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Author Topic: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.  (Read 8840 times)

Offline shinglis

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Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« on: August 30, 2018, 05:01:21 AM »
OK been reading other topics on here but my forum is not as active as I would like it to be or maybe I am just being too optimistic and impatient.

Basic details, it's a football club fans site, so limited scope to all things related to the club, which allows scope for discussion.
Currently forum has 324 members (over almost 3years) but only realistic about 20 or 30 users who regular post.

I currently manage 2 user accounts to try to promote discussion and don't really want to create (& manage) more of my own accounts.

Should I just accept the level of activity and continue as is ? (appreciate it is a slow process)
Do I post a topic asking the users for advice or clarification why they think of the lack of activity ?
or email the key users who do post asking for assistance ?

I know 2.1 is ongoing but also maybe refresh the theme with a responsive theme and fresh the site a little, but would also like to include a lot of functions included in 2.1 as also not sure if the reduced functionality is an issue. Did a poll to change software to IPB and results was 50/50 so didn't help  :-[

There is plenty of activity on Facebook group and similar forums so I know that active users exists.

Anyway, open to comments / suggestions or just general reassurance..
http://somersetroadend.com/forum/index.php



Offline Looking

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2018, 05:41:00 AM »
Is your site an official site for the club or just fan based? Some of the things you mentioned will boost it. There is lots of competition for attention out there so you have to 'offer' something unique.

Offline shinglis

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2018, 07:09:32 AM »
Is your site an official site for the club or just fan based? Some of the things you mentioned will boost it. There is lots of competition for attention out there so you have to 'offer' something unique.

It's just a fan based site, but to my knowledge the only one for that particular club.

Forgot to mention I also utilize twitter to advertise links to topics and general communication.

Offline Looking

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2018, 11:36:00 AM »
Having 20-30 active posters is pretty good. Being just a fan based site means you compete against other sites of a similar nature. If you could get a more official status or permission or endorsement then you can carry it to the next level but usually carrying a trademark / name carries with it some pros and cons. I sent you a PM.

Offline GigaWatt

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2018, 03:19:13 PM »
I'd like to have 20 or 30 active members on mine ::).

I'd just leave things as they are for the moment. Social media sites are on the rise, forums are not as interesting as they used to be... don't take it so personal.

But yes, I would agree that unique and constructive content does make your forum stand out ;).
"This is really a generic concept about human thinking - when faced with large tasks we're naturally inclined to try to break them down into a bunch of smaller tasks that together make up the whole."

"A 500 error loosely translates to the webserver saying, "WTF?"..."

Online drewactual

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2018, 10:09:53 PM »
make nice with competition. 

be active on potential competitors sites, and pick up their overflow.. if they dump a thread due to clashing, direct them to continue on your site. 

also, by nature sports fans are active mostly in down time- on a phone or in their offices watching the clock.  set up some contests and such. have your site optimized for mobile.  mobile is huge in our niche. 

the guys in my football (American, college) put together some really good threads that elicit thought and participation... feel free to check it out, it's mostly in the big ten board.  i imagine it would transport to your version of football easily enough.

also... blog.  blogs get exposure.  set up a youtube channel and channel your inner comedian or shock jock and do some game reviews- force both the blog and the video comments to your forum. 

Offline shinglis

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2018, 09:18:45 AM »
thanks for the feedback. 

Never been that creative to generate a blog never mind Vlog but hey always a 1st time.  :D

Offline EthanR

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2018, 10:32:06 PM »
There is plenty of activity on Facebook group...

^^ Social media is the problem basically. Forums have been in decline for years now. For every forum there are multiple facebook based groups for the same area of interest. I think the convenience of social media along with it being I guess, the 'cool' place to be, makes forums less appealing.

I think of social media as meeting up with friends at a bar discussing stuff and forums as going to the library. Sure the depth of knowledge and support will be more at forums but the social place generally wins in popularity contests. Throwing up a pic on facebook with some text is faster than creating a thought out forum post with pictures.

It's somewhat of a losing battle but I think forums will always have a certain amount of relevancy. Even it is just for having a stockpile of information! My approach to entice users has been to modernize the forums a bit, for example, responsiveness is essential. Then I have been working on making uploading and inserting images easy and user friendly (upload your 5meg camera pic no problem, let the forum resize and sort out etc). The other area is the matter of exposing users to historic content. A mod like 'related/similar topics' exposes older related topics as a user finishes reading an existing topic, prompting him to browse further and hopefully interact.

A lot of forums probably have a lot of pictures as attachments - been looking for a way to expose some of those pictures and link them to their respective threads, nothing draws attention like pictures. No mod available for that though.

So there are ways to improve participation but yeah, the odds are stacked against forums..

Offline GigaWatt

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2018, 09:37:17 AM »
It's somewhat of a losing battle but I think forums will always have a certain amount of relevancy. Even it is just for having a stockpile of information!

Exactly, just like libraries ;). Eventually, you'll have to go to one if you want to get into a certain area of interest a little deeper ;).

"This is really a generic concept about human thinking - when faced with large tasks we're naturally inclined to try to break them down into a bunch of smaller tasks that together make up the whole."

"A 500 error loosely translates to the webserver saying, "WTF?"..."

Offline Sir Osis of Liver

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2018, 12:23:51 PM »
make nice with competition. 

Exchange links with fan and official sites for other teams in same league.  All will benefit.

Offline njtweb

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2018, 03:17:55 PM »
I typically post something engaging once a day, to which I then post to Twitter/FB and G+. The article will normally get anywhere from 1k to 3k views but rarely gets any posting going on, (and I allow guest posting without registration) maybe 1 or 2 comments on it at best. Everybody seems to stay on FB and Twitter and they'll comment like crazy about the article. I'm making about .20 to .75 cents a day in ad revenue using adsense. According to adsense stats, 85.97% of my traffic is handheld wireless devices.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 03:52:40 PM by njtweb »

Online drewactual

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2018, 03:54:26 PM »
also something HUGE in today's 'forum' game....

make available a SOCIAL LOGIN.. make it as easy as possible for users to access your page.

Offline njtweb

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2018, 04:07:47 PM »
also something HUGE in today's 'forum' game....

make available a SOCIAL LOGIN.. make it as easy as possible for users to access your page.

The social login mod here seems to have quite a few issues. I've been following the mod help thread for the past few weeks watching with hope all the kinks get worked out.

Offline EthanR

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2018, 05:44:37 PM »
Been considering the social login as well, is the mod in a usable state or are there show stopping bugs?

Online drewactual

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2018, 06:21:02 PM »
i use SMF packs  social login, a premium (paid for) mod... it's worth it. 

just today i posted (using a free mod for posting facebook, twitter, and google+) a thread to facebook, and have received almost 3k views off that one action on FB translating to over 200 eyes on the thread itself, and that isn't even including the wordpress (what my site calls the 'publisher') install working it's magic through news contributions...

don't get me wrong, i don't think the level of effort i put into this comes anywhere near rewarding the site with interest, but... it's almost a challenge, now, and i'm going to win this battle... dang it...

Offline njtweb

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2018, 08:52:42 AM »
i use SMF packs  social login, a premium (paid for) mod... it's worth it. 

just today i posted (using a free mod for posting facebook, twitter, and google+) a thread to facebook, and have received almost 3k views off that one action on FB translating to over 200 eyes on the thread itself, and that isn't even including the wordpress (what my site calls the 'publisher') install working it's magic through news contributions...

don't get me wrong, i don't think the level of effort i put into this comes anywhere near rewarding the site with interest, but... it's almost a challenge, now, and i'm going to win this battle... dang it...

What do you mean you posted using a free mod for posting to socials? I use a site called Dlvr.it which posts to all three of them but it's limited to 10 posts a day with the free service. As far as the SMF packs social login, do you know if it works well with responsive curve? My site traffic is almost 90% phone users. It has to function on a responsive level.

Thanks for your info!

Online drewactual

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2018, 09:46:08 AM »
it is responsive best i can tell, so long as the theme it's stuck inside is.  it basically appends to the login template. 

the mod that posts for free is a simple button at bottom of post (i have it set to only display on first post).. it is here... run in emulate mode to install.

so far as i know there is no limit for the posting- it does it 'manually' NOT auto, I misspoke, but it's as easy as punching the button and selecting the page (either your personal page or own you manage and using the FB API)... the only complaint i have about it is it retreads images if you don't hardcode one in...

right now there are 1278 guests and 78 users on my primary SMF site- and that is due to the time of year (football season) as well as the traffic drug in by social media shares... it's kinda a big deal for my site.

Offline njtweb

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2018, 11:15:26 AM »
That is the kind of activity I hope to have this hockey season. My site is a youth hockey travel site. Do you have adsense installed?

Online drewactual

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2018, 11:22:58 AM »
i do run adsense, but not via a mod.. i tried various adsense mods and several premium advertising mods, and they fell flat from my perspective.

i simply hardcoded ads into boardindex and displayindex in the end, and i'm much happier with it... they're placed in good spots while remaining unobtrusive to reading content.  one atop message index, one at bottom... one atop display index, one below.. the other ad on page is amazon associates, and only in sidebar that is css set to sticky (no js) and stays under readers noses... that sticky trick allows for faster/cleaner loading of pages and keeping the advert visible, while also allowing me to display a pretty decent stack (number) of messages in threads that reduces bandwidth/server load.. 

Offline njtweb

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2018, 11:55:47 AM »
Out of curiosity, what kind of revenue do you accrue daily? I can't seem to get past my high mark of .75 cents. I average about .25 cents.  I don't get the clicks its all CPM.

Online drewactual

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2018, 12:20:13 PM »
eh, I've seen it as high as $3 but as low as .30.... likely average a dollar or so.  I think i've had one click so far this month- so it's all CPM here too.   At one point last year i had as many as ten placements and would hit as high as likely $4/day average, but.... that was killing the user experience terribly, and I only did it a little while.  I also went through arguing with google about 'too little content' complaints when ads showed up on pages like 'login' or a recently started thread where there isn't/wasn't minimum standard content... honestly, they frustrate me and i'd likely not even have them on there if i didn't think it somehow plays in their rankings...

Offline njtweb

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2018, 12:26:39 PM »
Gotcha, I have to come up with some sort of engaging content on a daily basis which I then repost on the bigger FB user groups relating to youth hockey. That is how I get traffic, otherwise my average idle traffic is normally hovering around 15-20 guests. When I make a FB or Twitter share, it jacks up to about 50-80 or more active guests continually all day. But.....Nobody responds to the topics routinely. Every so often a guest will respond a few times but everybody will respond like wildfire on FB and Twitter to the share comments.

Offline shinglis

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2018, 12:35:37 PM »
Thanks everyone for the comments & feedback. Just jumping in to the ongoing discussion, I also already use Adsense and see earnings vary dramatically but the current average is about £0.44 per day which is enough to pay the annual hosting at the moment, so happy to keeps the number of adverts down to this minimal and lets be honest, not a forum admin for making money. (although that would be nice)

I also have the Social Login (mod) installed but have been surprised by the lack of use with only 18 members out of the 324 registered using the social login method.

Quote
Exchange links with fan and official sites for other teams in same league.  All will benefit.

Been thinking how best to do this and since already use SimplePortal, going to setup a page with the relevant links or is there a better method using the posts ?


Quote
just today i posted (using a free mod for posting facebook, twitter, and google+) a thread to facebook, and have received almost 3k views off that one action on FB translating to over 200 eyes on the thread itself, and that isn't even including the wordpress (what my site calls the 'publisher') install working it's magic through news contributions...

What Mod was that ? could link it to the similar related FB group and cross share post.

Quote
ave been working on making uploading and inserting images easy and user friendly (upload your 5meg camera pic no problem, let the forum resize and sort out etc). The other area is the matter of exposing users to historic content. A mod like 'related/similar topics' exposes older related topics as a user finishes reading an existing topic, prompting him to browse further and hopefully interact.

Will look into related / similar topics mods as that sounds appealing, any additional info regards processing images. Not really tried SMF gallery but just didn't quite like the look of it but will investigate as I think this would be a key area to entice more users / posters.


Offline njtweb

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2018, 12:43:41 PM »



Quote
just today i posted (using a free mod for posting facebook, twitter, and google+) a thread to facebook, and have received almost 3k views off that one action on FB translating to over 200 eyes on the thread itself, and that isn't even including the wordpress (what my site calls the 'publisher') install working it's magic through news contributions...

What Mod was that ? could link it to the similar related FB group and cross share post.

I use this - "Share This Topic", it isn't what @drewactual uses. Instead it's an unintrusive share bar with a drop down list of social share options. You can place it before or after each topic and comment. Or change the functionality as you see fit in the ACP.

Offline xdresser

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2018, 03:52:16 PM »
What I did for my forum was offer a prize.  Basically you just had to post in the thread to enter but you needed a minimum of 20 posts to win.  And I ran it for a month so that gave people a chance to get up to 20 posts if they were less than that.  I just offered a $75 gift certificate to a specific website but even an Amazon gift certificate would work.  I didn't have many people in the forum at the time but it was very popular.  I am going to try it again now that I have more members.

Offline Looking

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2018, 06:43:45 AM »
Content and Adsense don't give as much as they used to. Your site has to be really unique and offer something that they cannot get on FB, Twitter or wherever if they are to stay.

Online drewactual

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #26 on: November 25, 2018, 01:30:42 PM »
'tis the season, and adsense is popping around $5~7 a day, and amazon is kicking in likely $20 a day- so... this is where we make our buck, like almost every other retailer... they retail 'goods', we retail 'community', right?

i'm on the cusp of launching something that will (should) make the flagship SMF page kick wide open- using all the social media and word of mouth ('their', aka 'users' social media reach as well) should help.....

but that isn't what should interest this thread- what should, possibly, is this:

I've always thought in terms of directly marketing to consumers.  i've dabbled in wholesale from time to time, but only with products i could get others couldn't- and by my increasing my sales of those products it increased my access to those products as the manufacturer responded... it was good for all.  this was/is with traditional retail. 

so there is a small time group that had a product that really took off- especially in my niche... i tried like all hades to get them to work with me but they declined, deciding me 'small potatoes', as they went from shipping single items to ten or fifteen customers a day to sending out orders of 20~25k to several major retailers a month... good for them, right?  but... they abandoned their core market- what gave them legs in the first place.  they also lost their agility to respond quickly to what i will call 'flow' in the niche... so... i'm jumping in that gap they created.  I'll directly market via the webpage as well as social media.... if i can turn 25 to 30 sales a week, it's well worth it. 

you needed to know that^ to grasp this:

I fully intend to use my forum users, what i call 'community' to market... they are going to be my 'affiliate' sales force, and will be cut in on a substantial percentage of revenue for what they 'sell'.  this ought to create a greater sense of community and purpose- and perhaps draw more who want to be a part of it- and hopefully render my operation to directly supporting their sales and not worried about my own... call it a multi-level marketing scheme if you will.  As soon as the enterprise catches traction and i'm busy filling orders for their sales instead of my own, i'll stop directly marketing and sell only through their efforts. 

if people have something invested, albeit effort and not $$$, they'll play along it's been my experience. 

also, this notion is leaning on my 200 very active users, of which 50 or so will actively engage at first.  I'm using the power of the community to reach markets others can't even with the most sophisticated advertising plans. 

now hear this:

EACH of you with a community, however small, however large, have access to direct markets others don't.  it's up to you to figure out how to leverage it while not negatively impacting your community.   it can be a positive symbiotic relationship.  in my case, let's suggest, 50 of the 200, which is 25% of the 'staff' reach 10 people each they know have interest in the product... they sell to 2 of them? that's 100 sales... it's also access to 10/2 people they know.... who can perhaps join the forum and become 'affiliates'...

this model has worked for me in the past pretty well.... i've just never used it in the niche the flagship page is in until i finally found a product that would/will work.  I'm going to press ahead with it and see what happens... and if the past behavior is best indication of future behavior, then i'll be selling it off and off to the next one.... building is fun... 'maintaining' is boring. 

Offline Arantor

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #27 on: November 25, 2018, 01:42:51 PM »
This presumes you want or need to make money out of your community... not true for all communities.
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.

Online drewactual

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2018, 09:07:02 AM »
and........ the conversation was about making enough to be self sufficient.  so.... applicable...

I swear to baby Jesus in a tuxedo shirt if i said the sky was blue Arantor would be along shortly to argue shade.... i've little clue or concern as to why, but it's fascinating on some level i'm sure....

Offline Arantor

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #29 on: November 26, 2018, 09:13:14 AM »
I’m not disagreeing with your piece, I’m just saying that it isn’t as simple as the assertion that everyone should do this. The way you pitch it, the only acceptable types of forums are the ones who monetise and potentially sell products.
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 shinglis

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2018, 09:45:17 AM »
As OP I will chip in. Personally I don't run / admin the forum to make money, yes I use google ad-sense which helps cover basic host fees but the intention is not to run the forum to make money but to provide a space for open discussion about a specialist topic, in my case a football (sports) team.

Always interest to hear people's views on how to monetize the forum but don't really have the time or inclination to work towards that goal and continue with maintaining security and ensuring regular new content for discussion.

Offline Gwenwyfar

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2018, 10:04:21 AM »
That is still making money from your community. Some people run forums without ads or any kind of required payment.

Offline shinglis

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #32 on: November 26, 2018, 10:18:47 AM »
That is still making money from your community. Some people run forums without ads or any kind of required payment.

yes OK guilty as charged, but I guess in my own head, the ads are very limited to the header area, compared to some sites, in-between boards or topics with side panels etc.  what I was trying to say is that I don't think I will ever be retiring on the income from the forum  ;D

Offline Arantor

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #33 on: November 26, 2018, 10:20:53 AM »
It’s also not such a huge area of your focus, as you point out you don’t have time to seriously look at monetising, which is kind of the point I was getting at.

Fun fact, though, trying to monetise a forum too hard will usually cause the actual problem that this topic is even about: a lack of posts.

For many forums it’s not even about making money out of them but giving people a place to call home, and if that’s on the decline, ruthless monetisation isn’t going to help at all...
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.

Online drewactual

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #34 on: November 26, 2018, 10:45:55 AM »
and what i suggest is a flavor of turning a buck, but NOT at the expense of users.  a positive symbiotic relationship can be had, and should be the focus by my reckoning/philosophy.  it IS a community, no matter how it's sliced, and the community should always be the basis. 

what i offer users, free of and investment, is opportunity to make a few dollars on the side.  they're helping me by helping themselves, and the 'product' is fun- actually hilarious- and the ability to change the presentation of the 'product' can happen real-time, which adds agility others can't.   it's a good gig... but this thread isn't about me, the community using my SMF, or even ideas beyond using items outside of adverts to monetise enough to cover costs.....

to make adverts work, there HAS to be traffic, unless you're beating the street, literally, to find someone who pays you directly for advertising.... and even then they'll be demanding exposure that a forum will have to provide/prove. 

all that said^, it is a curious thing to me that often times websites in general, unless outright ecommerce sites, aren't taken serious unless there is an advert on them...... it's almost a measure of 'value' at face value.... too many and you are gaudy and in it for coin alone- but one or two placed tastefully? it almost lends credibility..... to this point, in addition to running one or two adsense, for instance, it may be worth while to offer free adverts to local business in something related to your subject in attempt to kick-start a relationship... if they in fact turn a few sales because of it, they may be willing to pay a few dollars after six months or so..... which may be enough to cover hosting fees? 

don't get any of this wrong, i'm ALL about 'community' and recognize that as the basis of what i do- and that is the motivation... however, if you're not eating you're getting eaten, plain and simple- and much of this comes down to YOU being motivated.... remaining motivated and developing 'community' means always being 'on the hunt'..... it dang sure isn't 'field of dreams' where 'if you build it, they will come'- it takes effort.  the better way to keep yourself engaged is to be willing to 'kill your children' (harsh, but a phrase i learned from several well established songwriters- meaning YOU think it's perfect, but it doesn't fit- so you have to 'cut' it out)... if something isn't working, it's time to move to something that does as a community of 'one' doesn't exist. 

All the dissertation above this dissertation is suggesting is that connecting with people on an almost primal (monetary) level is another way to establish and grow a community as all have a vested interest. 

Offline landyvlad

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Re: Classic Problem - lack of Posts.
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2018, 10:05:10 PM »
That is still making money from your community. Some people run forums without ads or any kind of required payment.

Yeah me.

Once the forum had been established for a year I made it possible for people to donate toward running costs (usually via paypal).
Absolutely voluntary. No pressure at all. 
I don't offer any special access or other benefits for this. All members are entitled to the same whether they pay or not.

Members generously donated enough to pay for the last year's forum hosting etc expenses; and also enough to cover 50% of next year :)
Please do not PM, IM or Email me with questions on astrophysics or theology.  You will get better and faster responses by asking homeless people in the street. Thank you.

To paraphrase Kindred: "There are no technical solutions to social problems."

No hack nor blackhats, just persistent asshats.