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Forum or Forum & Website? Input please.

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by tom855, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. tom855

    tom855 New Member

    I would really appreciate any input you would have on this subject......

    I have about 5 years of experience running a small but successful forum board. It's time for my next venture.

    I'm torn between starting just a forum, which I am very comfortable with, or having the forum be a big chunk of the content under a website on the subject. Let's use dogs as an example, even though I'm doing nothing about dogs.

    I own the domain doginformation.com. I also own the domain dogforums.com. I know I can kick off, and probably succeed with the dogforums.com site. However, I also know that there is lots of good content I could put on a homepage, such as news about dogs, dog groups, dog products, dog blogs, and similar things.

    I know I could launch any of these with a tab off of the forum page, but IF I wanted to possibly grow this into something substantial, it would seem that having a dedicated homepage would be the place to have everything but the blogs (which I'd launch from the forum homepage).

    I know it's going to be a struggle to get high page rankings on Google because there is so much dog info out there. So, will having dogforums.com and doginformation.com make it harder to climb the rankings, or will they help each other if I have lots of links back and forth?

    Again, I'd ultimately like to have a big site (I know the odds aren't great), and I'd like to start this off the right way as opposed to trying to fix something down the road and possibly mess up my search rankings.

    So, the way I see it:

    Pros of having a website homepage:
    • Ability to add much more content
    • Many more people will type "dog information" into a search bar than will type in "dog information forum" or "dog forum." At least I would think so.
    • IF I'm successful with it, having more content is going to make for a site that is much more valuable.
    Cons of having a website homepage:
    • Not everyone that makes it to the homepage is going to find the forum.
    • I'm far from competent (today) in "modern" web design. I can do the basics, but that's about it.
    • It's going to take a lot of work to keep the homepage updated and fresh.
    • I'm not sure if it's wise to start out with the forum and later adding a homepage. I could do it, but would I be better off launching both at once?
    Sorry for all the background info, but hopefully it all makes sense.

    Any advice or any suggestions you might have would be much appreciated!


  2. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you primarily want a forum (and if you have experience of running one, it'll probably be a good idea to capitalise on those skills you've developed and focus on the forum).

    What about a forum with a portal frontpage for the "static" feeder content?
    Jeffin likes this.
  3. LPH

    LPH Well-Known Member

    It reads like you are comfortable with forums and so you should use that strength to start the forum.
  4. tom855

    tom855 New Member

    I could certainly start with the forum and eventually expand to either a static page or the more robust page which I wouldn't have any idea how to program as of now.

    But, here is my concern, and maybe it's not a big issue...... If I do a google search for "dog information", I get about 3x the number of hits over a search for "dog information forum." So, in my thinking, if I have good content and can actually rise up that pile, many more people are going to see the URL without the "forum" at the end.

    IF that's the case, would it make sense to have a forum site with the name Dog Information and the URL to match, when it's actually a forum? If I do a search for most (not all) bigger boards, they have the word forum in the name.

    I'm not trying to be picky about this, I just want to do it right the first time.

    Thanks for your input!

  5. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    I would not worry about the two domain names nor about using forum in the name.

    It's likely that a portal, articles system, or other add-on may eventually be used so you'd have a home page at


    and maybe a forum at

    this is the way both of my sites have been setup.

    For most enterprises today, I'd suggest going the forum route (with add-ons, portals, etc.) because it allows admin from one central control panel.
  6. tom855

    tom855 New Member

    Ah, gotcha. So maybe the name w/ forum in it would just redirect to the main site.

    And by the way, /talk??????? Where have I been? Is the new /forum? I like it!
  7. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    I've been using /talk for about 10 years in one way or another....

    some use

    I suspect one of the portals here could eventually be your front (root domain) page and that could pull content from various parts (forum, gallery, wiki, etc.) of Xenforo.
  8. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Great job on securing some of the best domain names for a niche. DogInformation and DogForums? That's a great combination! You can basically build a network right there. What you have under your nose is a network.

    I did something a little similar to two similar sites - yet for different purposes. www.codnet.com has three locations where www.codforums.com is located - a network bar, a banner at top, and a banner in sidebar.

    So, my suggestion is to make DogInformation into a blog-like website, and the DogForums of course... a forum. This way you don't really lose identity over which one does what. Treat DogInformation as a information site for dog owners, while DogForums can be for everything else you'd like. Some people like blogs, some people like forums, so you're basically feeding both demographics. Both types, so overall, you're capturing any type of dog owner.

    You got it, man. I'm telling you got it good!
  9. tom855

    tom855 New Member


    I'll take some time tomorrow to check out your sites. Thanks for your thoughts. Sorry for any confusion though. The sites I have aren't about dogs, but I do have (topic)information.com and (topic)forum.com. I think those two domains will do a pretty good job covering the subject I'll be working with.

    Thanks again, and I'll circle back tomorrow.

  10. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    Writing unique content for a blog can be time consuming, as can running a forum - do you have enough spare time to do both (really well)?

    Oh, and a note of caution - don't automatically assume that your blog will feed new members into your forum (and vice versa); they may support each other well, but you'll likely find it doesn't work that way and people prefer one over the other. So, if you are going to run both types of sites, make sure you plan, manage and monetise them separately so that they will return your investment equally and independently - don't rely on one to make the other successful / profitable! ;)
    Martok likes this.
  11. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    One thing you're right about is the bolded part. I even said that - some people like blogs, some people like forums... Thing is, one domain is an information site. The other is a forum for that niche. So, if you really, really want to take advantage of both domains, my method works. Mostly because conversion from [x]information to [x]forums - usually happens. A user comes to your site at [x]information.com and finds what he's looking for, like a guide, a news piece, a video, or whatever information they came there for. But when they have a question, they go to something like a forum, so if you have a supporting domain - if you have a similar forum domain - USE it. They're looking for information for a subject they want, and most sites don't provide it - so they go to another site or another owner's forum in the same niche. This is why a lot of [single domain] websites out there has a high bounce rate - it's because they're not feeding them information from both sides of the coin.

    Let me put it this way, if this forum domain is low-ranked on google, then a redirection won't work. Trust me. This is why I built the network the way that I did, because I learned that even if your domain has [niche][niche subject] in the domain, google won't find the keyword of that domain. So, if you own [x]information, and [x]forums and you're just redirecting [x]forums to [x]information/forums google will just "slurp" the directory, and not the domain. You end up losing money for the second domain. This is ill fated if you spent $1,000 or more on one or both domains.

    The only time that I'd redirect a $1,000 domain to a directory such as [x]information/forum is when I know the site is popular enough that a 301 redirect is a godsend to bring activity to the site. And I merged [the database of] the redirected domain there.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2014
  12. tom855

    tom855 New Member

    Fascinating approach Carlos. Most people I've seen with both a website and "embedded" forum have {subject}information.com and then {subject}information.com/forums. I guess I never thought about the benefits of having both domains ({subject}information.com and {subject}forum.com). But, since I do, I guess I can get a bit creative.

    The ONLY downside that I can see about this approach is that in the beginning it will be much easier for me to kick off the forum board (not easy, just easier). But, it will be with the less attractive domain, and the {subject}information.com will only come into play when I launch it and fill it with content. I guess for this to work effectively, I really need to insure that the main webpage has some good content on it from day one. That won't be the end of the world, but it will be a significant task.

    Did you have codnet.com up and running before or after your forum site?

    Thanks for the input!

  13. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    I acquired CODNet.com and CODForums.com at the same time, both were already pre-established, but CODNet was on a different blog script, so I relaunched it on wordpress after I finished the server move which also included upgrading to vB4.

    So, more or less at the same time.
  14. tom855

    tom855 New Member

    Would you agree that using the approach you suggested (and that you use), I would want to have content on the "main" page at the same time the forum gets launched? I'm thinking specifically of advantages when it comes to google, as it would start to associated forum content with the main site (I think???).

    Make sense?
  15. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    If your content is high quality, launch the main site first, then the forum. The thing you want to do is make people excited about one site that, eventually they want to stay on your forum or whatever you want to launch next.

    And make sure you have an appealing design for your main site and forum. Both. If I had a really nice skin for CODNet, I would have had more return visitors or viral sharing.
  16. tom855

    tom855 New Member

    I appreciate your input. Time to get to work. :)

    Thanks again.
    Carlos likes this.
  17. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Y'welcome! :)
    And, just an FYI about this... Most people who do this don't really care about "losing money" on the second domain, so they use this method. About 80% of the people you get feedback from xenForo suggest you to do this because they're only spending $10 - $20 a domain, but when you bought two domains in a package deal like I did - I bought CODNet and CODForums for $1,000 so it would be STUPID for me to just redirect CODForums to CODNet.com/Forums mostly because of what I said here:
    A lot of people here on xenForo preach about making community, but don't realize that if you just redirect a low ranked domain equal to a low ranked domain, you're really not taking full advantage of the second domain. At the expense for ..."convenience."
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014

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