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Obsessed with website, but I am dying need advice
by colochris
13 Sep 2009 23:02

Hello to all,

I run a Bowling website. You may think bowling, how boring and really for many it is. I am ranked on the first page of basically every search engine for the keywords, Bowling Forums.

Recently I have noticed my reviews section of my forums have been getting good search engine ranking moving up many pages to the first page of Google for an example for the keywords, bowling reviews taking over spots that I was told would never happen.

I have around 1480 members and have been online for 18 months.

I am dumping tons of money for advertising and I spend A TON of time online promoting my site to fellow bowlers on facebook, myspace and other sites.

I am just curious when it gets to a time where its time to kill the idea and move on? I spend so much time on my forum, that I take away from my family, I worry about my site constantly, and I just get sick trying to get more members and have this profit making site that people want to be a part of.

My site makes very little money. I do get a few site donations, but does nothing for server costs.

Having a niche is nice, but when you get no money and its hard to get members it feels stranded.

I felt like and do feel like I have a good thing going. I get 20 or so new people each week now, and the potential is there. But I just get burned out too from time to time.

I am wondering what to do if the whole "make a forum about something you enjoy and not do it for the money" idea runs out and its time to bail out?

I enjoy my forums greatly and I have worked very hard at it. It has turned into an obsessions. But I am curious if when you get a forum established, sometimes a new owner can really make something out of it when a current owner cannot?

Any ideas and advice are appreciated. I am sure most owners get a bit down on what the future holds for a forum. Its like having a car, if you sell it while its still running you make some money. If it breaks down your stuck with nothing, but then again someone can buy your car and just do a simple paint job and sell it for double what you got for it.

I have so many people say nice site, about time there is a site with no bashing, and so on. Even corporate bowling people tell me how to keep up the great work because they may need a place to go to when there forums are shut down because of all of the smack talk and such.

Thanks for your tips or advice.

Chris

DieselMinded 13 Sep 2009 23:21

Always nice to see someone passionate about there website ! hang in there ! First thing first VBSEO !

Now if it was me i would have a bigger emphasis on local bowling leagues , have league schedules and league members , photos and profiles including handicap and past year ranks ect...

Give people a reason to go to your site

add an arcade with only bowling games

to raise funds ...send a letter to bowling ball manufactures about your site and sponsorship , dont use email a letter is better

colochris 13 Sep 2009 23:30

Great tips thanks so much.

I have a problem where I do worry so much about what my members think and it really is nice to have a place that people like. But it does take a toll on an owner from time to time.

Chris

DieselMinded 13 Sep 2009 23:39

Its a lot of stress , you have to be careful , giving your all and push push push is not going to get you anywhere if your focusing on the wrong things.

Ask the members what they want? and give it to them . my site has spawned an entire subculture , clothing and ect...

Give them what they want and treat them with respect and the rest will fall into place

harmor19 14 Sep 2009 11:28

Take a break for a couple days and let the moderators handle the unwanted posts.

In my opinion I think vBSEO is not worth the price. 1. There has been debates whether vBSEO even helps and 2. You are already highly ranked (2nd on Google for the term "bowling forums" (without quotes)) on search engines so what would be the point in purchasing vBSEO?


I noticed you had forum where users can post bowling related videos. I suggest adding a YouTube bbcode to your forums.

I also noticed you have a forum where users can buy, sell, and trade. You could add an Amazon store to your site.

Princeton 14 Sep 2009 17:14

it will take time; nothing comes free

it's true what they say...
you have to work hard and sacrifice a lot to be successful in life

don't give up on it - it will take a few years but you will start seeing a good return on your investment

suggestions...
I'm a vbseo fan and use it on our sites but (for you) I don't recommend it at this time. I recommend waiting until vb 4 comes out and use the SEO features that come with it.

Now, I'm only saying that because you seem reluctant on spending additional money on your project but if you have the funds to make the purchase - go for it.

Regardless of what anyone says - SEO is a good investment.

Do not neglect your family. You are doing this for them - if you lose them you'll have nothing. Family should be your #1 priority.

Personally, I make it a priority to spend time with the family every day - watching tv, going out on vacations, to the movies, go to parent/teacher conference, etc.

Get a usability review on your site...
there are some things that don't work well on it.
Here's something to get you started...
http://screencast.com/t/wjZik3crO

kevcj 14 Sep 2009 17:28

After the site is about 2 years old, your should be able to put some banners on it, or start selling advertising yourself.

The first 1 - 2 years is a nail biting, worry a lot, stressful time - but you can not let it consume your life. Its "only" a forum, and keep that in mind.

I suggest you stop spending a lot of money on advertising at start focusing on free forms of advertising. Such as filming tournaments and posting the videos on youtube. Visit local bowling supply shops and do interviews with people and post those videos on youtube.

VonDoom 22 Sep 2009 03:46

I feel ya on this one my first forum just turned one and and although its kicking some serious butt right now i have to spend almost 12 hrs a day on it and ive noticed when im not there activity and participation go way down. ive got about 1500 hundred members myself and i always give each and every member what ever they want. Advertising is not my forte and hate every second of that part of the big picture.

Eventually there will be a point when i let the project go to the moderators and take a step back. but i do not see that day coming anytime in the near future. Just remember to think outside the box. vB is about as flexable as forum software gets. theres not much you cant do to it. Ive even went so far as to offer my Platinum supporters there own forum to manage and moderate. and email @mydomain.com.

An arcade with only bowling games sounds like a great addition. for your board. Although ive noticed just about every big board ive stumbled across is pretty stock with very few hacks. they seem to focus more on style. (IMO)

I give my members everything they ask for. but also remove anything they ask for and dont utilize.
Remind your members that your forum is there forum.

Consider doing something like i did and let your members advertise for you. I'm not talking just word of mouth either. a referral contest will work wonders.

Also provide incentives to your members with sites of there own to do a reciprocal link exchange.

If your members enjoy the environment you provide Ive noticed members are more then eager to help out and or just score brownie points either way your getting members.

Seek sponsors to provide prizes for contests. that is always a draw.

Remember an active small forum will gain more relevance in search engine placement. then 10.000 members that just read. get them to post more. Quality original content is priority number one. save your money and time on advertising (for now) and focus on getting your members to post new threads.

Its amazing what one good thread and keyword can do to your presance on google.

Good Luck.

glen290 02 Oct 2009 09:53

Hi Chris, good to see a fellow bowler, i recently have started a bowling forum in the Uk and am having a hard time getting it "out there".
Recently added a facebook group and with the help of my local bowling center run a doubles tournament "sponsored" by the site every few months.
So kind of hoping this works too.
I have tried speaking to a few pro shop owners etc with a view to getting them a little section where they can have a special offers and things like that, but not getting no luck as its not big enough yet.

I


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