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When to Give Up?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by nassella, Aug 23, 2015.

  1. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    Here's the situation.

    I started a Forum about five months ago. It's going against a very powerful forum in one field. This forum is broader - it should bring in users from another field (fibromyalgia) as well - a much bigger one - that has no popular Forum. Since I run a popular blog - I'm using that to advertise the Forums. I thought we would at least get users from that other closely related field plus new users that show up in the contested - and we have.

    The new Forum is much better than the popular one - which is a good Forum - but we have more options, our Forum looks better, etc.

    Five months in - we are actually still outregistering that other Forum - our registrations are fine - we have about 2,000 members but all our stats are stuck - users, posts, pageviews - they are stuck at the same level. I am pumping alot of energy into the Forums. I am putting blog posts in there that are attracting 1,000's of pageviews but the Forum is basically stuck. I am posting most of the threads on it...

    I cannot get traction or build momentum. I don't know if I should continue pumping energy into it in hopes that it will achieve momentum at some point or not.

    I'm really surprised. I thought that once we got to a 1,000 members we would have momentum, people would be posting new threads regularly...but aside from some occasional blips - it hasn't happened. I think a key thing is to have people posting threads.

    That fact that our registrations are good and the number of sessions have increased gives me hope but if I don't keep pumping blogs and threads into the Forums they would just die (lol).

    My question is whether I am a fool's errand or if I should I keep going. I can keep driving traffic to them - I have a good base to do that - but I don't know.

    I began another Forums that did very well - they lingered for awhile and then took off...This one is in an extended lingering phase. :)

    We do have too many subforums I'm sure...I should probably cut back those...

    The Forums are here - Health Rising's Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Forums
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  2. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    People are registering at your forums mainly because they want to read the content that you offer to members only. Once they register they could have difficulties posting on your website. The 1000 members means little in the sense of posting activity.
    I would reconsider your forum style and also make it more integrated with your blog. I would not use XFRM for recovery stories. Its not an article system and can confuse people like this. The image thumbs in your reviews section do not work.
    Consider which topics generally get replies and focus more on that.
    Consider to add a Question and Answer function to motivate users to start asking questions.
    Indeed ditch forums that are not getting traffic.
    Keep going. You seem to be doing well, but need to keep optimizing. For 5 months this is a very promising forum.
     
  3. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    Thanks Alfa for checking it out. I really appreciate it.

    I will ditch some Forums. Do you have a suggestion regarding what venue to use for Recovery stories.

    Do you mean make the look of the Forums more integrated with the blog? We have a new website coming up but it is still going to look different from the blog.

    The review program is a work in progress - thanks for pointing out that glitch..
     
  4. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    Actually I feel good about registrations - only the Recovery story section is off limits I think (and the Community Sectio) - and I haven't added Recovery Stories in awhile. When I do add them - it is a big traffic driver though. Maybe I should open the Recovery story section up to everyone?
     
  5. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    Use Article Management System when its out.
    Indeed.
    Yes, it will likely be a hit. Let people share their story, receive community support. Make it so that they can keep posting updates. And community members can keep posting comments.

    BTW: are all wordpress accounts integrated with your xenforo accounts?
     
  6. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    Thanks again Alfa 1.. They are not integrated - although we plan to...I think we found a good bridge - do you recommend one? And do you have any suggestions how we can best do that?

    I look forward to the article management system - will it be embedded in Xenforo?
     
  7. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    The Article Management System is a very advanced XF addon fully integrated with XF. Bob, the developer rigorously follows xenforo development practices, which is good for stability and integration. It has not been released, because all focus is on further development. I prefer it over WordPress. Keep an eye on this thread:
    Finally an advanced Article Management System for XenForo | The Admin Zone

    I do not have experience with Wordpress bridges, but this one seems to be the most popular:
    XenWord [Paid]
     
  8. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    Thanks - I'll keep an eye on it...
     
  9. jauburn

    jauburn Well-Known Member

    When to give up? As soon as you start asking yourself that question, IMO, is the time to give up.

    Forum creation and administration is a huge waste of life for most people. If you're not in it out of sheer enjoyment or because you pretty much know you've lit on to an idea that's going to succeed, stop wasting your time. Most forums fail. I've started close to 20. One succeeded to the point that I could sell it. Another ticks along, an excuse to keep my hand in the technology and stay connected with creative writers. The others, though, I gave up and don't regret it one little bit.
     
    CyclingTribe likes this.
  10. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright Well-Known Member

    People love a true story with a positive ending
     
    CyclingTribe likes this.
  11. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    Do you know why the one worked and the others didn't?
     
  12. Olly Wood

    Olly Wood Member

    I picked up on that one point because personally, and it is a personal thing, I don't think your forum looks that good, what I mean is what you think looks good doesn't always suit the genre, that needs a think.
    Having a look through the member list, I see there are a lot who have registered but not posted or even added an avatar, there has to be a reason for this, you don't need to register to read the posts, so that isn't it, you need to look deeper into why people aren't taking part. It may be that the forum come across as a clique, and it's hard to prevent that, but it can offputting for a lot of people.

    Giving up now is not the answer, because you will always wonder "if".

    I would look at who your most active members are, speak to them about what they like, and what makes them post, focus on that, maybe appoint a couple of them as MODs, you have one Admin who doesn't even have an avatar, and very few posts, if they can't be bothered why should others.
     
  13. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    Appearance aside - the Forum has many more options....The other Forum has started to adopt some of our features.

    Can you explain more what you mean by a clique?

    That admin is our technical guy - he doesn't post much and I don't expect him to post much.

    I agree a poll or survey is a very good idea- thanks for that.
     
  14. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    Can you elaborate on how the Forum might look better?
     
  15. Olly Wood

    Olly Wood Member

    A forum can get to look like a clique, that is a comfortable group of members who are always answering each others messages, it can put people off joining and joining in.
    One way to beat this is to personally welcome them, not just with a general welcome message, a PM from Admin, or even when they make a first post, start by saying "Hi welcome to the forum, great to see another new member !" then answer the post.

    I'm not a fan of what I call a flat theme, and it's just too red, along with the blue nav bar and background, it to me looks very unappealing.

    Remember this is just personal opinion, again go to the members you have and trust, ask them what they think of the colors, the theme, layout etc.

    You could always have a support and feedback section, ask them the questions.

    Oh and a lighter area to discuss other things may help too, a sport section, hobbies, current affairs, I can't see one, so I assume you don't have that, and maybe a welcome thread for new registrations, it's up to you to encourage people to post, most wont want to dive into an established thread in the genre, but may get into the habit of posting in off topic areas first.

    My forum isn't at all busy, in fact I'm the only member as yet, but I have asked people to take a look and it's got favourable feedback, Red ( United play in red shirts) but not too red, the front page has soft greys and other colors too, there are also gradients which are softer on the eye than large blocks of colour.
     
  16. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    Thanks Olly

    we are going to change the theme to match the new website we have... We have a community section that is off limits to non-registered members and we encourage people to introduce themselves.

    Your theme looks good - you're right it has a softer more welcoming look.

    Thanks for the ideas :)
     
  17. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    Just a few suggested quick tweaks - get rid of the large (and constant) notice; remove the social media buttons from the top of the thread (no one is going to share before reading); and increase the font size one point to remove the anti-aliasing.

    Before:
    upload_2015-8-25_15-15-2.png

    After:
    upload_2015-8-25_15-14-43.png
     
  18. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    Are most of the registrations only made to gain access to the Caregivers forum? Do you have any analytics to see which parts of the forums people are visiting and reading from the most?

    Also why is the Caregivers forum not public? Surely a good portion of your potential audience for this forum will be caregivers and family members who want to learn about it and be better informed?

    I'm also getting a mixed messages because the header link appears to take me to a different web site [I know it's the same place, but it looks completely different] - most people would expect it to simply return them to the forum home. You also have a monthly donation sidebar widget (but you don't appear to be a charity), then you've got links to pill buying (using XFRM?) and further have links to a "Support" us page that is completely differnent to the forum and again goes through all the options.

    Who or what is Cort Johnson working under the website name of Health Rising? And why would I want to give it (you?) any money or support it?

    Is the forum about being a useful / helpful resource for people or is it about earning revenue for the organisation?

    If it is genuinely a resource to help people out I'd temporarily remove all the donation / shopping links and build it up before reintroducing them - and when you do, make it clear what the purpose of your organisation is and what any donations or purchases go towards. That would be make easier (for the visitors) if the style / colours etc. match better than they do now. (y)

    I'm a casual visitor who has taken a "quick look" and felt the above - I'm possibly being more critical than someone with an interest in your subject might, but my comments are intended to make you think a bit about the set-up of your forums and site and hopefully help you better integrate them for an improved end-user experience (which is what you seem to be looking for :)).

    Oh, and one last thing - articles are great for blogs and can attract visitors to forums, but they are not discussions and forums thrive on discussions! ;)

    Good luck,
    Shaun :D
     
  19. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    I like it Click Infinity - thanks :)
     
  20. nassella

    nassella Active Member

    Thanks for the deep look

    :) we are in the process of redoing the website and will remake the Forums to match the look.

    The caregivers would like to talk about patients with complete freedom - without worrying what patients might think...They requested that..

    The Forum is about earning revenue and being a resource. I am supported by donations from the website.. I don't think the Forums will ever be a major contributor regarding donations though.

    I moved from another organization - the name was incorporated into the website because of name recognition. I don't think its needed anymore.

    I agree about the discussions! :)

    Thanks for checking it out. I have removed the notices and will increase the font size.

    I do have analytics - I do need to check them more. Blogs posted to the Forums are a big source of visitation and registrations go up....Reviews are well visited but people rarely post to them...(lol).
     
    CyclingTribe likes this.

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