HawkeyeLounge.com - Suggestions welcome

Wild Onion

Been running this site for 7.5 years, and migrated to XF one year ago (from vB3). When I first built this site, I was a complete amateur (still am), and knew nothing about even the basics of building a website. I had to teach myself everything from the ground up, and I still have very limited skills when it comes to coding. I joke with my users that the site is held together with duct tape and baling wire, but it's probably true.

I have really enjoyed XF and after working through a significant loss of ad revenue for a few months, we have just put together our best couple of months yet.

The users on my forum are extremely loyal, and we have a core group of 100 or so that do the majority of the posting. Most are draw together as fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes, but there is also robust off-topic discussion, including quite a bit of politics. Being in Iowa, we are at ground zero for a lot of big political happenings, and we had a nice revenue bump during the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign.

For a long time, I've wanted a solid front page/portal, for two reasons: First, to give the site a more welcoming appearance for new visitors. Secondly, I would really like to build on the political site traffic, which I think is a huge untapped source of visitors.

One limitation I have is that my loyal group of users have said repeatedly that they do NOT want a dedicated political forum. They want those threads included with the rest of the off-topic threads (which is actually our main discussion forum). The only tool I have to segregate those threads is through a thread prefix.

I've used XenPorta (the old version), Widget Framework and CTA Featured Threads. Each has their limitations. I only want the front page to have the articles, and all comments go to the forum.
  • XenPorta: I probably got the best overall appearance with XenPorta, but promoting threads was a chore. I'm thinking about buying the new version, but I'm still a little leery of it.
  • Featured Threads: Great add-on, and terrific support, but the styling system doesn't fit my needs. there is no ability to have a custom style for the portal (which I currently use for political threads).
  • Widget Framework: I have this as my front page now, but it's extremely limited in what it can do, and moving the blocks around is next to impossible.
Any suggestions on a political home page, apart from the main sports page would be appreciated.

Secondly, I've never been happy with my site navigation. The drop down menus are awkward, and not particularly intuitive. I'm open to suggestions on this as well.



Well-known member
It's really interesting to see 100K threads and 2.5M posts split between 6 forums on the site (unless there's lots of hidden forums, although glancing at the numbers though it adds up), along with 200 members online at the point of posting.
Just goes to show less is more sometimes.

It would be cool if you installed an add on to see how many users are viewing each forum at a given time, to see the distribution while looking at the forum index. Seeing as you have so few forums, but quite a few visitors online at a time it should be some good numbers.

You must be doing something right! :)
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Well-known member
One suggestion is to adjust some of your hover css as the font size adjusts, which is odd, and the colours are a bit off making it hard to read.



Well-known member
Nearly 100M posts from one person?! Seriously?.

Hang on a second, that's 100M posts in 7.5 years. That's one post every 2.35 seconds.

I smell a rat :p



Active member
I like to the dark brown and cream combination of colors you selected for your forum. By the numbers, you are showing you are doing great as far as registered members. I wish I was doing as well. I browsed around your site for about 15 minuets. With the number of posting you have it would take me about six months to view them all and that's if I stayed logged on for 24 hours a day. I did also notice that a lot of them are one to three-word replies, which are annoying to read. Overall, Enjoyed logging on and looking around your site. Some type of image on the home page would give your index page a facelift.

PS.... I almost forgot. Your admin "Wild Onion" has a BANNED title under his name.