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  • For Those OF You With LARGE vB's...

    How long did it take you to get to say, 1,000 members? How long did it take you get the amount of traffic that required you to get a dedicated server?

    My site is roughly 7 months old - I started getting visitors in February. My site is for a VERY trgetted audience that has a lot of competing sites. As for sites in my genre, mine has been one of the more successful sites. I have 567 registered members, I get about 100-200 new posts per day depending on if there is any news or not, or if something exciting happened in a game. For the big picture, I get around 1,500 - 2,000 pageviews per day, a large chunk coming from my forums.

    I just recently made some changes, that made me see an influx in new members.

    1) My old forum design didn't integrate with the rest of my site AT ALL. None of the same colors, none of the same themes, and it lacked the frameset that the rest of my site had. The new one matches the rest of the site, and is in the frame like normal content. My p/v's have gone up, since the majority of people entered straight through the forums, without so much as a glance at the rest of the site. Also, first time visitors are likely to spend more time, since they feel like they are in the same site - makes sense to me.

    and

    2) I commented out the number of registered members. I think people came to the site, only saw 500 or so reistered members, and figured it was not worth it.

    I did the redesign, and then a few days later I eliminated the member count. The influx happened after I got rid of that, but it's too hard to tell because of the drastic redesign I did.

    My question to you is, did you show your member count when you had under 1,000 members? Do you think that plays a role in the amount of people that register? How long did it take you to reach 1,000?

    I just want to compare my story to yours, to make see if I'm totally failing or not. The site seems successful to me, but many sites have so many people, it makes me wonder. And how much was "too" much for a shared server? I notice at peak usage for my site, it slows almost to a crawl. I don't know if that has to do with Napster or not. How did you know when you needed a dedicated server? Right now I don't think I do - but I want one to play with .

    If you could lend your advice to me, I would be very happy .

    -jim
    "The dot-com bust has cleared out the carpetbaggers and left the Internet to those who really care about it"
    - Jon Ippolito, new-media curator, Guggenheim Museum

  • #2
    >> My question to you is, did you show your member count when you had under 1,000 members? Do you think that plays a role in the amount of people that register? How long did it take you to reach 1,000?


    Hi Jim,

    I run a forum which is about a year old and we've gone to about 2900 members in this year. The forum is an off beat Indian (asian) humor forum.

    The membership count actually went up when we started putting "We welcome <the latest member> as the latest member to have joined our community", on the main index page of the site. It worked and increased the number of registrations as people would come in and see a new member profiled on there every few hours.

    The next thing that helped was showing the logged on users when we upgraded to VB.

    >> how much was "too" much for a shared server?

    I had my site on Dreamhost.com and they were awesome.. had a 512MB RAM and dual P-3 server virtually to myself. I figured I needed to move when I started playing around with other software and figured that to really fine tune the site (custom logs, apache mods etc) I had to get my own server. I finally made the change earlier this year in February when we hit about 10GB/month. (currently at 22GB/month)

    It started out with a new toy (b'day present) to play with and in hindsight was a good move.

    We have roughly 15K member signed up for various features now (e-mail from big mailbox, websites by northsky)... adding those features also helped increase our traffic and made the site far more stickier than your usual forums sites.

    Comment


    • #3
      Shri...

      "The membership count actually went up when we started putting "We welcome <the latest member> as the latest member to have joined our community", on the main index page of the site. It worked and increased the number of registrations as people would come in and see a new member profiled on there every few hours."

      How did you do this?

      JimF...

      I got more than 1000 members in a year, maybe a little bit over a year.

      I went out and upgraded to a dedicated when I started adding other things to my site, such as free hosting.

      HTH.
      Richard Young, Esq.
      asian forums | asians
      Reverse Funnel System - Fastest Way To Monetize Your Forum

      Comment


      • #4
        With vBulletin, I do this using a tiny hack.

        Code:
        <?
        
                require("admin/config.php");
        
               $db=mysql_connect($servername,$dbusername,$dbpassword);
                mysql_select_db($dbname);
        
                $query = "select * from user order by userid desc limit 1";
        
                $resultlatest = mysql_query($query,$db);
        
                $latest_array = mysql_fetch_array($resultlatest);
        
                echo "We welcome <a href=\"http://www.gandmasti.com/forum/member.php?action=getinfo&userid=$latest_array[userid]\" target=_blank><font color=\"#ff9900\">$latest_array[username]</font></a> as the latest gandu to have registered"
        
        ?>

        Comment


        • #5
          Shri,
          Ahh, I've got that hack running on my front page. Unfortunatly the only place I could fit it was towards the bottom. I'm totally redesigning my site (as we speak) - I woke up this morning and realized that my site is ugly as hell. So I am redoing it to make it look 'professional' - and I'm planning on saving space towards the top to put that up again.

          Cold Steel,
          A year, ay? So I'm not doing too bad. I'm at 567 - on pace to hit 1,000 in about a year (roughly). How do you provide free hosting? Do you use a third party such as northsky like Shri, or is it an in-house thing? If you don't mind me asking. That is something that I have been pondering doing on my site if I can find a decent way to do it, without having to develop my own GUI for people who don't know the first thing about HTML.

          Thank you both tons for your answers! Lately it seems as if I've been answering about 40 times more questions than receiving answers for my questions. So thank you both for taking the time to help me out!

          -jim

          "The dot-com bust has cleared out the carpetbaggers and left the Internet to those who really care about it"
          - Jon Ippolito, new-media curator, Guggenheim Museum

          Comment


          • #6
            Jim,

            The website hosting is provided by Northsky. No way could I manage to find the software and hardware to support 1500+ signups I got the first month with 20MB mail and webpage features.

            They're pretty good to work with .. I've drop you an e-mail. The sign up process is on http://signup.gandmasti.com the faq is on http://help.gandmasti.com if you want to take a look at what they offer.

            I know the feeling about answering / asking questions. :-)

            Cheers,
            Shri

            Comment


            • #7
              hi jimF i think this thread is right up my alley

              my vBulletin forum is 5 weeks old and has amassed
              - 223 registered members
              - 10750+ posts
              - averages around 350 - 1300 visitors/day and around 4,000 - 10,000 pageviews/day peaked on my 3rd day open at 13,500 pageviews !

              My forum has no particular site to integrate with, since it's a community center for several of my anime sites. Each anime site points and promotes my vbulletin forum (hence the traffic, pageviews and visitors/day)

              I also advertise on my vbulletin and my linking web sites, my free 20mb web hosting which is also provided by northsky on 2 domains http://myeva.net/hosting/ and http://mygundam.net/hosting/ with around 600 hosted sites signed up on both domains in 2 1/2 months.

              With the northsky free hosting service i use that to further promote my anime sites, which in turn promote my vbulletin forum and in turns promotes back my free hosting service (nice arrangement huh )

              I have a 3rd domain soon to be provding free hosting through Northsky, http://dragonballpage.net which currently points to another site of mine. I will make that available as soon as i hit 1000 signed hosted sites on the 2 domains i have already.

              I also promote my site through my free email service for anime sites which has 1800+ members and also through a 1000+ subscriber mailing list. A 2nd free email service will be started in a months time, which will also be promoting my vbulletin forum and linking sites

              And just today announced a partnership with another great online Anime magazine site, which should boost my visitor and member count... i have another 2 such partnerships in mind

              Things i have found out from experience:

              1. Displaying total registered members has little effect on people registering... forum first impression and topic matter does.. you need to target the right audience
              2. Also the quality of posts and the member frequency and activity influence new member sign up....
              3. new members liked to be welcomed and included in discussions... i have personally welcomed nearly all 223 members on their 1st and even 2nd post on my forum (i know i need to get a life ) but it has kept them coming back

              As for the hosting side, i started out with a plan to succeed and jumped straight to a dedicated server for my forums and all my new sites, except my main site (eva2000.com) which pays for my hosting cost (1 dedicated + 2 virtual accounts).

              Just my vBulletin uses around 400 - 600MB/day in bandwidth
              :: Always Back Up Forum Database + Attachments BEFORE upgrading !
              :: Nginx SPDY SSL - World Flags Demo [video results]
              :: vBulletin hacked forums: Clean Up Guide for VPS/Dedicated hosting users [ vbulletin.com blog summary ]

              Comment


              • #8
                my forum opened Oct 10 last year. We took about 3 months to get to 1600 members then we merged with another forum that became homeless and had over 2000 members in Feb. Since then, that has grown to about 3700 members and about 5-10 new people per day.

                We get about 1800-2500 posts per day and average about 40-100 people on the board at any given time during daylight hours. It drops off to about 20-30 from about midnight CDT to about 7AM, then picks right up again.

                We were planning on going dedicated at our 1000 member lever because the bandwidth and space charges would eat us up.

                Yes, the number of members AND the amount of activity do play a large role in gainging and keeping members. Out of our 3700 members, I would say we have about 1000 who are actually active and only about 3-500 who are there daily.
                our next step is to add web-based e-mail tied to the forum. That should increase both our pageviews and our retention of membership. If it works out well, we might start offering a limited amount of webspace to our members, though we would restrict linking of images, etc, to within our domains, like xoom and tripod do.
                Webmaster:
                @forumz

                Comment


                • #9
                  1,600 members in 3 months?? How did you manage that? Was the forum launched after the site already had many regular visitors? Or did you lauch a site, and had that many people so soon? Did you do hardcore advertising?

                  I guess that's kind of my problem - my site is so specific, it's hard to attract that many people right off the bat. I've been to your boards, Martin, and you offer a nice variety of things to discuss - more general topics, etc. Plus it seems to be aimed at people who are of the "internet generation". All of those things attribute to its popularity, I'm sure.
                  "The dot-com bust has cleared out the carpetbaggers and left the Internet to those who really care about it"
                  - Jon Ippolito, new-media curator, Guggenheim Museum

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    well, we had a sort of an upper hand in getting started.

                    We started it out as a small part of our resources site, but we had a few "fun forums" for people we already knew.

                    A lot of our original membership came with us from thglobe.com
                    The had gotten really crappy about customer service, they were constantly changing the format, making it harder to navigate, all in an effort to increase pageviews, nhence revenue.
                    I guess the rocket scientists that run that company didn't realize that to increase pageviews you need to ADD things, not take them away.
                    Anyway, people drifted over from there plus we had a lot of people coming in just to ask HTML questions and such. Aaron (werehere) can tell you how slow we were in the beginning. Even with more than a thousand registered people we were getting only about 20,000 pageviews a day, and that included the site is was attached to.
                    Once we adopted the homeless forum, things really picked up fast and we had no choice but to go dedicated.

                    We still have never spent a lot on advertisement, and I don't know if we ever will. The forum actually pays for itself now, which is more than we ever expected, but we don't generate enough revenue to advertise, too.
                    Perhaps when I get everything else I want in place we will start to advertise more. Until that time, I kinda like it building slowly.

                    I know it's frustrating when you start. One way that might help you is to find a newsgroup similar in interest to your forum and participate in it some, leaving your URL as a signature in your responses. People of like interest will undoubtably come check you out.
                    Of course you actually have to PARTICIPATE, not just throw out the odd comment with your sig attached.

                    I guess you could also try out a link exchange program or a banner exchange program. That might help some too. Once it starts taking off, though, it will happen fast. At least it did for us.
                    Webmaster:
                    @forumz

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      WrestlingTalks.com

                      My forum is around one year and one month old and we have over 18,500 registered members. (Not including the forum we used before switching our URL which had 5,000 registered members)

                      Starting out it was popular since I linked it off of another site that had a lot of users so we never really struggled at all to get traffic.

                      About a month after using the UBB we were in need for a dedicated server so we joined up with eUniverse/Gamers Alliance for that.

                      But I dont know how the heck we are THIS BIG, I just guess there are a lot of people who like to talk about wrestling and wrestling games. Word of mouth goes a long way We also promote it with Wrestling-Games.com which has a large following. But WrestlingTalks.com isnt integrated with anything, it is just a site all on its own.
                      Jake Lawson
                      Owner, Peterborough Web Design & Development: Total Internet Solutions

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jake - wrestling is certainly a hot topic right about now. I personally don't like it, but have considered doing something along the lines of what your site is. Since my site isn't busy enough to pay for itself, I figured I'd dive into a mainstream type of market - and just acquired the domain name prowrestlingboards.com. I was going to outfit it with a vB and hope that it got popular. After I registered it, I realized that I know nothing about wrestling, so the site would probably just suck anyway. And unfortunatly I don't think that domain name is worth much. But it doesn't surprise me that a wrestling site like yours would grow rapidly.

                        Martin - my site was created under similar conditions. Things got whack at the official Yankees site, so I took things into my own hands. The result was Bronx-Bombers.com. Many people migrated over to my site - but unfortunatly we're given the stigma of being "rebels". They auto-censored my domain name on their boards - seem to always follow the "rebelious" crowd (ahem, vB). There have been random people registering that weren't from the old forum, but now that has picked up considerably.

                        The main problem is that sports/baseball messageboards are similar to "webmasters" forums - of which there are many, all cookie cutter images of each other. Every major sports website has forums - so mine unfortunatly don't rank to high, plus mine has "intelligent" discussion - not many sports fans are interested in that.

                        I've done the banner exchange thing to a certain degree - I'm in the "Top Rated" sites in Yahoo!, which is where the majority of my traffic comes from. The more I look at my site, I realize how ugly it is. When I started my site, I had little or no design experience whatsoever - that was January. Every overhaul that I've done has seen increases in p/v's. It's funny that you said "only 20,000 daily pageviews" - if I break 1,000 I'm ecstatic . I think the main thing I need is a new design - that would attract lots more people. Or, it would keep them there. For a first attempt at a site, I'm relatively happy with the results.

                        The other issue that I have to be careful about is the whole copyright infringement thing. Sports teams are known to be very fussy about illegal (unpaid) use of their logos. That's why I'm almost afraid to draw too much attention to my site. The more popular it is, the more chances I have of getting a "cease and desist" letter in the mail. I know the Yankees people visit my site - luckily they know how little traffic I get, so they don't shut me down.

                        The bottom line is that I am learning the ropes as I go, and there are some tricky rungs. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't a TOTAL failure - there are some sites that started about the same time as mine that have stagnated at around 100 members, and are lucky to break 20 new posts per day. So I feel I'm not totally in the bad.

                        Anyway, it's time I shut up. I appreciate everyone's response - it is interesting to hear how people got started. We can all learn something from each other.

                        -jim
                        "The dot-com bust has cleared out the carpetbaggers and left the Internet to those who really care about it"
                        - Jon Ippolito, new-media curator, Guggenheim Museum

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is very odd - the stats program that my host uses totally bites. It reports on the summary page that I had 523 pageviews for 8/1/2000. I went into the trasfers by URL section and did some math. Subtracting all the images, the site stats, and the domain management - I had 6,500 "transfers by URL". That would mean pageviews, correct? For example it shows 1,149 transfers for forumdisplay.php, 1,043 for showthread.php, 277 for newreply.php, etc.

                          So I went back into the last month to see if I could find any similarities. Again, on the Stats summary page, it showed 17,500 pageviews for the entire MONTH of July. Going into the "transfers by URL" section and doing some subtraction again, I come up with 193,202 for the entire month, which translates to 6,232 - very similar to the figure that I got from the stats for just 8/1. 17,500 monthly p/v's is equivalent to 564 daily pageviews. According to my banner ad stats, I never fell below 1,000 impressions for any day in July. So something is a little whacked with the stats reporting on my site, methinks.

                          I'd bring this up with my hosting company, but it's been beaten to death already - and I believe they are setting up a new system. I always knew something was askew, but not by THAT MUCH!! Only getting 500 or so pageviews per day, I'm sure you can understand the doubts I was having about the success of my site. While 6,000 may not seem like a lot to some of you guys, it seems like a lot to me - I've been under the impression that I was only getting 500 or so! This seems more accurate to me, especially given that I used 4.5GB of bandwidth in July. That's a lot of bandwidth for 17,000 pageviews.

                          So I thank all of you for your responses! It has helped to put things in perspective.

                          -jim

                          Mike: This doesn't mean your off the hook
                          "The dot-com bust has cleared out the carpetbaggers and left the Internet to those who really care about it"
                          - Jon Ippolito, new-media curator, Guggenheim Museum

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Mike: This doesn't mean your off the hook
                            LOL - DOH!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Shri... is it possible to use the coding that you posted as a separate PHP file that I can include on my main page?

                              JimF... I do the free hosting on my own server. I got the software from http://solutionscripts.com .

                              Speaking of which, I need to totally redesign all my sites too, so they look more similar.
                              Richard Young, Esq.
                              asian forums | asians
                              Reverse Funnel System - Fastest Way To Monetize Your Forum

                              Comment

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