Don't go over your head

Discussion in 'Articles & Tutorials' started by Merk_sfi, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. Merk_sfi

    uix_expand uix_collapse
    New Member

    Jun 15, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Okay so building on my earlier discussions I think it is important to outline to those just starting or looking to expand the important rule of 'Not Going Over Your Head'.

    You may be sitting there wondering what am I talking about? Well for instance, unless you have the following, the members and the content don't go opening four-five-six different websites and try and lure your members to sign up for all of them - as they will quickly loose interest.

    So here is a quick little story - I previously mentioned my personal triumph and passion for sport prompting me to start my sport website. However one thing that many people didn't know about me is that I love cooking, love experiencing with different things to see if I can create a meal out of it.

    In addition to sport and cooking I am also very passionate, and interested in the Worlds UneXplainable phenomenon, now before I continue I want to clear up that I am not some conspiracy nut-job. Just like you there are things I believe in, and things that I don't.

    There are some things that completely intrigue me, such as Aliens/UFO's I am not naive enough to think we are the only race in the entire universe, however trying to work out as to whether we are being visited by them interests me.

    The tragedy at WACO interests me, did the Branch Davidians start the fire, or looking at video footage was it shots being fired from outside the compound by the FBI who had hammered the compound all morning with tear gas that sparked the inferno that cost so many lives.

    However the thing is, when I was getting better at web design and running communities I did not bite off more than I could chew, I did not have my sport website and then start up other websites to cover the topics that I was interested in.

    Quite to the contrary, I kept my passion or thoughts quiet until others brought up that they were cooking dinner for their girl friend/husband etc and was there any suggestions or tips, or reports of a UFO sighting what did we all think.

    I have run my sport website for four years, it is getting large amounts of hits (millions a month), while new members joining are slow we still have a nice community and recently received a tremendous review from another administration website that gave us 4.5 stars out of a possible 5.

    It has only been in the last six months I have looked to be expanding my horizons, even though I wanted to earlier I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew, and so the last six months has seen me go on a spending spree and purchase domains, licenses, content (Government documents, premium addon's etc) and slowly - yet surely - I have expanded our network.

    During this period I have also brought databases of other websites, and utalized some of my older sites to create my over-all network.

    Our network now boasts six websites - Gaming, General Discussions, UneXplainable, Cooking, Sport and our new one Entertainment - we now believe we have finally completed our website, as what this allows is it doesn't matter what type of database we purchase, or domain they can be merged into one of these websites, or the domains can be pointed to one of them.

    However the point of this article is not to boast, or even advertise my network, it is mainly to warn you about jumping in over your head.

    While I now have my time management sorted out, there are some issues with expanding too much too quickly. That I wish to warn you about.

    - Firstly general maintaining of the communities, it may sound easy however going through numerous websites each day, dealing with member issues, general changes, software upgrading, updating of modification add-ons and styles it gets really time consuming. At this current time I spend about five hours a day going through each of these sites working on maintaining them.

    However to begin with that was out to eight-ten hours (even longer sometimes) just working non-stop on these websites.

    - Costing is another major thing, you have to remember that even if you are using free stuff it does cost to run these sites, time away from your family, internet and electricity bills, hosting (unless you are using free forum software on free hosting - at which point I will never join your forum), everything you do costs you.

    At this current stage I have invested well over $15 000 into my network over the past four years to establish it and start getting the word out and it has only JUST started to work by receiving the millions of hits a month.

    In addition to this, those who are serious about earning some sort of revenue from their forums, it is going to cost you to advertise seem most websites only allow you to have one link in your sig, it is going to cost you money to have/run competitions, and my biggest cost to date has been graphics seem that is my down point.

    - Competitions
    It is not a good idea to just run an over-all posting competition, members get bored of this and it encourages spam. If you have a number of websites about different things eg: Gaming, Sport, Cooking your members on your cooking forum don't want to win a $100 Voucher for a Sport store, or the latest version of L.A Noire, so running competitions requires you to be creative and try and get prizes that suit each of your sites.

    - Advertising
    I briefly touched on this before, however advertising costs adds up, and even if you can get free advertising through signature links it costs you large amount of time going to different places posting just to get your links out.

    - Members
    Some members wont like that you are spending time on other websites, they will see it that you are not showing your true passion for the forum they signed up to. So just keep your active members informed.

    In form them that you plan on expanding by introducing [insert niche] style board to be part of your new network, say that your current site is still your top priority however this can be a big boost for the overall community.

    - Content
    The hardest thing I have found, and sometimes still struggle with, is putting new content on the website all the time. My sport website is what pays my bills and enables me to do everything else so that gets my main focus 100% of the time, if it's a weekend you can write off any work being done on the other sites as there is just so much sport going on around the globe.

    However depending on how many sites you have you need to try and divy up your time, eg I have six sites, so Saturday/Sunday (and Friday nights) are dedicated to my sport site, monday I am committed to posting at least 10 threads on website 1, tuesday at least ten posts on website 2, wednesday at least ten posts on website 3, thursday at least ten posts on website 4 and friday at least ten posts on website 5.

    The hard thing is in live sometimes curve balls get thrown where you sleep through your alarm, there is an emergency, or you just feel like you could do with a day off.

    I work hard seven days a week, 10-12 hours a day all up on all of my websites to get to where I have gotten to - and I am only just managing. The important thing to you is if you don't have the time you shouldn't expand.

    Please Don't Get over your head. Think with it not over it.
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page