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Entry Comments posted by GTServices

  1. I've been looking for something "usable for readers" (especially for the sidebar) and the TOPIC ACTIVITY block is it.


    What really stands out for me is that active members are the focus (making them shine). Basically, it's all about the members. eg. Top Posters, Popular Posts

    If you want your community to succeed, that's the way to do it. Make your members STAND OUT.


  2. I love the new look; overall changes.

    Hopefully, overall DOM size has been reduced.

    Have you guys tested and compared speed improvements between 4.xxx and 4.5? Mobile? Desktop? 

    Mobile should be just as fast as desktop (or close to it). I believe Google PageSpeed/Lighthouse default tests speed are Fast 3G/Slow 4G.

    That's definitely not the case with the current Forums site. HUGE difference.

    Yes, we all know that it's not the same as the default platform or how each site will run. But, it is the first thing that potential customers will experience/test.

    I'll attach screenshots of the CURRENT speed per Google PageSpeed ... and when IPS converts site to 4.5 I'll share those screenshots as well.

    Personally, I just want to see before/after results. 🙂



  3. I agree with the study ... working remotely is more productive. Plus, a company can save thousands of dollars. eg. rent, utilities, etc

    To make it work...

    1. Have weekly meetings.
    2. Use a work/project management tool such as Asana, Trello, etc. (A history of activity is very important. Not just for you but coworkers, groups, managers, CEO, etc)
    3. Make sure you take time off. 
    4. At the same time, make sure you are working. (This is really hard for people who are working remotely for the first time.)
    5. Stay active in life - otherwise, you will gain wait. Do a Spartan Race every 4 months. 
    6. I'm a Studio Windows user, I use Sticky Notes (on desktop screen) to quickly write down notes, todo list, etc ... and OneNote for research, ideas, and UI improvements, etc. (I'm sure Mac users have similar tools.) OneNote can be shared with others in the team.

    I was going to share my office space ... but I'm too tired ... I don't feel like cleaning the mess. 🙂

  4. Those are great examples @Joel R

    Another big problem I see (most people won't agree) are the many "directories" (apps) getting added to sites. eg. Articles, Reviews, galleries, Clubs, etc. On some sites it actually does more harm.

    If someone is looking for something regarding coronavirus why send them to Articles, Reviews, Galleries app, etc??? (Let's assume people are talking about it in forums, and you have similar content in Articles and Gallery.) 

    Just think about the steps one would need to take if they are an active member on the site.

    (If you have this topic posted all over the site the only way is to do a SEARCH. You would send them to Articles, Galleries, Forums, etc.)

    But what if EVERYTHING about coronavirus was found in one place?

    How easy would that be for the user?

    How would this affect SEO?

    Simplify the steps needed to find answers that people seek.

    This is especially important when you want people to stick around. You want them to move from one topic to the next - participating in the community ... engaging with others creating a sense of "community". This will only happen if you make it easy for them.

    I guarantee if the same content was posted in 1 central location (Forums) you would end up with more participation, comments, engagement, etc. 

    The trick is not to see Forums as forums but to see them as sections of the community discussing and learning about all kinds of topics (niche). EVERY content is an opportunity to share, learn, and discuss.

  5. @Joel R These are great! Thanks for sharing. 😀

    Personally, I drop #10 from the list. 

    These days, many admins see Google as their Achilles heel. Yes.

    But, Google could be your BEST friend. 

    If you focus on Google ... if you spend time improving on site SEO ... you could come out GROWING.

    Let me offer an example...

    Heather lost about 70% of her organic traffic in the past few years due to all the Google Algorithm Updates. Heather has thousands and thousands of topics. For this purpose, let's put this number at 100,000.

    On avg, Heather lost about 100 visits (avg) per topic /wk just on her top 10,000 topics.

    That's 1 million visits LOST per wk!

    Questions Heather should be asking herself...

    How many NEW CONTENT would I have to create to get back 1 million visits per wk? 10,000? 5,000?
    How long will it take to complete?
    How much would this cost me (money, time)?

    FACT: If you seen a drop in organic traffic and didn't do anything about it's likely it will continue to decline.

    FACT: Google is FREE. It takes work but it's worth it when done right.

    Soooooooo .... Don't ignore Google. 

    Oh, by the way - Heather decided to focus on Google + New Content. Heather is now GROWING organic traffic despite the latest January Core Update.

  6. Love this feature. Beer for EVERYONE! (put it on the IPS tab 🤪)

    I love the direction IPS is going. 

    Forums are experiencing BIG drops in traffic. A lot of people don't know what to do. (Give them the tools they need to make improvements.)

    The right tools will push IPS to the next level.

  7. On 7/30/2019 at 3:50 PM, AlexWebsites said:

    One thing that has worked for me is editing topic titles to make them more relevant and have better page titles. It’s driven organic traffic on some topics that had titles not descriptive enough. I then use the similar topics plugin based off topic titles.

    I do the same but I try to keep the same URL if possible. I limit words used on FURLS to 5 words max which allows me to make changes without changing the URL. But, there are times you just have to change the whole title.

    Other things I do to improve SEO...

    • Merge similar topics (especially if old and not driving too much traffic; especially, those that have some value)
    • Format content so that it's easier to scan. 
    • Improve content that drives traffic. (Evergreen content)
    • Delete/Archive old poor quality content. 
    • Delete old accounts with 0 content.

    None of this is easy but it's worth it. I recommend starting with your most popular topics (high Views count).

    On 7/31/2019 at 10:16 AM, Nebthtet said:

    @GTServices manual staff tagging adds quite much work for staff which is problematic especially for small communities (i.e. I have to be a webmaster, head editor, admin, mod etc). Do you have any good suggestion how to best do this?

    I'm against auto-tagging. I just don't see any value to it.

    My team have instructions to tag only "high-quality" content.

    We use tagging for the Similar Content block because it gives us some control.

    • We have control over what keywords are used.
    • We  have control over what topics are tagged. 
    • We have control over what topics are found in Similar Content block (and tag pages).

    The easier it is to find these "quality pages" the more value they gain. (eg. More traffic, shares, word of mouth, etc)


    Years ago I used tagging like you do. Enabled auto-tagging, allowed all members to tag, etc ... we literally had hundreds of thousands of tags (perhaps over 1 million) - many were similar, typos, poor quality, etc. (VBULLETIN BIG BOARD SITE)

    I found myself working constantly in cleaning the mess. The ROI just wasn't there when compared to other things I could be doing. So I dropped it altogether with no regrets.


    I'm sure you have heard of User Generated Content (UGC). If you run a forum site you are dependent on your members to produce content. About a decade or so ago, most forum admins peaked in terms of traffic. Since then traffic likely plateaued or dropped (more likely the latter).

    Heck, back then you would see many forums selling for over $1 million dollars. Not these days. 

    The biggest problem we have with a UGC business model is that we have very little control over what members post.

    Technology and Google are changing rapidly it's time to start taking some control back. The above is just one way of doing just that.

    Joel R's Community Management tips is another great way to take back some control.  A good community manager redirects focus where it should go. 

    So let's get back to these Growth Hacks. I'm sure @Joel R would appreciate it. 😉

  8. I agree... returning users are more likely to read to the bottom of the page. That's a certain segment that we must focus on. 


    If you look at your traffic you will likely see that most of your users are guests. At least for large sites, this is always the case.

    In my experience, it NEVER hurt to place a Similar Content block directly under the first post. It ALWAYS helped.

    With today's SEO changes, this along with other changes help improve traffic.

    (The Similar Content block has the most impact when it is fast and topics are all quality content. Similar topics should be helpful.)

  9. 6 minutes ago, opentype said:

    Well, on mobile the sidebar follows the main block, so having similar content at the bottom of the main column or the top of the sidebar would essentially render the same way on mobile. 
    And now that the visibility (desktop/tablet/mobile) can be controlled per block, it is recommendable to reduce the number of sidebar blocks on mobile, but keep important ones, like the similar content block. 

    Many readers don't even go to the bottom of the page. (There are many studies online that prove this.)

    The closer it is to the first post the bigger the impact.

    (I do love the new sidebar hide options. Very smart and NEEDED in this mobile age.)

  10. GREAT TIPS @Joel R!!

    I love it when I see members tagging other members. That in itself is evidence that it's an effective feature!

    Oftentimes, members didn't even know that it existed until someone tags them. (You see the numbers grow after each use.)

    If you don't have a Similar Content block directly after your first topic than you are missing out on a BIG opportunity!!!

    Similar Content

    • Improves Engagement.
    • Improves Bounce Rate
    • Improves Conversion Rate
    • Improves SEO.  (Related content helps Google and other bots better understand your content. It also helps with internal links.)

    NOTES: The closer the block is to the main content the more effective it is. Sidebar block doesn't help much since GOOGLE and your users are now focused on mobile.

    I find you win BIG when you use Similar Content with controlled tags. What I mean by this is that only a certain group of people (eg. staff) are allowed to tag topics. This keeps the crap out.

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