Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!

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rkcapps

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2018, 01:26:58 AM »
Another idea that I have for the forum I run is a spot for people new to the forum to go for "resources ". For instance, I found a quick YouTube video by an editor explaining when to use adverbs. You could have a fantasy part and a writing part. Food for thought!
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Penguinball

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2018, 12:34:16 PM »

What theme are you using? 'Cause that could have something to do with the Windows-y feel you're getting. Try switching to the "Into the Black" theme and see if it makes any kind of a difference to you (I'm curious to see whether or not it does. I think I'm literally the only one who's using that theme right now).

Ah, I had missed that themes could be changed. Into the Black does look nicer. It isn't as incognito at work though so I'll stick to the default theme. Knowing this is free software makes some sense.

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The reason the different kinds of fantasy are divided up is that it's easier to categorize the submissions and so that they don't all get lost in pages of submissions...it makes it easier for those who are looking for specific kinds of stories (i.e. pseudo-historical) to find them, rather than having to look through multiple pages in order to find them. I do understand what you're getting at as far as having to click to find more content, but...you'd be clicking even more to find (certain kinds of) content if we didn't have it set up this way.

Good point! I guess I like everything so the distinction isn't as useful for me. But I can see how it is useful to have it sorted like that for others.

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The beta readers society is specifically for finding/offering to be someone to beta read a longer piece of work, like an entire novel, whereas the submissions section is just specifically for submitting a shorter piece of writing, like a chapter, that you want anyone to critique.

I think this is where a How To sticky could explain the difference and give some guidelines.

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As far as the showcase goes...that was something that an old member had suggested we add, I believe, and we did it thinking that more people would use it, specifically with those sections since the point is to showcase specific parts of worlds that members are writing in. But honestly, since no one is really using it, we'll probably end up getting rid of it. I did make a post asking about whether or not to get rid of it a while ago, and I believe the consensus was to keep it, but...with the features that the Librarium is supposed to have, we won't need it any more, anyway.

The Showcase...I am of two minds on this one. On one hand people love talking about themselves and showing off the hard work they've put into everything. But on the other hand there isn't much of a hook for others to interact with those posts, other than going 'oh cool, good work'. It looks like some posts invite feedback or discussion, but there is also the Brainstorming thread so there is some overlap there. Having said all that I think its a cool idea but I wouldn't really miss it if it were to disappear, and that those posts could find homes in other parts of the forum.



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We do have an About Worldsmyths post (which needs to be expanded on, I agree), which is in the announcements & information section, toward the bottom. Unfortunately, the more announcements I make (that I make as sticky posts), the lower on the list of posts in that section that post will be, if that makes sense...meaning, I'd basically have to repost it in order to put it at the top of the forum in that section (which I'll probably end up doing anyway, along with the rules and the FAQs). There's also a mission statement mentioned in the rules.


Yeah that is frustrating for sure. That is where an About page could help, but I understand there are limitations with this site.

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Hm. I mean, I'm used to forums where shorter forum descriptions is better- you don't necessarily want to give a massive description on what you can find in a specific forum, because people aren't necessarily going to read it. (I've also learned in my graphic design classes that shorter is better, too- KISS (keep it simple, stupid) has been knocked into my head, so I think that's part of why I've stuck to shorter descriptions.) But I could definitely see a benefit in adding more information to them, so I can work on doing that, too.

By a blurb, do you mean like...a blurb that's part of the actual forum, kind of like the way the forum descriptions are part of the forum? Or do you mean just having it in a sticky post? Because the sticky post is really probably the only thing we'd be able to do...which is definitely easy enough to do. I can also do the "how to" and "what this forum is for" post for each section, too.

Having looked at it again I think a sticky would probably be best, maybe a START HERE sticky for each that explains the purpose of that particular forum, if there are particular guidelines, and any additional instructions (like for submissions).


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My only hesitance with doing a weekly e-mail is that, quite frankly, I think people would be scared off by constantly getting an e-mail from us...when the forum first started, I was using a newsletter mod that I installed, and I think it sent out an email...every week? And I can't even remember what the issue was that made us stop it, but we did. I think it was being sent out too often, and it wasn't even going to people's inboxes or...I don't even remember any more. But after we stopped it, I started trying to only send out an e-mail once or twice a month, because otherwise it might get too annoying. I think once a week might be too much. Something I want to do is get InDesign so that I can design a PDF newsletter to e-mail out to people, but that's a long ways off. Either that, or I could try using MailChimp to send e-mails out, but I don't know. I don't want to send them out so often that people get annoyed by them, but I don't want to not send them out enough, either. It's a slippery slope.

We do post on social media (though I admit that I've been terrible about posting on the Facebook page for Worldsmyths over the last several months, but that's mainly because it doesn't even have many followers, and I've forgotten, and I'm fairly sure that most people don't even see the posts on there due to algorithms)...I definitely need to be better about posting on Twitter and Instagram, but we have those. We also have a Pinterest, but I don't think we've actually gotten anyone from there to join.

For me personally I don't find emails spammy until it is every day or every other day, a weekly roundup doesn't scare me away. And the email you sent asking for feedback worked, it got me back here to take a look. But biweekly would also work. I looked at opening up my own blog (and since decided it wasn't worth it) and so much of the advise out there is focused on building up your mailing list and reminding people to come back. So long as the email is something someone could unsubscribe from (I think Mailchimp allows this?), I think it is more likely to be a benefit than a death sentence. If it causes an increase in traffic over time it is worth risking annoying some people. Of course I have no actual, know you, numbers or facts or anything, but it makes sense in my own head.

As for social media, you are right about Facebook, it is kind of a crap shoot these days with the algorithms. I guess this is where you have to weigh the cost/benefit for yourself since you are the one posting. Is it worth your time to do a <x frequency> Facebook post if it only reaches a few people? Maybe Facebook isn't worth it, maybe instagram is better (no idea if it would be). You can schedule posts ahead of time, something as simple as 'Hey, come check out this week's discussions' and a link to the forum. A few people reached is better than zero, isn't it? You can analyze your results, is spending an hour on social media posts a reach brought 10 people to the site enough to justify the effort?

Social media links would have a home on an about page too. In the Announcements section I see links for a Facebook group and Twitter but not Instagram or Pinterest. wait never mind I kept reading and found it in the Want to Help Promote thread.

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See, the activity stream is a constant back and forth battle for us. We've actually been told by people that we should just get rid of it, for the same exact reason that you said. But, the "view new posts" thing isn't very reliable- there were definitely times when the site first opened where I would click it and there were posts that it didn't show me. The activity stream always tells when someone starts a new topic or replies to a post, which makes it easier for people to find the more recent topics. Not to mention, we have at least a few people who mainly only visit the forum through their phones, and they use the activity stream to find the most recent topics...

I think I'm going to be making a separate post regarding the activity stream, because we're kind of at a standstill on what to do with it. I don't personally care either way, though I certainly think it's helpful and would honestly rather click that and know I'm seeing all of the posts than click "view new posts" and not see all of the posts despite the fact that I should be able to do so. I do think you're right that it probably scares people off, because they see how few posts are being made, but...I doubt that it's the activity stream that's making people register for the forum, maybe introduce themselves and then disappear into oblivion. When you look at it like that, it seems to be the least likely culprit compared to other factors, such as people just not taking the time to make a bigger effort to be part of the community. I will be working on a separate post asking for feedback about the stream to see what people think. We did a post a while ago asking about it, and I think people said to just keep it, but since we have newer members it might be time to do another one and get opinions, since the staffers and I can't seem to agree either way.
I'm not sure whether or not there's a way to keep it from being shown at the top of every page. :-/ I'd have to look into the settings again, but...from what I remember, it didn't leave much room for that kind of customization. It's a mod that I purchased and installed...a year and a half ago or something? I've lost track...so it's not something that we coded or anything like that. I just spent the money and installed it.

I definitely use it too, it is handy having everything organized chronologically. Having it just as a link in the header instead of at the top of each page would be ideal, but if that isn't possible with the mod than I lean towards leaving it as is because it is useful.

One other thought I had about submissions... the Scribophile website has an excellent critique system that can be used for free. It is possible to set up closed groups on that website, we could form a splinter cell there and use it to critique and give feedback on each others work. There could still be discussion about the work here, but we could take advantage of the tools they have. I understand though that this idea might be a bit off to some, seeing that it takes them off the Worldsmyths site. There are other sites that do it, for example there is a very active Medium group on Scribophile (Medium is a site where you can post and read works ((fiction and non fiction)) and can sign up for a partnership to be paid for a $5/month subscription) so it does happen. Figured I'd throw the idea up anyway.

Another wall of text, whoops

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2018, 01:43:36 AM »
Another idea that I have for the forum I run is a spot for people new to the forum to go for "resources ". For instance, I found a quick YouTube video by an editor explaining when to use adverbs. You could have a fantasy part and a writing part. Food for thought!
We do have a resources & research section where this kind of thing could be posted! I think we might have had two separate sections originally? But we ended up condensing them...not 100% certain about that. Either way, it's definitely a good spot for posting that kind of thing!

Ah, I had missed that themes could be changed. Into the Black does look nicer. It isn't as incognito at work though so I'll stick to the default theme. Knowing this is free software makes some sense.

Yeah...I wish we had the money to be able to move the forum onto something like Xenforo, but...it's expensive, and we don't have a large and active enough community to be able to justify that kind of thing, even if we asked for donations or something (since I cannot afford to pay for it)...so we're pretty much stuck with what we have.  :-\ At least until my co-admin is able to start dabbling with coding again, but that's probably going to be a long time from now.

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I think this is where a How To sticky could explain the difference and give some guidelines.


Yes, agreed!

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The Showcase...I am of two minds on this one. On one hand people love talking about themselves and showing off the hard work they've put into everything. But on the other hand there isn't much of a hook for others to interact with those posts, other than going 'oh cool, good work'. It looks like some posts invite feedback or discussion, but there is also the Brainstorming thread so there is some overlap there. Having said all that I think its a cool idea but I wouldn't really miss it if it were to disappear, and that those posts could find homes in other parts of the forum.

Yeah, I agree. The Librarium is supposed to have a feature for showcasing specific things about people's worlds, on people's individual profiles...so once we finally get the Librarium, hopefully that's the case and showcasing such things will make a little more sense...hopefully. Like I said, no one is really using it right now and it's just...there, kind of taking up space, but I don't necessarily want to take it away from people if they want to use it? We'll see, though.

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Yeah that is frustrating for sure. That is where an About page could help, but I understand there are limitations with this site.

Well, like I said, we already have the about post, and there's not much difference...maybe once we get the Librarium it'll be easier to have an actual page for that kind of thing. But I already plan on writing up a much more expanded version of an "about" page and...maaaaybe we can stick it into the header links somewhere. It's tricky because I think my co-admin was the one who did that to begin with.

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Having looked at it again I think a sticky would probably be best, maybe a START HERE sticky for each that explains the purpose of that particular forum, if there are particular guidelines, and any additional instructions (like for submissions).

Okay. I'll work on that, then.

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For me personally I don't find emails spammy until it is every day or every other day, a weekly roundup doesn't scare me away. And the email you sent asking for feedback worked, it got me back here to take a look. But biweekly would also work. I looked at opening up my own blog (and since decided it wasn't worth it) and so much of the advise out there is focused on building up your mailing list and reminding people to come back. So long as the email is something someone could unsubscribe from (I think Mailchimp allows this?), I think it is more likely to be a benefit than a death sentence. If it causes an increase in traffic over time it is worth risking annoying some people. Of course I have no actual, know you, numbers or facts or anything, but it makes sense in my own head.

Well, I looked into Mailchimp, and since it's really geared toward businesses, they apparently want you to have an actual, physical address of some kind...and while I could technically give my address, Worldsmyths isn't actually a business? So I felt like I couldn't bother trying to do anything else with it because of that. :-/ Which is annoying, because I think it could be useful (although I'm honestly not sure how many people would actually subscribe to it, anyway. Right now we just send out emails through actual Gmail (it used to be through a newsletter mod on the forum, but I think I decided it was better to do it through Gmail instead for whatever reason...maybe 'cause it was going to spam for people when being sent through the forum), which seems to be working out well. I just need to be able to be consistent about how often a roundup of some sort should be sent out. So, at some point, I will work on looking into some kind of alternative to Mailchimp (or maybe finding out if I could actually use it for Worldsmyths, even though it's not an actual business), and whether I find one or not I will also make a post to decide how often people think such emails should be sent out, and I will work on being as consistent as I can be with sending them out. It's tough to get them out on a specific day, though, because my work schedule changes each week and I have to schedule it around that, and sometimes I end up having plans at the last minute and can't get online to do stuff when I say I will. But hopefully something can be figured out.

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As for social media, you are right about Facebook, it is kind of a crap shoot these days with the algorithms. I guess this is where you have to weigh the cost/benefit for yourself since you are the one posting. Is it worth your time to do a <x frequency> Facebook post if it only reaches a few people? Maybe Facebook isn't worth it, maybe instagram is better (no idea if it would be). You can schedule posts ahead of time, something as simple as 'Hey, come check out this week's discussions' and a link to the forum. A few people reached is better than zero, isn't it? You can analyze your results, is spending an hour on social media posts a reach brought 10 people to the site enough to justify the effort?

Social media links would have a home on an about page too. In the Announcements section I see links for a Facebook group and Twitter but not Instagram or Pinterest. wait never mind I kept reading and found it in the Want to Help Promote thread.

I think scheduling posts ahead of time is a thing that you have to pay for on Facebook? I forget offhand, but I was trying to look (briefly) earlier, and I thought that was the case...but I didn't do a ton of digging. We've talked about doing the sponsored posts on Facebook before, but decided against it because it doesn't really draw people in, I guess? I dunno, it's what I remember being told a while ago. Plus, the sponsored ads are really geared more towards businesses, buuut there is a forum I'm a member of that does sponsored ads, and they're...waaay more active than we are. But they also have someone who's specifically in charge of doing the marketing for their site, and we just kind of take turns between me and @Sheepy-Pie (with me mostly doing a lot of it). We're definitely going to have to work on doing it more often, though.

I think part of the reason why the Pinterest and Instagram links are not in the "about" post is because we didn't initially have those accounts when we started the forum, and I didn't think to add them to that post. But I will definitely do so!

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I definitely use it too, it is handy having everything organized chronologically. Having it just as a link in the header instead of at the top of each page would be ideal, but if that isn't possible with the mod than I lean towards leaving it as is because it is useful.

One other thought I had about submissions... the Scribophile website has an excellent critique system that can be used for free. It is possible to set up closed groups on that website, we could form a splinter cell there and use it to critique and give feedback on each others work. There could still be discussion about the work here, but we could take advantage of the tools they have. I understand though that this idea might be a bit off to some, seeing that it takes them off the Worldsmyths site. There are other sites that do it, for example there is a very active Medium group on Scribophile (Medium is a site where you can post and read works ((fiction and non fiction)) and can sign up for a partnership to be paid for a $5/month subscription) so it does happen. Figured I'd throw the idea up anyway.

Another wall of text, whoops

Yeah, I'll have to look at the settings but I think getting it so that it's just a link in the header would mean fiddling around with the code...which might be doable, just not any time soon.

Hm. I mean, it's not a bad idea, but I'd be really hesitant to have that kind of activity off of the forum when we need that kind of activity ON the forum. If the site were way more active, maybe, though having to pay would probably be an issue...but yeah, I don't think that's the right thing for us right now.

Haha, walls of text or totally okay! I just wrote another one. :P Keep writing them! I like this back and forth feedback thing. XD
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rkcapps

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2018, 09:24:04 PM »
Firstly, I read everyone's long posts and think "wow, that'd take me all day to type!", so I'll keep it short and simple. I'd just like to thank @Jedi Knight Muse for all her time and effort spent in maintaining this forum.
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2018, 11:01:10 PM »
Firstly, I read everyone's long posts and think "wow, that'd take me all day to type!", so I'll keep it short and simple. I'd just like to thank @Jedi Knight Muse for all her time and effort spent in maintaining this forum.

Aw. <3 You're welcome. I wouldn't be able to do it without the help of @Sheepy-Pie and @Silver, though, and also not without members of this community who've stuck it out for the last two years (or last several months) and have made big efforts to be more active and immerse themselves in the site giving feedback and such. I love this forum, and out of any of the sites that I've made, I think it's my favorite.
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Penguinball

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2018, 05:09:46 PM »
I meant to reply sooner but I got bronchitis and was far from coherent.


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Yeah...I wish we had the money to be able to move the forum onto something like Xenforo, but...it's expensive, and we don't have a large and active enough community to be able to justify that kind of thing, even if we asked for donations or something (since I cannot afford to pay for it)...so we're pretty much stuck with what we have.  :-\ At least until my co-admin is able to start dabbling with coding again, but that's probably going to be a long time from now.

I can pledge $20 canadian dollars towards upgrades if that helps :P


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Yeah, I agree. The Librarium is supposed to have a feature for showcasing specific things about people's worlds, on people's individual profiles...so once we finally get the Librarium, hopefully that's the case and showcasing such things will make a little more sense...hopefully. Like I said, no one is really using it right now and it's just...there, kind of taking up space, but I don't necessarily want to take it away from people if they want to use it? We'll see, though.


Well, like I said, we already have the about post, and there's not much difference...maybe once we get the Librarium it'll be easier to have an actual page for that kind of thing. But I already plan on writing up a much more expanded version of an "about" page and...maaaaybe we can stick it into the header links somewhere. It's tricky because I think my co-admin was the one who did that to begin with.

If it isn't too hard to do it would help in my opinion. But I understand the limitations.

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Well, I looked into Mailchimp, and since it's really geared toward businesses, they apparently want you to have an actual, physical address of some kind...and while I could technically give my address, Worldsmyths isn't actually a business? So I felt like I couldn't bother trying to do anything else with it because of that. :-/ Which is annoying, because I think it could be useful (although I'm honestly not sure how many people would actually subscribe to it, anyway. Right now we just send out emails through actual Gmail (it used to be through a newsletter mod on the forum, but I think I decided it was better to do it through Gmail instead for whatever reason...maybe 'cause it was going to spam for people when being sent through the forum), which seems to be working out well. I just need to be able to be consistent about how often a roundup of some sort should be sent out. So, at some point, I will work on looking into some kind of alternative to Mailchimp (or maybe finding out if I could actually use it for Worldsmyths, even though it's not an actual business), and whether I find one or not I will also make a post to decide how often people think such emails should be sent out, and I will work on being as consistent as I can be with sending them out. It's tough to get them out on a specific day, though, because my work schedule changes each week and I have to schedule it around that, and sometimes I end up having plans at the last minute and can't get online to do stuff when I say I will. But hopefully something can be figured out.

I haven't actually looked at Mailchimp personally, I'm going by what all the fancy blogs say about promoting self publishing and building readership. You are right, its not exactly a business, it doesn't make money, but it does still provide a service, you are just doing it for free.

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I think scheduling posts ahead of time is a thing that you have to pay for on Facebook? I forget offhand, but I was trying to look (briefly) earlier, and I thought that was the case...but I didn't do a ton of digging. We've talked about doing the sponsored posts on Facebook before, but decided against it because it doesn't really draw people in, I guess? I dunno, it's what I remember being told a while ago. Plus, the sponsored ads are really geared more towards businesses, buuut there is a forum I'm a member of that does sponsored ads, and they're...waaay more active than we are. But they also have someone who's specifically in charge of doing the marketing for their site, and we just kind of take turns between me and @Sheepy-Pie (with me mostly doing a lot of it). We're definitely going to have to work on doing it more often, though.

I didn't think about the cost aspect, a bunch of people I follow on various media talk about scheduling posts for when they go on vacation and such, and being small people I just assumed it must be free.

I did more reading into sponsored posts on facebook and it sounds like a total crapshoot. Small creators just get buried, causing people to migrate to other platforms. Doesn't really sound like it is worth the cash.


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Hm. I mean, it's not a bad idea, but I'd be really hesitant to have that kind of activity off of the forum when we need that kind of activity ON the forum. If the site were way more active, maybe, though having to pay would probably be an issue...but yeah, I don't think that's the right thing for us right now.

Yeah I was kind of hesitant to suggest it, seeing that the whole point is to get people here, but hey, less than perfect ideas are better than no ideas :)

There is so much competition out there for forums, I have few ideas of how to get the word out, other than mentioning it on other forums, which is probably against cross promotional rules on some of them. I liked and shared the last facebook post but I only have like 50 friends so that doesn't help much :P I guess people could shamelessly promote in places like Reddit, like 'oh yes, I was just discussing this same thing with my good friends at the Worldsmyths forum (link)...' but that can get obnoxious quick. I can mention it next Nano, my city has a pretty large area so I can put up a link in the chat thing. We have that map of where people are in the world, each person go and print out 50 flyers and scatter them along bus routes or something :P

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2018, 08:02:14 PM »
I meant to reply sooner but I got bronchitis and was far from coherent.

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Yeah...I wish we had the money to be able to move the forum onto something like Xenforo, but...it's expensive, and we don't have a large and active enough community to be able to justify that kind of thing, even if we asked for donations or something (since I cannot afford to pay for it)...so we're pretty much stuck with what we have.  :-\ At least until my co-admin is able to start dabbling with coding again, but that's probably going to be a long time from now.

I can pledge $20 canadian dollars towards upgrades if that helps :P

Ewww at bronchitis. D: No fun.

Lol, well...theoretically it could help, and we certainly appreciate the offer! :) Unfortunately the software costs a lot more than that. Actually, Invision Power Board is what we'd more than likely use, because @kherezae has a license that she'd be willing to let us use (we actually looked into using it and then I...can't remember why we ended up not), so that part is covered. The problem is that a lot of the features that we get for free on our current software actually cost money on Invision Power...and a LOT of them are ridiculous amounts of money, like $20-30+ in some cases. It adds up really quick.  :-\ We've talked about asking members of the forum for donations to put towards the cost of software/hosting, but we've decided against it because the forum hasn't been active enough to justify it. And the thing with IPB is that really, we should have a much larger, more active (maybe not larger, but definitely more active) community than we currently do before we even consider moving over there, and the activity hasn't been consistent enough...

Not to mention, we'd have to deal with getting the forum migrated over to IPB (which...I don't THINK there'd be a massive issue with that? But I really have no idea what I'd be doing to try and do that, so that's a whole other thing). Plus, I've never used IPB (I mean, I've used Invisionfree, which is the free version of that same software, I believe, but it's been a long time since I've done so), and while I think I could get the hang of things behind the scenes...really, @kherezae is the one who knows IPB better than me, but she hasn't used it in a long time, either. There are free mods that we'd be able to install on the forum, but like I said, there are features that we get for free with SMF that we wouldn't get for free and would have to pay for on IPB. Plus there are other features that SMF doesn't offer that IPB does that would be useful and cost money, too.

Xenforo would cost $140, plus another possible $60 for the resource manager (which I only think we would need/find useful), and I THINK there might be mods that have to be paid for for that, too? But I'm not sure 'cause I've never used Xenforo before 'cause there's no free version of it. Plus, we'd definitely need a much larger, more active community before we used them.

There's vBulletin, but that gets REALLY pricey, too. :-/

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If it isn't too hard to do it would help in my opinion. But I understand the limitations.

If I can get my co-admin to take a look at it when she has a chance, maybe we can do it. Otherwise we'll just kind of be stuck with it. :-\

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I haven't actually looked at Mailchimp personally, I'm going by what all the fancy blogs say about promoting self publishing and building readership. You are right, its not exactly a business, it doesn't make money, but it does still provide a service, you are just doing it for free.

Right, but I feel kind of funny using my address when it's not technically a business. I honestly might end up making a post in one of the Facebook groups I'm in to ask about it, because maybe there's some alternative to Mailchimp that could be used instead and would make more sense to use, or if I could get away with just using Mailchimp anyway.

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I didn't think about the cost aspect, a bunch of people I follow on various media talk about scheduling posts for when they go on vacation and such, and being small people I just assumed it must be free.

I did more reading into sponsored posts on facebook and it sounds like a total crapshoot. Small creators just get buried, causing people to migrate to other platforms. Doesn't really sound like it is worth the cash.

Yeah, it seems to be very hit or miss...I mean, there's a forum that I'm a member of that's also geared toward fantasy writers, and has been around longer than Worldsmyths (like 2010-2011, I believe), and they use Facebook and pay for sponsored posts. I follow their Facebook page but I saw an ad come up for them earlier, and it seems to be working well enough for them? They're certainly drawing members in. I saw people commenting on the post and tagging others in it so that they'd see it. I did send a message to the admin last summer and I asked what it is they're doing that has drawn so many people in, and they said it's mainly been luck but it's also been having someone who's specifically in charge of promoting on social media. It does make me curious to see what would happen if we tried doing sponsored ads for one or two months or something...but technically the sponsored ads are for businesses, so again...not really sure how to use it for Worldsmyths, though the forum I mentioned does...

I dunno. It really probably isn't worth it.

I think word of mouth is going to always be the biggest factor. Members need to be sharing the crap out of the link and telling their friends about it, and posting on forums and twitter and such.

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Hm. I mean, it's not a bad idea, but I'd be really hesitant to have that kind of activity off of the forum when we need that kind of activity ON the forum. If the site were way more active, maybe, though having to pay would probably be an issue...but yeah, I don't think that's the right thing for us right now.

Yeah I was kind of hesitant to suggest it, seeing that the whole point is to get people here, but hey, less than perfect ideas are better than no ideas :)

There is so much competition out there for forums, I have few ideas of how to get the word out, other than mentioning it on other forums, which is probably against cross promotional rules on some of them. I liked and shared the last facebook post but I only have like 50 friends so that doesn't help much :P I guess people could shamelessly promote in places like Reddit, like 'oh yes, I was just discussing this same thing with my good friends at the Worldsmyths forum (link)...' but that can get obnoxious quick. I can mention it next Nano, my city has a pretty large area so I can put up a link in the chat thing. We have that map of where people are in the world, each person go and print out 50 flyers and scatter them along bus routes or something :P
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Cross promotional rules definitely vary from forum to forum. Like the forum that I mentioned, they have a section where I have a thread specifically for advertising Worldsmyths, but I actually had someone there ask what it is that Worldsmyths offers that the other forum doesn't, and honestly...there's almost no differences. Clearly, they have the bigger, more active community, but other than that...they're basically each other's competitors. I have replied to things here and there on Reddit with the link where I think I can get away with it, but not often.

Haha, I did make a flyer...I might need to update it again, but I could technically post it on the forum and let people print it out, but that would mean people would have to actually make the effort to do so and such. :P
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Penguinball

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2018, 12:26:57 PM »
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Xenforo would cost $140, plus another possible $60 for the resource manager (which I only think we would need/find useful), and I THINK there might be mods that have to be paid for for that, too? But I'm not sure 'cause I've never used Xenforo before 'cause there's no free version of it. Plus, we'd definitely need a much larger, more active community before we used them.

Man that does all sound expensive. Probably best to stick with the free stuff in this economy :)

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Right, but I feel kind of funny using my address when it's not technically a business. I honestly might end up making a post in one of the Facebook groups I'm in to ask about it, because maybe there's some alternative to Mailchimp that could be used instead and would make more sense to use, or if I could get away with just using Mailchimp anyway.

I wouldn't be too concerned about the business/not business distinction, I have blogs and podcasts that promote their posts and those aren't really businesses either, unless you are counting ad money kickback. But even so it is hard to say how worthwhile it would be. I'm sure there are other services out there than Mailchimp that might work better. Never hurts to ask!

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Haha, I did make a flyer...I might need to update it again, but I could technically post it on the forum and let people print it out, but that would mean people would have to actually make the effort to do so and such. :P

We'll start a mysterious viral marketing campaign, just a piece of paper with Worldsmyths written in spooky writing so people google it, thus increasing the google ranking and bringing people to the site :)

All said I guess it really boils down to two issues, getting people to the site, then getting those people to stick around and post. I'm posting what I can but I feel kind of silly when I look at the activity stream and its filled with 10 'Penguinball replied to' updates haha.

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2018, 06:55:30 PM »
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Xenforo would cost $140, plus another possible $60 for the resource manager (which I only think we would need/find useful), and I THINK there might be mods that have to be paid for for that, too? But I'm not sure 'cause I've never used Xenforo before 'cause there's no free version of it. Plus, we'd definitely need a much larger, more active community before we used them.

Man that does all sound expensive. Probably best to stick with the free stuff in this economy :)

Lol, exactly. In an ideal world, it'd be nice to be able to have the fancier software, but...it's probably not going to happen, at least not any time soon. I can't justify asking people for donations for a site that's so inconsistent with activity, and I've never tried doing so with any of my past projects and I just feel like it would get into tricky territory. Maybe if the site gets more on its feet and consistently stays that way, we could consider it.

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I wouldn't be too concerned about the business/not business distinction, I have blogs and podcasts that promote their posts and those aren't really businesses either, unless you are counting ad money kickback. But even so it is hard to say how worthwhile it would be. I'm sure there are other services out there than Mailchimp that might work better. Never hurts to ask!

Normally I wouldn't really mind and would just put my address, but something was telling me I shouldn't. I'm sure you're right and it'd be fine, though. I did make a post, and people there said it would be fine, though I should probably get a PO box, which costs money. I looked at Canva, 'cause apparently you can make newsletters on there, but I don't really get it, so. Hm.

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We'll start a mysterious viral marketing campaign, just a piece of paper with Worldsmyths written in spooky writing so people google it, thus increasing the google ranking and bringing people to the site :)

All said I guess it really boils down to two issues, getting people to the site, then getting those people to stick around and post. I'm posting what I can but I feel kind of silly when I look at the activity stream and its filled with 10 'Penguinball replied to' updates haha.

Haha, sounds good. XD

Yep, exactly. And haha, don't feel silly- we encourage it, at this point! It's better than seeing that it's filled with 10 'Jedi Knight Muse replied to' updates, with not much else gong on. :P We definitely encourage people to make more posts and reply to posts and even bump old threads, 'cause we don't have anything against necroposting or whatever the term is.

I'm working on fixing some things on the site...I've been working on a guide to the forums, with explanations of what each forum is for, but it's taking a while (mostly because I haven't focused on getting it done, and mostly because things like work and sleep have kept me from being able to finish it). It's close to being done, I think, though. Hopefully that will help. I started on the rules and FAQs, too. Not sure if I'll get it done by the end of the week or not, but I'll try.
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Penguinball

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2018, 10:03:55 AM »
Normally I wouldn't really mind and would just put my address, but something was telling me I shouldn't. I'm sure you're right and it'd be fine, though. I did make a post, and people there said it would be fine, though I should probably get a PO box, which costs money. I looked at Canva, 'cause apparently you can make newsletters on there, but I don't really get it, so. Hm.

That's fair, got to listen to your gut, it is your butt on the line in the end.

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Yep, exactly. And haha, don't feel silly- we encourage it, at this point! It's better than seeing that it's filled with 10 'Jedi Knight Muse replied to' updates, with not much else gong on. :P We definitely encourage people to make more posts and reply to posts and even bump old threads, 'cause we don't have anything against necroposting or whatever the term is.

Well that is good, I may go through and look at some older posts. I take a lot of breaks in my job (because it is dull, not because it is busy), so having a forum to check and reply to is nice :)

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Lord_Aetius

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2018, 05:28:19 AM »
Hi, agree with a lot that has already been said - it's nice to be part of a small group of friendly fantasy writers - but what draws us back here rather than somewhere else, with our limited time?
My suggestion would be an annual Worldsmyths book that we publish celebrating the best of everyone's short stories. This might:
Get people enthused, talking to each other
Encourage us to look at and critique each other's stories, because we all have a vested interest in them being the best they can be
Allow for the mentoring aspect, or at least sharing skills, that someone mentioned

If there is interest in this idea we could set up a small working party to start planning the project

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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Site Feedback Wanted- Discuss!
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2018, 08:45:53 AM »
Hi, agree with a lot that has already been said - it's nice to be part of a small group of friendly fantasy writers - but what draws us back here rather than somewhere else, with our limited time?
My suggestion would be an annual Worldsmyths book that we publish celebrating the best of everyone's short stories. This might:
Get people enthused, talking to each other
Encourage us to look at and critique each other's stories, because we all have a vested interest in them being the best they can be
Allow for the mentoring aspect, or at least sharing skills, that someone mentioned

If there is interest in this idea we could set up a small working party to start planning the project

This is actually something that we've discussed behind the scenes in the past, but we haven't followed through with it because not only would it require a LOT of commitment and time from us staff members, it would require a lot of commitment and time from the members, and we don't feel that the site's overall activity is at the point where we can justify taking on such a large project. Not to mention, it would also require monetary commitment- we'd most likely have to pay someone for artwork for the cover, for any artwork inside the publication, unless someone here on the forum was willing to do it for free, but it would potentially be a fair amount of artwork that they'd be committing to doing for free...

I just don't think we're at the point of being able to justify asking that kind of commitment yet.

I accidentally got involved with what was supposed to be a fantasy anthology on Facebook...we made a group, we started discussing themes and some other things in the first two weeks...and no one has said anything in the group since, which tells me that it's probably not going to happen. That is how easy it is to lose people's commitment to a project like this.

Also, it should not take a publication to get people to do all of those things here on the forum. They should be doing those things willingly, without the possibility of having something published. We shouldn't have to practically bribe people with something like that in order to get them to actively be part of the community, they should WANT to be part of it and be willing to post and actually interact with their fellow members. Would it be a nice bonus to offer them? Absolutely. But I don't think it's the right thing for what could help the site's activity, at least right now. It's something we can consider doing in the future, but...the activity needs to improve way more before we can even consider it.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 09:04:18 AM by Jedi Knight Muse »
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