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Trying to get repeat traffic to build traffic

 11:02 am on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

We have an established website which is doing "OK".

It's in travel but no matter what we do our traffic gets to about 3-5k uniques a day but no more.

To try and get more repeat visitors we have readied a forum on phpbb and its ready to go.

We also have a page comment system ready to go.

I am nervous about a forum but it could really give the site wings.

Or should we go for the page comments or perhaps even both?

For either option we are favouring pre moderated postings as it just sounds like it stops a lot of hastle.

Any advice appreciated.

Is it best to pre moderate?



 11:11 am on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Pre moderating the forum may deny you the specific benefit you seek - return visits. It takes the spontaneity out.

I'd try without, and turn it on only if you need to.

Nofollow will be vital as a way of protecting your ranking, as well as your readers - and you'll certainly need to moderate closely, as most drive-by spammers find it easier to spam and move on than check if nofollow exists (it's automated, why would they care?).

Personally, I believe that a quality registration/captcha system is much better than pre moderation.


 12:40 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the reply.

What do you mean by nofollow? It sounds like it's something I need but I don't know what it is!

Personally when I post a comment on some newspaper sites I repeatedly return to check to see if my comment has been posted or not. If a reply is instant I don't tend to return-I have said my piece so I'll move on. I'm not talking about forums but the add comments.

From reading this forum I am concerned about the idiots who seem to lurk on forums.

What about moderate for say first 5-10 posts then when you can trust them allow free posting?


 12:50 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

nofollow [google.com] - and there's plenty of discussion on these forums.

I think people treat forums a little differently to blogs - but that may be me :)

It's up to you, but I'd always start as open as possible - and as minimal intervention (=work!) - as possible. You may well need to pre moderate new posters; but you may not, so imposing a rule before you need it may be overkill. *ANY* rules are offputting, especially for a new forum with a lot of Empty Space.


 1:00 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks on the nofollow link-definetly doing ths then

OK here what you say.

I am also worried about legal issues.

For example are we responsible as a forum owner for everything that is said?

What if someone said something which is not outwardly offensive but could be false or even dangerous advice?

For example if you had a forum on travel and someone said in good faith it was OK to take a particular route but then someone took this route and got lost in quick sand (as we weren't to know either)

Am I being TOO worried?

Could we have a blanket disclaimer saying all material in these forums are views of posters only and may not be correct?


 1:11 pm on Jan 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

You should certainly have a disclaimer, but that does not absolve you completely.

While I am not a lawyer, the general situation seems to be that you should remove all the obviously 'wrong' and abusive stuff (makes a for a better forum, anyway), and you should always act on 'reasonable complaints' within a 'reasonable time'.

That means sometimes having to give the complainer the benefit of the doubt - because if there's a complaint and you fail to act, then you are effectively opting to accept responsibility for the 'offending content'.

According to all my reading, the courts seem to have no problem understanding that moderators cannot act instantly, but have little sympathy for moderators/owners who do not act when they should.

If you are in business, and your forum is allowed to be used to attack your rivals, then sometimes you will be walking a tightrope!

Having said all that, in most cases, moderation is little more than common sense and knowing what's best for your forum; 'reasonable' is always the key word - but 'conflict of interest' is the one that can lead to trouble!


 7:13 am on Jan 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for taht good advice.

So if I just make sure there is nothing obvious and make sure these posts are removed.

I'm itching to link in my forum-just have to pluck up the courage!


 8:46 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Try without, but make sure you have a good screening process for new members such as a question and turing code at sign up. I have found that most people will not both posting at a forum once they see their actual posts are being screened and reviewed. I run a few forums and allow all peoples opinions, positive or negative towards my beliefs. That's what your members would want.


 7:51 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks- I have had the forum up a week and no one has even registered!


 8:56 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

WOT? You've had a spam free WEEK? :)

Do you have "WElcome to the forum, sorry it's a little slow so far" messages in each sub-forum, plus a major announcement on the front page?

Is the forum linked form every 'content' page on the site as part of 'normal' navigation?

Do you have extra "discuss it in the forum"-style promos around the site?

What have you done off-site?

[edited by: Quadrille at 8:58 am (utc) on Feb. 10, 2009]


 10:48 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

What have you done to make your forum different from all the other forums out there... the ones that have no content, no fun, no info? The zillions of forums out there like that.

You want a good forum? Work it. Work it hard. Count your successes by 10s of members until 100. After that count by the 50s until 1,000.

Work it.

You may have built it but they won't come unless you make it fun.


 11:04 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good point- It is extremely boring at the moment I can see that.

What I need are some controversial topic starters. They always seem to generate the most interest.

People like a good old rant


 11:14 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Can't get too specific here (as to your topic/desire) but there are two ways to go:

Hot and heavy and controversial


Good solid info and experience reporting

Both work, the latter works better over the long run.

Been there, done that, both sides since before there was an Internet (back in the BBS daze...)

Good and solid is what has carried forward better. YMMV.


 11:37 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks- we do have good solid info on our site. I will have to market the forum better on our main website. I would like to start some topics which will get people going though.

One method I have seen work is to have News page and then have a comment on this story in the forum link.

The macrumors site uses this method and it works brilliantly from what I can tell.

I was wondering if I could have a news page which had stories seen in the general media but with our own writing so no direct copying. So we would just write the facts-but I don't know if this can be done without infringing copyright.


 11:43 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

It can - but it's good manners to provide a link back to your source (so pick a good source, so that the outgoing link helps rather than hinders!)


 8:41 pm on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes good idea.But what if its something like the dow falls 400 points which I saw on the TV then read on several news sites then heard on the radio (This isn't my subject but just giving an example about very general news) Do I credit the TV where I first saw it?


 12:36 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't think so, for the odd miscellaneous fact - but if you base a substantial part of your work on someone else's story, that's a different matter.

I'd (loosely) divide using info into three categories:

Using a story - makes you subject to copyright, which means a full reference and permission; else you break the law.

Using chunks - makes you at risk of plagiarism if you don't cite sources, not illegal (unless you are 'passing off' someone's work as your own to defraud or cheat), but subject to 'good manners' convention.

Using an idea or the odd fact - more 'inspiration' than substance, not generally subject to anything - unless it's a Big Idea (standing on the shoulders of giants, etc.), and then a nod is good.


 7:34 am on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the tips-good solid advice. I will ahve to think about what to do here.

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