- Aug 25, 2006
I wouldn't give up on this forum, if I was you. You have some decent indexed organic keywords.I have given up on declining traffic in a unique way.
Some background: I started Corolland.com after I bought a Toyota Corolla, around 1999. I think the site started in 2000 or 2001. It thrived. Eventually, being too busy to really focus on it, I sold it for a decent though not incredible sum.
In late 2017, I sold my main site and bought back Corolland and Toyoland. The guy who had bought them had not changed ANYTHING but the logos since he acquired them, and the viewers had drifted off to the VerticalScope t-nation site and a new Corolla forum. I built back a little traffic, but I realized I had to have a more powerful server and more backup costs just to run this attempt at having a living forum. Nothing I did worked, and some older members did check back every week or so, but when I got an offer for it, I took it. That was in early 2019.
The original owner contacted me in 2020 and offered to sell it back. Again I tried to get traffic but it clearly was not happening. So...
I took the entire site static!
This was a fairly complicated task, and involved using BBEdit to do GREP-powered search and replace on the entire site at once (after I downloaded it).
I learned a few things from this. First, it's a LOT easier to modify Invisionboard templates first, while it's still on-line, than to do GREP search-and-replaces on 14,000 individual pages! Second, as I really already knew, forum software has a LOT of junk and in some ways can be terribly done, with large images restrained only by style sheets. It's pretty clear they are not really engineered with fast loading in mind. Third, when you strip out all the junk, you get a pretty fast-loading site — until you put ads onto it! Fourth, prune your junk posts before saving in static format...
Oddly, Google traffic has risen somewhat after this effort, though not that much. I figure it'll take a few months for the faster load times to matter. As others have noticed, of course, the main problem with page speed is anything supplied by Google, which Google then flags as “you should cache this,” “this is slow and poorly written code,” etc.
Anyway, I thought I should put it out there for anyone who was saying, “This old, dead forum is a real hog of my server's resources.” There's a lot of good info on the forum, in terms of how-to guides and technical discussions, along with the junk. Was it worth it, overall? Maybe. Maybe not. We'll see what the next year brings in terms of ad revenue... but I also hated to see all the discussions go dark.