Forums – Should You Have Them On Your Website?

Written by Anne Moss

Continued from page 1

Forrepparttar webmasters reading this article, I will say that managing a team is a task in its own right. Findingrepparttar 131693 good mods can meanrepparttar 131694 difference between success and failure. And it doesn't end there. You have to put your heart and mind to it – allrepparttar 131695 time.

Forums Take Up a Lot of Resources

Forums are database-type applications that generate web pages onrepparttar 131696 fly. Every time a user views a page, it's being created from scratch. Asrepparttar 131697 forums become more active, this can take a heavy load onrepparttar 131698 web server's resources. When our forums reached 2,000 members, we had to switch over to a dedicated server. When they reached 7,000 members, we had to upgrade to a new dedicated server… With several other websites stored on our server,repparttar 131699 forums arerepparttar 131700 big resources hoggers, taking up bandwidth, disk space and, most importantly, CPU resources. This brings us torepparttar 131701 next point…

Forums Do Not Make Lucrative Advertising Stock

You think that with successful forums, generating millions of targeted pageviews each month, you would do well financially? Think again. Forums not only cost you a lot to run, they also don't bring in a whole lot of revenue, compared to regular web pages. Advertisers don't like to run ads on forum pages. So much so, that most CPM based ad networks won't even let you place their ads there.

Our experience with CPC ads shows that they may have a good point. Click-through rates on forum pages are significantly lower then on other types of web pages. There are ways to make your forums generate revenues, but trust me, it's not that easy. I will be writing a separate article on how we got our forums to pay for their keeping.

The Bottom Line

Forums are not for every website. Don't just put it up there and hope forrepparttar 131702 best. If you can't or don't want to put a lot of time and effort into creating a viable community, just leave it. Having no forums is better than having dead forums. Having dead forums on your website may actually drive people away.

Research your field. How easy will it be to create a community geared towardsrepparttar 131703 subject of your website? Is it something that people want to talk about with each other? Are there other forums on this subject? How are they doing?

Get your feet wet. Join several forums and become an active participant. If possible, become a team member or a moderator in a large forum. Big forums often have secret team forums, where you can learn a lot about community management.

Think ahead. Where do you see your website in a year or two? Is this your main project and passion? Will you haverepparttar 131704 time and energy it takes to maintain a forum? Above all: Will you enjoy it?

Copyright©Anne Moss

About The Author Anne Moss has been the webmaster of and, as well as several other sites, since the year 2000. You can read more advice for webmasters on her webmasters resources website – You may use this article in your website, provided that you leave the "About the Author" bit intact and make sure that the names of the websites mentioned are clickable and lead to the right place.

There's Gold in Your Website's Server Log

Written by Stephen Bucaro

Continued from page 1

The fact is, you can't design your website to be 100 percent compatible with every operating system and web browser in use today. That would require either using only plain html (version 3) or using browser detection code and creating a dozen variations of each webpage. Use your server log's platform and user agent data to decide which browser your web pages should to be designed to be compatible with. Your statistics will probably show that 90 percent of your website's visitors are usingrepparttar latest orrepparttar 131691 previous version of Internet Explorer.

Country Information

Good server log analysis software will tell you which countries your website visitors are located in. Analysis ofrepparttar 131692 server logs shows that visitors are located in every country, village, and hamlet onrepparttar 131693 planet. This leads torepparttar 131694 question, should you create multiple variations of each webpage to accomodate visitors from other nations? It depends upon your business and your resources. The fact is thatrepparttar 131695 language of business and commerce acrossrepparttar 131696 planet is English, and I receive frequent email, in English, from all overrepparttar 131697 planet.

Important Ways to Use Server Log Information

Website Design

Remember whenrepparttar 131698 typical website had a gray background and a single image inrepparttar 131699 middle ofrepparttar 131700 page? Today, that would be belowrepparttar 131701 standard for a kids website on AOL. Does your server log "platform" and "user agent" statistics tell you that most ofrepparttar 131702 visitors to your website are using Windows XP with Internet Explorer Version 6, while your website is designed for Windows 95 and Internet Explorer Version 4? Can you afford to be presenting a website that looks outdated?

I think it's a mistake to design a website that requires your visitors to haverepparttar 131703 latest bleeding-edge technology. Onrepparttar 131704 other hand, ifrepparttar 131705 rest ofrepparttar 131706 web is using ASP (Active Server Pages) to generate custom webpages on-the-fly that use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to create webpages that resemble slick magazine pages and DHTML (Dynamic HTML) to provide interactivity, it might be time for you to investigate those technologies.

If your website is a business site or E-commerce site,repparttar 131707 visual style and technical level of your website reflectsrepparttar 131708 quality of your business or service. To determinerepparttar 131709 proper visual style and technology level of your website requires you to monitor three things.

1. Your competitors. You want to look as in-style as they do, but avoid following them downrepparttar 131710 road to bloated plugins (Macromedia Flash). 2. The portion of your audience using broad band Internet Access. Less than half of U.S. Make sure your webpages load within 20 seconds over a 56kbps modem connection. 2. Your server log platform and user agent statistics. Your web pages need to be designed to be compatible withrepparttar 131711 current most popular operating system and web browser version.

Webhost Performance

Web hosts provide two basic kinds of service, shared hosting and dedicated hosting. If your website is on a shared host, there may be hundreds of other websites sharingrepparttar 131712 same computer as your website. This limitsrepparttar 131713 performance of your website. Many web host providers use "bandwidth throttling" to prevent one website from hogging allrepparttar 131714 available bandwidth.

As your website grows and attracts increasing traffic, it will need more ofrepparttar 131715 host computers processor time and more bandwidth. Monitor your server log hits, and bandwidth statistics. At some point, your website may hit a performance wall and you may need to move to a higher grade of hosting, or a different web host company to continue growth.

When moving to a different web host company, don't trustrepparttar 131716 specifications they provide. Check several different web host directories that let visitors rate web hosts. If several different web host directories have many users that give a web host company a high rating, that'srepparttar 131717 company you want to trust with your website.

Website Topic

As you analyze certain website server statistics (for example, "page view hits", and "top search engine keywords") and make adjustments, you may findrepparttar 131718 content of your website drifting away from your original intent. At some point, you may have to decide, Am I going to chase traffic and changerepparttar 131719 topic of my website, or am I more interested in focusing onrepparttar 131720 topic of my choice?

Ifrepparttar 131721 original objective of your website was to make money above all else, then let your visitors steer your website's content. There's nothing wrong with that. Everybody's got to make a living. But, ifrepparttar 131722 original objective of your website was to be a resource on a subject that you are passionate about, then you may need to reassessrepparttar 131723 content of your website.

I would reccommend havingrepparttar 131724 best of both worlds. Stick to content related torepparttar 131725 subject of your website, but delineate a wide enough scope ofrepparttar 131726 topic so that when your server statistics point out an opportunity to increase traffic, you have rules to guide you.

In this article you learned some ofrepparttar 131727 types of information you can mine from your web server log and some powerful ways to use that information to steer your website in a direction for growth and success. If you are one of those webmasters who has never bothered to view their website's server log, you now know that you have been overlooking some gold nuggets.

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