you on visit to you and I, personally, hold that safety net like I would hold a box of glass...very very carefully. You make your own decision.

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  16. #16
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    Childporn? Mkay, that's a bit far fetched IMO =\
    But I guess you are right, but comparible custom service? No way, you'll need to check out the "Hosting Page" at my site, you'll get all that and more, Behind The Wheel Inc. simply rocks, almost nobody can beat them.

    I would have to pay more than $5 to get the same quality of server as my current one as well =\
    There's no way I would leave the company.

    But I came up with the two following solutions:

    - Placing the Forum link better
    - Making a Quick Links bar at the top of the Main Page.

    Thanks all for the help.
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  17. #17
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    Shalom!
    Aaron Brazell
    Technosailor



  18. #18
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    Err...gesundheit?
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  19. #19
    SitePoint Enthusiast Stallion's Avatar
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    Why don't you try any of the other targetted hosts out there? Sites like GA-Sports or SportPlanet host sites like yours while only requiring a small 480x60 banner.
    /* Chris Lambert - chris@php.net
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    vBulletin, Security Programmer - Instant Community
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Zealot DarkMonkey's Avatar
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    Well the main thing to note is... Your forums are BIG. Getting over 1000 members to sign up is a huge achievement. I know you are against the pop up idea but it ESPECIALLY annoying on forums. Forums are there for regulars to visit many threads often, if you're not looking you can build up tons of pop ups extremely quickly. They are irritating. Maybe you could talk to your host about at least getting rid of the pop up on every page in exchange for banner ads and other promotional stuff.

    I think if you have that many members yet fairly slow activity it must be saying 'people visit but are leaving' ... pop ups get annoying.

    That said, practical ideas are as follows.
    Link to the forums with every articles (discuss this in the forusm...) dunno if you're doing that but do it if you're not.

    Maybe some kind of image on main page emphasising the forums.

    As somebody already said, do competitions or organise some trivia event in the forums with a points board on the main site. It's good if users don't only interact with others on the forums but they are actually interacting with the site. Everything should be a 'whole'.

    I'll stop now though because your forums are way more popular than mine are so it seems odd you are asking for such advice. most of this is kinda obvious stuff anyway.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Zealot izaak's Avatar
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    About your forum...

    I found a message board with unlimited forums without pop-ups or any other advertisements. You might take a look... It is free too.

    Example:

    My forum

    There site 2gx.net

    Izaak,
    GetchaName
    Domain Name Ideas
    www.getchaname.com
    sales@getchaname.com

  22. #22
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Make your forum stand out more. It is the nineteenth link on the page (including the ones at the top). Who's going to look through all those? Not many people are going to view all parts of your site and if the forums aren't a prominent part then it will be missed.

    Make it stand out from the other links by having an icon, or an exclamation mark, or something.
    You could also mention that you have forums somewhere near the top of your front page and SELL your forums. Convince people right away that your forums are the best thing since sliced bread. As they are, hardly anyone will noticed the forums.

    I really dislike popups, and it seems that the best advice you have got here is Sianews'. I assume, from your nasty response, that you cannot afford paid hosting.

    Do you have the same unified login for the forums, and the free chat, and the free email? If not, then it is going to discourage people from signing up to each.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  23. #23
    1-800-JMULDER JMulder's Avatar
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    All those forums are not mine, they're the forums of the hosting company. My forum is the only one I link to.

    I can afford paid hosting, but taking this step is simply not an option. I'm still at school, 16 years old and am very satisfied with this company. Moving the forum will be done and the complete Affiliations list will be moved as well, makes it all less clutered.

    I'd like to thank you all for the comments, I will be going on vacation now, from July 12th to August 1st in Venice, Italy =)

    Weee, some bye bye =)
    Don't bother to reply unless you want me to read it three weeks later
    Jeroen Mulder

    w: www.jeroenmulder.com

  24. #24
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    hmm... have you contacted Behind the Wheel about the possibility of a paid plan in order to get rid of the ads?

    Might be a possibility that will improve the possibilities of both companies. With a paid premium package they won't have to rely on advertising so much and your visitors won't be bothered by the outside advertising as much.

    Both of your forums seems to be pretty active with both containing over 7000 posts each. That is nothing to sneeze at. Other things you can look into are:

    1) Getting a co-branded look for your forums so they match your site.

    2) Getting the forums into categories that you control.

    My guess is that the people you refer to the forums are active. Only in other more general sections of the Behind the Wheel Forums. These are really your forums but instead a way for them to create traffic and registered members for themselves. This is the same way ez-board operates in where they own the member list.

    Right now you are feeding and promoting Behind the Wheel, giving them traffic and defending their policies for them while you suffer trafficwise as your unique visitors travel to other portions of the network and most likely are never to return.

    As a community operator and consultant that is my professional opinion.
    Wayne Luke
    ------------


  25. #25
    :) delemtri's Avatar
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    JMulder -

    How many visitors do you get per month? If you don't mind the popup ads, you can make a LOT more than you'll have to pay for monthly upkeep if you pay for hosting.


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