Thatch Finder Forum
This is my forum. It was born early January 2021.
I'd be happy with some feedback and a load of critiquing. I have the 10 addons but are currently not using all. Just making sure each component is functioning and will see what happens.
There are other parts to the website. Its initial focus was roof thatching and associated trades but there is all sorts of content on the directory. A bit too much of a mishmash. The plan is to get back to the initial concept.
I have styled the forum a differently than the main site to keep a contrast, and so it feels like a different place. Not 100% convinced about it but we will see.
I have taken a lot of inspiration from Wendell @wendell and his forum.
Very impressive. Borrowed a few things as well, just to get started. Thanks Wendell. You site is impressive.
It is a work in progress, like everything in life.
Now the hard bit starts. Getting the conversations flowing.
That's all for now, I suppose.
Very nice forum 🤩 . Thank you for sharing it.
I may only suggest you change the border-radius of either the content or the sidebar, so make the values match with each other.
In case you want to say thank you !)
We'd really appreciate and be thankful if you leave a good review on plugin page. This is the best way to say thank you to this project and support team.
Thanks @sofy I have changed it a bit now. I wasn't 100% on what you meant but any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks for the easy to use forum plugin. Great.
Great and now just persevere and work in the community.
Otherwise, I was very interested in Wendell's forum, which you mention as inspiration.
It's the biggest and most active I've seen so far.
Plus, it's very fast.
Is @wendell here? Wouldn't he tell us more about how his forum is hosted and how he managed to reach such a huge active user base?
If we do only what we can to do, we would never do anything.
Thank you for the kind words! I'm happy to help by answering questions as much as I am able. 🙂
A little history
For my forum, I'm lucky. There was previously a forum for Land Surveyors that everyone loved. One of the trade magazines purchased it, and eventually decided to "upgrade" the software. They hired a company to custom build a new forum and then requested some existing users to become beta testers. I was one of them. We all hated it, but we provided constructive criticism and answered all the questions the developers asked. They ignored everyone's comments, even though they were very reasonable and launched the forum. Nobody liked it. A few of the users sent emails to me asking if I could build a forum that they liked. So I did, using a little script called MyLittleForum in 1 day. I didn't honestly expect it to go anywhere but hundreds of users registered overnight.
How we acquired traffic
So to answer your question about traffic -- I can't say that I have a particular method that worked. I mean, I just built what they wanted and they started telling all their friends. It was all word-of-mouth. At some point, the other forum completely died and they took it offline.
One thing I have been doing for several years now is pump new topics into social media. I use the wpForo RSS feeds and set them up in dlvr.it to feed to Facebook, Twitter, Google My Business and LinkedIn.
Most of my traffic is direct traffic, because we have so many regular members that participate almost every day. The second most traffic comes from Google search results, so it's important to get your SEO right. If you've registered for an account in my forum, you'll see that some forums are only shown when you are logged in. This is because I only want Google (and other search engines) to index content that is relevant to Land Surveying. By keeping the non-Surveying topics as "members only", Google can't see them, thus they don't index them. My primary intent with the site is to only attract people that are Land Surveyors or are specifically interested in Land Surveying. This keeps the quality of our members high and means there will be more engagement and participation.
We also have contests from time to time, usually around big sporting events. We don't offer big prizes, but we will send the winner a branded coffee mug, t-shirt, or other prize. These contests are more about making our site fun for the users -- plus the branded products helps with word-of-mouth, since many work in an office atmosphere where other Land Surveyors will see the SurveyorConnect name.
When I first posted my showcase topic here at wpforo.com, I was at WP Engine. I've since moved on because WP Engine was too restrictive for me. I'm the owner and operator of my own digital design agency and I offer my own website maintenance plans -- I had been wanting to move away from WP Engine anyway so that I could better serve my clients, so I tested several options. I eventually chose to purchase a GridPane plan, connected to various servers at Linode, Vultr, UpCloud and Digital Ocean. SurveyorConnect is hosted on its own dedicated Digital Ocean server, with DNS managed at CloudFlare to help with speed and security.
If you have any other questions, I'm happy to help! I'm still working on some things at SurveyorConnect and I don't expect that to stop. I'm always wanting to make it better and respond to user requests to keep them interested.