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Share your success stories

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by avi, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. avi

    avi Active Member

    I am very sure that many of forum owners here have successful forums. Why don't you share your success story ? How it all started ? How the idea was born ? How you attracted members in beginning ? HOw it is feels now :)
  2. optrex

    optrex Active Member

    I started serious forum life with vB and at 3.8-4.0 I moved to IPB. My growing forums grew a bit more, then after a major upgrade on IPB they slowly died. Despite having a portal, gallery, blogs, bug trackers, wiki and 2000 members, 2 forums serving different parts of the world but with the same layout and feature set both went quiet.

    I put suggestions to the members, they both had different ideas and we implemented those. Still dead. I was convinced that IPB was to blame. From an admins point of view the feature set was great, support was integrated and everything was available in a one stop shop. However, I felt from a users perspective it had become too complex. The basics weren't there, nothing flowed, it wasn't intuitive. Existing members couldn't find posts or topics, new members were bewildered with options.

    So I decided on an experiment. To setup a forum. Just a forum. I had a spare 3.8 license with vB and spare 3,2 license with IPB, but I also checked out XF. I liked what I saw, it was clean, fresh, easy to use and wasn't weighed down with bloatware and neither was it trying to be a facebook. It was simple, effective forum software. So I splashed out on a license and tried it.

    My target audience was unknown. A new hobby with beekeeping had provided me with a new interest. I could find no forums for my area that I liked and those that did exist had either 5 or 10 members or were tagged onto a gardening sites. There was a very heavy international presence, especially in the US and the UK, but nothing to serve New Zealand. So I gave it a try.

    4 months ago I setup NZ Beekeepers and attached it to my beekeeping wordpress blog, which was also a new site. It was launched as a subdomain of my existing site, to keep down costs. A month later demand was there and I moved it to its own domain www.nzbees.net/forum/ . This week I did some stats for November:

    It may not seem much, but this small site has a spark and a vibrant community. Its activity levels surpass two forums with thousands of members that I have been running for 9 and 5 years. The secret, I think is the platform its running on ....Xenforo

    There are times even now where as an admin I am tempted to add another feature, but then have to remind myself of what happened before. Thankfully in some warped way the lack of the add-ons for XF is actually helping to build my community. So please, keep it clean, keep it fresh, keep it fast and never forget the heart and sole of the product is the forum - not the gallery or the blog addons, nor the shop front, not even the file repository. And thank you for making a great product.
    Adam Howard, DBA, Saeed and 3 others like this.
  3. avi

    avi Active Member

    Wow that was really nice reading it ! Thank you very much for sharing :)
  4. Steve10

    Steve10 Well-Known Member

    I've used a couple of forum software since I began using forum software about 10 years ago. However I hadn't admin a forum in over 2 years, however had been a mod at a couple of forums which were 3.8vb and switched to the vb4 series which I wasn't really impressed with.

    Anyway in June this year I got hooked on these games by a Japanese game developer called Kairosoft who make small iOS games which tend to have a lot of hidden features. When I googled them to find out more about the games I found that they had no real English language online presence except a single webpage with a list of the names of their games which for me was pretty useless and there was poor quality free fan blog about Kairosoft which didn't really provide much and wasn't well used. Anyway on Twitter I found someone who had been as excited about the games as I had been and I sent him a private Tweet and long story short two weeks later we launched the site. I think orginally he hadn't heard of Xenforo when I sent him the link and it's a good thing I did before he purchased a vb license because I believe it's the best decision we could have made and I haven't regretted it since. Anyway, we run the site together.

    The first thing we did was run a small private forum for about a week where we did basically no advertising, but what we did do is talk to a number of the major tweeters about Kairosoft and I think we managed to get 3 more core members, including the guy that previously ran the fan blog. We created some very basic but useful content, a small number of sub-forums which were dedicated for the games mainly. So when we launched the next week all 5 of us used our followers and twitter and of course that fan blog to direct people to the forum and we had what I would consider an explosive launch. Considering the site opened about a week after the owner made the site on the 3rd of July we had hit 500 members by the 2nd of Autumn and a 1000 members by the 13th of August. Of course not all of these stayed active but it was clear that we had a large core of very active members, these members started to create all of this game information, guides and walkthroughs which we made available to non-registered members which means we always have a lot of of people lingering on the site without registering, but actually I'm not too bothered about that, some of them will choose to register eventually and contribute in their own ways.

    About 2 months or so ago we decided that XenPorta wasn't working for us at all and we switched to a Wordpress-Xenforo bridge which has worked really well for us and looks more professional for our needs although we haven't got as much new content as I'd want on the frontpage, we're still finding people willing to blog. Anyway up to that point we had been using either heavily customised free skins and for a while we used a premium skin that we found out was good but didn't really work for us, it was too dark and our attempts to modify different bits just created problems and we switched back to a customised free style. So about a a month ago we hired Forsaken to make us a customised style to match the wordpress and now we have a wonderful, functional style which matches the frontpage and has been very popular by our members.

    Because of the nature of the site we have serious activity spikes when Kairosoft release a new iOS or Android game and people flood to find out information about it as soon as possible but also we have a core base. So far I think the highest amount of people online at one time was 70, with about 500 guests, and that was sometime in the 24 hours after Kairosoft released a new game for iOS which rose the charts extremely quickly which was great for us. However normally I think we tend to have between 3 - 10 members online at once with about 40 guests in the normal 15 minute period. We now have 4,300 members and 16,000 messages (we've done a little pruning but not much). Posting has been lower in the last month because of a lack of new games, we've had one but I don't think it sold particularly well, but we've averaged just under 110 posts per day over the last month.

    Anyway, I guess I might as well out it in stat form:

    Posting: 110 per day
    Liking: 5 per day
    New Users: 25 per day
    Active Users: 150+ per day
    No. Of Posts: 16,200+
    Threads: 1,300+
    Google Analytics isn't set up properly on our site at the moment. But I'd assume we were getting a very good number of pageviews per day. It's our next thing we need to get working.

    Our main problem is converting all the active users we have into active posters and to convert some of the guests into registered members. We also don't currently monetise, users can donate to help the site, in return they get a few little bonuses and the feeling of helping what is basically a lose-making forum, but the aim was never to really make a big profit and we don't have any plans to put up any adverts, although since we have permission to use Kairosoft's images we're interested in seeing if we can make some merchandise or something to sell. But yeah, it's not a priority for us but it would be nice.

    Anyway, hope that was helpful.
    avi likes this.
  5. DRE

    DRE Well-Known Member

    Since you asking a lot of questions I'll just start from the beginning of why I even joined a forum in the first place.

    My first message boards was IGN and SOHH. IGN is a videogame site. www.ign.com I joined because I was a big Metal Gear Solid fan and was hyped up for the release of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. You can read more about IGN here: http://xenforo.com/community/threads/are-ign-moving-to-xenforo.20393/ SOHH is a hip hop site. www.sohh.com I joined because I was intrigued with the Jay-Z vs. Nas battle and wanted to discuss it with other Hip Hop fans cause no one where I lived cared to talk about it. You can learn more about SOHH here: and http://ed.4chon.org/articles/SOHH.html I've had fun times on both sites, more so on SOHH because at one point IGN became a paid subscription site or something like that. Too many changes I didn't like. They are cool now though. SOHH had vbulletin 3. I came to like vbulletin3 and enjoy it way more than IGN's forum format at the time. Due to me loving vbulletin 3 I joined other vbulletin sites that were linked from SOHH like http://forums.ratehispanic.com/index.php I then ended up spending more time on that site than IGN or SOHH cause of all the hot chicks but once weirdos ran chicks off this guy from the site named kunjerr aka Prime invited me to his site called gupshupp, now called desitamashah and asked me to run a subforum and invite members from RH.

    So I did and as a moderator I invited around 200 members from both SOHH and RH. Then his site went down. We waited for months for it come back. The members I invited asked me to make my own forum but I didn't cause I didn't know how and I was too busy with school. I told em to go back to their old sites until he brought his forum back but when he did bring it back all our threads were gone. I tried inviting them back but they were mad and so was I that all our threads were gone I made my own forum several months later after forum software research. I never thought I would've run a site before because I only used forums for entertainment. Over the course of a year and a half I had to change how I interacted with people online. Before last year, I rarely ever used facebook or myspace. My main hobby since 2004 was editing/remixing videos. A lot of my youtube accounts are banned now but at one point my videos viewed totaled 10 million. I had to relearn how to use social networking sites. smh

    Before I created my first forum I needed an idea. That was the main reason I never had a webpage or cared about social networking sites before because I thought it was a waste of time. The idea for my site came when I watched the movie Inception. There were a lot of similar plot elements in that movie from a book I wrote when I was in the Congressional Award Program. It freaked me out that when I sent my manuscript to publishers, that some of my ideas could've been stolen. It wasn't just ideas though it was scenes that came right from my book, present on screen like the way dude's wife died, is the same way the female character in my book died. Difference is that my main character entered her dream only. I sorta ruined the ending of my book but whatever I'm not going to publish it anyway.

    Although I copyrighted my book in 2004 I would never sued because the movie was different enough to be it's own beast. I respect it as a great work of art and I'm still a big fan of Christopher Nolan. It also helps that I read an interview where he says he had the idea for that movie 10 years ago. I can just chock it up to great minds think alike. Even so, the paranoia ensued made me wonder where all my manuscript ended up at because I did send it to a lot of publishers. Because of that, I decided to make my site a copyright tutorial website to teach people how to copyright their work. Another reason I was inspired to use this as a basis of creating a site is because I had Media Law two semesters ago and it was my favorite class. I'm really, genuinely interested in Copyright Law. I've written 215 entries in my Media Law wiki so far. Right now it's still closed from public view as I work on it.

    So yeah that's why I made my site. The traffic and activity, the membership, it's all due to my experience as a forum poster. Since I have no prior webmaster experience, I mainly just make polls or ask people individually what they would like. I customize the site when people make suggestions according to their wishes. Although I am an artist myself, my site would probably look ugly as all hell if I did not listen to and apply their suggestions. My members designed it, I just did the legwork. My site is successful because of it's members. They create threads that generate lots of traffic. The SEO work I have done would've been pointless without them because they reply to threads. They upload photos and write blogs and invite other people to the site all the time. I think part of the reason my members love the site so much is because they know it's for a good cause (copyright tutorials). Even though we mostly just chat there, at least they can say they have a good reason for joining and contributing because everyone should know how to copyright their stuff.

    Now as far as stats goes. The site is 15 months old and I already have a google page ranking of 2. Worldwide ranking: 333,150 US ranking: 71,925

    If you think those stats are high for a new site, they were lower before I moved from vBulletin to Xenforo.

    Xenforo forum software is the best decision a webmaster can make.

    avi likes this.
  6. avi

    avi Active Member

    Thanks for sharing your story. That was a nice read !
  7. Temery

    Temery Active Member

    I began using xenforo in September on my two sites: syracusefan.com and the-boneyard.com. In three months each has reached 100,000 posts. We average 1,000 users on each forum at any given time, with no slowdown whatsoever.

    The users love xenforo.
  8. optrex

    optrex Active Member

    Hmm, interesting how things progress. Last night saw another of those "this forum has gone to the dogs and is dead" posts from one of my established members on one of the IPB sites. To put an end to the misery, I uploaded an xf install to test. The whole conversion process took 30 mins, so I replied to the post with a try this....

    So, they've gone from an IP forum with IP.Content, blog, gallery, link directory, wiki, tracker, chat room, shoutbox, downloads and calendar to a straight XF install. The response.....
    They LOVE IT! :love:

    Not one single negative comment. To the point where the XF test is now alive with posts and the IPB one thats in place has been evacuated, all in the space of 12 hours.

    So another license looks to be coming your way, just a few loose ends to tie up and we're way.

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