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How to keep a Nerf website active...

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Author Topic: How to keep a Nerf website active...  (Read 317 times)
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« on: June 26, 2007, 11:02:45 am »

I feel like I should contribute something to the site, so this is an article I wrote for when nubs decide to make their own sites Don't take this as me calling you guys nubs and try not to feel insulted in anyway if your site has anything that this article says not to. I honestly wrote this a long time ago and figured I'd give you guys a discussion piece.


This is an article for all of you newbies who feel like running your own site.

There are quite a few challenges to be faced when trying to run your own site, the main ones being attracting visitors and being able to come up with fresh content on a regular basis.

People, people everywhere and not one is here for me!

To get people to come to your site, you need to give them a reason to come. Perhaps it would be good forums, good content, or even just a good environment.

Forums are generally a pain to keep going after you start them. You have to find a way to keep people posting, you have to constantly troll check, and among other things, it needs to be easy for the people and the admins to use!

A person in a confusing forum usually won't try to keep up. That person will just go to the next forum. Don't make anything more complex than it needs to be.

An admin won't be able to do its job in a forum with a tricky admin panel. Simplicity is the key.

If you know PHP/Perl/ASP/*insert other programming languages here*, you might be able to create your own forum, and if you can do that, you might be able to make it simple. Possibly even make it look similar to the rest of your site (as we all know, forums come stock with the horrid templates)...

But that's all assuming you're a code guru.

If you want to put a forum into the site, I'd reccomend SMF, it has good features in its stock form, is easily modified to fit individual needs, and is easily integrated with one's site.

How to make content out of thin air...

You don't.

Good content isn't whipped up in five minutes and put onto a site. Good content is given some time to stir in somebody's mind, is proofread, and is actually readable.

To do this, it'd be a good idea if you have not one, but several people submitting content to your site, those same people might also check that content to see if it isn't stolen or fake.

It's also the webmaster's responsibility to post it to their site.

The clean working environment...

This problem rears its ugly head in most any forum.

Trolls come in, spam advertisers come in, hackers...

Whack them before they can whack you. Make registration approved by admins.

If they have a suspicious email address, don't let them in. As for hackers, you're pretty much on your own. Make sure you use your secret question to log in as well as your password.

The other type of clean...

Don't let newbies ask questions that have been answered.

Don't let people flame on your site.

Don't let them cuss too much. Some is okay, but don't let them fill their post with them.

Above all, no pr0n links or pictures. Imagine a newbie going to your site and finding a link to a supposedly good site. Newbie goes there and finds a picture of boobs instead. Yeah, boobies rule, but what if the person's mom saw him go there? That's prolly the end of that site.

Easy navigation...

Don't make wonky navigation bars. Don't do things too out of this world, because if you do, it might be a pain for the users to use it and for the admin to fix it.

A simple navigation bar to the side of the page, maybe even one at the top and bottom as well of the page, will do fine.

Now for maintaining the navigation bar, a server side include could help greatly with that if you know a coding language. Don't use a frame unless you have to.

The rest of the page...

General rules of thumb here.

No monstrous banners.

No flashing backgrounds.

No weird backgrounds.

No disruptive pictures.

No banner advertisements. This applies only to people who pay for their host.

Don't use really long domain names.

Go go the heck is this anyway?

Don't fill your site with every little feature you can cram in there.

If there's a guestbook, contact form, and maybe some forums or image galleries, you'll be fine. But don't jam every last fun-filled, useless invention in it.

It takes up too much space on the server and it distracts users from where you really want them; the content.

Remember, content before creativity.


Don't make them too overbearing unless you need to, don't enforce them to the absolute last un-dotted i, and don't make consequences too steep.

This doesn't mean let your users have run of the house either.

Be the boss, but don't be a mean boss.

Last, and most importantly...

Get stuff done.

Hopefully this is able to help you all.

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« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2007, 03:17:07 pm »

Thats sound advice for anyone with a forum....The hardest part of making a forum though, I think, is getting members to post....This is really hard when you only have 3 or 4 members.

Because most people who see a forum like that, almost always overlook it because of the low amount of members and posts.

Don't fill your site with every little feature you can cram in there.

Thats a really good point. I've seen tons of websites with way to much flare. The best rule of thumb is don't use to much javascript.
Sites with to much animation or scrolling text are just annoying, especially if you have a dial-up connection.

Nice article Zach, I agree with mostly all of that.
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General Cole
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2007, 03:39:24 pm »

Now, I just need a website.
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