Archive for October, 2011

A “webmaster tip” is if you don’t have time (or HTML skillz) to set up a fan website, collect your data onto a message board or forum.

Lately I’ve noticed that there are some extremely well-organized message boards that could compete nicely with just about any fan website in terms of content offered. Based on that, some ideas for starting a fan forum include:

* If it’s a TV show, have an Episodes section with one thread for each of the episodes. You could start the thread with an episode summary, and then direct viewers to add relevant quotes or comments in the appropriate thread. (Note that if you don’t feel like writing episode descriptions of all episodes, start with just those for your favorites eps. Especially if it’s a hard-to-find series: I bet someone would love to read it, and something is better than nothing!)

* Don’t forget a “general” section to catch those topics that don’t fit in a specific episode.

* As the forum grows you can add sections for character info, fanfiction, fanart, etc. – anything that a “normal” website would have.

* A board can be an especially effective form of getting online if there’s not a lot of info on the ‘Net for your topic. Plus, the more visitors your forum gets, the more people you have to help you add content such as reviews, quotes, trivia, etc.

* One down side of having a forum, though, is that some people will avoid it simply because they’ve seen too many message boards with only opinions to offer. But if you’ve got good content, and you can stick with it until your board starts showing up in searches, there’s a good chance that people *will* find you – and keep coming back!

And not just for forums, but some general webmaster tips:

* Remember that it’ll take quite a bit of work to compile a good selection of content and organize it. Adding a little bit at a time is fine, but if you undertake the project, please stick with it! The ‘Net already has far too many unfinished and neglected projects.

* PLEASE don’t have light text on a dark page for any thing that requires a lot of reading. Your visitors’ eyes will thank you.