I recently took over a social networking site which is focused toward freshwater and marine hobbyists, marine biologists, and those in the industry. We had some issues with user interface, which I think I have cleared up in the past week, using sub-tabs, creating multiple ways to get to some of the same pages.
The point of the site is to increase activity within the hobby/aquatic community and have a link-between for forums, companies, and hobbyists. The majority of our info/ my plans for the site can be found here.
Ironically, we have been running for over a year and only have 150 members. Keep in mind, many of these updates have been made over the past week. We have reached almost 600 likes on facebook (with an all-time high of 3,800 people reached yesterday, and a new record of nearly 4,500 as of a few hours ago). The hard part seems to be getting these likes to become new members. Perhaps over the next couple months when I release all the currently planned updates, traffic will increase?
The site -> http://meetreef.com
Here is our facebook page -> http://www.facebook.com/pages/MeetReefcom/199479846765439
Some of the features are set so only signed-in members can see them. The intent of this is to increase new user traffic and encourage people to sign-up to see content within discussions, photo albums, member profiles, and some groups.
I have these tabs open to everyone right now so you can get a better idea of the entire site.
Since we are running a site for commercial fish farming & research, I thought I'd take a peek at yours. Here's my analysis:
1. This site has a plain blue banner which could belong to any drab topic. Suggest a pic of reef.
2. The first thing that draws the eyes is an advertisement at the top. Bad. Looks like your main interest is advertising for others...not building a community. Put that add on a sidebar someplace maybe?
3. Top text box isn't effective. Change the fonts in that box to set off "announcements" maybe.
Overall.. better organization; more graphics and better use of fonts. You can check out our network on a similar topic at: http://www.aquaculturehub.org
Good luck with the rebuild!
Thanks. I wanted the blue, silver and white to be our colors, so that will stay. I am also not the network creator, so there's that. he request that i ont change the appearance/colors, but i will maybe mention it.
Yeah, I don't really like the ad at top. I wanted to put advertising on the site to result in revenue down the road, but I do agree the ad is too prominent.
How do I change the font? Is this done through the design studio?
By the way, our site logo can is the little silver/white wave, and can also be seen in my Ning avatar. This has more color to it and I do feel it would attract more attention. We commonly use the two (logo and banner) together for a simple, sleek, contrasting look.
you have an edit button there wich means u have an empty ads below the header turned on with nothing in it so if your logged in as admin the area shows so u can edit it but if you logout or login as member you wont ee that area unles theres something in it
You are right. I went ahead and removed the ad space I used to have at the header. But I would still like for the module background color to meet up with the Ning bar and cover up the small amount of white space there would be.
I figured out what I was trying to do. Take another look. I will need to edit some of the photos to match it now.
This goes against the grain in some of these forums but if you want signups turn the site to "Public, Main page only" in the privacy settings. Very important that you have good traffic generation into the site e.g back links, Facebook, twitter, however and need to have good content on the main page that someone will want to click through to.
It certainly has worked for me recently
Thanks for the tip, Ryan. At the moment, we have content feeding through our twitter and facebook pages. Maybe instead we should post content on these other networks only in the form of links to actual images, videos articles, etc to be found on our homepage. Having already been brought to the site to view our updates, will encourage people to look around once they are already here.