Forum is extremely unsuccessful due to rival site

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beerForo

Well-known member
NOW back to my beer. Happy weekend!

Season 3 Netflix GIF by Stranger Things
 

PatriotGB

Active member
I changed the logo and website appearance, added new skins that I will be installing soon.

Nobody really cares about the logo and "skins." They care about content and community. They also care about functionality. But this is a Xenforo group. So, we're all using the BEST platform on the market. So, you've got that covered. But, now you have to work on content and community.

Don't think making it public will solve all your problems. All that does it make it accessible. After that, you need to promote it and get people to see what is accessible. That is only step 1.

To be clear, I didn't mean to imply that making it public would be THE solution. I agree it's the START. But, I do think it's essential - my opinion only.

1. Get people TO your site. People have to be able to FIND and ACCESS your site.
2. Keep people ON your site. Good content is the key. Content, content, content. (You'll need to prime the pump with interesting posts.)
3. Get people to take ACTION... register... participate / contribute.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
To be clear, I didn't mean to imply that making it public would be THE solution. I agree it's the START. But, I do think it's essential - my opinion only.

1. Get people TO your site. People have to be able to FIND and ACCESS your site.
2. Keep people ON your site. Good content is the key. Content, content, content. (You'll need to prime the pump with interesting posts.)
3. Get people to take ACTION... register... participate / contribute.
Oh my reply was not to you but to the OP. I can just imagine the following:

"I made my site public as you guys suggested and nothing changed!"
 

beerForo

Well-known member
Hey look if you are fired from Coke and form Pepsi more power to you! The foundation of the forum is not the issue here. It's that he has tunnel vision and can only see the site he was banned from and their members as his audience.
 

PatriotGB

Active member
Oh my reply was not to you but to the OP. I can just imagine the following:

"I made my site public as you guys suggested and nothing changed!"

I knew that (it wasn't directed at me). But, since I have strongly advocated for opening the forum, I wanted to be clear. I agree with you, of course.

It takes a TREMENDOUS amount of energy and time to build up a forum.
 

PatriotGB

Active member
What were things you did?

I've mentioned much of it before, I think.

I made my forum easy to find in searches with good "SEO" (search engine optimization). That's a whole subject in itself. But, it's not rocket science.

I made my forum open, while my "rival" forum (there is one!) has kept theirs closed. They're not really a "rival," but for the purpose of this discussion, they are. They went live a few weeks before I did. We've got 3X the members they have. We've had 4X the number of posts.

But, as @beerForo correctly pointed out, that's not the only reason.

My forum is on the Xenforo platform. Theirs is on phpBB. No contest. Build a "nice clubhouse" that's easy to navigate and use. I've made good use of add-ons and constantly "tweaked" the forum to appeal to users.

Set up categories and forums that appeal to my niche audience.

Make an "Introduce yourself" forum and encourage new members to post an introduction thread telling us about themselves. Be sure to post a reply welcoming every one of them.

Set up automated notices encouraging engagement like these:
1656803211135.png

Ask for input from members and implement their suggestions into the forum. Give'em what they want! Remember it's THEIR forum. When I talk about the forum in my posts, I always refer to it as "OUR forum"... because it's true! It's not MY forum. It's OUR forum. If you make the forum an exercise in self-indulgence or an ego trip... it will never fly.

I have "primed the pump" by posting like a maniac... Good posts. Thought provoking posts. Posts that would compel others to comment.

Set up a "Top Posters of the Month" widget to encourage posting. Most people have a competitive streak and like seeing their name and efforts recognized.

Post about the new forum everywhere my targeted audience is. Facebook groups. Other non-competing forums that attract the same audience.

Try to attract some "influencers" as members.

I don't over-moderate. I'm not woke and I have no intentions of micromanaging ADULTS. I don't censor "bad words."

Realize that building a forum is a "marathon, not a sprint." It takes TIME and a LOT of energy poured into it. It's like stoking a fire... gotta keep fueling it.

That's all I can think of off the cuff at the moment.
 

thesignalman

Active member
I don't over-moderate. I'm not woke and I have no intentions of micromanaging ADULTS. I don't censor "bad words."

The rival forum had issues with that, it censored all profanity.

Make an "Introduce yourself" forum and encourage new members to post an introduction thread telling us about themselves. Be sure to post a reply welcoming every one of them.

My forum has one, it's entitled "Welcome Aboard"

Post about the new forum everywhere my targeted audience is. Facebook groups. Other non-competing forums that attract the same audience.

I did post about the new forum on Facebook groups. However, I've gotten booted off them for that, as I'm not allowed to advertise other groups on those groups.

Try to attract some "influencers" as members.

influencers as in I'm trying to get more people in the traffic signal field to join, the rival forum is more hobbyists.
 

PatriotGB

Active member
My forum has one, it's entitled "Welcome Aboard"
I'd change that to "Introduce Yourself."

"Welcome Aboard" sounds like a welcome message, which many people will likely skip. The purpose of an "Introduce Yourself" section is self-evident and compels people to post about themselves. People like to talk about themselves.

I did post about the new forum on Facebook groups. However, I've gotten booted off them for that, as I'm not allowed to advertise other groups on those groups.
If it's a group on the exact same topic, yeah... generally frowned upon. But, what about groups focused on similar or related topics?

influencers as in I'm trying to get more people in the traffic signal field to join, the rival forum is more hobbyists.
I don't know anything about your subject, but that sounds like an interesting and perhaps attractive differentiation.
 

FTL

Well-known member
1. Get people TO your site. People have to be able to FIND and ACCESS your site.
2. Keep people ON your site. Good content is the key. Content, content, content. (You'll need to prime the pump with interesting posts.)
3. Get people to take ACTION... register... participate / contribute.
All good points, there. Your later post expanding on this is really useful too. (y)

I've especially concentrated on point 2, good quality content. When the original Real Life founding members let me down and all abandoned my site last year due to internal club politics, leaving me in the catch-22 I was trying to avoid, I didn't give up. I removed all support for that club, banned some of those accounts where the member had been particularly unpleasant to me, rebranded and moved on.

Now, NerdZone Forums is an approximate reflection of my interests, which tend towards the sciency, techy, computery and um, "nerdy". 🙂 Hence, with zero activity, but around 1500 posts from those founding members (plus a lot from myself) I started posting stuff that I found interesting, concentrating on making a lot of good quality posts - and it's paid off. I basically treated the forum as a sort of blog with a comment feature and yes, it works.

Entering "nerdzone", or "nerd zone" into Google returns nerdzone.uk as the top site and that's without any SEO! It was initially many entries down, but steadily climbed over a few weeks to reach the top spot and has stayed there ever since and all with no gaming of the system at all. That proves that quality content is key and Google rewards it.

I also have a handful of active members on my site, along with others who post occasionally. Plus, people are registering new accounts every few days now, too. For a low maintenance hobby forum in 2022 that has no advertising and I'm not promoting in any significant way, this isn't bad going and I'm proud of what I've achieved, especially so since we know the general problems with starting forums nowadays. I hope the forum grows with time, but there's no pressure to make it grow quickly.
 
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nicodak

Well-known member
Entering "nerdzone", or "nerd zone" into Google returns nerdzone.uk as the top site
I don't see you in the first 10 pages for nerd+zone keywords, but you come out first for nerd+zone+forum and nerdzone
 

FTL

Well-known member
I don't see you in the first 10 pages for nerd+zone keywords, but you come out first for nerd+zone+forum and nerdzone

Works for me. I wonder why the difference. Could it be because we're in different regions?

Also, a while back, I used my VPN to make me appear in different places and used browser private mode, using a new session each time to remove any bias due to the session and I was still top.

1656841051903.png
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Entering "nerdzone", or "nerd zone" into Google returns nerdzone.uk as the top site and that's without any SEO!
Entering those words are more or less bound to get a top result. SEO is irrelevant in this case because it’s unlikely anybody would use those words in a search.
 

FTL

Well-known member
Entering those words are more or less bound to get a top result. SEO is irrelevant in this case because it’s unlikely anybody would use those words in a search.
It's not irrelevant. Don't be so dismissive. There's loads of companies, Facebook groups etc called nerdzone in some form or another, yet I'm on top.

Why do you think there's a difference in our search results though? Enter the search as I showed and you should see my site is at the top.
 
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