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  1. #1
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    My community

    Hi there.

    Thanks Wayne for providing this great service!

    I am finally plucking up the courage to submit my own community site for review.

    It can be found here:
    http://www.mostlyamphigory.com/forums/

    I encourage you to enter through the main site at
    http://www.mostlyamphigory.com/

    The site contains satirical/humorous articles that are of interest to high school and university/college students.

    The forums are for user submitted jokes, as well as a general discussion area.

    Some things to consider:

    - I wish to target this site to young people, probably students aged 12 to 26

    - I am getting 96 unique visitors per day, 16758 page hits per month.

    - I recently started an email newsletter. I would appreciate comments on the newsletter signup forms on my main site. Forum members are signed up by default and can opt-out at any time.

    - Registration is currently not required for posting.
    People have said to me that when a bulletin board is new, to encourage people to post it is beneficial to allow posting without registration.
    Registration is required for one of my forums only, and for colour schemes.

    - Compared to the rest of my site, the forums are more cluttered. They are also more colourful. Do you think this is likely to turn people off?

    - I have recently implemented search engine friendly URLs on all of my forums and posts, and on the articles on my main site.

    - I have programmed my own "email this page to a friend" features into the site. The links appear on every topic in the forums, and every article on my main site.

    I'd appreciate advice on:

    Low cost methods of promotion for my site.

    Obtaining new subscribers and forum members.

    Improving response to my forums. My stats tell me that a lot of my visitors are going in to read the jokes, and so I have placed links to some of the best jokes on the front page of the forums. However, the response rate is low.

    Thankyou very much.
    Last edited by mmj; Jul 28, 2001 at 10:02.
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  2. #2
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    Patrick's Avatar
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    Since no one has responded to this thread yet... I decided I should!

    I don't think the "cluttered" look of the forums will turn people off.

    I like your site very much, very appealing to me my eye - one of the Top 10 phpBB's I have ever seen (and I have seen a lot).

    Best low cost methods of promotion? Hmm... do what I do: spam your buddy list! lol

    I visited your main page and I have to say that your forums were not exactly featured in a prominent spot. I caught 4 text links, but all were in small text, I think you should create a nice graphic about "Humorous Discussion" or something and place it near the top of the page to gain some attention.

    But all in all, the site looks very good, I like the little features (such as e-mail page to a friend) that you have programmed into the site.

  3. #3
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Patrick, thanks for the comments!

    This month, my visitors per day have doubled.

    My front page is badly in need for a redesign...

    Thanks again, I enjoy all these comments.
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard Anat's Avatar
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    I liked it and didn't think it was cluttered at all. I like the colors - you don't see many of these in forums

    I asked people to register from the very beginning and had no problem. My forums are growing by the day and to be honest I don't know how really. I don't use any specific promotion for the forums, other than a link in my signature. Then again, my forums provide advice about cats, so maybe that's different.

    Oh, one thing I do is visit other forums I like and adding my site in my signature. I think that other forums are a good place for potential forum members. You're welcome to pop into my forum and introduce yourself and your cat
    My Web Publishing Blog: B6S.net - I dofollow but don't spam!
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  5. #5
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    I like the design of the main site, but I'm not so sure about the colours of the forums, they just feel a bit brown?!

    Practically speaking, the green line dividers were a little luminous for my liking and your reply/new thread buttons need a bit of work.

    But the content is good (can't go wrong with jokes!) and links to hot areas is great. The navigation around the fourms isn't as easy as say the vBulletin with the select boxes, but maybe you are not allowed to implement that?

    I was trying to think of some sections for you:

    -- funny email forwards?
    -- funny pictures?
    -- funny real life incidents (like the idiot who parachuted into the statue of liberty...)
    -- good practical jokes?
    -- where to buy rubber chickens?

    Just off the top of my head...
    I swear to drunk I'm not God.
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  6. #6
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions weirdbeardmt!

    By 'select boxes' I assume you mean 'forum jumps' - the drop down selection that lets you jump to a particular forum.

    I actually removed these by choice. There were two reasons:
    - Increase in speed and efficiency
    - According to my research hardly anyone uses them.
    Do you think that these forum jumps are more important than I realise?

    Thanks for the suggestions about new suggestions. I certainly plan to branch out in the future, especially as we grow in audience.

    The default colour scheme in my forums is bizarre, and I'll take your comments into account when modifying my default colour scheme. It was a bit more 'pink', and some people complained that it was too pink Maybe it's just time for something new.

    Here's a sample of a colour scheme you might like better:
    http://www.mostlyamphigory.com/forums/?themeid=10

    Do you think this would be better as a 'default' colour scheme? Actually, this one might also be a bit too brown.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  7. #7
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    RE forum jumps -- yep, I use them all the time at sitepoint -- i think they are a nice touch.

    RE colours -- being naturally inquisitive i had a snoop around, and actually really like themeid 8 - it fitted/blended really well with the top bar, it was fun but still stylish!

    I would also put your forum home - forum name - this joke

    links at the bottom of the page, not just the top. I had read a joke and some comments, and yes I know HOW LAZY but didn't want to have to scroll back up.

    Just some suggestions...

    P.S. Cant wait for my funny newsletter...
    I swear to drunk I'm not God.
    Matt's debating is not a crime
    Hint: Don't buy a stupid dwarf Clicky

  8. #8
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Okay - theme 8 is actually just the same colours as vbulletin.com just as something to start with

    Originally posted by weirdbeardmt
    I would also put your forum home - forum name - this joke

    links at the bottom of the page, not just the top

    ...

    P.S. Cant wait for my funny newsletter...
    Yes - I've had other people wanting those links at the bottom. I will do that.

    Also, my newsletter is on the 9th and 26th of each month

    Thanks very much for all your help.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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    Neon Javascript Framework Jokes Android stuff

  9. #9
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    I just received the confirmation email thanking me for subscription. The only thing is it welcomed me by ripping the first part of the email address out to use as my name -- this worked fine for me cos my email address consists of my first and second name, but reckon it might look a bit odd to people who's email address is

    273bigface or whatever.

    Not much you can do I know and of course the other thing is that email addresses are personal so...

    just thought i'd point it out!
    I swear to drunk I'm not God.
    Matt's debating is not a crime
    Hint: Don't buy a stupid dwarf Clicky

  10. #10
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Yep. I programmed it by hand to do exactly this

    That way, I don't have to ask for a name when people sign up. It just 'guesses' the name from the first half of the email address. nice touch, ey? How many lists do that, ey?

    Most people have an email that resembles their name or nickname.

    If my email address was '273bigface@mostlyamphigory.com', I'd love to receive an email that started with
    "Dear 273bigface,"



    I've created my website the hard way - by using my own custom code. Apart from the original phpBB, everything in my site is coded by me. It pays off, because I end up knowing exactly how it works.

    Thanks again
    Last edited by mmj; Sep 2, 2001 at 09:41.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  11. #11
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    I've created my website the hard way - by using my own custom code. Apart from the original phpBB, everything in my site is coded by me. It pays off, because I end up knowing exactly how it works.
    Hey, I know the feeling! . I still get stick because I code everything by hand in Notepad. Whilst it might take me 6 times as long as say Dreamweaver, I'm not bothered because I know exactly why something is doing it. Not only does this mean I am always learning but it means that if something ever goes wrong or I want to add something, I know exactly where it is in my code and go straight there, rather than trawling through loads of code I haven't got the first clue about. This is why I tend to stay away from pre-written scripts (php-nuke for example) because I am just not comfortable not being in total control. The only exception I make is the occasional Javascript, because they're normally short, and really easy to use/modify.

    Plus it is SO much more satisfying to sit back and say "I wrote that all by myself!".

    I swear to drunk I'm not God.
    Matt's debating is not a crime
    Hint: Don't buy a stupid dwarf Clicky

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard subnet_rx's Avatar
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    Yes, very nice forums. I wish I could find somewhere that would tell me how to customize phpBB like that. And put it in terms that a php newbie could understand. I'd also love to know how you are signing ppl up for your ezine automaticly when they register. I wish I could do that too. In other words, it looks like your my phpBB hero!

  13. #13
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    Thanks subnet.

    Unfortunately, there is no way of customising your phpBB without learning a fair bit of PHP and mySQL first. I've put tons of hours into it - all so I could learn some PHP, and get practice.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard subnet_rx's Avatar
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    you mean I have to pick up a book and learn? Bah, i knew you'd say that.


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