Nefitter (Geek/Fitness) Can I grow a forum?

Crucible

Member
I've been seeing a lot of dead forums on here lately.

I'm going to attempt to grow one.

Nefitter is one I've been excited about for awhile, and I think has potential to be a thriving community.

How will I do this?

I will be tackling this in steps.

Step 1: Massive redesign to the homepage and forum page. The goal here is to make a simple, sleek, elegant design that users will love and not be turned off by any "busyness".

Step 2: The marketing push. I will plan on giveaways for members to entice people to join, I will also be creating social media accounts for advertising and growing engagement. I will be analyzing web traffic when these accounts get to a certain level to find out how effective they are.

The question is will any of this work? I will be posting the results here so some of you can apply this to your own forums, you will see what works and what doesn't.

Step 3: Creating structure and content. No one wants to post on a dead forum. To solve this problem I'll be hiring many individuals to add content and busy the the forum. I will also be working on adding more structure, mods, etc....

Step 4: Maintenance. More changes will continue to come. I will also be looking into more monetization opportunities and seo improvement.

Expect many frequent posts here as updates to the site will be coming in fast. Hope you follow along and provide me any feedback along the way.

Thank you

WEBSITE URL: Nefitter.com
 
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tajhay

Well-known member
I would prioritise step 3. No matter how pretty or how well a site is marketed, if the site content is crap, the site will fail.

Content is king. Do step 3. Put ALL efforts into that. Once you have achieved that, then SLOWLY introduce the other steps.

Dont even think about monetisation until you have a solid community.

Also be in a niche you are passionate about.
 

Crucible

Member
I would prioritise step 3. No matter how pretty or how well a site is marketed, if the site content is crap, the site will fail.

Content is king. Do step 3. Put ALL efforts into that. Once you have achieved that, then SLOWLY introduce the other steps.

Dont even think about monetisation until you have a solid community.

Also be in a niche you are passionate about.

How would you go about adding content? Do you usually post yourself or have friends do it? Because I might be achieving it a different way.

But I agree content is key. Normally I would be focusing on that first. However the redesign is going to wipe the website, so I won't be able to provide content until that is done.

Steps 2 and 3 will both be worked on simultaneously.

I do have a structured plan to achieve content though.

Once the redesign is done, I will be employing multiple people to regularly add content.

The goal here is to have 4-5 engagement posters just to start out. Their main goal will be creating interesting threads and making the new organic posters feel like replying and posting.

Following that I will be employing fluff posters, I don't expect much from them, they will probably not post anything engaging but will fill up the forum and make it look busy. The good thing is I'll be able to hire these people for cheap.

Hopefully then, as I'm running my marketing push simultaneously as all this is going on, I will begin getting organic members.


I wouldn't say I'm passionate about fitness or geek stuff but I do like both these things quite a bit :)
 

Crucible

Member
A lot has been going on lately. Its been interesting trying to talk to so many freelances at once juggling different projects. And now finally some of those projects were completed....sort of.

The twitter and facebook pages we're completed today. Which you can check out here

https://twitter.com/nefitter

https://www.facebook.com/Nefitter-361384137611569/

For the Twitter account, I just used my logo as the profile pic, but I still needed a banner design.

So I hired someone on fiverr who seemed to have a lot of good reviews to create it.

The results were......ok for the money I paid ($5). The problem is my slogan gets cut off on the top when I uploaded it on twitter :eek:.

But the main problem is it still doesn't look very professional. And more like a banner someone created playing around in MS paint. Might need to pay a premium to get a more professional looking banner.


I also hired someone to create a facebook page for $10. The results here were...ok as well. It looks like it was probably thrown together in 10 minutes. But more work will have to be put into designing it.

That leads me to the next problem. Who's going to run these accounts?

Social Media Managers. Or so I hoped. The results here have been less then stellar. So I went to Fiverr to hopefully find one.

Social Media Managers here are plentiful, but the questions is, Which ones to hire and which ones are actually any good?


To answer this I sent these freelancers a private message asking for examples of profiles they've run.

The examples I got basically equated to a tons of hashtags with inspirational quotes, with little to no interaction from people.

For what these freelancer are charging it seems like a waste. They're often asking for $40+ just to run your account for a week.

I have to wonder what is the qualifications for being a "Social Media Manager".

I still have not found someone who I feel will actually bring in members. But I will keep searching and hopefully something will come up.


The design changes for the website should be ready next week. Might take longer as we're adding additional changes to the design.

The design is so unique I've never seen one like it. More updates about this tomorrow.
 
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Optic

Well-known member
My comments on the forum from my mobile (iPhone 6 Plus)

Your top ad is being cut off for me:
IMG_3149.PNG

The forum section tabs don't instantly collapse which causes a flicker. Also if you open the side overlay there doesn't appear to be a way to close it without refreshing the page.
IMG_3150.PNG

Also out of curiosity what are the "Community" subsections for ? They look a little empty at the moment.
 
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Crucible

Member
My comments on the forum from my mobile (iPhone 6 Plus)

Your top ad is being cut off for me:


The forum section tabs don't instantly collapse which causes a flicker. Also if you open the side overlay there doesn't appear to be a way to close it without refreshing the page.


Also out of curiosity what are the "Community" subsections for ? They look a little empty at the moment.

There's a whole slew of problems with the current set-up, one of the reasons why I'm getting the whole website redesigned.

I agree those ads are not ideal. I need to implement responsive ads that change size depending on the device. Will be looking into this.

The Forum section tabs are getting changed. It's to clunky of a set up having those load every time someone switches sections. Although I think it's very quick and easy on pc, it needs to be a quicker and more responsive layout on mobile. Most of the bugs you find have been present for many months. I stepped away from the site to focus on other things for awhile which left many problems that needed changing - unchanged.

The idea of the community tabs was to separate content so one section didn't get to cluttered. For example:

For Anime Discussion/Anime Community. The Discussion section would be where people would talk about the current seasons and general topics. The Community section would have a place to discuss older anime and ongoing series.

The problem was the website never reached a level of membership or engagement to warrant the use of these community tabs in the first place.


I tried to address a lot of these things when I was creating the mock-up of the new design. And it's taking longer then I thought. Even when the new look launches. I think I'm going to focus more energy perfecting the layout. Everything needs to be sleek and simple but very structured in the way that offers and quick and easy experience for viewers to browse around the site. Removing any chunkiness will be my next big task.

All the other plans I had with marketing and content creators will have to be put on hold.
 

Crucible

Member
After much delay the redesign to NeFitter has finally gone live. Shout-out to ForumCube for helping me with many customization.

The main goal was to completely revamp the homepage and change the forum tabs to give the website a bit more structure and visual appeal.

The homepage now 3 sections with it's own icons giving each section 2 topics.

Homepage.PNG


The forum page also got a revamp. I still wanted to keep the topics horizontal across the page. So after playing around with layouts in paint for hours I found that having a small icon in the middle of two topics had a very nice visual look and better organization. Now m/f each have their own separate community.


Forum Tabs.PNG


Small changes were done to the thread area. But more work here is needed I think. I wanted a small icon of my logo to the left side. Having it change orange or grey depending on if you clicked on the thread.

Threads.PNG



Going forward I think some aspects of the site still need addressing. First goals will be towards changing the header and tackling the mobile viewing.
 

tajhay

Well-known member
After much delay the redesign to NeFitter has finally gone live. Shout-out to ForumCube for helping me with many customization.
So many ads for a site with zero content.

Good luck with your venture, but as previously stated content is king. Aesthetics are the cherry on the top and not the foundation. Seen many new forums go through the phase you are going through. Best wishes in how it pans out...
 

Matt C.

Well-known member
After what Tajhay said, I disabled Adblock to see what he meant. My goodness, look at the ads. If I didn't have ad block, I would turn the other direction immediately. You need to remove those ads until you have a solid community. They are keeping users away, I guarantee you.
The design is okay, it's clearly inspired by NeoGAF. Honestly, there's honestly nothing keeping me on the site. You need content, without it your forum WILL fail. Honestly, you shouldn't have spent money on a design with zero content. I'm worried you spent all that money to have nothing come of it.
 

Crucible

Member
So many ads for a site with zero content.

Good luck with your venture, but as previously stated content is king. Aesthetics are the cherry on the top and not the foundation. Seen many new forums go through the phase you are going through. Best wishes in how it pans out...
I agree I need to figure out a better solution for the ads. I could get rid of them altogether. Or at the very least trim them down. The ones on the homepage for example need to go. I'll be addressing this soon as I look towards making my site more mobile friendly.

That being said. I'm developing a content strategy, the initial content won't be a problem, it's the engagement that follows that I can't figure out how to solve. How do I get people to stay, and not just throw up a post then move on with their life and never come back.

Well the answer is probably you need continuous "interesting" new content. Well then the question is "How do you get that?". I could invest heavily to make that happen until my wallets empty. And maybe that could work. But what if those people don't stick around and I was unable to generate enough organic members to continue on, it becomes a wasted effort.

It's quite the quandary. But I've started to formulate a more structured plan to address this.

Honestly, there's honestly nothing keeping me on the site. You need content, without it your forum WILL fail. Honestly, you shouldn't have spent money on a design with zero content. I'm worried you spent all that money to have nothing come of it.
I think it's not just a content issue. There isn't enough on the homepage to draw people in. Will be working on this in the near future.

I'll be putting forth a lot of time and effort to make this thing grow, hopefully it turns out ok and I start to see positive results.
 

Solidus

Well-known member
With no membership base and very few visitors, it's totally pointless serving ads. You won't earn more than a few cents a month and only scare off potential members because it takes 10 seconds to render.
Go ad free until you can't comfortably maintain it yourself.
 

tajhay

Well-known member
agree I need to figure out a better solution for the ads. I could get rid of them altogether.
A site with no content should not have ads.

That being said. I'm developing a content strategy, the initial content won't be a problem, it's the engagement that follows that I can't figure out how to solve. How do I get people to stay, and not just throw up a post then move on with their life and never come back.
Forums are about discussions. Thats how ppl engage. Its not about the first post, its about the overall quality of discussion on that thread with the differing viewpoints that engage.
think it's not just a content issue. There isn't enough on the homepage to draw people in. Will be working on this in the near future.
It is a content issue. Some of the biggest forums look average in terms of looks, but the content is what keeps ppl going there.
 

Crucible

Member
With no membership base and very few visitors, it's totally pointless serving ads. You won't earn more than a few cents a month and only scare off potential members because it takes 10 seconds to render.
Go ad free until you can't comfortably maintain it yourself.
The ads are actually set up to load after the everything else, so the website is still responsive while they load. But I see your point. After turning off ad-block and looking at it myself, they're rather intrusive. Especially the ones on the homepage and the ads below the op post.

A site with no content should not have ads.


Forums are about discussions. Thats how ppl engage. Its not about the first post, its about the overall quality of discussion on that thread with the differing viewpoints that engage.

It is a content issue. Some of the biggest forums look average in terms of looks, but the content is what keeps ppl going there.
Content should start streaming in shortly. But I know this wont be enough. Been working through this the past couple days and I actually think I've come up with some creative ideas, even with implementing twitter/facebook. The main thing though is establishing a small base of permanent people that will post and reply insightful things regularly.

While this is being done. some aspect of the site will be worked on.

Starting out is the posting area here. A lot of small changes are currently being developed in the section. Hopefully giving it more visual appeal with some things being less intrusive.

posting.PNG


Header update will come next.

After that I'll have to re access priorities. But most likely I will be focusing on mobile responsiveness and design.
 

Solidus

Well-known member
The ads are actually set up to load after the everything else, so the website is still responsive while they load. But I see your point. After turning off ad-block and looking at it myself, they're rather intrusive. Especially the ones on the homepage and the ads below the op post.
I don't think you set that up properly, Chrome on Android took about 9 seconds to fully load the homepage.
 

Crucible

Member
I don't think you set that up properly, Chrome on Android took about 9 seconds to fully load the homepage.
Strange, Speed Test results are coming up decent. But if this happens frequently it might be a server problem.

speed test.PNG

You have no content.
Unfortunately all my content had to reset when the new theme launched.

Search gets cut off for me.
iPhone 7 plus. Chrome.
When I update the header this should be addressed.

Your ads are still getting cut off on the new layout on mobile:
I've decided to remove the ads on the homepage and after the op post. The other 2 will be turned into responsive ads. Hopefully they work out ok.

Health, ads, and anime?

Best of luck with your site.
Nerd+Fitness--Ne-Fit--Nefitter

I came up with the name driving down the road one day.
 
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