Forum is extremely unsuccessful due to rival site

cdub

Well-known member
The good news is that for websites 600 members is basically nothing. When you talked about the rival site, I expected an established one with 10k members at least. 600 members is nothing.

So, with the right strategy and content, you can easily pass that number within this year. Also you should make the forum open to the public. Listen to the experienced people on here, don't take that rival site as your role model.
This. Although I'm amazed traffic signal forums are actually a thing. The Internet is wonderful.
 

thesignalman

Active member
You're probably a brother of the rival admin. %)

No, but he ironically grew up 30 minutes away from where I grew up.


They haven't.

They have tried to obscure/hide it

Is that allowed?

I didn't, that was accidental, I did restrore the copyright. There must've been some glitch that caused the text to blend in. But it's now fixed.
That signal green tone is unpleasant to the eyes. Never ever use screamingly harsh and glassy colors like that for website colors. Use unsaturated colors.

I hired someone to work on a new skin for the forum. It will look neater and have less saturated colors.

So, with the right strategy and content, you can easily pass that number within this year. Also you should make the forum open to the public. Listen to the experienced people on here, don't take that rival site as your role model.
I made the forum semi-public, the thread titles are visible to sort of tease lurkers. The threads themselves are for registered users only. Same with the media gallery. n


The good news is that for websites 600 members is basically nothing. When you talked about the rival site, I expected an established one with 10k members at least. 600 members is nothing.

600 the last time of checked. The forum software was changed to discourse during the first year of covid. Discourse doesn't count members. I'm assuming the rival site is up to 800 at this point.

This. Although I'm amazed traffic signal forums are actually a thing. The Internet is wonderful.

The hobby is more common than you think. Hundreds of signal collecting websites on the internet. The community is growing at an alarming rate. The only problem is that newcomers are now using the Facebook groups and most people who are on the facebook groups are noobs. People who are hardcore enthusiasts don't use the facebook groups as much and are typically on my rival forum exclusively.
 

Faust

Well-known member
Depending on the niche, i keep my forum private for couple of years Now, However most content is visible to the public . Get a better style and valuable content.
 

thesignalman

Active member
I think the answer is really for you to just give up. You don't have a community, you don't have content, you presumably have a bad reputation with the majority of the other forum users in your niche. I don't really see how you recover from that.

Not as much as you think. Everyone else on my rival site has forgiven me. The admin is the only person left who seems to still hates my guts.
 

thesignalman

Active member
I would make the suggestion that, along side all the other great suggestions made above - you look at the style.

I mean no disrespect by this comment, but it actually hurts my eyes to look at the website in your profile.

I agree, you need some public content. The wall of "private" is very off putting.

I gave the website a makeover. Check it out now, it looks way better.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
I went to the site. You have a button called What's New and you click it and it's a blank page. People not familiar with the way XF works and permissions and going to just leave. What if you went to a site and clicked to see what was new and it was empty? Perhaps as an admin you are overlooking this and thinking people know how XF software works. This also means no search engine indexing. And the green burned my retinas. Like no, really. I left and a ghost of your site was burned in.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
I mean no disrespect by this comment, but it actually hurts my eyes to look at the website in your profile.
If you're going to continue to have everything hidden/private you're never going to get visitors signing up. There's literally nothing to see. Nothing to talk about! Nothing to register for! You may as well close it.

Alternatively, try opening up some of the general chat forums so there is something for people (and Google) to read.

EXPLAIN TO VISITORS WHY ALL THE PRIVATE FORUMS ARE PRIVATE!!! Once they understand why some forums are members-only, then there is some reason to register and some incentive to read the private stuff.
Meme Reaction GIF by Robert E Blackmon
 

cdub

Well-known member
Oh my the green is murderous.

I highly recommend the private site addon that hides the what's new if you're running it as a private site but really you need some public posts.
 

thesignalman

Active member
Oh my the green is murderous.

I highly recommend the private site addon that hides the what's new if you're running it as a private site but really you need some public posts.

It's still a work in progress. That isn't the final skin. The site is shut down since it's under maintenance.
 

PatriotGB

Active member
I haven't been active on this forum other than asking noob questions (and getting some great answers!). But, I just came across this thread and it caught my interest. I started my own (first) forum last February. I was compelled to create it after the biggest / most popular forum in this particular niche was unceremoniously and suddenly shut down by the owner (for reasons that remain unknown). A few spin-off forums were created by some of the mods and admins from the old forum. All of them were on free platforms and rudimentary in function and appearance.

I decided to make my own, and sparing no expense, which is why I went with Xenforo. No regrets there. My forum is taking off and outperforming the other spin-offs by a wide margin.

First, I'll say that you've gotten great advice already. If I may expand on it a bit...

What you put in is what you get out. I poured energy into my forum by posting topics. I recruited some of the previous bigger participants in the defunct forum. I created a NICE "clubhouse." I made it EASY to use, especially when it comes to posting photos (thanks to Xenforo), which is a big part of our hobby.

While the forum is about a primary subject, I created other sub-forums on various topics that branch out. If your focus is too narrow, it limits engagement. While we may all share the one specific hobby, we likely share OTHER interests. Make it easy to talk about the other interests by including sub-forums to that effect. Talking about one thing can get stale / boring.

Post links to your forum anywhere else you can. Spread the word. Shout it from the rooftops!

Also... I agree with making the forum OPEN. My "rival" has made their forum totally private. And I think that's a HUGE mistake. People want to see what the forum is about before joining. Guests (who can see the content) turn into members. If you want to GROW the forum, make it VISIBLE.

Create a "Home" / intro page (AwesomeName.com) that welcomes visitors and tells them about the forum. Why should they join? What makes it unique? From that page, link to the forum (AwesomeName.com/forums/).

Make sure you get listed by Google. Use Google Search Console to submit your url and your sitemap. My forum now dominates Google search results for this particular niche. So, if I search for "signal and sign collectors forum," does your site show up? Make that happen.

What ultimately makes a forum are the participants. It's the "community." It takes time, of course. But, you'll have to pour "energy" into it to get it going. Prime the pump! It's a LOT of work. Ask me how I know! Ask any of these guys with successful forums.

PS... Yeah, the bright green has GOT to go! It smacks you right in the face when the page opens.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
People even treat joining my forum like it's a committed relationship, saying they don't want to join it because they've been a member of the rival site for so long.
Creating a carbon copy site after being banned from the source site and expecting everyone to follow is delusional. Of course people are going to show loyalty. Why should they join yours? And what attracts new users? You need to come up with original content, not try to create a carbon copy based on a grudge.
 

PatriotGB

Active member
Just ran a search. #4! Not bad. Still... get on Google's Search Console and tweak your site's visibility.
1654989896837.png
 

thesignalman

Active member
Creating a carbon copy site after being banned from the source site and expecting everyone to follow is delusional. Of course people are going to show loyalty. Why should they join yours? And what attracts new users? You need to come up with original content, not try to create a carbon copy based on a grudge.

My new forum is not a carbon copy of the one I got banned from. It's still different. Is organized into more subforums, has more topics regarding non signal related discussion, has a live chat, has photos on each node. More options when it comes to the skin. Website statistics. A media gallery.


Other communities have multiple forums too, but slightly different from each other.

It's like having only one place that sells pizza or one place that sells burgers.

Man you guys are ruthless.
 

thesignalman

Active member
Leave it in the dust and do your own thing.

I would've much rather have gotten unbanned from the rival forum than going through the trouble of creating my own. Unfortunately the admin of the rival forum treats me like I'm Osama bin laden, so that's never gonna happen.
 
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