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  #1  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 11:59
John Diver John Diver is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
So...You have $7000 to go into developing a site based on a forum, what do YOU do

Hey,
This is actually a situation I am in right now.

I am putting $7000 towards the development of one of my sites, www.DeuceAce.com

The site is a poker forum mainly with a few extra things, articles, reviews, directory etc. but nothing else major.

The forum isn't exactly new, there are 200+ members and just under 3000 posts, but I would still consider it as very new and will be working on it as if I just launched it.

I am starting to budget what I will use the $7000 on.
I just sent off a payment of $800 to vbulletinskinz.com for a new custom design - I think they are one of the best in the forum design industry.

So..you have just over $6000 to build up a poker forum, itís a highly competitive industry but I feel there is still space for another, quality forum.

The money can be spent on development, content advertising/marketing or anything you think would help improve and develop the community.

So...what are your first steps and what do you use the money for?
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  #2  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 12:07
Asi9ine's Avatar
Asi9ine Asi9ine is offline
 
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Real name: Kris
Well.

I wouldn't recommend you spend all of that mate in all honesty. I believe you can find a top-notch designer for 1500-2000. I have no sites to recommend sadly, but I would hope that you don't waste what strong money reserve you have in the preliminary stages.
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  #3  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 12:50
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amykhar amykhar is offline
 
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Real name: Amy
I would put most of the money in the bank and buy a good php book. When the forum got big enough, I'd pull out some of the money and pay for a dedicated server.
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  #4  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 12:58
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AlexUK AlexUK is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
I dont think you need to spend all that money to make your forums or site better.
There are lots of good communities out there that spent much less than that and are good.

I would advise you to be very careful how you spend it and do not tell everyone you have that much to spend as you dont want people charging you extra because they know you have more.

Try and get good deals and dont accept first price.
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  #5  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 14:35
smacklan's Avatar
smacklan smacklan is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Real name: John
Originally Posted by John Diver
I just sent off a payment of $800 to vbulletinskinz.com for a new custom design - I think they are one of the best in the forum design industry.
They're good...but no custom skin is worth $800 lol. You've gotten some good advise here...don't throw your money away on things that won't bring you a return.
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  #6  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 14:52
Princeton's Avatar
Princeton Princeton is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Real name: Joe Velez
For starters:
  • A design should be the last step in this process -- right now, you are throwing your money away. I gaurantee that you will need modifications/additions done to it later on.
  • Products that you should have:
    • Dedicated Server
    • Custom Portal
    • Custom Articles System
    • A Sponsors System (a system that is simple and which a member has control over ... eg. options, etc)
    • Try to stay with vBulletin products (products run by vb core files/functions), adding 3rd-party apps will only increase your workload.
  • Get yourself a good copywriter - this is where all sites fail ... without a message you will never increase conversion rate. Your message should pass the AIDAS Test:
    • A - Grab their ATTENTION.
    • I - Strengthen INTEREST.
    • D - Stimulate DESIRE.
    • A - Get them to take ACTION.
    • S - SATISFY them.
Only after you have done all of the above should you advertise. Advertising in a poker magazine will drive traffic to your site. You will be surprised on how much traffic advertising in the right place can do for a site.


Good Luck
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  #7  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 14:55
Princeton's Avatar
Princeton Princeton is offline
 
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Real name: Joe Velez
Originally Posted by smacklan
They're good...but no custom skin is worth $800 lol. You've gotten some good advise here...don't throw your money away on things that won't bring you a return.
I disagree ... with the right design, $800 or more could be worth the price.
It all depends on how user-friendly the design is.
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If it needs instructions, there's room for improvement.
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  #8  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 15:11
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smacklan smacklan is offline
 
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Real name: John
Originally Posted by Princeton
I disagree ... with the right design, $800 or more could be worth the price.
It all depends on how user-friendly the design is.
Coming from the industry I am in, with the contacts and knowledge I have, I guarantee you that $800 is too much to spend on a custom design. You can have a design created by a top designer for less than $400 (probably more like $300) and coded by top coders for less than $250.

Last edited by smacklan; 30 Mar 2006 at 15:16.
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  #9  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 15:33
Princeton's Avatar
Princeton Princeton is offline
 
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Real name: Joe Velez
anyone can create a "design" ... only a few can create a "winning design"
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If it needs instructions, there's room for improvement.
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  #10  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 15:34
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AlexUK AlexUK is offline
 
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It all depends how unique the design is I believe.
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  #11  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 16:21
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smacklan smacklan is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Real name: John
Originally Posted by Princeton
anyone can create a "design" ... only a few can create a "winning design"
This is true...but I will stick with my previous post. Too many people are duped into believing that it takes ridiculous amounts of money to get award winning, unique designs and that simply isn't the case. With a little research, networking and patience affordable outstanding and unique designs are readily available. The best vB skin coder in the business doesn't charge more than $250 to code designs either.

Last edited by smacklan; 30 Mar 2006 at 16:26.
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  #12  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 16:27
kartik786 kartik786 is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Aah.. I am a management student and run a forum for management students.

Here is what I feel should be done.

Use google adwords, and the like for marketing the site. Get into some good banner exchange programs .. that takes care of marketing part .

Put some interesting features like cash prizes or tshirts custom made having your site name on it ... for the winners who score ***** points . ( which should be very hard yet achievable ) .. this takes care of marketing as well as makes it interesting.

Well.. busy rite now.. wil try to post more tips later.

PS : Tip intellegent people like me a $ or 10 to give you suggestions. My paypal id

Last edited by kartik786; 30 Mar 2006 at 16:33.
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  #13  
Old 30 Mar 2006, 18:47
SaN-DeeP's Avatar
SaN-DeeP SaN-DeeP is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Originally Posted by Princeton
For starters:
  • A design should be the last step in this process -- right now, you are throwing your money away. I gaurantee that you will need modifications/additions done to it later on.
  • Products that you should have:
    • Dedicated Server
    • Custom Portal
    • Custom Articles System
    • A Sponsors System (a system that is simple and which a member has control over ... eg. options, etc)
    • Try to stay with vBulletin products (products run by vb core files/functions), adding 3rd-party apps will only increase your workload.
  • Get yourself a good copywriter - this is where all sites fail ... without a message you will never increase conversion rate. Your message should pass the AIDAS Test:
    • A - Grab their ATTENTION.
    • I - Strengthen INTEREST.
    • D - Stimulate DESIRE.
    • A - Get them to take ACTION.
    • S - SATISFY them.
Only after you have done all of the above should you advertise. Advertising in a poker magazine will drive traffic to your site. You will be surprised on how much traffic advertising in the right place can do for a site.


Good Luck
nice recommendations princeton.
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  #14  
Old 31 Mar 2006, 08:55
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DirectPixel DirectPixel is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Real name: Alex!
Originally Posted by smacklan
This is true...but I will stick with my previous post. Too many people are duped into believing that it takes ridiculous amounts of money to get award winning, unique designs and that simply isn't the case. With a little research, networking and patience affordable outstanding and unique designs are readily available. The best vB skin coder in the business doesn't charge more than $250 to code designs either.
There's a big difference between simply making a skin for vBulletin and actually doing custom integration work and doing more than just giving the vBulletin a pretty look.

I can personally tell you that of all the vBulletin-related projects I've worked on over the years (at least 50 or 60 by now), I'd say only a small 10% of them were below $800. Those are generally small and quick projects that I do in my spare time on my own for my own enjoyment.

Site evaluations, usability studies, user scenario testing, and the various other elements of the design workflow in and of themselves is often worth more than $800.

Originally Posted by smacklan
The best vB skin coder in the business doesn't charge more than $250 to code designs either.
So you mean to say that somebody has to code the designer's work? A good designer needs to know more than just how to create Photoshop mockups. They need to be extremely familiar with the software and be able to implement whatever they come up with. How can you design an effective user experience if you don't even know how to code your final product?

But then again, I believe we cater to two different sets of customers with different budgets.

Last edited by DirectPixel; 31 Mar 2006 at 08:58.
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  #15  
Old 31 Mar 2006, 11:09
Tony G's Avatar
Tony G Tony G is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Real name: ITS A SECRET
$7000 on a site? I think there's much better ways to use that money to be honest. If you want to make more money - invest in something a bit more worthwhile.
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