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Author Topic: Hari-Kari? Maybe. But I'd like reviews and advice.  (Read 5833 times)

Offline DaddyFish

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Hari-Kari? Maybe. But I'd like reviews and advice.
« on: October 28, 2014, 09:01:59 AM »
I am stuck for ideas on promoting my forum and making it a bustling, thriving community.  I have read the few suggestions and no-no's posted here (such as paying for posts, collateral-working with other similar communities) but have come away with it all feeling... empty.

What am I missing? That's what I can't put my finger on. I'm trying to add interesting articles and topics, but only a couple of friends from another site have joined and it's like they don't post so nobody else joins because nobody is posting already.  How do I get a core group of members and/or moderators to contribute and get (and keep) the ball rolling so that others are attracted to join and join-in the fun?

I know that my forum has a targeted audience - people over 50.  And that I am posting this cry for help on a likely much younger demographically oriented board.  And I'm cool with that - after all, I'm looking for younger, fresher ideas.  I'm not afraid to get rowdy.

Please note I don't even know if my entire site even works as it should yet.  It's hard to test everything myself.  I have installed Shoutbox Pro and SMFPacks Multimedia Gallery.... would you suggest anything else?  Do those even work for you?  So I would appreciate any and all feedback on that front. 

But I really do want strategies and ideas and useful tips and tricks that YOU used to get YOUR forum up and running and eventually successful when you were the only one behind the wheel.  And I stress that because I've tried enticing people with moderator and admin badges before and it's resulted in a lot of Chiefs, few Indians and many Squawbbles.

I *do* know that currently there is an issue with uploading certain multimedia files from a local drive to a member gallery on my site.  That's being worked on, but I would like feedback (like maybe why it's not working) on this and any/everything else as well.  I am disabled, retired and have plenty of time on my hands to learn and have a sincere desire to make things all come together on this.

My url is www.seniorsmeetinghole.com [nofollow] (hmmm.... not translating right with the url hyperlink but I guess y'all can figure it out)

I hope I haven't broken any rules by posting this (I guess I'll know when it gets flagged).  Many of you here have already helped me without even knowing it.  And for that, I thank you.

Or did I not see the category to post review requests in?  O:)

-DaddyFish

Offline Arantor

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Re: Hari-Kari? Maybe. But I'd like reviews and advice.
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 09:06:24 AM »
Quote
I have installed Shoutbox Pro and SMFPacks Multimedia Gallery.... would you suggest anything else?  Do those even work for you?

Better question: what is your site *about*? Sounds to me like there's an element of picking the tools to solve a problem without identifying the problem first. (Though, personally, I couldn't honestly recommend either of those mods. I have both, and I am... unimpressed... with both, especially the latter. So much so that I'm writing my own gallery from scratch because I am that unimpressed)

The big thing I wonder is this: what's unique about your community? What is it that would draw people in to your community vs any of the others targeted at a similar demographic? What would draw people in as opposed to, say, a community on Facebook?

That's the sort of question you really need to ask in this case: not 'why isn't this working' but 'what am I trying to achieve, and why is it more compelling than the competition'. Figure that out, figure out what you're hoping to achieve with this, and then pick the tools for the job.
Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

No good deed goes unpunished / No act of charity goes unresented.

Offline DaddyFish

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Re: Hari-Kari? Maybe. But I'd like reviews and advice.
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 10:11:17 AM »
Thanks for your input!  I was kind of hoping the name and overall website made it pretty clear what the site was "about" - a place for folks over 50/seniors to meeet, chat, maybe do some dating.

I'm trying to model it a bit after another site that is German based and has a large draw.  They seem to do well, but I can't get off the ground.

You've given me more food for thought though - thanks!

Offline Arantor

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Re: Hari-Kari? Maybe. But I'd like reviews and advice.
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2014, 10:16:17 AM »
I didn't even look at your site to be honest, let alone its name. The questions apply to any new site, or one trying to grow.

Thing is, what a site *is*, is not the same as what a site is *about*. This site, for example, *is* a forum and a place to get forum software, but that's not really what this site is *about*. Here, we're about providing the foundations for people to build their own communities. Bringing people together. But that's not what we 'are', that's what we 'do', if that makes sense.

So you have a forum. That's what the site 'is'. But that's not what it's about. You've identified the type of people you want there, which is great. But what about the types of personalities you're looking to draw? The attitude, the culture?

What is it about the people that you want to bring together to form a community?

Word of caution: chasing an established site usually fails. Usually ends up looking at the community, looking at what they achieve without any understanding of the *how* they got there. Usually this is because they end up looking at what 'is' without understanding what it is 'about'.
Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

No good deed goes unpunished / No act of charity goes unresented.

Offline DaddyFish

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Re: Hari-Kari? Maybe. But I'd like reviews and advice.
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2014, 11:13:00 AM »
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Word of caution: chasing an established site usually fails. Usually ends up looking at the community, looking at what they achieve without any understanding of the *how* they got there. Usually this is because they end up looking at what 'is' without understanding what it is 'about'.

Right on - and that is exactly what I'm trying to avoid - I want want to become "them" without trying to BE "them"....if that makes sense.  I wish to learn from their model, not their example.

You've given me a lot to think about and that is good.  I already have some inklings on a path to start cutting and some promotional ideas.

Thanks so much :)

Offline Bloc

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Re: Hari-Kari? Maybe. But I'd like reviews and advice.
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2014, 12:31:39 PM »
If you are open to other ideas..maybe your target group isn't the typical forum user, who knows how forums work? They probably have experience with Office and Facebook though - so what would be attractive for them? I would suggest another look to start with, something light and open. Maybe even a blog section(not the main focus, but as a kickstarter for discussions) and a frontpage to collect some highlights(when you have them - until then, teasers, promotions maybe?).

Forums are much harder to "get going" these days, so its not a safe bet..but what do you have to lose? Portal and blog mods exists for free, likewise light and modern themes, so IMHO its worth a try. (through, if using portal mods, avoid too much "blockmania", the less, the better. The more clear, the more attractive. Turn off frames, buttons, titles etc in those blocks and you can build something good in no time.)

But, as said..theres no guarantees, only experience gained. ;)

Offline DaddyFish

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Re: Hari-Kari? Maybe. But I'd like reviews and advice.
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2014, 12:57:32 PM »
Those are great ideas!  I'm still a bit shy of even switching themes and playing with new mods as my last attempt at doing so was a disaster.

But I agree.... the current mod (default) is not very user friendly for my target audience.  I may seek out to simply hire someone from here or buy an SMFPack to do all that.  I've been quite happy with SMFPack(s) so far.

I know NOTHING about portals and such.   But am trying to learn as much as I can and as fast as I can.... thanks for your input!

Offline Arantor

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Re: Hari-Kari? Maybe. But I'd like reviews and advice.
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2014, 01:05:59 PM »
Then you are very, very lucky because, frankly, there's quite a lot of unhappy people out there because of SMFPacks...
Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

No good deed goes unpunished / No act of charity goes unresented.

Offline DaddyFish

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Re: Hari-Kari? Maybe. But I'd like reviews and advice.
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2014, 03:08:23 PM »
Wow.... that has not been my experience at all.  Then again, you can't make all the people happy all the time..... or was it "there's a sucker born every minute"?.... :)

Thanks, Arantor