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Minerva
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Registered: 11-2005
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posticon TIPS: Non-design advice for board admins


Although most of these tips have nothing to do with design, I have posted this here because it can be very helpful to anyone who is just starting their first board, and even some of you who may already have a successful board but want to make it even more successful.

If anyone has questions, or can add more tips from an experienced perspective, please feel free! emoticon


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1)  Before even thinking of starting your own board, you should spend a considerable amount of time as a regular member at various other boards first.  This will help you to:

• Get a feel for "nettiquette."

• Learn how to read others' posts with an open mind, as well as how to express yourself thoughtfully without having the luxury of conveying subtleties through body language or tone of voice.  Without those luxuries, it's much easier for misunderstandings to occur on a message board than in face to face conversation or even phone conversation.

• Take mental notes (or even keep a notepad file) of things you like and dislike about each board and their staff.  Do they have too many forums?  Too few forums?  Are their staff fair, abrupt, show favoritism or appear cliquish?

• Understand that the staff, especially the board owner, must lead by example and conduct themselves with as much respect and fairness as they expect of their members.


2)  Learn the technical aspects of running a board.

• Learn the basics of HTML and CSS.  You don't have to be a master coder to run a successful board, but even if you obtain your customization code from a third party, it helps to understand how the code you are putting in works, so you can troubleshoot and/or tweak it.

• After creating your board and before advertising it, get to know your board controls inside and out.  What will you do if someone starts posting an endless barrage of vulgar spam posts, if you don't know how to ban them?  How do you add someone to the member list of an invite-only forum?  How do you view the member list of a particular forum?  Are you sure your viewing/posting restrictions (or lack of restrictions) are set how you want them to be?  How do you change words like "NEW" or put images in their place?  How do you separate your forums into categories?

• Learn how IPs work.  All too often, an admin will ban a third of his board with an IP range ban intended for one offender, or they will ineffectively ban a single IP that the offender will not have the next time they dial up to the internet.  While it is not a good idea to ban an IP in most cases, it is still good to understand them in case you are suspicious of someone using an alter.
Bookmark these sites:
[whois] [IP Location Resolution] [IP to Hostname]


3)  Decide on an overall theme for your board and which individual forums to have.

• If the board name you chose for your first board doesn't work for your theme, by all means, create a new board.  It is always good for a board admin to have a test board for testing customizations or just practice, and you can use your first board for that.

• Come up with a design for your board that fits the subject matter.  Try to give your forums interesting names, but not so interesting that they confuse people.  Make use of forum descriptions, so people have a good idea what to expect so they don't have to enter a forum and read the threads before realizing it's a subject they're not interested in, and move on without checking out the other forums.

• Make sure the text is easy to read.  I can't stress this enough.   Remember that there are colorblind people out there, and even people with good vision will have trouble seeing blue text on a green background, or any text on a "busy" background.  If a person has to strain their eyes or highlight text to read it, they are not going to stick around to read your board, much less post at it.

• Make your own banner, have a friend make one, or just don't have a banner at all.  I can't tell you how many boards I have seen that still have the words "Sample Banner" on their banner, and that just looks tacky.

• I've found that it's much better to start out with very few forums.  Then, when your membership grows and there is enough activity and interest in a new forum, by all means, add it.  Having 20 forums when only two or three get posted in on a regular basis looks bad to first-time visitors, and since many people have a tendency to stick with two or three forums, having too many forums can decrease the amount of interaction between members, meaning fewer posts will be made at the board.

• Watch for spelling errors in forum names and descriptions.  It's one thing to make typos in posts, but it looks extremely careless to misspell something on the main page.


4)  Set up a test account.

• Log out of your admin account, register a new user account, and test out your new board with it.  If you have forums that are supposed to be invisible to regular members, can you see those forums while logged in as a regular member?  Try to do different things with that account like posting, editing your posts, deleting posts (you'll see that even though you can see the link as a regular member, you won't be able to delete it).

• Log out of your test account and back into your admin account, and make that test account a moderator.  Log back into the test account and see what you can do as a moderator both at the board, and through the board's control panel.

• Don't forget to explore the board while not logged in to any user account, so you can see how it works for non-registered lurkers.


5)  Add content to your board.

• Delete all the posts made by "Runboard Staff" and create your own in every forum.

• Don't just make a single post in each forum saying "Talk about _____ here" and leave it at that.  Post multiple threads with interesting content in each and every forum you have, so people will want to respond to them and hopefully be inspired to start their own threads.


6)  You are finally ready to advertise.

Only after you have done all of this and are comfortable with the workings of your board, it is finally time to start advertising it.

• Put a link to your board in your signature.  Small, artistic banners can be eye-catching and attract interest.  Try not to have such a huge signature that takes up half the computer screen, because a lot of people just find that annoying and won't want to visit your board.

• Advertise at the Runboard Directory.  Choose three forums there that best describe the focus of your board, give the threads accurate subject lines that will attract your target audience in each of the three categories, provide a good description of your board in your posts, and don't forget to provide a link to your board.  It should already be in your signature, but you should still put the link in those three posts themselves.

• Submit your message board to dmoz.  Navigate your way to the most appropriate category for your board, and follow their guidelines when submitting it.  Submitting your board correctly through dmoz can increase the chances of getting into major search engines like Google and MSN.

• Put the link to your board in your Runboard user profile as your home page.  Anyone who looks at your profile can then find your board through there.

• Post and lurk at other Runboard message boards that share your interests.  When posting, don't actively advertise your board unless you are posting in a forum that is set up for that, such as the Runboard Directory.  People will be very turned off if you start spamming other boards with links to your own, and it will defeat your purpose.  Rather than spamming, actively participate in discussions at those boards in a respectful manner.  The staff and members there will appreciate the contribution, and be more likely to click on the link in your signature.  When you lurk at new boards, people will wonder who you are and click on your profile, often clicking on the link to your home page to see where you came from.

• Join webrings that include websites with related content.

• Sign an occasional guestbook, but don't sign a guestbook for the purpose of spamming.  Instead, write something meaningful about the site and/or its subject, and only include your board url where the form specifically asks for it.

• Trade links with other message boards and websites that have related content.  Ask them to add a link to your board, and provide a reciprocal link to theirs.  This is similar to web rings, but this gives you control over who you trade links with.

• If it's worth it to you to spend a little money, advertise it through Google Adwords.  This will put your advertisement on banners such as the one you see near the top of this board.

———————————————————————————

I hope some of you find something useful in here. emoticon



Last revised by Lesigner Girl, 5/21/2012, 1:17 pm


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4/3/2006, 3:52 am Link to this post PM Lesigner Girl Read Blog
 
Joshin Josh Profile
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Citizen

Registered: 11-2004
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Re: Non-design advice for board admins


Thats awesome Advice.

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4/3/2006, 8:18 am Link to this post PM Joshin Josh Read Blog
 
The Mooseman Profile
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Registered: 03-2005
Province: Looking for my brain...
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Re: Non-design advice for board admins


Man, I failed all six emoticon

Very nicely put LG, I wish I was that good with words myself emoticon

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4/3/2006, 10:31 am Link to this post PM The Mooseman
 
Lesigner Girl Profile
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Minerva
Head of Runboard staff

Registered: 11-2005
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Karma: 132 (+147/-15)
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Re: Non-design advice for board admins


Thanks, Josh! emoticon  I was inspired when trying to answer Firle's question, "What would be your advice to a new Board owner?"  The response I gave for the interview was just the condensed version, as you can see my responses were long enough already. emoticon

Thanks, Moose! emoticon  I can't imagine you failing all six. emoticon  I've learned to be very conscious about my choice of wording to express thoughts, facts, and logic, as well as explain answers to technical questions with as little confusion as possible.  Misunderstandings still happen on both fronts, of course, but I do what I can on my end. emoticon

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4/3/2006, 10:40 am Link to this post PM Lesigner Girl Read Blog
 
dadog963 Profile
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Registered: 08-2006
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Re: TIPS: Non-design advice for board admins


man im laughing at my self emoticon i failed all six 2 if there was eight i would of failed all eight thanks emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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8/15/2006, 5:52 pm Link to this post PM dadog963 MSN Read Blog
 
Lesigner Girl Profile
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Minerva
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Registered: 11-2005
Posts: 9597
Karma: 132 (+147/-15)
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Re: TIPS: Non-design advice for board admins


You're not alone, dadog. It was actually seeing people "fail all six" that prompted me to write this. emoticon

Hopefully these tips will help you and others to run a successful board. emoticon

Last revised by Lesigner Girl, 8/16/2006, 2:45 pm


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8/16/2006, 2:33 pm Link to this post PM Lesigner Girl Read Blog
 
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Re: TIPS: Non-design advice for board admins


This is my first post here. I didn't failed in all this time, but I failed several. Anyway, this thread is magnificent, such an usefull guide for those who are new to forums. Ain't my case, this month it's my third Runboard (former Akheva) birthday and my Deep Purple forum is very big and well visited by spanish spoken people all around the globe.

I entered this board because LG really helped me with some board problems and I wanted to thank her for such an expert help. I'm going to read all the content in this place 'cause I see a lotta thing I could apply to my board.

Thanx Lesigner Girl for your help and congratulations for this beautyfull layout.

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9/11/2006, 4:33 am Link to this post PM Ian Domic Read Blog
 
Lesigner Girl Profile
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Minerva
Head of Runboard staff

Registered: 11-2005
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Karma: 132 (+147/-15)
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Re: TIPS: Non-design advice for board admins


Welcome to the Temple, Ian! emoticon You're very welcome for the help, and thank you so much for the wonderful compliments! emoticon

Congratulations on your 3rd anniversary with Runboard/Akheva. It looks like you've done an excellent job with your board already, and I'll be happy to help you with any other customizations you'd like to make.

I checked out your board again just now, and there's one little tweak I would make, that's to increase the width of the .ak_msg_master_table to 728px, which is the same width as the google ads. The forum itself will still look narrower than the ads, but there is currently a little extra gap between the forum and shoutbox for premium users who don't see the ads.

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9/11/2006, 8:26 am Link to this post PM Lesigner Girl Read Blog
 
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Registered: 04-2007
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Re: TIPS: Non-design advice for board admins


Thanks for great tips. I failed some and passed some so I guess I'm learning. I haven't done any html in years so I'm out of practice.

I did a web site years ago and it came out fine but this is my first board. I have what I think is a good layout for what we want here. I haven't messed around with customizing yet.
I do have a question about how to put a link in your signature? I haven't figured that one out yet.

I hope you'll visit and let me know what you think and what could be done at this point.

Thanks again, Jack

Rogers Owners Forum


Last revised by musicbybj, 4/19/2007, 9:15 pm


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"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" Les Brown
4/19/2007, 8:39 pm Link to this post PM musicbybj
 
Lesigner Girl Profile
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Minerva
Head of Runboard staff

Registered: 11-2005
Posts: 9597
Karma: 132 (+147/-15)
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Re: TIPS: Non-design advice for board admins


You're very welcome, Jack, and welcome to Illusia! emoticon

To put a link in your sig, just use the same code you used to put it in your post. emoticon

If you choose to use Runboard's blog or pm answering machine features, those also use the same BBCode that is used in posts. See "change miscellaneous settings" in your control panel for these features.

I agree, that is a good template for a board dedicated to drums, even if only temporary.

The first idea off the top of my head... Maybe you could start with a faded montage of different legendary drummers playing Rogers drums, from Dixieland, to big band, to classic rockers, maybe from older on the left to more recent on the right, and use it in a banner. I think this would convey the "collector" aspect of the line, but since I'm not a Rogers conniseur, I'm sure you can determine this better than I can. Regardless of what you use for a banner, the rest can be designed around it, to give it an overall themed design. emoticon

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4/21/2007, 2:27 am Link to this post PM Lesigner Girl Read Blog
 


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