Marketing My Debate Forum

DebateIt

Aspirant
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
12
As I have only just started my Debate Forum ( https://debatemytopic.com ) I am looking for different ways to get it active. So far I have also started a Facebook page for it and have that linking back to the forum itself. It has also been submitted to Google and Bing so I hope this will become active in the next few days.

Other than the above are there any other ways of promoting a forum that might drive traffic and new members towards the forum?
 

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,573
I think you have bigger challenges than marketing.
Some things I immediately notice upon first visit...

  1. What's the logo? What's it supposed to represent? It looks like a sports figure, or a person doing some type of action. I don't get "debate", or even 'discussion/dialogue' from it at all?? The fonts also contrast too heavily & don't mesh at all.
  2. This topic, your URL, and board name indicate it's a Debate Forum, but you have zero actual debate content.
    • You have hundreds of threads, all from generic RSS feeds. None of the content has anything to do with debates. Why?
    • Entertainment... news feeds? Gaming... news feeds? Movies/TV/Music/Technology/Environment/Sports... on and on and on with generic news feeds... All linking away to the source... None of it presented as debate. What value is your site getting from any of this? What's the point?
    • 29 sub-forums... On a new site? And as mentioned, no debate content in any of them?
  3. You say you have a Facebook page linking to your site, but don't even offer expedited registration via Facebook. Why?
  4. What compelling reason do people have to visit your site & debate vs debating directly on Facebook, where everyone's already debating anyways?
 
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DebateIt

Aspirant
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
12
I think you have bigger challenges than marketing.
Some things I immediately notice upon first visit...

  1. What's the logo? What's it supposed to represent? It looks like a sports figure, or a person doing some type of action. I don't get "debate", or even 'discussion/dialogue' from it at all?? The fonts also contrast too heavily & don't mesh at all.
  2. This topic, your URL, and board name indicate it's a Debate Forum, but you have zeroactual debate content.
    • You have hundreds of threads, all from generic RSS feeds. None of the content has anything to do with debates. Why?
    • Entertainment... news feeds? Gaming... news feeds? Movies/TV/Music/Technology/Environment/Sports... on and on and on with generic news feeds... All linking away to the source... None of it presented as debate. What value is your site getting from any of this? What's the point?
    • 29 sub-forums... On a new site? And as mentioned, no debate content in any of them?
  3. You say you have a Facebook page linking to your site, but don't even offer expedited registration via Facebook. Why?
  4. What compelling reason do people have to visit your site & debate vs debating directly on Facebook, where everyone's already debating anyways?

I have now made a number of changes if you would like to have a look.
 

Russ

Administrator
Joined
Oct 20, 2011
Messages
1,398
The logo is much nicer than the previous one!

I saw you posted in the https://www.theadminzone.com/threads/why-do-so-many-new-forums-have-too-many-sections.139520/ thread. While I understand where you're coming from, I think there's a fine balance between offering discussion categories and having the users feel either overwhelmed by the number of categories, or underwhelmed by the lack of discussions in all the categories.

Your site niche seems like it'd be perfect to utilize the prefixes built into XenForo. Combining a lot of the nodes into a single node then configuring prefixes would be a nice touch.

If it was mine, I'd have a single node called "debate", with prefixes targeting each of your current nodes. Then on the forum home rather than list just the single node display, I'd put up the recent X amount of threads in that specific node with the ability to start a new topic. This is a gaming-themed one but this is what I'm talking about: https://xenforo.com/community/threads/evolve-pixelexit-com-paid.165951/#post-1354114

Lastly, if you have prefixes setup from the beginning you can always move them to a specific node easily using the Batch update in XenForo.
 

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,573
I have now made a number of changes if you would like to have a look.
A little better, but these issues still remain:

  1. This topic, your URL, and board name indicate it's a Debate Forum, but you have zero actual debate content.
    • You have hundreds of threads, all from generic RSS feeds. None of the content has anything to do with debates. Why?
    • Entertainment... news feeds? Gaming... news feeds? Movies/TV/Music/Technology/Environment/Sports... on and on and on with generic news feeds... All linking away to the source... None of it presented as debate. What value is your site getting from any of this? What's the point?
    • 29 sub-forums... On a new site? And as mentioned, no debate content in any of them?
  2. You say you have a Facebook page linking to your site, but don't even offer expedited registration via Facebook. Why?
  3. What compelling reason do people have to visit your site & debate vs debating directly on Facebook, where everyone's already debating anyways?



You've trimmed a couple sub-forums, but still have a board full of news feeds. Adding "let us know your thoughts" to each feed likely doesn't solve this problem.

Answer honestly - as an outsider. Not as someone who owns your forum: Why would I register to debate?
Examples:
  • All your auto-feeds link the original articles with "Comment" functionality built in.
    • Scenario: I visit your site > click sub-forum > click thread > click link to article > read article > go back to your site > have debate? Do we really expect people to do that vs just Commenting on the article?
  • As above, the articles also have social media sharing. Think of your audience & the above user journey.
    • Now, realize all of your audience - & all their friends & family - are already on Facebook and/or Twitter. Will they go through the hassle above, or simply share/comment on Facebook/Twitter where everyone already is?




Lastly, I still say you're trying to cram in comment that has nothing to do with your stated mission...
  • "Hobbies & Crafts - tell us about it"
  • "Remember When - times gone by"
  • "Fun Zone - share something funny"
  • "Video - share it with us"
  • On an on... many more examples...
Why? I thought this was a debate forum?




I really don't mean to stomp out your enthusiasm, but these are what I see when I look at your site.
We love & get excited to run our own sites, but what logical reason does an outsider have to do what you're asking them to do?
 
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DebateIt

Aspirant
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
12
@haqzore, well I have now done a lot of work on this forum so hopefully it is now better than it was before, all feedback will be appreciated.

 

DigNap15

Fan
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
549
Your forum looks dead and boring.
You need to get a lot more members, and get them contributing to your debates.

I have General forum and a big politcs category and a new debate
I have 1,200 members, but would like a lot more

I suppose we all need to know how to get more members.
But we are competing agniast Blogs, Facebook, Youtube, Reddit, Quora, Twitter etc.

Good luck
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
875
This is a 'chicken or the egg' problem. You can't start a forum and expect people to come.

You probably need to go back to the drawing board for a couple of months:
1. You need to clearly identify your audience. Are these Lincoln Douglas high school debaters? Are these college championship debaters in the New England area? Is this a forum to discuss Texas high school debate rules and governance?
2. You need to cultivate a core group in your audience. My personal recommendation is at least 5 active people, preferably closer to 12, before you launch anything.

Put in the ground work of 3 - 6 months of building up an audience, hosting one on one conversation, and cultivating an interested group that will actively participate every day. Then launch on Slack, Discord, or Telegram.
 

R0binHood

Habitué
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
1,563
I'd hold a master debater contest to help market it to the best debaters from around the globe.
 

Oh!

Adherent
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
289
1) I think your forum would benefit from different categorization (board titles). I think it would work better if you organized it more along geopolitical lines. This would engage people more than more broad, more technical categories.

2) Take some risks with some contentious topics and viewpoints. (Though, not completely left-field or crazy).

3) Perhaps include a category discussing logical fallacies and the philosophy of argument. It probably would help to have some stickies covering some of the basics for those new(er) to such discussion.

4) Start up some discussion on off-topic areas of (unrelated) friendly forums. Perhaps, later, the admins will let you tell their members about your (non-competing) forum after you have proved yourself of some use at their forum. Maybe. I would have no problem with that at my forum in such circumstances, (though, asking 'is it OK' - rather than just 'doing' - would go a long way with me in approving such a request).
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,741
I often wonder how many new forums are still active after a year. One in ten? One in one hundred? Forum developers give the impression that sales are still good but is that at all representitive of forum activity levels? I suspect not but it would be good to think I'm wrong.
 

Soulwatcher

Devotee
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
2,676
I often wonder how many new forums are still active after a year. One in ten? One in one hundred? Forum developers give the impression that sales are still good but is that at all representitive of forum activity levels? I suspect not but it would be good to think I'm wrong.
I think forum sales are still very good because people are starting new forums all the time.
 

Soulwatcher

Devotee
Joined
Feb 27, 2006
Messages
2,676
I agree and that's half my point. What I'm wondering is how many of those forums have some level of activity after a year.
Not many from what I have seen and I am in the same boat my forums are dead too but I did have a huge absence due to me being super depressed for months. I am going to try really hard to get them going.
 
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