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  #1  
Old 30 Oct 2014, 01:17
JohnScag JohnScag is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Constructive criticism on my forum Grind Factor

So I'm looking for some reviews and thoughts on my forum. A lot of you have tons of experience so I figured I could benefit from your eye and opinion. Specifically, ideas to improve registrations, user activity, etc.

www.grindfactor.com


Thanks for all your time.
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  #2  
Old 30 Oct 2014, 02:03
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TheLastSuperman TheLastSuperman is offline
 
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Real name: Michael Miller Jr
Cool

- Another landing page w/ Enter? I'm not a fan of those as you can tell lol - Why not simply make the CMS your home page (you can do this, there are files in the .zip that allow you to upload them to the root directory and still retain forums in a subfolder) and with a little re-design the home page can be functional instead.
- Only other thing that threw me off is the logo, it's huge and almost took my head off upon entering the site!

Picking with/on you but take it with a grain of salt since I intended to make you laugh .
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  #3  
Old 30 Oct 2014, 02:23
JohnScag JohnScag is offline
 
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Haha. Well I thought the landing page would be good to quickly explain what the site all about and draw people in, but I have recently thought that it might not be needed. I'm still undecided about that actually.

And I thought the logo fit the header well. Too big?
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  #4  
Old 30 Oct 2014, 07:48
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webmastersun webmastersun is offline
 
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Originally Posted by JohnScag View Post
Haha. Well I thought the landing page would be good to quickly explain what the site all about and draw people in, but I have recently thought that it might not be needed. I'm still undecided about that actually.

And I thought the logo fit the header well. Too big?
Logo is too big, it looks like a banner, should remove landing page instead of redirecting to your forum homepage.
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  #5  
Old 30 Oct 2014, 22:44
tbworld tbworld is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Just, another point of view. I do not disagree with the points given above.

Most users know how to obtain an alternate link to the forum if they wanted it -- so to me landing pages are no big deal. Just make sure the search engine bots are scanning your forum correctly.

If your site is slow then landing pages have an advantage for the first time user. You can even pre-load some of your main forum/CMS images to the users browser cache, if your landing page is lightweight. The forum will appear to load faster, in actuality it doesn't. Again, this only works for the first time user, but that is when you want to give the best impression.

Last edited by tbworld; 30 Oct 2014 at 22:51.
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  #6  
Old 01 Nov 2014, 22:43
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BBNZowner BBNZowner is offline
 
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I'm also against the landing page on your forum - they can be useful, if used correctly like tbworld said. But to be honest, I wouldn't bother reading that block of text as a user. On my monitor it just looks like a boring paragraph so I'd skip over it. If you're going to keep it, maybe consider a redesign.

I agree that the current logo is too large. It means on a big monitor you've got a huge amount of empty space to the right side, and on small screens it will take up a big section of the screen space. Maybe try reducing it in increments: reduce size, upload, see how it looks. Rinse and repeat until you find the size it looks best at.

Other than that, I'd personally try organise the forum sections a bit better. For example, the two forums in "Drug News and Society" could actually be condensed into one forum. Just move all the existing threads and posts from one into the other, and rename. This will have the dual effect of making it look more active. Then consider joining the forum to an existing category.
Currently it is all split into heaps of chunks, and you have to scroll down a while to reach them all. Try condensing categories and sections where possible. Just note this is more of a personal preference so consult with your current member base before making any drastic changes. Some people don't mind it either way.

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  #7  
Old 01 Nov 2014, 23:20
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RichieBoy67 RichieBoy67 is offline
 
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I think on a forum it is always best to showcase the forum and have it set as the default main page people see upon entering. Landing pages just make people have to go through another hoop and then you also have the cms which is another hoop. The ultimate goal being to get people to post in your forums. It looks pretty decent though besides that.

You def need a better meta tag(Title) that tells what the site is. "Grind" may not be the best keyword.

I have not checked mobile but I do know that the vbulletin cms is not good with mobile devices so be sure to check how your site does with mobile devices as it is key these days.

The logo could be a little shorter which would also get more of your useful content above the page fold where people will see it.

Pretty cool though! Good work so far!

## Your header image is causing a page stretch from side to side when using lower resolutions. You want the site to scale so that lower resolution monitors will still be able to view the site at least decently. Not easy to do with banners etc but you just have the header image so it should be an easy fix..
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Last edited by RichieBoy67; 01 Nov 2014 at 23:25.
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  #8  
Old 02 Nov 2014, 01:08
JohnScag JohnScag is offline
 
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Thanks for all the advice, guys. I am going to get rid of the landing page and adjust the logo size. I'm not really too fond of how the cms really looks on the homepage. It's very kind of just bland. I really want a unique looking homepage. I like the forums list on the side, but I want to have featured content on the homepage that looks a lot better and more professional. Featured podcast episodes, articles, blogs, etc. Maybe a graphical box with a scroll wheel, nice pictures with bold headings.

What are some different options of making the homepage more unique instead of the typical cms articles?
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  #9  
Old 04 Nov 2014, 04:48
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BBNZowner BBNZowner is offline
 
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You could always lean towards having a Wordpress or Joomla site and integrating it with vB (I plan to do a partial integration later this year with Joomla). Of course, this adds a lot of extra work and you'll need to make sure you keep your content fresh. But to me, it sounds like this might be the direction to go to achieve what you want.
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  #10  
Old 04 Nov 2014, 05:22
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ForceHSS ForceHSS is offline
 
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The F in forum seems to be capped you need to fix that is looks crap as the rest are lower case
http://www.grindfactor.com/Forum/forum.php
Remove the landing page and make it forum not the cms as so many seem to do remember guests are there to see forum posts not the cms and the less clicking they need to do helps
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  #11  
Old 04 Nov 2014, 16:53
JohnScag JohnScag is offline
 
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Well I'm in the process of developing more pages, non forum style, but html pages like a normal website that just interface with the forum. So the forum itself is going to be a large part of the site but not the only focus. That's why I want the homepage to be a feature page of all the eventual content of the site from various pages.
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  #12  
Old 04 Nov 2014, 22:57
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xxEarluxx xxEarluxx is offline
 
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This is easy. I wish I was getting paid for it.

1. I would, like other smart people, suggest you lose the landing page.
2. You should also remove or downsize that large top banner.
3. Worry less about looks and more about fresh daily content after you've done 1 & 2.
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  #13  
Old 05 Nov 2014, 00:24
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AusPhotography AusPhotography is offline
 
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Originally Posted by xxEarluxx View Post
This is easy. I wish I was getting paid for it.

1. I would, like other smart people, suggest you lose the landing page.
2. You should also remove or downsize that large top banner.
3. Worry less about looks and more about fresh daily content after you've done 1 & 2.
+1000 where #3 is THE most important.

We land to the CMS and have setup some .htaccess rewrite rules to make all normal landings go to the right place (index.* default.* login.* etc.)

http://www.ausphotography.net.au

Kym
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