Archive for September, 2008

Forums and creating online ‘community’

When we first launched Lefora, we made a decision early on to refer to our service as a ‘forum’ as it’s an abstract idea that people are very familiar with – it predates the web.

Ultimately, we see Lefora as enabling communities to do more online – the ‘forum’ is the essential core of any group coming together to communicate. We’re focused on the conversation, but have many social features surrounding the forum, from a headlines page featuring hot topics based on community participation, to member profiles that feature everything a person says across the forum. We’ve added other features like thumbs up & down to offer community moderation, email notifications to encourage members to return to the site, and search engine optimization to ensure new people find a lefora site via a google search.

A friend sent us a nice article, How to Grow a Customer Forum into a Social Media Site, that highlights the changes that one company took to evolve their standard forum to a place where their customers could come together online – which ultimately benefits the company by building a community around their product.

The case study makes some good points, specifically highlighting how:

  • A community attracts more web traffic
  • Connects with consumers
  • Empowers brand advocates to spread their message
  • Builds interest and expertise
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Featured Forum – The Round Table Forum

Today, we’re talking to Christian (borix7) of The Round Table forum. Christian started his forum more than 6 months ago. He’s been incredibly helpful to us at Lefora – providing feedback, supporting us around the web, answering questions in the support forum, and helping us translate Lefora into Spanish.

Christian, what are people talking about on The Round Table?
Lately we are pretty much talking about anything. The Round Table (TRT) Started as a community of friends that wanted to mainly talk about Boxing. After tons of topics started concerning other things besides Boxing it went from TRTBoxing to TRT Everything. So we decided to keep it as an everything Forum with just us friends. TRTBoxing.Lefora.com will be the new Boxing Forum for anyone to join.

Do you have 3 simple tips you could share with other forum admins to run a fun and active forum?

  1. Let the Forum go with the flow (will make it a lot more fun for everyone).
  2. Keep it interesting and simple.
  3. Log in, read and Post (easy to fall behind with Forum addicts like everyone in TRT)

How have you gone about promoting your forum?
Since in my forum we all know each other it was easy, just word of mouth. For my new forum though I plan on doing things like making flyers and banners that members can put on their Myspace, facebook etc linking to the forum and posting the forum address everywhere there’s boxer fans.

Have you used other forum software in the past? If so, how would you compare Lefora to past experiences with forums?
Yes I have used other Forum Software in the past they were all too typical forum like. Lefora makes it look different and adds lots of other useful things like the widgets. I think Lefora’s team is the thing that puts Lefora ahead of any other Forum Software. If there’s something that other software have that Lefora doesn’t have Lefora’s team will do their best to incorporate it and actually make it better.

Anything else you would like to comment on?
Congrats to Lefora for such a great service and Thanks.

Lefora Posting Activity

Andrew, with his degree in Physics, is always turning out cool visualizations, from lefora stats, to our Leforasaurus 404 mascot.

This weekend, he put together an interesting stat on posting activity for the first week of September (based on the San Francisco PST time zone). The dark squares in the center are topics, and the light gray squares are the posts (this chart shows a healthy ratio). We see that our heaving posting times tend to be midday/afternoon – with not as many people posting at 1am 😛

What’s appears to be a little too subtle hear is the ‘wave’ affect that we see on visits and page views to our site. Each week, our stats have a wave-like cycle, with Friday/Saturday being our lowest activity, and Tue/Wed being our highest level of activity.

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Click for full size.

Featured Forum – Orange County Fixed Forum

OC Fixed Forum

Today, we’re talking to Huphtur from the Orange County Fixed Forum. Founded just 3 months ago, they have over 400 members and 8,000 posts. Orange County Fixed has helped us beta-test upcoming features and they are currently running our ‘new view’ which introduces flat topics and pagination.


Huph, what’s the topic or general theme of your forum? What are people talking about?
Orange County Fixed is a forum for the local fixie scene in Orange County, CA. We generally use the site to talk about bikes, meeting up for rides and all other nonsense that goes along with the so called “fixie scene”

Before you started your forum, I remember talking to you on support, you had a lot of great questions. What went into your decision for choosing lefora over another forum offering?
I’m Dutch and frugal and live by the rule: If it’s free, it’s me! But seriously, I didn’t want to deal with server maintainance and other scenarios that would take the fun out of running a forum. Plus the way you guys answered my questions, I knew you guys were legit.

Do you have 3 simple tips you could offer for running an active forum?
1. Let the users dictate the content, they are the ones using the forum.
2. See 1.
3. See 2.

How have you promoted you forum, and are you still continuing to promote or does it grow on it’s own?
Since it’s a forum for a local scene, the growth is 100% organic. Whenever an active member meets a new fixie rider on the street, he/she will always give a heads-up about orangecountyfixed.com. And I think some members are working on stickers and shirts. I’ll send ya one if they ever get made.

Have you faced any challenges with Lefora?

Before Orange County Fixed, most users were on a different forum, which runs on Vanilla platform. It’s nice, but it does certain things in a very peculiar way, so it took a while for users to ditch those habbits and really understand Lefora’s features. I set up a topic for this to make it easier for people.

What would you like to see on Orange County Fixed one year out?
Less drama! Orange County is really like that TV Show “The OC”. It’s crazy, but secretly fun. I’ve met some awesome people via the forum and been on some really cool rides.

Anything else you would like to comment on?
Thanks Lefora for giving us a platform to support the Orange County Fixie scene.


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