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The Bluejay Zone (Creighton NCAA Men's Basketball)

Discussion in 'Forum Showcase and Critiques' started by SneakyDave, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. SneakyDave

    SneakyDave Well-Known Member

    upload_2014-11-10_15-24-26.png
    About
    Creighton moved from the Missouri Valley Conference in 2012 to the Big East last year, and finished 2nd in the conference it its first year.​

    That being said, there were only 2 fan message boards promoting the team after the main one fell under mismanagement. One is a private membership Rivals/Yahoo based forum, and the other is using PHPbb. Both have their various flaws: limited or no search functionality, corporate owned, not secure, antiquated forum framework, management instability, etc. Both would be considered small to medium sites.

    So, I realized there might be a need for a new Creighton Bluejay message board, and although I'm a fan, I don't have near as much knowledge of the team (or NCAABB) as I'd like to, so I've entered into a partnership with individuals that can provide some decent content about the team and conference.

    This is a brand new forum, not a lot of content or members obviously, but the NCAA basketball season starts this week, and there is a lot of excitement over who will be the power players in the Big East conference.

    Add-ons
    We are using Brogan's Featured Threads for the home page, which is really nice touch for articles or threads that we want to draw attention to, as well as the CTA Countdown Timer.

    We have @Daniel Hood's Hashtags installed, as well as @Jeremy's Mini Avatar With Tag feature, to accessorize the XenForo "social experience". @Bob B's Sportsbook and Stock Trader add-ons are some time wasters geared toward the sports bettor/day trader types. We may also be using an upcoming articles system that seems promising.

    And of course, we're using @Luke Foreman's Post Ratings, and Taigachat add-ons, as well as @Chris D's Xen Pushover and Unread Post Count add-ons.

    All of that is wrapped nicely around a slightly modified Quark theme from @Mike Creuzer.

    Operating System
    At the server level, we're running on a Linode VPS, utilizing the easy to configure Centmin Mod from @eva2000. The site runs MariaDB, nginx, SSL, SPDY, and Pagespeed (when it behaves). The ForumBackup add-on is used to perform daily backups, and we also utilize Linode's backup solutions.

    The site employs the new(er) .zone domain name extension, but we've also acquired the names bluejayzone.com and thebluejay.zone.

    Promotion
    We are currently running a New User Contest for a drawing of a $25 Amazon Gift Card (ends December 25, 2014). We've been using Adwords for advertising, as well as a little Facebook promotion, targeted toward people in the area that like the team. We use Twitter Feed to push certain RSS entries to the Twitter and Facebook accounts.

    We've spent about 70% of our budget on software licenses, which is what we originally budgeted for advertising, but we really wanted to be able to provide a great experience for fans. We hope to spend more on promotion in the coming months, particularly the period before and during the NCAA Big East conference games. We know it's a tough road to hoe in promoting a message board these days.

    Personally, I've spent about 150 hours of my personal time putting this together, from the server/OS, SSL, email configuration, add-ons, promotion, trying to style, starting over with a style, trying to style, buying a style. But of course, everybody knows that's the easy part. :LOL:

    Goals
    Provide the best site for Creighton Bluejay fans and their favorite team.
    Generate unique Bluejay-based based content and opinions on the team and its competitors.

    Thanks for visiting.

    https://bluejay.zone

    Twitter:
    http://twitter.com/bluejayzone

    Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/bluejayzone

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TL;DR
    Creighton Bluejay Message Board

    https://bluejay.zone
     
    Bob, Lisa, Daniel Hood and 1 other person like this.
  2. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Interestingly different.
    Dark but not too dark.

    Looks good.
     
    Daniel Hood and SneakyDave like this.
  3. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    Looks great, Dave. My only criticism is the sidebar overlaps the footer.

    overlap.png
     
  4. SneakyDave

    SneakyDave Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I noticed that. Trying to find somebody to blame for that, rather than fix it.

    Thanks for reminding me. Seems to only happen on the home page.
     
  5. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Looks OK in Chrome.

    upload_2014-11-10_21-59-36.png
     
  6. SneakyDave

    SneakyDave Well-Known Member

    I have Chrome, I originally noticed it when I was testing a different style, I couldn't see the style chooser because it was blocked.

    It doesn't happen all the time, but I've only seen it on the front page.
     
  7. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    I'm using Chrome too. Do you have the sticky sidebar switched on?
     
  8. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Just noticed the search bar disappears behind the logo when you scroll down too.
     
  9. SneakyDave

    SneakyDave Well-Known Member

    I think that's a Quark quirk, the navbar slide feature.

    Regarding the side bar, I think a widget is pushing it down to do that, because it starts off fine, and then goes wacky.
     
  10. SneakyDave

    SneakyDave Well-Known Member

    2/2015 update.

    We've had a lot of lurkers checking out some of the basketball game previews, but not really a lot of interest in people joining and participating.

    The fact that Creighton is having it's worst year since the mid 90's doesn't help either. :cry: Because the site isn't an instant success, one of the article and content providers has decided to move on, so it's basically just 2 guys now.

    But we're still providing contests and trying to make things more appealing to generate a good community.

    1) Ads have been disabled.
    2) Guest posting is allowed (although moderated)
    3) Giveaway contest for a free pair of Creighton earbuds and bag.

    We had a budget for advertising, and I've had good luck with Facebook ads in the past, but not so much for this particular site. Good adwords were better to get more lurkers, but not much registration. We were hoping to run more adwords during the NCAA tournament, but it doesn't look like Creighton is going to make it there this year, so that's a disappointment.
     
  11. Sheldon

    Sheldon Well-Known Member

    Keep at it Dave!

    Everything looks great. It'll turn around for you.
     
    SneakyDave likes this.
  12. rafass

    rafass Well-Known Member

    Nice board. Since the domain, until the design. Everything.
    Good job SneakyDave!
     

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