My website is losing signups and I don't know what to do

50 replies
I've been running a successful forum/sort of social network for a few years now and up through this past winter we were steadily growing and doing very well. I noticed signups plateauing this spring and began to add things to the site that members would like. The new features have proven popular, some of them very popular, I see the members using them a lot, but new signups are now declining. I'm in a panic. This has never happened before. What do I do?

People are only finding my site through certain keywords, but that's always been the case and we've never had an issue. Our site has expanded beyond its original niche since it originated, but the keywords relating to anything outside the niche, they never pull anyone in to visit the site.

Please help. I will do anything to save this place. Anything. I am already throwing thousands of dollars into it every month. Nothing is working. Please do not advise me to give up or start another site, those are not options right now, although I did start a new portal for the site.
#losing #signups #website
  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    Everyone is having a problem with the latest google update so you may try to wait a little bit more while still doing your normal job to promote and maintain your site.
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    • Profile picture of the author sadneck
      Originally Posted by Adie View Post

      Everyone is having a problem with the latest google update so you may try to wait a little bit more while still doing your normal job to promote and maintain your site.
      Hi Adie,
      I've seen in a few posts you are recommending people to wait a little bit more. Why do you say this, are you working on a solution or is google going to offer one?

      Thanks for clarifying.

      Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    My site has not changed in its google rankings. Not in like, at least 2 years. I checked, too, I know how to check, and I use Statcounter which tells me what keywords people use to find us. It has not changed.

    I need to know what to do to bring more people to my site again. I will literally do anything. The downward trend has been going on throughout this year starting with signups levelling off in February and then taking a downturn slowly. It's going to get really bad as the site's community begins to collapse on itself due to the dropping activity, soon, if I do not turn this around.

    I have come here desperate and ready to take any advice I can. Waiting isn't an option. It's not going to get better by itself.
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  • Profile picture of the author thebitbotdotcom
    There are several things you could do. One of the most common things I see forum owners do when traffic and signups slow or taper is to run a contest and email your members about it.

    Try to create some buzz.
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  • Profile picture of the author goguy
    I'll advice you trace where you are spending money, maybe those places are not sending the right traffic.

    Build more quality backlinks and target keywords that will bring in the right traffic.

    Encourge your current members to help recommend and bring their friends.

    Create a facebook fan page and encourage fans to join your website.

    Use twitter to build followers that will later be part of your community.
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  • Profile picture of the author trafficmasters
    Well my first thought is your site has been slapped by google but you say there has been no rank change so, back to the drawing board traffic wise, Like someone else said check your traffic sources

    Spend a day going through all the data available, statcounter, awstats etc

    Good luck
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    • Profile picture of the author arunfreehit
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      • Profile picture of the author webcashuk
        I would try twitter and maybe google plus.Could you build a huge gaming circle on there and then post links occasionally to your site.On twitter search for the hash tag of people tweeting about your niche and see if you can help them.Make sure your twitter profile is well set up and always always follow back any gamers that follow you.I am only guessing gaming due to your signature so if I am wrong then change the niche to whatever it is.

        The beauty of twitter is you can really interact with your followers dm them etc and they can then help you to grow


        Regards

        Peter
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        • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
          Perhaps you are doing it already, but if you have the cash to put into it, PPC might help. Nothing but targeted leads, I don't know a lot about gaming, but I would guess that you need a steady supply of new people coming in as your members find new games to play or a new place to play them in.

          If you really are willing to do whatever it takes, I suspect this is one of your best bets. No offense intended, and I don't know if you have a budget to do this with or what income you are making for your site. No need to share either, that is not what I am asking.

          I don't manage PPC campaigns, but I know there are plenty of good folks who do.
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        • Profile picture of the author celente
          Originally Posted by webcashuk View Post

          I would try twitter and maybe google plus.Could you build a huge gaming circle on there and then post links occasionally to your site.On twitter search for the hash tag of people tweeting about your niche and see if you can help them.Make sure your twitter profile is well set up and always always follow back any gamers that follow you.I am only guessing gaming due to your signature so if I am wrong then change the niche to whatever it is.

          The beauty of twitter is you can really interact with your followers dm them etc and they can then help you to grow


          Regards

          Peter
          with all the abusing of google, and many sites losing rankings due to google, I think you are right and spot on with this.

          ALot of good marketers are moving away from seo and starting to go over to facebook, and other big social media and bookmarking.
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      • Profile picture of the author rfuture2009
        Originally Posted by arunfreehit View Post

        Make use of classified ad posing website. May they can help you some how. You can post ads about your website free of cost.. For your reference I have included three most popular classified ad publishing website
        classhi.com
        classhippo.com
        classifiedsfind.com

        thanks for the classifieds websites, I have been trying to find some that I can post to
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        • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
          Originally Posted by ACCT001 View Post

          Please post ads in craigslist.
          I've already mentioned the issues that I see with this, rather than just repeating the same sentence can you explain a little better why this would help? Because yes I have tried this in the past.

          Originally Posted by Daniel Scott View Post

          Are you maybe reaching a saturation point in your niche?

          Once everyone knows you, you may find signups slow down.

          Secondly, I think you could do with a serious re-design of your site. As a guy who DMs for a DnD group, I hit your page and wasn't really sure what kind of roleplaying games you dealt with.

          I think you need to refine your message and really make a clearer site. IMHO that will help a lot with newer signups.

          -Daniel
          Thank you so much for this input! The problem is I don't know WHAT to put for a redesign, what would you put? Like what confused you, and what would have helped you be less confused over what it is? I just need to see how it looks from the other side. I'll be happy to do a new site theme, but only if I know what needs to be changed. And I don't.

          We've begun to put out a few videos and blog posts linking to the site that advertise the other sub forums in it. No results yet. Maybe it is too soon. The problem is I'm running out of time.
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  • Profile picture of the author bhmseoservices
    Here's my two cents. If your page is no longer generating signups you should look to improve that by offering something new for a signup. A discount for example.
    Also use Google to track where your potential clients are navigating through and use that intel. to know whats working and whats not so you can redesign it if needed
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Is Google your main traffic source? It shouldn't. You should vary your marketing efforts. Also, where and how are you advertising? Do you have a unique signup process in place?
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    • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
      Thanks for all the advice, I will try and answer all these.

      Bitdot: I have. we run contests regularly, I have added avatar makers, which are very popular, we run point and badge earning contests, events, and introduce new boards, events, or new features weekly--at least.

      Still the signups are deteriorating, slowly but surely.

      I'll advice you trace where you are spending money, maybe those places are not sending the right traffic.

      Build more quality backlinks and target keywords that will bring in the right traffic.

      Encourge your current members to help recommend and bring their friends.

      Create a facebook fan page and encourage fans to join your website.

      Use twitter to build followers that will later be part of your community.
      I have a twitter feed with over 1000 followers and post the new additions to the site on it regularly.

      We already have a facebook fan page and it has 1000K+ likes.

      I reward members for referrals and for advertising our site on a daily basis.

      I am spending money on building the new features for the site.

      Backlinks: Build them how? Where? I've tried this too, by the way, on social bookmarks, blogs, twitter, facebook, tumblr {we have a tumblr blog too} and I am listed in some directories and I wrote an Ezine article that has our link.

      Well my first thought is your site has been slapped by google but you say there has been no rank change so, back to the drawing board traffic wise, Like someone else said check your traffic sources

      Spend a day going through all the data available, statcounter, awstats etc
      I have already gone through all the data and I do it EVERY day. That's why I am here, because I can't get this to turn around. Our google ranking hasn't changed from panda and penguin and them. It's the same as it always was.

      Make use of classified ad posing website. May they can help you some how. You can post ads about your website free of cost.. For your reference I have included three most popular classified ad publishing website
      classhi.com
      classhippo.com
      classifiedsfind.com
      Has this helped? Would it help a roleplaying forum? Have you noticed an increase from this?

      I would try twitter and maybe google plus.Could you build a huge gaming circle on there and then post links occasionally to your site.On twitter search for the hash tag of people tweeting about your niche and see if you can help them.Make sure your twitter profile is well set up and always always follow back any gamers that follow you.I am only guessing gaming due to your signature so if I am wrong then change the niche to whatever it is.

      The beauty of twitter is you can really interact with your followers dm them etc and they can then help you to grow
      I have a Twitter account already and post regularly and follow everyone I can. Should I get two Twitters? I follow gamers, roleplayers, etc. in my niche. My link is in my signature if you want to take a look at the site. DESPERATE here!!!!

      Here's my two cents. If your page is no longer generating signups you should look to improve that by offering something new for a signup. A discount for example.
      Also use Google to track where your potential clients are navigating through and use that intel. to know whats working and whats not so you can redesign it if needed
      It's free to sign up. Always has been always will be. I already have tried specials days where new signups get perks. It hasn't worked.

      They navigate onto the main page and then into the various roleplaying and discussion areas. I don't know what to do that would make them go to different boards or how that would increase signups.

      Is Google your main traffic source? It shouldn't. You should vary your marketing efforts. Also, where and how are you advertising? Do you have a unique signup process in place?
      It appears to be based on Statcounter. They come in for keywords warrior cats, warrior cats RPG and rarely anything else despite my having a large area that's not Warrior cats based and is enjoyed by most people on the site. I don't get why the site is not gaining rank for anything else in Google. Or if it is why people aren't clicking to it.

      I've already varied my marketing efforts, and have involved my members in the help. I have a few hundred members and they've been posting links and ads. Nothing is helping.

      Please...please...god...I'm crying my eyes out...
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      • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
        Make use of classified ad posing website. May they can help you some how. You can post ads about your website free of cost.. For your reference I have included three most popular classified ad publishing website
        classhi.com
        classhippo.com
        classifiedsfind.com
        These all appear to be the same exact site. Also I don't see anywhere to actually post my ad. Do I sign up? It looks slightly dodgy and I already get enough spam email...have you seen any results from these?

        Thanks for the references though.

        About this...is it possible for the same website to have more than one URL?

        Edit: I entered an ad here and it doesn't even appear to allow for any HTML. I couldn't even make the link to my own site clickable. I'm sorry but these sites are worthless for what I need. If the ad isn't clickable then nobody is going to visit it.
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        • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
          Do you have a unique signup process in place?
          I don't understand. What do you mean? I've made it very easy for people to signup. It's free and they just need to input a username, password and email, fill one anti-spam question, and they are in.

          What would be better than this?
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  • Profile picture of the author brandon_holcomb
    I will chime in and suggest that you maybe should think about targeting facebook users who share the common interest that your forum users and target them via facebook ads and a like page. In your business that should increase your sign ups and get quality members that will be more then willing to have real interaction on your forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    Thanks, but, again, we already have a Facebook fan page and it has over a thousand likes. I've been encouraing people to post on their facebook pages about it and they are, but this year it just hasn't been working.

    What do I do??? What am I doing wrong?

    In my opinion, sitting and waiting is THE WORST thing I can possibly do to fix this. Why would I sit and wait for it to fix itself? That gets absolutely nothing done. I am pouring all of my waking hours into this, stopping only to do my job, eat and sleep.

    The last book in the series of Warrior Cats came and went, and people aren't visiting Warriors sites anymore as much, all of my rival sites are sinking too. Worse than us. Most of them have already gone under this year. But my site is already having a lot of non Warriors things going on on it. Why aren't those things coming up on google?

    I am ready to do anything it takes, all year I have been trying and failing to turn this around. I will stop at nothing. There is nothing I will not do if it means it wil finally show a ray of light and begin to turn my beloved site around. We have been going over 5 years and never had this happen. I am scared and depressed. Please, I just need to know what to do.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kurt
      Originally Posted by Groovystar View Post

      The last book in the series of Warrior Cats came and went, and people aren't visiting Warriors sites anymore as much, all of my rival sites are sinking too. Worse than us. Most of them have already gone under this year. But my site is already having a lot of non Warriors things going on on it. Why aren't those things coming up on google?

      I am ready to do anything it takes, all year I have been trying and failing to turn this around. I will stop at nothing. There is nothing I will not do if it means it wil finally show a ray of light and begin to turn my beloved site around. We have been going over 5 years and never had this happen. I am scared and depressed. Please, I just need to know what to do.
      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this could well be the problem. People simply aren't as interested in the topic as they once were.

      It sounds like your site is considered an authority by Google for the Warrior Cats niche, but isn't getting much respect for your other topics. I suggest you concentrate you linking on the other topics, realizing that interest in Warrior Cats is sagging and probably won't ever come back to its peak levels.

      In addition to linking, I suggest a combination of Youtube/video marketing and press releases about similar, but different niches other than Warrior Cats. Pinterest may also be an option.

      The writing is on the wall...Adapt or die.
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  • Profile picture of the author thebitbotdotcom
    Then you leave yourself no choice...high end article marketing...in the form of 500+ word OP threads...and then build links to them via guest blog posts and article directory marketing with EZA, AB, and GA and you are welcome to use my site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    Thanks. High end articles--what is that though? Just need some more info. I can write about things, that won't be a problem I just need to know what to write about and where at. So this will boost Google rankings for additional keywords? I am suspecting that we are "trapped" by only being found through one thing. How does a niche site expand into a broader genre?

    What is an OP thread?

    EZA, AB, and GA
    What are these?

    Have you or anyone had a look at my site, maybe you could give me some advice on what I might be able to do?
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    • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
      Can anybody help...please...I'm in such bad shape here and lost and exhausted. I spend literally several hours a day trying to get this site in shape. And absolutely nothing is working.

      What exactly will writing high-end articles do for my site? I think its problem is not enough people are seeing it. But the site's audience is young teenagers. Will they read these articles? They go on Tumblr, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter etc. {and I've been advertising on all of those}
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    Does high end just mean well written?

    Please, I need answers, thank you to those who have responded but I am still stuck. I need more help. I don't know how to do this an I just spent several hours today on another avatar maker for the site, and signups have hit a new low today that broke the low signups record going back the entire year. Please, PLEASE I am scared to death! I need help, how do I do this article thing? What are the abbreviated things that you suggested? What do they mean???
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  • Profile picture of the author MaggieDavid
    hi you say the site is for young teenagers, then you must do some promoting where they hang out. Put on a competition where they hang out.

    Don't panic plan and if you need help, just contact me
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    • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
      ??? Where is that? I said that they hang out on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, I am already advertising on those. What else do I need to do? I thank you for helping but I'm not getting the information I need. Please, Anybody, anybody PLEASE help! It's dire! Does anybody want to take a look at my site and get more details, I'm trying to give info but I don't know what info would help you guys.

      I just need to know WHAT would fix the problem of my site not getting signups anymore, anything, I don't care what it is, if it's writing 50 articles a day about the site, I'll do it! But where and what do I write? I just need help!!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Kyle
    Hi GS,

    Perhaps a more cost effectiive option is to see why your current visitors aren't signing up - by asking them.

    Use a service like LiveChat | Live Chat Software | Live Support | Live Help and/or offer ethical bribes on an exit popup to survey them on why they didn't join.

    It may be something simple that you've overlooked.
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    • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
      Thanks for the suggestion. I have noticed one thing: The book series that my site is named after and mostly based around is no longer producing new books and all the sites about them are slowing down and dying.

      I want to get our site more broad, but how do I do that? I'm already adding and offering material for it, but my Statcounter is showing still that people only seem to click into the site for "Warrior cats" and "Warrior cats RPG" and "WCRPG" keywords.

      How do I change this? I think this is what needs to change, and very quickly.

      Did you have a look at my site?

      What do I do to do that high end article thing? I do not understand how that works or how to get started, or what kinds of articles I would be writing.

      Thank you for posting.
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  • Profile picture of the author OfflineKing
    Marketing, Marketing , Marketing im sure there are many marketing methods that you have not tried out yet, look for new methods to get new signups and keep them on your site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    I don't care what the problem is. I just need to identify it so that I can then figure out what the solution would be. I don't mind adapting the site and changing my focus as long as it saves it. I just need to know HOW to adapt it. If I am asked to jump I just need to know how high.

    I am linking to my other boards. But where do I link on? What kinds of links? So far nothing seems to be working. I don't have a plan, and I need one. that's why I came here.

    I could try a Youtube video contest among my members for the other areas on the site. About how many links and videos are we talking though?
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  • Profile picture of the author Victoria Gates
    Warrior cats.. well have you ever seen Second Life? It has the largest "Furry" base of role-players I have ever seen. I am guessing most or your role-players are acting out animals yes? If so you need to get the word out to the "Furry" communities.

    Furry fandom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
    Why not try asking your visitors why they haven't signed up? Run a poll.

    Contact the ones who did sign up and asked them what caused them to sign up and see if it can be improved on or tweaked so more follow suit.
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    • You say you're spending thousands of dollars every month on this site. So the first thing to figure out is: where is (most of) that money going?

      Is it going to advertising? If so, then you're obviously throwing away your ads on traffic that doesn't convert. You deal with a situation like this by pulling it all back and running a series of small split tests. Measure the performance of everything. Paid traffic that fails to produce revenue is worse than useless.
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    I think the problem is that less people are finding the site to begin with.

    Oh yes I'm familiar with the furry fandom. We have people on the site who are part of it. That would probably be one of the closest fandoms to ours, thanks for that tip. We even have boards for it, problem is that actually, the strange thing is they are not that active. Not even when compared with some of our other boards, like the vampires and real life RP ones, and the wolf ones.

    I'm starting threads in each of these boards offering point prizes or other prizes to my members for creating a video advertisement for that board. The link would be in the video's description and the best video would get an extra prize. Do you think that if they made, say, 5 or 10 videos for them each with a link back to that particular board, that it would help boost these niche boards in Google and other places?

    Thank you so much for the help so far, guys. I'm trying to get a plan together based on my site and your marketing experience.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
    If the issue is less people are finding the site then you need to work on your marketing. If you haven't already find out where your target audience hangs out (forums, blogs etc) and make a presence there, become an authority like figure always giving out good information, advice and help and make it known (without spamming or going OTT) that you have a website on the subject. This can drive tons of targeted traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author Victoria Gates
    Also if I might be so bold.. the bright green site is off-putting. Maybe it's time for a great re-design.
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    I could do a redesign. What sort of appearance/colour scheme would you suggest?

    The money is going into improving the site's code and adding new features to it for the members to use.

    You deal with a situation like this by pulling it all back and running a series of small split tests.
    What kinds of tests? Sorry, I'm just new to this.
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    • Originally Posted by Groovystar View Post

      I could do a redesign. What sort of appearance/colour scheme would you suggest?

      The money is going into improving the site's code and adding new features to it for the members to use.
      If you're spending thousands a month on new code, it's way too much. Look for less expensive developers on Craigslist and elsewhere.

      What kinds of tests? Sorry, I'm just new to this.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A/B_testing
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    • Profile picture of the author super roach
      what type of rpg is this? this weird man I never seen a site like this before.
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    I did find a steady programmer who is less now, it did take a while though. Problem is that it was in the middle of a large project, and he's having to fix what the other programmers screwed up. It's a big mess and meanwhile the new feature gets delayed another few months, at a time when we can least afford to wait.

    The Wikipedia link you have there does not work, unfortunately.
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    • Originally Posted by Groovystar View Post

      I did find a steady programmer who is less now, it did take a while though. Problem is that it was in the middle of a large project, and he's having to fix what the other programmers screwed up. It's a big mess and meanwhile the new feature gets delayed another few months, at a time when we can least afford to wait.

      The Wikipedia link you have there does not work, unfortunately.
      There's an issue with redirection on that link. You might have to type it in manually.
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      • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
        Or I can just google it thanks!

        The main problem is I don't know how to "signal" to search engines that my site has widened its subjects. I've tried linking from blogs, forums, and it just hasn't helped. Have any of you ever been up against this problem, and were you able to help the search engines tune into your site's other subjects successfully?
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    It's mainly for Warrior Cats but it has a small but growing non-Warriors general roleplaying area. That's the section that I think this site's future rests on now, but it's not getting much recognition in search engines unlike the Warriors part.

    I think that the best solution at least short term would be to raise our site's search engine rankings for these other areas. I've changed up the skins on some of those boards and put descriptions to those different genres, but it hasn't helped. I got so stuck after spending hours a day on all this and quite a bit of money I realised I had no direction, so I came here for help.
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  • Profile picture of the author ACCT001
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    • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
      They expire after a short while. Have you seen direct results from this? Can actual live links be posted? I've also never heard of people finding a roleplaying website through Craigslist, though I could just be uninformed.

      Also, how long does it take to see results? I don't know what I am really looking for. Should I wait a day to see results? A month?
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    Again, we already have a Facebook page with 1000+ likes. It isn't helping.

    Again, we have a Twitter with 1000+ followers. It isn't helping.

    We also have a Tumblr blog run by a few of my staff. It isn't helping.

    Thank you everyone for your offers of help, please read the other posts I have made on this thread first because I've given out all the info I can think of. It may help you see what has already been tried.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    Are you maybe reaching a saturation point in your niche?

    Once everyone knows you, you may find signups slow down.

    Secondly, I think you could do with a serious re-design of your site. As a guy who DMs for a DnD group, I hit your page and wasn't really sure what kind of roleplaying games you dealt with.

    I think you need to refine your message and really make a clearer site. IMHO that will help a lot with newer signups.

    -Daniel
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    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Scott
    First of all, try hiring a pro designer. At the moment it looks like a goddamn cat forum. And not to be a dick, but the design looks like it's from the early 90's.

    You could get a decent redesign for under $500. Well worth the investment.

    -Daniel
    Signature

    Always looking for badass direct-response copywriters. PM me if we don't know each other and you're looking for work.

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  • Profile picture of the author prolink83
    Well this will be my last post before going to bed. Spring sounds like when google had the penguin update not sure if it had anything to do with that, especially if you were building backlinks at the time. For the keywords you mentioned that did not pull any visitors to the site, I would start researching google keyword tool and make sure they bring decent traffic under the search keywords.

    This is what I would recommend: Since it's a forum, figure out the most popular topics your forum has to offer, start building a list of 25+ keywords that are related to the topics think of from a visitor perspective, analyze them in keyword tool and calculate the potential combine traffic, start building QUALITY not quantity backlinks and get some serious rankings. Take a look at my signature and watch the video, if you are serious give me a call and I will be happy to give you some advice over the phone, hope this helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
      Originally Posted by prolink83 View Post

      Well this will be my last post before going to bed. Spring sounds like when google had the penguin update not sure if it had anything to do with that, especially if you were building backlinks at the time. For the keywords you mentioned that did not pull any visitors to the site, I would start researching google keyword tool and make sure they bring decent traffic under the search keywords.

      This is what I would recommend: Since it's a forum, figure out the most popular topics your forum has to offer, start building a list of 25+ keywords that are related to the topics think of from a visitor perspective, analyze them in keyword tool and calculate the potential combine traffic, start building QUALITY not quantity backlinks and get some serious rankings. Take a look at my signature and watch the video, if you are serious give me a call and I will be happy to give you some advice over the phone, hope this helps.
      I can safely say that this has nothing to do with the penguin update or the panda update or whatever in google. Analysing the growth stats going back through the past couple of years, the growth in signups actually peaked in late 2010/early 2011 and thereafter began to slow down. It was still growing throughout 2011 and into the first couple months of 2012 but by then it was plateaued, and after holding roughly steady this summer, it's begun to slowly slip downward, and we are in for real hell if it doesn't turn around.

      In other words, I was an idiot and didn't see the writing on the wall for many months. I should have been focusing a lot more on the signup rate, where I was focusing more on improving member attrition. We have a horrid member attrition rate, standing at around 90%--though it's gotten slightly better this year for some odd reason, probably the only reason why we aren't even worse off right now.

      (Heads up...rant coming. Not against you good folks, you've been wonderful offering your help and honest advice.)

      I was told that this type of attrition rate is typical for forums and to just give up on it, I said screw that logic, I do not just sit down and sigh and say Oh well that's just too bad, my site is stuck with poor performance because that's just how it is. Rather what I am trying to do is sort out WHY most members don't stay, instead of just going "Oh well for a forum we're really not too bad on retention, almost 1 in 10 members winds up sticking around." Then by that logic I could do what I've seen forum owner after forum owner do when their site slows down, after trying the usual--member prizes, contests, competitions on the site and starting new topics, oh and look here's a new special signup bonus if you sign up today...when none of that works and their forum keeps on dying they go "Oh well I know I tried really hard and did everything I could, so it's not my fault that it's dying. It just happens." BS. It died because you {forum owner} didn't look beyond the standard stock advice to see what was REALLY chewing your website up and look at the underlying reasons why it was eating dirt.

      So, straight from the horse's mouth: I went around and asked all my members what had made them stay. Virtually all of them said they stayed because they found a special friend or friends on the site. Conclusion: the people who left had failed to find this, within the first few days. Solution: add something to the site or change something on the site features wise that would help people find friends in common with them more easily.

      Currently, that's what is gobbling up my budget. I'm having a programmer design a groups feature that will let people create their own mini discussion communities and invite their friends to it. It will be similar to Facebook, Deviantart and other sites that have similar groups. I don't know whether it will work, I'm trying it because I see it on many larger sites where it can be harder to find others. I've tried a lot of other things and changing the features one way or the other seems to be the only thing that is going to solve this problem.

      Your thoughts? I also have a tag system and other things in the planning, but have not yet got them being designed yet.

      On keywords: I have Statcounter and it shows me what keywords people type to reach the site. I am seeing keywords for other things besides Warrior cats but almost all of it is still Warrior cats. So we aer still not getting to many people outside of that fandom. It MIGHT be starting to change a little now, but if so it hasn't yet been enough time or effect to turn things around.

      To see what's popular on my site itself I just have to check out the most popular boards and see what gets updated the most often. I've put out a series of member contests to get them setting up some promotional videos, blogs and other material. A few links have gone up, but it's not been enough time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Groovystar
    lol...It is almost from the 90s. It was adapted from Proboards which was established around I think 2000. It has not had a significant design change since then.

    That does sound like a good price. I'd be happy to hire a designer when I get a spare $500, right now I am quite short on money and limited to doing things on my own. I can probably do a redesign in a limited fashion by myself, but the problem is I don't know what to put where. Does anybody have examples of a well put together site that's similar in type to mine?

    And, it is a cat site, its main foundation is based on a book series about cats. It has a growing non-cats section which I am trying to promote because that is the only area of the site that is doing well, and that only in proportion to the cat area.
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