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Found 11 results

  1. Kit the Human

    Rethinking Link Backs

    Before I go into why I think you should consider whether or not you want to continue link backing in the future, I want to touch on the ways that it does work. Active Advertiser = Active Site There is a belief within the community that a forum that is actively advertising across the stratosphere is an active forum; and that a commitment to advertising is a reflection of the admin's commitment to their community. I debate the validity of that belief - after all how many times have you gone to link back to find that the forum is dead? The belief however is out there, and you might feel that capitalising on that belief outweighs the potential drawbacks to link backing. Advertising regularly = Users remember you If you have saturated the market and continue saturating the market with your ads, users and admins are going to remember you. They'll definitely remember you if there is something about your forum that they're curious about, but maybe they don't have the time to commit to another forum at that time. Should their current forum fall under, they may go directly to your site to give it a thorough look over. It does get you members Link backing can yield some legitimate non-admin traffic, and some of that traffic can be converted into active members. In this guide, I am not claiming that link backs are completely ineffective. I am however, querying if it is effective enough. Now to the true purpose of this guide! Most of you are probably already adherents to the link back faith, so let's focus on ways that it doesn't work, and may be harmful to your site. It may harm your search result ranking The theory of link backing is this: A site that links to your site is a vote of confidence (assuming a no follow value is not used), by having numerous votes of confidence, google takes note and increases your search result ranking. This is why spam bots join a forum and create posts that are full of links. It's not so much about getting users to click through (though sweet if they do), but about using your site to increase their ranking. There are other ways to inflate your ranking using links, not just bots. They're called link schemes. In June of 2018, Google reported that they "doubled down [their] effort in removing unnatural links via ranking improvements and scalable manual actions." Source (Google) This is where you should consider what a link scheme is, as it falls under the umbrella of "unnatural links". Source (Google) Potentially therefore, the link back exchange we have going on in the roleplay world is simply be ignored when it comes to google building an impression of your site. (In 2016, link backing might have been devaluing your links) Therefore, if you are dropping links in the hopes of building your search engine ranking, rethink this. It's probably not having any effect. It may have a detrimental effect on your search engine results To demonstrate this, I googled a bunch of random sites, adding jcink on the end because none of the sites I googled would get me their forum through their name alone. If the site is not on jcink, I switched jcink to roleplay. First result is to their first link forum and is showing text describing another site. First result was to the correct site, but it was directly to someone's advertisement. As I said in the image, I was worried that I was forcing that result by putting jcink in there. So I googled [site name] roleplay. The result was a book. The site I was looking for was not on the first page of results. This time we hit the right site! Some things to note however, they're a secure site and they do not have many advertisements. Another jackpot! These guys have a unique name however, which strongly helps when searching for them. Again, searching for this site took me to another person's forum but to that particular person's ad. If I switch the search terms to [site name] roleplay, I get Dungeons and Dragons related sites. If I change it to [site name] forum roleplay, I get Dungeons and Dragons related forum topics. There were a number of sites that I simply couldn't get to display when searching for them. For many that I did get to display, the link was taking you to another site. If I google forum roleplay, the only site I get is a reddit thread with an ad for a site that is part of this community. Not a single first page result involved a link back exchange. If you have hundreds of links going to your site, and if link backing was an effective technique, wouldn't it be easier to find you? As it stands, I have to search for the site name to get close to your site, and more often than not I'm going to get someone else's forum, or people advertising on your site. Let's switch my terms to jcink roleplay. I still don't get actual sites. I get tumblr. You're advertising to people who already have a 'home' So, I have yet to find any evidence that link backing improves your search ranking results and more often than not, spoils when you might get a result. So that leaves us with the point of advertising: getting members. Except by focusing your attention on link backing, you're targeting users that already either have a 'home,' or are managing their own 'home.' Whilst I have noted that it is possible to gain a few users through link backing, you don't get many and that's because the platform you're focusing your energy on is only regularly used by admins looking for more places to drop their links. Your target audience: people who are looking for a place to roleplay. They're probably not scouring link back forums for that place to roleplay. It's inefficient Linking is tedious. Captcha is tedious. Finding the right forum to post in is tedious. Loading all of those slow sites is tedious. It's a laborious process that is only soothing in it's repetition. You spend hours farming other people's sites to drop your advertisement and for those hours you spend, you get....a handful of members? Quite simply, is the amount of time you spend doing this worth the number of people you get? Link backing is a practice that should be properly interrogated for effectiveness. The practice is a link scheme, and google ignores sites that show evidence of participating in such a thing. It spoils your search results should you get a result, often leading users to different sites or displaying information for another site. It also targets the wrong audience and finally, it's inefficient. Given all of that, is it worth it? That's entirely up to you. Resources: Moz - Link Explorer - you have to register but you can see what the spam ranking of sites linking to you are. Google Search Console - gives you some information about your google search ranking. Google Analytics - you can see what browsers and devices your users are using, and how people are getting to your site. Beginner's Guide to SEO - this guide provides some solutions to the problems I've posed. Spoiler alert: the solutions are not easy. This guide will also expand on some of the things I've touched on, such as the importance of having a secure site. Another spoiler: google actively devalues insecure links. Moz - SEO Learning Centre - same site as above, but with a few more topics for you to explore should you be interested.
  2. Kit the Human

    [Guide Added] Rethinking Link Backs

    As hobbyist webmasters/administrators, we often simply copy what has been done before us within the community, assuming that if the bulk of the community does it, than it must mean that it's effective. We already know that that isn't true to a degree, tiny font is probably one of the the biggest complaints on directory forums and yet tiny fonts are still very common. Link backing is one of those practices that should probably be interrogated by admins as they're setting up their site. This guide will explain why. View full guide
  3. In our process of advertising for our social media outreach(we have a Facebook page, a Twitter, a Pinterest, & a Tumblr) one of the things I've been doing for a little now is looking at the most optimal tags. In our staff section we actually have a listing. I thought I'd share some of them here. Tumblr The first important thing to know is this(and I share it only cause a shocking number of people are unaware; myself included up until middle of last year-ish): when choosing tags do it wisely. Only the first five count. Here's some other tips that were posted by my fellow staffer @Kaycakes. The very first tag is what will be noticed faster / easier in search. The first five tags are searchable in tumblr and show up in search results. The other tags afterwards are for two things: Searchable within the blog Organizing tags / info within the blog. It's basically like planners this way, using tabs and searchable notes to sift through your own things. Here are some of the tags we use for various things(ie organization, to share certain things), and followed by it is my list of optimal tags(we use these more often & replaced some others on the list with them such as Forum RP vs Forum Roleplay) gathered by looking at various other tags to see which gave the best results: Tags We Use Sometimes Tags That Can Be Used as First Five - Choose Wisely! Historical RP Premium Jcink Jcink Site 18th Century Forum Roleplay Want Ad Character Request India History British History Play by Post RP Tags For Organizing(note: some can be used for First Five such as Post Spotlight) Post Spotlight Subplot Spotlight Plot Dev Char Dev Char Spotlight About RP About Writing Updates News Spies Adventurers British East India Company (or BEIC) Helvetius Intrepid Society (original group specific to SUtD) Yorkshire Fellowship (original group specific to SUtD) Marines india culture period movies period tv show general history religion archaeology culture all things india inspiration Optimal First Five Tags Play By Post RP [gave more/better results than Play By Post] Wanted [gave more/better results than Want Ad(s)] Character Request(s) [Not bad though I do prefer results from Wanted better] Historical RP [gave more/better results than Historical Roleplay] Forum RP [gave more/better results than Forum Roleplay] Jcink Premium or Premium Jcink [both gave same results] 18th Century [gave more/better results than 18th Century RP/Roleplay] Post Spotlight [best choice; also best used to spotlight characters, plots, events, etc. rather than Char. or Event or Plot Spotlight] Quotes of Roleplay or Quotes RP/RP Quotes [Like first better, but second works as well] Facebook Admittedly, this one we didn't really have any listings on before. People never really think to use tags on Facebook. However, they do work and you don't even necessarily just have to hashtag something for it to work. Sometimes just mentioning something in the post will get it in results for that topic, but the tags do help too for further outreach. My search into these is basic, and I want to do more again soon to see if maybe results have changed with people using FB more to promote their groups, but for now this is what I have and we use. Optimal Tags 18th Century [has decent results] Roleplaying for Writers and/or Roleplay Writers [both good; lots of writing and RP results] Online Roleplay [another good option] Online Roleplayers [a good option like above; different results] Historical Roleplay(ing) [both work; seem to be same results] Forum Roleplay [good ol' reliable here] Literate Roleplay [far better results than using textbased] Play By Post Roleplay or Play By Post Forum Roleplay [both work; both good results] Jcink Roleplay [better than just Jcink alone] Jcink Premium and/or Jcink Premium Roleplay [both work; like second better than first] Character Spotlights [better than the one adding RP to the end; yet still unsure] Roleplay Post Spotlight [not great, not bad; a good general spotlight option] RP Character Quotes [can put RP at end too, both work; seems the best option] Character Wanted RP [again RP at front or end works; best option I've found] And that is all I have to offer at the moment. We also use Twitter and Pinterest, but I haven't done any digging into the tagging there to learn the optimal tags. Once I do I'll definitely add them in here. If you have any to add for Twitter or Pinterest, or to the Tumblr or Facebook lists provided? Please suggest them. It'd be a boon for all of us. That's the whole reason I'm sharing this is to help other historical RPs with social media outreach. It's hard enough to be a historical RP in the RP world, I thought that it'd be nice to work together and help each other succeed instead. ^_^
  4. StormWolfe

    PBeM2

    http://www.pbem2.com/
  5. StormWolfe

    [Resource]PBeM2

    View full resource
  6. Advertising should be the easiest and probably most ignored part of your site. That makes it no less important, but there are a wide variety of ways you can make it both easier on you and more tolerable to handle. I'll try to sum up how to effectively advertise, how to handle your own advertising boards and some common issues people run into. All while simplifying things as much as possible in order to make it a relatively untouched part of your site in terms of the work you have to do. View full guide
  7. Advertising should be the easiest and probably most ignored part of your site. That makes it no less important, but there are a wide variety of ways you can make it both easier on you and more tolerable to handle. I'll try to sum up how to effectively advertise, how to handle your own advertising boards and some common issues people run into. All while simplifying things as much as possible in order to make it a relatively untouched part of your site in terms of the work you have to do. The purpose of this is to simplify your advertising and make it so you have to dedicate only the time you want to it. It should not take up the majority of your time on board and should be easily delegated if you so decide. This is going to be horribly unorganized because I've been doing this so long I have it down to a machine-like routine and am trying to remember things as I go. I am, of course, not saying this is the right way to do things. I'm just saying that I've been advertising for years and this is what I've noticed to be the easiest way to do things while simultaneously dedicating very little time to it. The Unspoken Rules: Advertise on each board only once a month. Do not use doHTML, most sites don't allow it. Make sure your code works before you post it. (align=center vs center, urls link back where they should, etc) Keep your ad PG13, even if your site is not. Don't advertise in Cboxes or outside the advertising section. This is a dick move. Do not criticize someone else's site. Keep your images under 500x500. Most things over will be resized and will direct to the full sized image instead of your board. Your ad should contain: The Site Name (This should also be the name of the advertisement thread) Any age limits The genre A link to your board's index. I've seen so many ads that are just SITE NAME! With no description and a vague image. This does nothing to indicate what your board is about, and who should be interested in it. You don't need to cram a ton of information into the ad, but you have the thread title and description to work with. Utilize them. The entire point of advertising is for other people to see your ad and go "Oh man, that looks nifty!" And click it to explore your board. If your ad is a stock image of a pie and your board is about horses, no one is going to bother because they don't want to RP on a board about pie. I recommend having the title be your site's name. The description being your genre and any age limitations. I also recommend having your ad contain several links, to things like availability, rules, index and plot. Many also include a link back link, which while super helpful, isn't the sole purpose in advertising. If you want to, you could just link to the advertising board in general. Things you should worry about with advertising: Linking back/New ads. That's it. Don't worry about organizing them, don't worry about making your advertising board pretty or fancy. Advertise, provide a place for people to link back and be done. Anything else is more work than it's worth and takes up time that is better spent RPing. Don't worry about sorting them or deleting them. Don't worry about locking them or posting fancy 'THANK YOU FOR ADVERTISING' nonsense. No one goes back to look at their own ads unless its to bump them. Your Own Boards: Have a first link and linked back section. You don't need anything else. Anything else means you dedicate more time to it. You can split them up based on hosts, but I find that's more trouble than it's worth. You generally won't get many ads outside of your host if you don't advertise off your host. Splitting them up isn't worth the multiple clicks it takes to get to the ad to link back. Having these two available makes it much, much easier for you to keep track of what you need to link back to as opposed to trying to rely on your own memory. Have rules. No one will read them. I assure you of that. But have them and keep them simple. They're there so you can delete ads as you feel and if anyone decides to bitch you can point them in that direction. (This has happened and I find it utterly ridiculous but covering your ass is always good.) Because no one will read your rules, don't bother making a big deal of them. Don't go and hunt down the rule breakers to yell at them for breaking the rules. Just delete the ad. They won't come back and look and if they do, you can point them at your rules. Your rules should be simplistic. Ie: No boards from X host. No DoHTML, no porn, every ad you post, we'll post back, etc. You do not want to limit who posts to your board because that, in turn, limits whom you can post to. If I see a board that advertises on mine but then makes me jump through hoops to advertise on theirs, I'm just deleting their ad. Don't make a rule about posting multiple ads. It will get broken. You will spend more time than anyone needs deleting them. Either link back or delete it, whichever you prefer. Most sites will post once a month, maybe once every two weeks. Your board will get hit multiple times. It's part of life. No one can memorize every board's rules and no one should bother trying, for that matter. Remember: You want to keep things simple and easy for you to manage. That means letting go of some control. Don't Lock Boards. This takes up more time than you need to dedicate to it. Plus, some boards prefer to bump their post as opposed to posting multiple ads. Don't hesitate to delete ads. Not comfortable with a site? Their ad is broken? Can't get back to the site or figure out how to advertise on it? Delete the ad. Done and done. It isn't your job to police them or to make sure they receive exposure. It's their job to make sure their ad works. You do not have to justify why you delete an ad. (The rules are just so you can, if you so decide.) When sites advertise in your First Link section: Link back. That's it. You can always reply to that thread with "Linked back" so you can, personally, keep track of things. Or, if you have multiple people handling advertising, this makes it so there's no confusion and no one winds up spamming another board. When sites advertise in your Link Back section: Do nothing. You are done here. Don't bother sorting ads once they are posted. Don't bother going to other sites to tell them how they broke your rules. Just let them drop the ad, delete it if you don't like it and go on. You should barely ever touch the linked back section and only hit the first links to link back. I just opened a new board! How do I get started advertising? Well, presumably you have all of the above set up and have an ad made. Fantastic! Go to a directory or to really, any other forum. Go to their advertising section. Drop an ad. Go back. Find another site. Rinse repeat. Do this until you're tired of doing it. I recommend knocking out 5-10 ads a day when you first start a board. You do not have to maintain this, nor do you have to do it every day. Just make sure you're getting out there and advertising. List your site on directories, get affiliates with other new boards and established ones alike. Then go back to dropping first links. Link back within a week. This is so you don't get too bogged down. I generally hit up my advertising before I start writing for the night. Knock out a couple link backs, then go enjoy myself. I'll also frequently hit other sites that have posted on the one I just linked back to and first link them. There, look at that! You got your 5 ads done and it took, maybe, 10 minutes. I can easily dedicate several hours to advertising and legitimately enjoy it, but I know many people hate it. I think one of the reasons I can enjoy it is because it isn't the focus of my day and I have it set up so its incredibly simple and requires very little time or attention outside of actually dropping ads. Questions? Concerns? Want to tell me why I'm wrong? Feel free to do so!
  8. So, obviously, you always start small, and after moves and big changes you can expect things to be a bit slow. However, I have noticed a weird pattern in people looking for forums. They don't want to join a small forum that's slowly growing, because they want immediate booming activity. But, how does a forum create that "booming activity" when people refuse to join and help them grow? We have advertised like crazy, affiliated like crazy, and we are still finding that people will browse the forum as guests, but never commit to joining. Those that do join, leave because they don't want to actually put in the work of being part of a growing community. We just did a huge move from Proboards to jcink, so of course, slow periods are to be expected. But my staff and I are pulling out at all the stops to do our best with keeping activity up, creating new threads, events, and perks of joining, but it seems to not be working. Are people not into multi-genre roleplay forums anymore? Is it more now that people want something super specific? My thoughts on creating a multi-genre, open world roleplay forum were to give people the chance to do ANY genre and ANY kind of roleplay they wanted. But, we can't show these potential members activity, when no one even bothers joining to try it out. Everyone has lives outside the forum, so we can't expect the couple active members we have to put the forum above their real lives because that's just ridiculous. So, how do we become an "attractive" forum, to entice people to ACTUALLY register instead of just viewing as guests? Any advice would be awesome. Thank you so much! ^^ ❤️
  9. Are IC rewards useful, or a waste of time? I was thinking of a basic advertising reward system where you can earn an in-game reward for your character, that is otherwise unobtainable: things like access to a part of the game world that is inaccessible by normal means, as maybe early access or as a random event. Other rewards could be a lottery ticket of sorts, a voucher that 'automatically' grants the winner a shiny unique weapon, spell, artefact, or a curse. A randomiser might be utilised, might not. yay or nay? I'm the only staff member on this wip game, and I'd like occasional help with adverts- if there's an incentive for players, of course! I was thinking that tangible rewards would work best, as it would generate more threads, yeah?
  10. A lot of us run fandom roleplaying games and as such, we can utilize a much wider range of advertising methods. One method that I personally have used to favorable reception in the past is the forum function over on FanFiction.Net! So how did I personally use it in the past? Well, first off, you need to find out if they have your particular fandom, because they don't have every single thing under the sun (and some fandoms have been dropped for various reasons). If they don't have your fandom, then you can always request its addition by mailing the administrators. In the meantime, they do have a miscellaneous category. Once you have determined whether they carry your fandom or whether you need to add it to the misc category, you can weigh your options. I personally don't think something in the misc category will even be found on the site, so it might be a long shot. It's up to you, but it's always an extra place to get your site more views. More eyes may equal new members! The forums are found in a link at the top of the page that says Forums. If you click on it, a dropdown menu will appear with their various categories. For example, we'll use Harry Potter. To find the Harry Potter forums, you would click Books. The list might intimidate you but all you have to do is choose the H from the alphabetical list to shorten it. You'll notice a number beside Harry Potter. This is the number of communities in the Harry Potter category. Each of those communities is a different forum! Now, one thing I should note right now is that you can't just drop an ad in other people's communities. That would be rude. Most communities on FF.net aren't made to show off ads to other people's sites. In fact, they are generally used to discuss certain authors, specific stories, and the fandom itself. However, some enterprising individuals like myself have also found it to be a good outlet for advertising our sites. What you're going to want to do, rather than drop an ad off in somebody else's forum, is to make your own community. To do that, you need to go to your settings. (If you don't have an account, that link will probably just say you need to be logged in.) From there, in the left sidebar, you will find a list of links. The one you want is called Forums. If you click it, a list of new links will slide underneath it. The first one is a guide to creating forums on FF.net. It's pretty short and sweet: you can create up to ten forums for yourself and you must adhere to three rules: don't use them to post stories, all discussions must be rated T for teen, and you as the owner are responsible for whatever is posted in the forum. The second one is the one you really want. It's called My Forums. When you click it, it will take you to a page that lists all your current forums (and yes, you can delete any forums you no longer need) and beneath that, an area to create a new forum. There, you can name your forum, select a category, choose a main language, a type (I choose RPG), and then add a summary. That's it! Once you've created your forum, you may have to wait a few minutes before you can post in it. There is a button on the upper right side that simply says New. When you are able to, click it and a window will open. Add in a subject title and then in the body, write out your "advertisement" for the site. In my case, I tend to share announcements--things that I post in the announcement forums on-site anyway. (It's just throwing the net out to a wider audience. In this way, I actually discovered more than half of my members on one of my fandom sites, so I always recommend this method to others who run fandom sites. There are also no rules as to how often you can post in your own forum, so if you like to post daily announcements and statistics, feel free! I would recommend something more like once a week or a couple times a month, however, so you don't appear too aggressive.
  11. Blahblahbertha

    How many affiliates?

    I've been working on getting some affiliates together for my site, and I've been pondering a lot of questions. Many sites I've seen have quite a few with both static and scrolling. So, I'm wondering, how many affiliates do you think is the appropriate number to have? Where do you put the buttons? Do you have static, scrolling or both? Currently, I have my affiliates in the description of the adverts forum. I'm not sure how big I want it to be, though it will stretch to take as many buttons as I want to put. I'm also concerned that scrolling affiliates will be visually distracting. So. Experiences?
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