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inspiration website feedback fablelane

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#1 ffMathy

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 16:50

Hi there. Throughout time, I have always been interested in knowing how people get to the top in terms of community activity when there is nothing there to begin with.

Neowin must have started off somewhere with a forum containing zero posts. How did it create incentive for people to contribute in an environment with no initial activity?

I think this would help me understand what I can do to improve my own website and engage people more.

I have created a collaborative short story website where people can start their own story, and along with others, decide what happens next, or add new branches to the story.

http://fablelane.com

Right now, even anonymous users can contribute. I did this in effort to boost activity, and it helped slightly. I already designed a front page that I personally believe engages first time users, and if you want to sign up, I eased the process by allowing (and requiring) you to do so through Facebook.

The site did get covered by various newspapers and was features on the History Channel, but that coverage came at a time where the site was still heavily under construction.

I don't want to be an ass to my users and spam them with emails or post stuff on their wall like Farmville does to spread itself out virally. That is a no-go for me. Right now, people can unsubscribe from emails I send, and I only send them when somebody does something to a story you created.

But maybe that is a wrong way of doing it? Maybe I should harness any form of social spread I can get?

Some friends of mine pointed out that I should try to give people points and experience points and badges or achievements to people who invite their friends. Would that be feasible? At least it would be more morally accepted.

So in general, I guess I am just looking for any kind of feedback or any of your stories of how you did things that can inspire me.


Edited by ffMathy, 15 October 2013 - 16:55.



#2 Joe User

Joe User

    Lazy Joe's

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 17:12

Spoiler

Points and badges are a great start. Showing post counts seems to be popular, even though it only represents quantity.
 
Once you have a good amount of stories going, then send a one off email inviting the old users back and giving them a special badge.



#3 +Heartripper

Heartripper

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 17:25

Possibility for users to "like" a piece of story written by someone else, and show how many likes an user has received?

#4 +Heartripper

Heartripper

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 17:30

I think you may also consider Facebook integration trough Open Graph, the way other services like souncloud or Spotify, which is posting updates on what users do with their service. I don't consider it spam, instead it helped me discover new songs.

#5 vetDirtyLarry

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 17:44

I think it is really hard to pinpoint what you are looking for.

Personally, I believe the most obvious thing to look at first is need.

Meaning, is there a need for the services you are offering?

 

 

 

So first and foremost, does your website meet an unfulfilled need? Or are there other websites out there that already provide similar type services?

 

If the content interests people, the rest is just getting them more involved.

Likes. Comments. Being able to share on other social networks. That will be the easy part if the content and purpose of the site is meeting an unfulfilled need.

 

If there is already lots of competition, that obviously makes things much more difficult. You can introduce all of those other aspects, but if there are other sites that already do the same thing, it is going to be an uphill battle.

 

So taking a quick look at your site, I do know of other sites that do something similar. So you are really going to have to introduce something that separates what you are trying to do from the other sites out there.

So maybe something like the best story voted on at the end of each month by the community will be part of a (digital) book at the end of the year that will be a free download for members?

Or maybe you can get an already published author to provide tips once a month for aspiring writers?

 

Mainly the key to any website that offers a specific thing such as yours is now that you can offer this thing, what can you do do offer it differently from those who are already offering it?



#6 +Lingwo

Lingwo

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 17:48

I definitely would push the social aspect of it through social networking, like Share buttons for social network sites.

It is really important nowadays. You probably already have, but read up on SEO optimization too. There are a lot of easy things to do which can help get you up the search listings.

 

I don't agree with locking the registration to facebook, i personally don't use my facebook, twitter accounts to register for sites.

 

Site design wise, i'd say it is excellent, very modern and you're right it is engaging to users.

I think it is nice enough and looks easy enough for users if they want to have a go at the site.

 

Perhaps ask similar sites to plug the site and popular blog sites who deal with this kind of thing. Invite them to try the site and review it.

Cross promotion is always good.

 

Perhaps you can allow users to vote on stories and run community spotlights to highlight the top stories.

 

Another way to get users to the site, competitions. I don't know what you could give away or how it would work though.



#7 OP ffMathy

ffMathy

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 17:50

The only major concern about Opem Graph is that it requires my Facebook app to have high ratings, which it does not.

Showing the like count is a good idea. I will implement that.

Joe, I am a student myself and don't have a lot of income despite living in Denmark where you get paid for going to school. I can't hire people yet.

The thing about sending everyone an email, has that been proven to work for you earlier? I am curious.

Interesting ideas so far. Keep them coming! I appreciate it.

#8 OP ffMathy

ffMathy

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 18:01

Dirtylary, your post made me wake up. I think you are right. I need to work on promoting what makes it different. But how do I do that when I also want simplicity?

Lingwo, thanks for the very positive feedback. Warms my heart. Asking blogs is a brilliant idea! I can't believe I didn't think about that before.

Any other ideas?

#9 firey

firey

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 18:02

Porn



#10 Joe User

Joe User

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 18:03


The thing about sending everyone an email, has that been proven to work for you earlier? I am curious.

 

 

You only get one shot with a mass email.  If you do it more than once, people see you as spamming. So, make it work and offer them something they'll want.



#11 +Lingwo

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 18:11

A site i work on. I think the way they get the most visitors. The offers a completely different service but they should still work.

 

SEO Optimization - Obvious one. They hired a company to do that though as it is an art in itself.

Cross promotion with other sites/blogs.

Social networking. Have a facebook page for your site and allow people to like it and also post to it and link stories to it.

Competitions. Users love free stuff, even if you get a small majority to stay on the site it will have worked.

 

Get google analytics on there if you haven't already and track what pages users go to and see where they drop off.

You can even track their journey on your site.

 

Perhaps allow authors to link/embed their story on their own site/forums. Simple implement and effective.



#12 OP ffMathy

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 16:32

That is a fine idea as well.

#13 Colicab

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 16:41

How about a competition, with real world prizes?

Get it on social media and spread it. Should work a treat.



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