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Forum Review
by Ashlar217
01 Dec 2016 21:09

Site Name - Twisted Castle
Link - https://twistedcastle.org

I have used VB4.2.3 as the base, and have heavily modified it with a mix of both paid & free mods. The theme is from Sultan Themes.

I am looking for some site reviews, to provide me with some constructive feedback to help me improve the site further.

Thank you :)

Edit by Staff: Warning - Twisted Castle is an adult site, please use caution visiting the site (Nosey/Small Eyes etc).

Brandon Sheley 02 Dec 2016 09:26

1 Attachment(s)

This may be harsh, but it's honest.
  • Load time is very slow, 1.1 minutes to fully load
  • The block with your one classified listing in it is wasting vaulable space above the fold.
  • Your social share buttons are spaced out oddly, I'd push them together more
  • Remove this or lower it down, it helps nothing right now, it may be better once you had more listing
  • The default FAQ text on the home page, remove it or change it. It doesn't tell your guest anything about the forum.
  • The blogger, Twitter and Pintrest icons are not clickable and just look out of place atm.
  • I like the header and design overall, there is a lot of wasted space though, especially above the fold.
  • The forum descriptions are a bit hard to read, but I would hide them completely. Guest will know what the "intro" forum is about, they don't need the text telling them. Same with most of the other sections.
  • * This does not mean delete the descriptions, you can hide them with CSS pretty easily, that way Google will still see them.
  • Kill the random games block in your side column, I suspect that's one of the major items slowing the load time up.
  • I'd setup the side column like so. Articles at top, then forum post, then forum threads. Remove that twitter block, that's slowing you down as well. After that you can keep the link to us, vote for us and tag cloud.
  • The "what's going on"block at the bottom needs condensing as well. Remove "spam o matic" no one cares how much spam your forum may or may not be getting. Right now it doesn't even show anything other then taking up space. Remove the arcade info down there, you can manually copy the code to your Statistics block if you want, maybe the top played game the Time users have spent on the games.. Although it looks like that's all been from one user anyways, so you might remove the arcade completely.
  • I'm not a fan of the glowing usernames at all
  • broken images and links all over.. eg the skype icon is one I see several times, also collapse.png is missing.
  • please fix - https://website.grader.com/results/twistedcastle.org - 168 request, 16.7 seconds to load.. both horrible in this case.
  • all the post elements needs cleaned up, eg join date, location, age .... thanks up, thanks down, thanked post. Take some time to customize the look, make it your own, don't just install every mod you can find while accepting the options.
  • bottom of thread page, clean all that up. thread info, tags, bookmarks, rules etc.. no one needs that, the bookmarks and tags might be helpful, but they don't need all the space you've used up for them.
  • Featured image on thread page, isn't this the classifieds from the home page? Be consistent with everything.
  • remove the chat popup.
  • The nav buttons. Articles, make this page more inviting, show more content for each article.
  • - You have a marketplace and classifieds, why 2? could it be more confusing?
  • - blog, again broken images all over the place. Also if you're the only one using them and your members aren't interacting with it, then I'd remove it.
  • - arcade.. again, I'd kill this. You have 180+ games and the admin is the only one playing them. I understand it may be a new site, but if you go a month or two after opening and you're still the only one using it, kill it.
  • - donate.. I'm not a fan of asking for donations like that, but it's your site. If it doesn't get used ever, then I'd remove it in the header.
  • header..
  • The "connect with social media" up top ok but remove the connect with facebook, since it's covered in the other link.
  • the copyright links in the footer, I'd pay to remove those if it were me

Attachment 155516

I think that's enough for now. Overall I do like the design but you're wasting prime realestate with your toys that's not helping the forum. Ask yourself this, when you view the forum as a guest do you know what the site is about, do you know what you'd do first if you registered, do you think you'd share it with your friends (as a guest..)

Looking at the site I have no idea what it's about other then the logo, but I do know the site loads way way way to slow and looks unpolished. Remove the junk and you'll have a better chance of active users signing up.

Good luck, let me know if you have any questions on what I mentioned.

Google the phrase "website grader" or "website speed test" and most those apps will show you exactly what you need to improve. :up:

Replicant 02 Dec 2016 14:58

The site is unusable from a mobile device. Tapatalk is a work around with limited functionality at best. The previous site looked better and loaded much faster with less clutter.

Ashlar217 02 Dec 2016 23:12

Thank you both for the comments :)

I have taking the 1st posters advice on many aspects, and removed quite a few of the suggested items. I have kept the arcade and associated features. I have fixed the broken skype graphic link, and removed the clutter blocks at top of the board (Classifieds). I have removed the default VB social bookmarking options, and the ones the 1st poster defined as 'Unclickable'.

I have deleted some other small stuff that was calling pages or running queries etc.

@Replicant, I have Tapatalk installed and running with no issues so far. I also have my board set to display the default VB4 responsive mobile theme to mobile viewers. And i agree that the VB5 version was less cluttered looking, but it also lacked many of the features my members were asking for. (My members are actually members of a real life social organization, and have asked for many of the features I have already installed).

I will work further on ways to reduce load times etc.. as that seems to be the main issue. I did a recheck with website grader, and everything else is scoring well.

Thank you both again for the advice.

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