Recently we revamped eWmania fully back into a living, breathing website when we determined that a forum only based community would not work in this day and age. We identified the empty forums, and we removed them. But in our visit to a lot of efeds this last week to see how we could cover them, we noticed quite frequently that there's a lot of cleaning house that needs to be done out there. In this column, I wanted to take a look at a few of things YOU can do to ensure that new people who stumble across your fed's site, don't think it's dead and move on.
YOUR FRONT PAGE DOESN'T REFLECT THE FED'S ACTIVITY
I've seen this a few times, but two examples really jump out at me. There's this fed that their front page says "Last Updated January 1st" and prior to that, a month or so before, and so on. However, they are putting out continuous, quality shows, extremely active on Twitter. But their website reflects none of this. If I go there instead of their forums, I can look at it and say "This fed is dead." then go away.
This really goes hand in hand with if you have an actual website or one of those forums that have a landing page first. 9 times out of 10, your homepage/landing page s the first stop for many new visitors who stumble across your fed. It is important to keep this fluid and always updating. Even if it's a once weekly update or post. I find that if you post in character news on the front page at least, and do it once or twice a week, it keeps the alive feel going.
Another good thing to promote here is upcoming cards and/or latest results. Showcase your work early to get that initial bite, then reel the visitor in to become a newcomer.
FORUM LAST UPDATED IN 1776
This one is mostly for feds that run primarily off of forums, but can also be addressed to website feds that do a lot on their forums. Today's feds like to have a LOT of content. They will create forums for everything. Cards, roleplays, results, news, forum based social media, games, advertising, and the list goes on and on. Honestly, there are too many forums created for most feds, but we'll address that in a later column.
The issue is the forums that lay dormant. Just today I saw a "Breaking News" forum that had not been updated in 7 months. On the same forum, they had show forums for shows that haven't been posted since 2017. Their games forum was sometime in 2019. You get the pattern. In fact, the ONLY forums that had recent post was their show card forum, last results, and a general OOC forum. However, the fed itself had 13 forums total. That is ten forums that were effectively dead upon first view. I almost left until I realized they just had a show recently.
The rule of thumb should always be, if you have a forum, use it. If it's not being used, you don't need it. Now, I'm not saying go delete months or years worth of content. Create a forum called "Archive" or "Graveyard" and move it all there. Personally, I don't think any forum that hasn't been touched in a period of one month should be visible, but a three month window is fine. No updates in it for the last 3 months? Drop it in the archive.
You want to seem alive and thriving. Having 3 active forums hidden within 10 others that haven't been used in forever, does not relay the message that you're an active fed, or even that you care enough to keep your stuff updated. Don't promise sections of content and not deliver. To be honest, the same can be said about websites. If it's a piece of the site that's never used, do you really need it available? Take it down.
Ok. So maybe not all the way dead. But broken images, code errors, and other oddities should be addressed. If something on your site/forums breaks, find out why and fix it. I came across a couple feds that were active but had broken images. Was a turn off to me if I was looking to join said fed. Another touch point here, which goes hand in hand with the images thing, is affiliate buttons. Broken or not (Usually broken when the fed closes) you should remove affiliate buttons to feds that are no longer existing. Clicked on one a few days ago that took me to a fed site that hadn't been used since 2018. Saw quite a few buttons that were broken. It's good practice to regularly visit your affiliates anyway. I mean, why affiliate if you don't even check them out occasionally? Seems to be the whole point, right?
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS
This is more of nitpicking at this point. The three first really cover about everything that can make a fed look dead when in fact it's not. But copyright text drives me batty when it's not at least the current year. I can overlook the people claiming copyrights to LLC's and INC's that actually haven't went through the process and paid the $ to get said legal protections. But if your copyright says 2003-2018, update it. It makes me want to steal your shit just to be able to say "Well, it was no longer copyrighted" just to be a dick, ya know?
There you have it. Some very easy and quick things to do that will boost your activity visibility to newcomers and those checking you out. I mean, you can't get new members if you don't entice them. Who's going to be enticed by a 2 year old hot dog? They want fresh relish. Or something like that. Show some pride in your work as well. Put these things to use. Give your handlers more fresh content. You'd be amazed at the participation increase just by keeping things updated every few days.
Episode 20 of The Efed Podcast can now be streamed through the audio player right here on eWmania! While we want you to listen to it casually through us, make sure you're also hitting their other sites and liking/subscribing/following. Show your support for The Efed Podcast!
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