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Forum too popular

people not looking at the main site anymore

     
6:38 am on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This may be affecting more than just me but the forum is now the most popular part of the site. Most people I would imagine have it bookmarked and come back to view it daily without ever looking at the main site again.

This causes a couple of problems:

1) Forum posters ignore the ads
2) The lurkers are chewing my bandwidth

The main site makes 95% of the revenue and the forum just the other 5%, now while its nice to have a popular message board site revenue will drop if people don't return to it. Its not just a monetary issue, I'd like to see more people back in the main site anyway and am not sure how to get them there. It ranks pretty well so I get new visitors but I'd like to push a few of the old ones back in that direction!

Have tried a couple of tactics such as posting 'stickys' to main pages and linking to relevant stuff when people ask the question.

Anybody else having this or have found the perfect balance?

4:35 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What do you mean by the main site?
Do you mean the homepage [webmasterworld.com]?
5:48 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think he means on his own site, and he has a homepage and a forum, and everyone goes straight to the forum without looking at the homepage.
8:23 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Oh right. That makes sense now because these forums don't have ads.
1:14 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If your server uses apache then you could use a .htaccess file to detect direct linking with no referrer, and then just forward those to the main page. :)
2:06 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What are people posting mostly? Chit chat? Q&A? Heated discussions? Peer support?

How does your content relate to the questions people are actually asking in the forums?

6:11 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yeh, sorry I should have specified, I'm not talking about WebmasterWorld but my own website. The forum is mainly a Q and A one, with short threads when the question has been answered.

Was just wondering if anyone else has experienced this with their own sites and forums and how they dealt with it.

6:31 am on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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One that I visit decided to ask the regulars to help chip in with expenses by setting up a membership with annual dues. Not a mandatory thing but most of the regulars want to help out.

I've been debating setting up a forum on my site for years now. Just when I think I'll go for it someone reminds me why I hesitate.

:)

3:08 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If your forum is a Q&A thing then of course you're going to get people going straight there from bookmarks and from search engine results if you allow spidering.

I suggest you just place more adverts on your forum, maybe even portal your forum so you have a menu down the side that incorporates adverts, as well as adverts at the top/bottom of the page. :)

5:36 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have this problem as well. I have a busy forum that I keep trying to expand. Nobody visits my home page. Nobody even realizes I have an industry news blog or job postings :). But the forum numbers keep going up and up.

My take is grin and bear it, and try to monetize the forum a bit better.

6:37 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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To deal with it, why don't you set cookies (using a server sided language if you have one (or else with javascript)) to expire say every 4 hrs or a session cookie. If it's expired redirect to the page with the ads on.

Simple but effective.

7:42 pm on Mar 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've got a site with a similar dilemma. The main site was the original draw, but now the forum gets the vast majority of the traffic. In the case of this site, there's useful content in the non-forum area, so I'm in the process of enhancing the navigation to make these links more prominent. You kind of have to go with the flow, though - you can't force visitors to look at what they don't want to, and if work at it too hard, they'll go elsewhere.
12:13 am on Mar 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Here is what i suggest:

-Encapsulate your forum into your main site. So for example instead of having ur forums fill the whole window, maybe try framing them.. so you can put either Ads or links INTO your site on top

-Discuss other aspects of the site/refer to them more via the forum

-Highlight aspects of your site in ur SIG.

-I am sure there are advertisment hacks for your forum's script -- advertise ur own site just to dispurse people..

-Tell people if they dont make you money you will hunt htem down and take it from them directly.

-just kidding =)

7:12 am on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Some good suggestions there, I like the one about including links in the SIG, have done that now.

I have been thinking about redesigning the layout to integrate with the main site a bit better, but its such a big job and I'm not really a phpBB guru so keep putting it off.

7:25 pm on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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yeah me either... (about beign a guru) thats why im saying u may just want to frame it?

so u could easily build a simple frame setup that has links on the left, then ur forum on the right... its not as nice, but it would get the job done.. OR if the main intrest is getting monye.. just put ads there

 

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