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Wrapping up 2008 and looking at 2009

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Dan, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I wanted to get an idea of the things that worked and didnt work in 2008 and start making the changes to the site for 2009.

    In 2008 we saw a massive down turn in the hits and usage of the front-end of the site, which is to me a terrible terrible thing, for the mere fact it makes the site completely lose income, this is simply because sponsors don't want forum traffic, they find it returns very little.

    I want to find the reasons for this and also find out what other parts of the site worked and didn't work. Get an idea of what you would like to see going forward and any ideas for 2009.

    I am also hoping I can try and get some sponsorship for the site in 2009 so if you have any contacts or businesses that may be interested, please put them in contact with me.

    I am also hoping for some sponsorship of the tipping competition and am hoping to offer a prize for the tipping comp this year, so am wondering whether anyone woul dbe interested in an entrance fee that goes towards a prize, or if there is anyone out there that can offer some sort of prize for the site. I just don't have the means for it unfortunately and the site runs at a loss, so can't pour more money into it than I do, unless we gain sponsorship (don't worry the site isn't going anywhere, it's way too much of a passion for me these days).

    One thing I know that effected people posting news to the site and contributing in that manner was the fact that you needed to login twice to post news. This is going to be changed within the next week or so and you will only need to login once and authenticate.
    I am going to put a slight ban on having news posted directly to the forums, but am working on some code, that when you post a news article to the front page (and it is approved by a publisher [i need some volunteers :)] the site will automatically make a forum post by the user who posted the news, and will link to the news article, with the first part of the article in the news post. This will provide more traffic to the front page of the site, and will also allow for discussion of the article itself.

    In 2009 off the back of our success last year I am hoping more people will come forward wanting to help out with the site, whether that be with news posting, editing, publishing, moderating, Unique article creation and whatever else they can think of that will add to this great site and make it interesting for all.

    I plan to re-intoroduce the slightly archaic but always popular scrolling headlines at the top of the page, and will be cleaning up the site a little by removing some of the menu's so more can be seen and done.

    All your suggestions, assistance, ideas and feedback are welcome and I look forward to it.

    Regards
    Dan
     
  2. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    Just my personal opinion but the forum is all I use and all I am really interested in .

    The news section to me seems to be a bit behind and a lot of it isn't really "news" to me, this may be heightened by everythign being doubled up in the forum anyway, but that is somethign you are obviously aware of and have addressed.

    Your efforts are appreciated Dan.
     
  3. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Yeah many do just use the forum. The reason it is a bit behind is because I am the only one who adds to it and I have to use what is already in the forums or I find elsewhere as i have time.

    I really don't want to have just a Forum site, it's fairly poor form. Though if I can get sponsorship and that is the way people want to go, i may invest in vBulletin and make the site a forum only with some additions like tipping etc. I just think the site could be more.

    If users who post news posted them to the front page, the chances are that more people will read the front page. Remember there are many people who do view this site that don't even visit the forums, they only visit the front page. These are the people we need to think about and entice into the site even more
     
  4. ManlyBacker

    ManlyBacker Winging it Staff Member

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    Hi Dan,

    Just some ideas for your consideration on trying to make the Home Page more friendly.

    - The Silvertails banner is huge and if you add in the site areas below it and the photo then no news is visible when I first hit the page.
    - Maybe reduce the logo and stick the site links to the right or around it.
    - Not seeing any news (even though it is old) doesn't induce me to scroll down.
    - Reduce the size of the Search/Login box by a third on the right (if the style sheet allows it) so that more news is easily seen.
    - maybe hide the tags that are displaying as it looks untidy.
    - set up a facility where photos can be lodged for site acceptance and will eventually fall under the Photos link

    I'm happy to post news when you have set it up. Also edit and moderate but cannot be certain I will be here every day if that is an issue.

    Cheers
     
  5. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    MB that is all very handy feedback. I will work on that as a design thing. I just need to make some changes as I want to make some form of sucker fish menu in there (A java drop down thing. which means I can reduce it's size..

    I will look at other things and some slight reformatting of the news. My original intention for the Image was to have the news headline showing over that with a link to the article etc. Kind of like MWSE now have

    I want to keep the images there so may work on that
     
  6. DVS Matt

    DVS Matt Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    As fro said - i only come here to view the forum and go over what people think about the team / current issues.

    Stats/Galleries et al are pointless for me - you'll find that with 99% of league sites e.g. LU & Rleague - no-one goes there to read articles, they go there to discuss the game.

    I think we all appreciate what you're doing Dan, but i personally don't think it is worth the hearthache of fixing up the areas which people don't use.

    Just reduce it to what people use i.e. Forum & Tipping Comp.

    Hope that didn't sound too blunt.
     
  7. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    fair call. Matt, I see the point of view, my only concern being the people that do use the other sections I guess

    I am looking at changing us over to phbb3 and making it all integrate better shouldnt be too much heartache at least
     
  8. DSM5

    DSM5 Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I'm surprised Fro didn't ask for automatic spellcheck.
     
  9. Fro

    Fro Well-Known Member

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    I can't do myself out of a job DSM :)
     
  10. Cameron

    Cameron Cambo Premium Member

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    dan can u mask the urls so people cant go directly to the forum and must go to the front page first.
     
  11. Zep

    Zep Active Member

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    Cliffy, the problem with that is the 3 main browsers all support session reloading, meaning the page will still stay there if the browser is closed.

    Also the search bots need access to the forums as that is where 80%-90% of the content is and if it gets redirected back to the homepage they give.

    Dan is doing a good job and he has some great ideas.

    I was speaking with Dan about this yesterday and am going to throw the idea to you guys, if we do have a constant news section going would you be interested in receiving an email once a day to tell you of all the recent additions? This wouldn't matter to those that visit every day, but for those who visit every week after a win we could get them continually coming back.

    Also for those overseas or interstate eagles and those who like to have a chat on the forum during the game, a weekly game thread on the major plays by plays would be a cool thing to get going.
     
  12. Canteen Worker

    Canteen Worker Well-Known Member 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    I reckon having a few lines of a news story posted someone on the forums pages with a hyperlink that takes you to the front page or news section would be a good idea.

    Dan I am very happy to post and look after a news section etc (with others) and to post content but remember I am not the most pc savvy user on the site,  but willing to learn.

    On another note, I did not like the type of tipping comp in 2008 - found it too clunky and hard to use, compared to the choose the winner type on many other type of forums. Site is good and keeps getting better.
     
  13. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    hmm I get what you mean about the tipping comp it does have floors but it also creates a better competitive edge in that its easier to gain and lose points than simple win loss
     
  14. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Some good suggestions above.  Also:
    1. Reducing the space taken by the standard heading in the home page is important.  Perhaps merging the space taken by the Silvertails & links sections?  Use of watermarks? Aim: To see recent News straight away without any need to scroll.
    2. Eliminate detail of News from home page.  Use the News heading styles currently in use, with date posted, and hyperlink to read the detail.  That way you fit more news on the screen, retaining the interesting formatting. Maybe also move the photo down under some recent news items, so the most recent news is seen without scrolling.
    3.  Have forum posting on each news item (like some of the online Newspapers do).  These links then take you direct into the forum thread for that news item without having to go via a "forum" menu system. If I could easily access news and make & read forum-style commentary on those recent news items directly, then I think that would probably encourage me to go to the home page first.  Perhaps some others are like me.

    Dan, don't know whether your software supports these types of changes, but I do appreciate the forum & site you provide. Cheers.
     
  15. Dan

    Dan Administrator Staff Member Administrator 2016 Tipping Competitor

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    Rex, they don't explicitly support those changes, but there is no reason I cant code it. I am in the process of making a mirror of the site, once that is done I will be making some changes and testing them, including a post bot that makes a post on news creation in the forums and each are linked so you can go to the news article from the forum and visa versa. I am thinking of also taking the first 3 replies for the article in the forums and putting them in a "see what people are saying about this article" link at the bottom of the article
     

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