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  1. #1
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    Show me your community!

    I'm just curious what others have done with community sites. What type of promotions you do. What type of software you use and how you've modified it. What's been successful, what's failed. I'm looking for real life examples here, so don't be shy.

    The one I'm working on now is my hobby forum.
    Last edited by petertdavis; May 26, 2007 at 20:58.
    Peter T Davis

    I buy forums - PM me if you're selling.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast jeeplaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petertdavis
    I'm just curious what others have done with community sites. What type of promotions you do. What type of software you use and how you've modified it. What's been successful, what's failed. I'm looking for real life examples here, so don't be shy.
    Hi Peter, my site, www.dietdiscussions.com , has been up for roughly a half of month now. Site promotion consists of SEO, submitting the url to other health minded websites, and believe it or not, some local flyer advertising to "get the word out". This community is growing extremely slowly, but I have faith. Weight loss as a whole is a very competitive keyword market on the serp scene, so I'm contending against some heavy weights.

    I'm using PHPboard, utilizing a number of different modifications, and styles. For me, it's tweak as you go along. I like the flexible nature of it. I'll tell you in a couple of months whether it's a failed or successful venture

  3. #3
    ********* Poet X Q mano's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I'm working on building the community at www.xqpoetry.com/forums

    It's not very big yet, and it's still in the process of being built.

    I use phpbb and skinned it and made some small modifications. But nothing big.

    I've submitted the site to as many directories as possible. Although a lot of them takes a lot of time, and some are not active at all. I keep the link in my signature at all forums I'm a member of. And I've tried my hand at some SEO...

    Not vastly successful yet, but I'm trying to build an active little poetry-community with reviews, and discussion etc...

  4. #4
    Formerly known as RockNRollPig Shpigford's Avatar
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    in response to jeeplaw about the diet discussion...i went and looked and i think your problem as to why its going so slow is that you've got WAY to many forums....20 forums w/ 2 posts looks so much worse than say 6 or 7 forums w/ like 5 or 6 posts....you need to condense some of those forums and add as you need them....atleast thats from my numerous experiences...

  5. #5
    SitePoint Guru Mike Panic's Avatar
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    check my sig, theres 2 of them listed there
    MikePanic.com Photography | Web Design | Social Media | Content Creation | Espresso

  6. #6
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Panic
    check my sig, theres 2 of them listed there
    I'm not just looking for a url or two. I want to know how you got your community site to where it is now, what worked, what didn't work.
    Peter T Davis

    I buy forums - PM me if you're selling.

  7. #7
    ********* Poet X Q mano's Avatar
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    I think one of the things that are hampering growth on my part at the moment is the fact that I haven't got enough time to help it grow.

    To grow a community takes a lot of time and dedication methinks...

  8. #8
    SitePoint Guru Mike Panic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petertdavis
    I'm not just looking for a url or two. I want to know how you got your community site to where it is now, what worked, what didn't work.
    well ok then...

    iphotoforum.com started as a concept in early feb 2003 from the photography forum on vwvortex.com - a vw enthusiast site. several of us are advanced amatures, semi-pro or pro photographers and couldnt deal w/ all the n00b questions all day everyday and random photos of people cats.

    that, along w/ the fact that of the 2 dozen + website forums im a part of that specialize in photo and/or art were getting old. photo.net is the web's largest photographer info site, but there forums are antique to say it nicely. deviantart.com has some great talent, but its like weeding thru a haystack for a needle. some of hte other boards im on are full on snobby wedding photographers who dont think anything is good enough unless u are doing weddings or portraits, while others are just for fun, not real serious, picture posting forums.

    they all have their niche market, but i couldnt find comfort in any of them... myself and several friends from the internet all have unique styles and are pretty diverse

    so... i bought the domain name, aquired hosting and on feb 14th at like 5am i launched the site. the first 2 weeks we had like 173 registered users, mostly coming from vwvortex (currently that site has 105k users on it) so that was a BIG boost for the site.

    after that... i made suer i had a link in my sig for every forum im on, just like here, not to the point where its spam, as i am actually active in the other forums, but just so its there.

    i made and still do make personalized responces for everything i think i can contribute to, welcome all new users and still read every single post every day.

    my moderators do the smae thing for all the forums they mod.

    ive made a "link us" page full of all differant sized banners for users to add to their own websites

    i run a monthly photo contest

    i made a small modification to phpBB to allow google to spider the site more freely

    the other forum site in my sig, realityshowforum.com isnt even a week old yet... and im in the process of setting up therealworldforum.com too
    MikePanic.com Photography | Web Design | Social Media | Content Creation | Espresso

  9. #9
    The Mind's I silver trophy Dark Tranquility's Avatar
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    I am still gathering the staff and rebuilding the site !! it will be ready soon: here it is : http://www.kyscorp.com/board/

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast jeeplaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockNRollPig
    in response to jeeplaw about the diet discussion...i went and looked and i think your problem as to why its going so slow is that you've got WAY to many forums....20 forums w/ 2 posts looks so much worse than say 6 or 7 forums w/ like 5 or 6 posts....you need to condense some of those forums and add as you need them....atleast thats from my numerous experiences...
    Yea, that was a decision conundrum I had to deal with when I made the site. It's a lot like the chicken and egg syndrome. Do I offer people a place to talk about their individual topic, or a forum that encompasses all topics. I think also I am not getting the desired keyword traffic either. I need to work on those two items.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard dragonfly_7456's Avatar
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    My community is at www.shadowgamers.com. Its about PC and Console gaming. Its quite new, so its not THAT active... Well, I am using Invision power board with a massive amount of hacks.
    Content Writing Service - Get custom SEO articles for 10$

  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict philipwhite's Avatar
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    In the past six months took http://mba-forums.com from IPB 1.12 to 1.2, messed with some free skins and recently built my own skin. I have done quite a bit with search engines and have greatly increased traffic. I still have a ways to go before I can say I have an active community but building the system and awareness was a good first step.

    I think once the site is in dmoz and yahoo directory then things will really get moving.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Hi Peter!
    The portal is here...http://www.gigabikes.com/
    Just click on the Forum link on the header.
    Then to see the forum itself, it's username: testing password: testing

  14. #14
    + platinum's Avatar
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    Have one at www.ozperformance.net

    Basically a forum for vl enthusiasts, the originol site was created by 'sin' and I offered to help him set up a new community which is what we have now! Runs vBulletin currently

  15. #15
    ALT.NET - because we need it silver trophybronze trophy dhtmlgod's Avatar
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    Mine is in my sig, which i run with a friend. I don't really have much to do with it right now as we're expanding it, and I'm developing a CMS to go with the vB3 we're going to be using (easier said than done tho!)

    What did we do? Not much really. I most popular thread is about posting photos of womens butts! But we did launch the site a good few months before the phone came out, and when it did, he had a good member base with alot o knowledge.

    We've added alot of vB hacks to expand the functionality a little, but the shop one has been rather popular. Admin wise, the best one was to save attachments to the server, not the db, as we only got a 100mb MySQL. We did offer POP3 accounts, so people could have an nokia3650 email address going stright to their phone. I thought this was a really good idea, but it failed dismally. The leading factor in getting people to our forums tho is that the members have been good at helping each other, so we left them to it mainly.

    Our next community site will be an expansion of our current one (nokia3650.com/net will merge with it), basically covering all smartphones. For this we're going for a community/content based site. We'er looking a pumping some money into it this time, maybe getting some adwords, offering t-shirts, running contests, etc.

    Little worried about bandwidth and mysql space, we currently go thru a gig a day, and our database is at 30meg...


  16. #16
    SitePoint Member
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    I launched the community aspect of my website about three months ago. Fortunately, I've got an email subscriber list of about 15,000 people so it was pretty easy to get people to come to the forum. Just shy of 800 people have signed up in just over 2 months.

    Here's what I've been doing:
    - mentioned the forums and additional functionality in about 10 different editions of my newsletter
    - incorporate interesting discussions into the newsletter
    - make sure the forum is well crawled by the search engines. Every now and then one of my topics gets a #1 spot for a topic in the news and it sends over a burst of traffic
    - participate in all the conversations I can stay on top of.
    - welcome every new user, and encourage other forum members to do the same.
    - take people's questions about space and astronomy and then pass these along to official people in the industry and encourage them to post a reply back to the forum. This gives the forum an air of legitimacy.
    - the moderation team is great, and we talk a lot about the kinds of threads we're moderating.

    - one thing thing that kind of troubles me is the number of people who sign up but then don't even come back. Anyone had any luck getting them active again?
    Fraser Cain
    Publisher, Universe Today
    Space news from around the Internet, updated every weekday.

  17. #17
    My precious!!! astericks's Avatar
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    Recently launched community: www.passportcanada.com/forum/

    It is there mostly to recude the HUGE amount of emails asking for basic information.

    It is immigration related.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Member macfreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petertdavis
    I'm just curious what others have done with community sites. What type of promotions you do. What type of software you use and how you've modified it. What's been successful, what's failed. I'm looking for real life examples here, so don't be shy.
    I am working for ESPN and we have a community, well initially it was doing well, picking up fast, now we are at the 2nd phase where we shd move into the next phase of the community building project.

  19. #19
    Proud Mac User templates911's Avatar
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    Well we've opened up a Template Community:
    http://www.templates911.com/boards/

    It does ok for what it is.

  20. #20
    SEO Link Building Master I, Brian's Avatar
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    The chronicles-network was originally a small support board for my own Chronicles of Empire writing.

    I used YaBB SP 1.1 - one day it died on me. Re-installed 150 members manually into a new YaBB SE board.

    A couple of weeks ago I converted it to the much more superior Vbulletin 3.

    It reached critical mass at 500 members, and is now on track to become a major force on the sci-fi and fantasy circuit.

    Ever going forward...



    The comparative-religion forum is only 3 months old - growing steady. Did spent a couple of months prior running as a "foundationist" board on a Supermodded YaBB SE - but went to comparative-religion and then converted to vBulletin 3.

    About 350 members so far, but rising steadily. About to re-organise and assign some moderatorss.

    [img]images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]
    Last edited by Chronicles; Sep 30, 2003 at 04:41.
    Internet Business Forums - free business help & advice

  21. #21
    chown linux:users\ /world Hartmann's Avatar
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    Mine is currently down for repairs and upgrading. I'll post the link when it is back up.

    The site has a very plentiful user base (student's at Texas Tech University). It started out as a rating system (much like HotorNot) and has grown into a portal/community for the students, complete with personal blogs, message boards, and student editorials. We are continually having to upgrade the site so that we don't run out of bandwidth or space...

    None of the owners make any profit from the site, every penny of the ads goes right back into making the site better and more enjoyable. We didn't get into it for money, we wanted to make something and let the students enjoy it.

    There were/are some problems with keeping people on topic in the forums so we created an IRC channel and tried to funnel those types of things to the chatroom.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I started my second message board in late August of this year. I previously ran a sports board which I then merged and now occasionally admin.

    I then picked up on another of my great interests which is music. I started On That Note Forums with some great graphical help from two people I met through this site!

    We had some decisions to make whether to go with a guitar-only forum, or to branch out to other instruments. To start, we began with just Guitar, Bass, but have an "Other Instruments" forum to leave room for any instrument talk, and appropiate forums can/will be added as they are needed. We kept the name (On That Note) universal, to allow for the need of any expansion on to more instruments.

    In addition to instruments, we have various music chat forums that any musician would find helpful, including songwriting, and music accessories.

    Currently our member base is small (only 15 members), but I hope with time and some more publicity the forums will be able to take off. It's fun for me as music (guitar in particular) is a favorite hobby of mine, and this is just a way for me and other people to be able to enjoy that.


    h
    On That Note Forums
    "...our focus remains on the music."

  23. #23
    SitePoint Zealot rooshine's Avatar
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    I just launched my forum at www.whistlestopper.com and it's in its very early stages. Very early. I think I may have the same problem as petertdavis: I have too many forums for too few members, and I may prune them soon.

    Most of the forums that I frequent, I found through members of other forums I frequent. That's the route I'm taking now with this forum. After it grows to some measure of respectability, I will likely invest some advertising dollars, but it's not a commercial site so my budget will be limited. Then of course there is SEO, which I have not done yet.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Member
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    http://www.clantemplates.com the forums are popular now

  25. #25
    eCommerce specialist hotnuts21's Avatar
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    The community site I run is done on a hobby style basis, and so is not worked on to great detail yet. However I am building (with the help of naramation ) a CMS to controll the whole site.

    You can see it here www.aberystwythlifeboat.org.uk the main part of the sites the 'shouts' (rescues) are updated usually within the hour of it happening. The forums are a newish addition and something I am trying to grow. As for advertising, it gets mentioned in our 'shout' newsletter occasionnaly. A lot of our traffic comes from search engines, especially after the boat has gone out on a shout, people see it go and look on the internet for info, especially if we set the maroons (explosive, flys 1000ft into the air and explodes) off, the whole town knows then. We have the web address outside the station too.

    The local press dont seem to want to report the site,or mention it even after lifting information from it for there papers, which is a pain.

    We are trying to get more general lifeboat fans to use it too, but that isnt working so well

    It does however get plugged by the BBC, when they do a lifeboat or aberystwyth story on there 'Wales' pages they usaually post a link to us, which helps. I spent ages trying to get link partners but it seems most are dead now. I will try some more avenues for getting visitors, as and when I get time.

    The important thing is that the shouts are kept fresh upto date, and people have a chance to ask questions etc, things should be ok.
    Search & Rescue Aberystwyth Lifeboat
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