The Power of Perception - 10 Commonly Made Mistakes

Joshuad

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Joshuad submitted a new Article:

The Power of Perception - 10 Commonly Made Mistakes

The Power of Perception - 10 Commonly Made Mistakes


About

Welcome to another article written in effort to right the typical wrongs of new webmasters as well as blog/forum administrators. In this slight introduction, I'm a long time webmaster with nearly 13 years of experience under my belt, working with several top notch websites along the way. I'm in no sense an expert because I believe that in everything there is always room for improvement within yourself as well as new things to learn, but hopefully my own endeavors can help others in being successful in their projects.

As always, I've split this article into several sections to define several of the problems that I've seen new webmasters make, as well as mistakes that I've made in the distant and recent past. Keep in mind that these are my personal opinions, but I would consider all scenarios mentioned something to pay attention to.

A lot of these scenarios are strictly forum based, but several of them can be reanalyzed and translated into a blog scenario or even a static content driven site.

This article is exclusive to Drake Technologies and The Admin Zone, but if you would like to use this article for your own website be sure to leave a source link. I hope this is an enjoyable read, as I've enjoyed writing it.

Section 1: The Unseen Webmaster

This will be a forum scenario, as the website/blog scenario is covered rather in depth in sections to come. So, turn on your forum mindset. Have you ever browsed a forum and noticed the online list to see several active users and zero staff? Browsed the forum team and noticed that only a small handful of them have even logged on in the past week? I've seen it far too often when I was a forum reviewer at TAZ, but considering I had to be friendly; I was never able to mention it. Considering I am a good man, I'm not going to mention the forums I'm talking about either.

To keep this on track, I want you to look at this scenario in the eyes of your guests. How well maintained is a site that's staff isn't even maintained? A lot of new forum owners tend to have the impression that once they have a few members and some staff in place that they no longer have to be there. You couldn't be any more wrong. The owner is the most important person in terms of activity, and should display the MOST activity of any user. The remaining staff should...

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cpvr

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Sep 17, 2005
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To correct some of these issues, I have some advice to give. Never advertise yourself as being the best of the best of whatever, because more often than not, you're not. Never sell yourself as being more or less than what you really are. If you are working on a startup, advertise it as such. If you are running a 2 year long website and are still only pulling in 30 unique visitors daily, simply say "Be sure and check out mysite.com, a friendly place to get unique information on whodathunkit". You want your promotions to have a catchy yet subtle message behind them, not 3 statements of pure rubbish that you can't back up.
The fact is most people do this - to look good to others, but what's really going on is that forum owners' members should speak on this, and not the owner, or staff members. When you advertise your community, you need to give reasons as to why its good, and such.
 

cheat_master30

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Jan 16, 2010
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American English is considered the hardest language to learn for a reason, and you should respect those who spent the time to make it their second language by making your website easy to read for them by not using words that would fail your dictionary based spell checker.

I'm not sure about this one. Indeed, I've always been bugged by those who think language can ever be 'bad' or 'wrong' or who think that there's some set in stone rule about how to use English that'll never change. I recall quite well in some classes on language the thought that there isn't actually such a thing as 'bad English', and of meaning as use.

so does Google when it crawls your to index

Not really, Google's own site doesn't adhere to standards, because not doing so saves bandwidth and makes the HTML file size smaller. The search bot itself though works best at indexing well designed pages though, because it views the site as a text only browser would.

Never advertise yourself as being the best of the best of whatever, because more often than not, you're not.

I remember doing this with my old site. Not sure if it worked, because said site was the leader in it's subject area, but yeah, decent advice. Also on this note, avoid corny, cliched slogans that could have been found on any old website, or that sound like they thought up by a marketing team.

One thing that turns off anyone, not just a guest, not just a user, but anyone, is someone who overly exerts their authority.

I agree. The worst example of this I've seen had this rather unfair rule:

Whoever posts in this forum that they don't "entirely agree" with something one of us has written, without pointing what those things are and giving EXTREMELY DETAILED REASONS, will be immediately permabanned with no appeal.

It's hard to really comment on any more of this article though, because quite frankly, I agree with 98% of it. And quoting about five pages of article and saying 'I agree' after every point adds very little, if anything to the conversation.
 

Joshuad

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Nov 23, 2004
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@cpvr: that's somewhat where I'm coming from. The main point I'm making is don't advertise yourself as something your not. Sometimes a member advertising for you can be helpful, sometimes they are just an overbiased fanboy, but usually when a member does it the promo is more enteraining than when the owner acts like a tool.

@cheat_master30: you aren't someone I've witnessed using 'bad english' so I'm assuming that even though you are denying agreeing with me, you actually do. I'm not trying to press the fact that using bad english will flop your site, but its definetly not going to do anything for your professional image.

I'm probably going to edit one part about google, but there are a few design concepts important to SEO. Being ugly isn't necessarily one of them.

If your old site was the leader in its subject, and you can easily back that fact up if challenged, advertise it as such. You'd be a fool not to. I'm referring to people saying they are leaders while their site is unpopulated and unranked.

Thanks for the comments, guys. The google one was another item I should have caught while proofreading, but...well...it was a rather large article ;) also, remember these are my opinions, but you'd be surprised how many websites have reacted negatively from not adhering to this kind of advice.
 

MrPolarZero

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Feb 1, 2011
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love the last section. Very informative indeed. Especially in my case - being a person with less knowledge on web design :)
 

TheChiro

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Great thread man! Looks like you put a lot of time into this. I don't think there is one thing I would change.

To add on to what you are talking about, I see people here and on Digitalpoint putting links to their site in their signature. I've learned that that's not a smart thing to do unless there is a section on there site (usually a separate off topic section) that relates to your site. The only reason THAT is a good reason is due to SEO. You won't get much traffic from here or from DP (or any other admin site) because we are all admins, we work on our sites, we may visit to see what you do on your site and how we could adopt something, but other than that, advertising links in your sigs on these sites is worthless.
 

Joshuad

Developer
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Nov 23, 2004
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I couldn't agree more. A lot of times people consider the 'blahblah.com, please register!' in signatures to be a little pathetic, I do anyway. I'm not going to say that putting a URL in your signature on a site like this is completely useless, however, and I can explain my thinking.

From an SEO perspective you are right, it's useless because they aren't considered a relevant backlink. On the other hand, administrator / webmaster sites are built to help people hone their craft, and it's far easier to have your website(s) in your link than posting a URL every time you need help with something. Also, on several occasions I have stopped by other members websites (yours included) and compared what they are doing to what I am doing, to give myself ideas on what I can do to improve upon certain aspects.
 

BIGbadges

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Feb 10, 2011
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You could argue that every backlink counts, though I agree relevance is the most important factor!
 

BananaQueen

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Jan 29, 2011
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i agree. i see so many awful sites as advertising section moderator on my friends rpg forum (somehow the majority of rpg forums on free hosting are like this, probably cause its so easy to set one up).

theres ones with huge banners at the top that you have to scroll down to see the forum, ones with text you have to highlight to read, design that makes your eyes bleed, 3000 empty forums....
 

9KS2K

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Dec 28, 2010
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Very informative. Bookmarked to finish reading some of the sections later.
 

JulieVA

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I have re-read this about 4 times now...each time I find some way to improve my site. :)
 

nuper17

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Apr 19, 2011
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Most of your list are certainly correct with the way forums are abused. Great read and thanks for sharing.
 

hendrik1979

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Nov 18, 2012
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highlight to read

theres ones with huge banners at the top that you have to scroll down to see the forum, ones with text you have to highlight to read
 
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