Re:My site is a failure!
  • 2004/10/10 2:39

  • Chappy

  • Friend of XOOPS

  • Posts: 456

  • Since: 2002/12/14

I understand what you're saying. My site has been up in one form or another since 1999. Using XOOPS for the past 1and a half years. Our content is directed toward relatives who are caring for elderly family members, those who are grieving, and those with terminal illness. It's very frustrating for me at times. We have intentionally chosen to make our site almost entirely non-commercial ,just so that caregivers feel like they are getting the straight scoop, not someone selling snake oil. Like you, our site is paid for by my wife and I.

What is troubling is not the hits we get - we do pretty well on that count - but the relative lack of involvement on the part of the people who visit the site. XOOPS is ideal for community interaction - this thread a case in point. And people come to our site, get information, and head on. Which is sad to me because I feel they have so much to offer each other in the way of support and information - but no one wants to add to the forums, add articles, etc.

There are reasons that make sense to me for this behavior: caregivers are tired, often because they work full-time jobs and then have to go home and take care of/visit a sick loved one, they really don't have time to do any more than to get the info they want and survive to the next day; Our audience is caregivers of the elderly - many times email and computer/internet use is foreign to them; etc. There's lots of reasons.

But, it does wear on me because I feel so much more could be done to help people if the power of tools like XOOPS was used.

Anyway, thatnks for a thread that let me vent my similar frustrations I can only hope that doing good things has some long term reward, not immediately seen by the measures of society.

You have a very nice site, both in design and intent. I also like your adaptation of the myalbum module to serve as your database. I certainly wish you all the best...

Re:My site is a failure!

Dont give up, you probably get spurts of new members every so often and then nothing which makes you feel down. It takes a long time. I have all the same feelings.

A couple of things I know is working for me that may help:

. join some webrings - I did a few weeks ago and it has increased my hits

. join in some online forums (xoops/yahoo ect) about anything. Put your web address and slogan in your signiture and make lots of posts in them. In my case its easier as I was already a member of a few which directly relate to my site (4wd) but for you I guess the subjects endless. IT, carlovers, music lovers all loose dogs. evertime your address is out there it can get picked up by robots. The other thing is how many times do you look at someones posts in a forum and see their web address so you go and have a look. Just a small thing I have seen your posts and logo on here a few times but I find such a large logo in your sig distracting, and it doesnt really say "lost your dog come here to see if we can find it" )I hope thats ok - I am not trying to be a critic

. XOOPS forums seem to get good hits by search engines.
. get a site report from something like Dr Watson. check out what they say and recommend about your meta tags and stuff.
pick just one term, for me I use "australia + xtrail) submit it in search terms once a week, and see where your site come up. then watch every week to see if you climb. For me a month ago I was page three on google, this week page 1.

At the end of the day, XOOPS is free, hosting is cheap (i pay about 20 aus a month) which is the same as a couple of beers. You are probably learning heaps about php and the net, and if you save one dog in a year, thats success.

That little doggie you have running around in your header. Why not put him up the top.

Australia4WD.com . The Four & All Wheel Drive Information Portal

Re:My site is a failure!
  • 2004/10/10 8:30

  • scorpy01

  • Friend of XOOPS

  • Posts: 11

  • Since: 2004/9/13

I don't think your site is a failure at all, Ted.

The fact is, people are coming there and checking it out. That's good. Two things come to mind regarding getting new memebers.

First, speaking from personal experience, I'd rather not sign up for memebership unless there is a reason to do so. I know you're not going to spam anyone but others may not know that so they hesitate to sign up. You have to give them a reason to join. Perhaps some interesting dog related downloads - ebooks in the public domain or something you create yourself - that only members have access to would entice people to join.

Second, while we all use google, there are other ways to get your site out there. Find dog related, established communities and check out their link exchange. Offer to post a link to their site and ask that they post your link. Google gets your site out in the general public but putting your link on dog related sites exposes you to those who are already interested in your topic.


Re:My site is a failure!
  • 2004/10/10 8:45

  • Herko

  • XOOPS is my life!

  • Posts: 4238

  • Since: 2002/2/4 1

What also helps is to make it clear what you would like people to do on your site. I've started several online communities, some sucessfull, some not. What I've learnt is that you have to get people involved in the whole concept (make them part of the site's maintainance team, and let them participate in it's development), and to direct them towards the parts you want them to participate in. So make an ad for your registration, make an ad for your forums, make a banner add and spread it around on missing animal sites. Focus on the core business in those ads, what is the added value of your site (is it the forum, or is it the lost-dog registration?). If you can bring that more to the forefront, people will start to interact.


Re:My site is a failure!
  • 2004/10/10 11:53

  • rowdie

  • Just can't stay away

  • Posts: 846

  • Since: 2004/7/21

All the comments here are very valid. After having another look at your site I've also got a few more suggestions...

1. I suggest putting the google block below your other blocks. The other blocks are more important to your site and I can't see them without scrolling, at my screen resolution.

2. I love the dog in the top right corner, next to the login / register links. It draws the eye to where we need to go to log on. I suggest you get rid of the login block now because it's not necessary anymore, your little doggie is doing it's work very well That moves the menu to the top so we can then actually see what you're offering on this site.

3. I suggest you change the way you've structured the business part of your site, reporting and browsing lost and found dogs. At the moment you've got two links in the menu, 'Report a lost dog & browse database' and 'Report a found dog and browse database'. They are far too long, plus when you go to the section you're confronted with a heap of text - instructions on how to report, when all I wanted to see is pictures of missing dogs. I suggest you make a new link, 'Report lost/found dogs' which has that text and two links to report either lost or found dogs. The existing sections can then simply be lost dogs, found dogs and when you go there you see the listings immediately - I hate scrolling every time.

4. Front page - decide what is more important to your site, and put that higher than the other sections. I personally would think that the Recent lost dogs and recent found dogs is more important than what's been said in the forum lately. That's important too, but not the business end of your site, is my opinion, so it can afford to move down a few spaces

Anyway, this is just my view. I'm a devoted dog lover and I would love to see your site take off. It's a very important service you're providing, it should be used. Maybe also visit a few forums of dog breeders/associations and make your site known. They have a lot of contact with the dog lovers community so word of your site should spread.

Good luck!

Re:My site is a failure!
  • 2004/10/10 18:39

  • tedsmith

  • Home away from home

  • Posts: 1151

  • Since: 2004/6/2 1

OK - firstly, thanks a million to all of you that have helped me with this one. Once again, fellow Xoopers picking up their fellow men! Some diamond word of advice in all that, all of which I have taken on board. Fantastic.

Now then, I have now tweaked the site a bit to reflect peoples suggestions. For example, the User Login box has gone, leaving the top right 'Login' or 'Register' area with the little dog drawing your attention to it. I've also brightened that up and made it bigger for the partially sited!

I have re-ordered the central box as suggested putting the most important areas higher up and lesser important one's further down.

I've also moved the search box in the right column further down, leaving the more important one's higher up. In addition, I've ditched the Google code snippet that I had at the bottom of the central block because it's already in the right hand block - no point having two Google Search boxes - what a drag on bandwidth!

The issue of 'Reporting lost and Found Dogs'. I have now scrapped the instructions. I already knew that was overkill but was worried that without it my users may struggle. But, taking Rowdies advice, I have made the two top click menu's bigger, brighter, and they link directly to the submit.php files so that the user can report either a lost or a found dog straight away and the two instances of MyAlbum are set up to deal with those. However, as you know, if I wanted to stop the links appearing in the Main Menu all together the modules themselves have to be de-activated or users not given access to them (correct me if I'm wrong?). So, I have re-worded them to 'Browse Lost Dogs' and 'Browse Found Dogs'. If the user clicks on those, rather than the one's at the top, they will be directed to the 'top level' of the MyAlbmum module which displayes the categories so they can pick what breed or type of dog to look through. Then, if having looked around they also want to register a dog, providing they are logged in, they will get access to the hyperlink to submit.php allowing them to create a report just as though they had used the links at the top of the page. I have to agree that this area of the site is the core, and the most crucial, so I am happier with it now. Thanks Rowdie.

The issue of providing content to lure users to register - I agree 100%, but in my case, I have set this so that they have to register to create a report of a lost or found dog. This, I hoped, would be the incentive. They also need to register to submit topics in the forums and to submit news. Unfortunately, my site offers little more than those 3 core areas, so I am hoping that users will want to contribute enough to register, if you see what I mean? If I allow them to do those things without registering there will be nothing more to give - besides, if they don't then other users cannot contact them because there will be no e-mail address, user name etc. I have used less vital things like Polls as blanket access to ensure users stick around long enough to see what the site has to offer.

I will indeed try to get involved in some web rings and contribute to other dog related forums and add my signature to those I may also consider re-making my logo to be more descriptive. Good point.

I will contact my webhost regarding DNS referals. I agree that I should perhaps have left it as .co.uk. When I started to re-design it I originally intended it to be International, so I bought the .com. However, once I got into Xoops, I realised that there wasn't a module that allowed me to create a reporting structure like MyAlbum but including all the countries as a selectable tab. Unfortunately, I offered about £100 to see if someone could make one, but I was told that it was too specific and time consuming for fellow Xoopers to do for me, so I left it. For that reason it has had to stay UK based - for now at least.

That's it - fantastic guys. Really, thanks a million - you have provided the inspiration needed to carry on with this little venture. And now having been taught to look at from a different angle, I am quite excited about the challenge - indeed you are right - getting people to use the site is all part of the fun!

Thanks geezers!

Re:My site is a failure!
  • 2004/10/10 19:33

  • wizanda

  • Home away from home

  • Posts: 1585

  • Since: 2004/3/21

You are the same as me i have well over 1000+ hits a month

Yet people just surf

Just noticed as i was going to post, you are from nottingham as well that probley why we are jinxed

Couple of things that others have stated as well is:

1 make it so people can post on the forum with out logging in

2 I am at the moment on someone elses pc and so i dont have yahoo messenger on it,same when i am in a libray ect
so i had to go and get my email to register

3 Have you thought of using formulaire to make forms for people to fill in for lost dog requests?

4 although the site looks proffesional-ish the Quote:
Report a Lost\Stolen Dog | Report a Found\Stray Dog
looks messy and put me off the 1st time i looked at your site about a week or 2 ago

5 Also your site runs quite slow have you cached as much as possible

6 since you are in nottingham if i loose my dog you will be the 1st person i will contact

7 when i went to loggin the site kept going no server found who are you hosted by? Soon going to buy my own server to host my site on

Re:My site is a failure!
  • 2004/10/12 1:45

  • upsadaz

  • Friend of XOOPS

  • Posts: 174

  • Since: 2004/2/26

Hi, Ted.

I work for a local internet company and our home page I put together with xoops. It took a full five years for the page to really catch on, even with the fact that we encouraged our customers to use us for a home page. We had to allow anonymous posting because the topics got more debated that way. The more debate and hot the comments got the more news about us spread by word of mouth. There are specific posters that are the attention getters and their wild comments bring readers back to the page to see what wild things they'll post next. Controversy sells.
Your site is very specific to a segment of the population so it will take a while to catch on. I would contact your local dog shelters, vets, kennels and groomers and ask if you could send them a flyer with detacheable pieces with your website info on it so that the public can take them home. Networking is key.

Please don't give up. There are doggies out there that need you.

Good luck.

Re:My site is a failure!
  • 2004/10/12 9:30

  • tedsmith

  • Home away from home

  • Posts: 1151

  • Since: 2004/6/2 1

Again - all good tips. I keep tweaking things here and there as suggested, and thanks to those of you that have registered and used the site. I will get round to networking and I agree that contoversy sells - this is why I added a 'Should fox hunting be bannded' as a poll. That it doing quite well and people are commenting!

I won't give up - come hell or highwater I will succeed !!

Re:My site is a failure!
  • 2004/10/12 11:47

  • Anni5166

  • Just popping in

  • Posts: 39

  • Since: 2004/9/30

Have you tried any reciprocal link programs Ted. This onehttp://www.infowizards.com/ looks quite good.


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