Coffeehouse Thread

19 posts

Tips for building online communities?

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  • jsampsonPC

    Hey Everybody,

    I've just finished my 11th screencast, which was an intro to Classes and Objects in PHP5, over at www.SampsonResume.com. My AWSTATS indicates that I'm getting over 1200+ unique hits a month now, largely due to my screencasts I hope (I can't think of anything else worth viewing on my blog Smiley).

    I started a forum, www.sampsonresume.com/forums/, to give people a place to discuss the topics I cover, and even get more info in areas I didn't delve too deeply into.

    My question is this, how can I develop more of a community at www.sampsonresume.com and the forums secion? I have about six registered members as of now - about 3 days running.

    I really want to serve the community of aspiring-developers, but I am not 100% how to get their attention...any words of wisdom or advice for attracting the newbs of our time?

    Best Wishes,
    Jonathan Sampson

    PS
    I even thought about mooching off of the MySpace hype and doing a video on customizing your MySpace (even though I hate the site Tongue Out). I figured that would get ALOT of attention.

  • eagle
  • Angus

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    
    PS
    I even thought about mooching off of the MySpace hype and doing a video on customizing your MySpace (even though I hate the site ). I figured that would get ALOT of attention.


    That would be a good idea, I don't like MySpace either, but it would certainly get people listening, and thinking about getting into programming.

    To get people interested I would suggest doing a project in different parts, such as a forum script in PHP and MySQL; it would give people something to aim for, and a purpose for watching the videos.

    Angus Higgins

  • jsampsonPC

    Angus wrote:
    
    jsampsonPC wrote:
    PS
    I even thought about mooching off of the MySpace hype and doing a video on customizing your MySpace (even though I hate the site ). I figured that would get ALOT of attention.


    That would be a good idea, I don't like MySpace either, but it would certainly get people listening, and thinking about getting into programming.

    To get people interested I would suggest doing a project in different parts, such as a forum script in PHP and MySQL; it would give people something to aim for, and a purpose for watching the videos.

    Angus Higgins


    Yeah, the idea has been suggested more than once, and I want to do it. The only thing is, I want to get individual videos up first, for people who are looking for answers in a specific area.

    I would hate having to search through 8 videos to find out specifics about private methods in a class...or how to store class state in a database.

  • Angus

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    
    Yeah, the idea has been suggested more than once, and I want to do it. The only thing is, I want to get individual videos up first, for people who are looking for answers in a specific area.

    I would hate having to search through 8 videos to find out specifics about private methods in a class...or how to store class state in a database.


    Yeah, get the basics done, I wish I had learned the basics in C#, and programming in general, as it gives you a very lacking knowledge if you go straight into things.

    I had an idea about how you could organise the videos, it comes from a metaphor of knowledge as a wall.

    Why not have all the videos in a wall style layout? You would have the most basic, and fundamental videos (about classes, variables, etc.) near the bottom, and it would work upwards to things that were more optional, i.e. you might only want to know it if you are doing a project about it.

    People would be encouraged to watch the first videos and gain an understanding, (get a strong foundation [the wall]), and eventually progress to other videos.

    You could have small groups of videos centred around different projects, these would have links to the videos (nearer the top of the wall) that would be required before the project could be completed.

    It's just an idea. Tongue Out

    Angus Higgins

  • Deactivated User

    Comment removed at user's request.

  • blowdart

    yman wrote:


    oh btw, 1200+ unique page views isn't that impressive. I am told W3bbo reaches 6 times that in a day...


    And that's why you shouldn't care about hit counts. If it's enough for you then why bother with the dick waving that goes on with them.

    (*snicker* I beat w3bbo then)

  • jsampsonPC

    yman wrote:
    ...oh btw, 1200+ unique page views isn't that impressive. I am told W3bbo reaches 6 times that in a day...


    I didn't say that to impress you, I've been around for a while, and I know 1200 isn't a drop in the bucket compared to over 6 thousand hits/day that some of my clients' sites have received. The only difference is that this is my baby, and she was only getting ~30 month a couple months ago. So you can see why I'm excited about a pitiful little 1200+.

  • eagle

    The average unique users on blogs per day is 1.


    Bloggers talking about all the traffic they get reminds me of 15 year old boys talking about all the woman they’ve had.

  • Dr Herbie

    jsampsonPC wrote:
    
    yman wrote:...oh btw, 1200+ unique page views isn't that impressive. I am told W3bbo reaches 6 times that in a day...


    I didn't say that to impress you, I've been around for a while, and I know 1200 isn't a drop in the bucket compared to over 6 thousand hits/day that some of my clients' sites have received. The only difference is that this is my baby, and she was only getting ~30 month a couple months ago. So you can see why I'm excited about a pitiful little 1200+.


    Well, I'm impressed.  My blog get about 2 hit a day.  Mostly students looking up information on the 'Normal distribution' and 'blue eye alleles'.  Still, I'm not really doing it for fame and fortune.

    I guess if you want to attract people, you'll have to advertise.  I only found C9 becuase it was on the MSDN front page.
    Who links to your site?

    Herbie

  • Eric Falsken

    I would recommend against the forum, actually. Put your videos into a video blog ala Blogger or YouTube or any of the other blogging services. If people want to comment on videos, let them comment. Comments take a lot less effort for the occational visitor. Forums require more committment to register and check periodically, and are more appropriate for a community of people who are actively discussing a range of topics.

    There are hundreds of forums out there, and I hate registering for yet another site just to leave a comment. I typically leave without commenting. Especially if I'm not likely to come back.

    Blogs on the other hand allow me to subscribe in my RSS reader, and do not require registration before allowing me to comment.

    I've been running the db4o developer community: http://developer.db4o.com for almost a year now. Active users love posting. But the blogs almost never get comments because they're registration-only. (working on loosening that up a bit) But the only reason people come to post in the forums is if they want help on an issue they are having.

    If you're expecting a lot more "Help, X dosn't work" posts, leave it on comments until you start getting enough repeat traffic to make real "discussions" possible.

    As for driving traffic, put your feed/blog url into your sig everywhere you post (for starters), and get your feed listed anywhere possible. Keep the content coming. Even shows like ARCast and Hanselminutes took 20 episodes before they caught on.

  • erik_


    Design for community: The art of connecting real people in virtual places


    If you want to read an book about it than this is a great one. Just talks about the stuff behind the community instead of this is how you setup a forum (unzip zip, upload files).

    But you need to be willing to spend some money and time reading.

  • jsampsonPC

    Dr Herbie wrote:
    
    jsampsonPC wrote:
    yman wrote:...oh btw, 1200+ unique page views isn't that impressive. I am told W3bbo reaches 6 times that in a day...


    I didn't say that to impress you, I've been around for a while, and I know 1200 isn't a drop in the bucket compared to over 6 thousand hits/day that some of my clients' sites have received. The only difference is that this is my baby, and she was only getting ~30 month a couple months ago. So you can see why I'm excited about a pitiful little 1200+.


    Well, I'm impressed.  My blog get about 2 hit a day.  Mostly students looking up information on the 'Normal distribution' and 'blue eye alleles'.  Still, I'm not really doing it for fame and fortune.

    I guess if you want to attract people, you'll have to advertise.  I only found C9 becuase it was on the MSDN front page.
    Who links to your site?

    Herbie



    Right now my main source of traffic comes from BestTechVideos.com - they found me, and I have been informing them of new videos. So far, none of my registered users have stated that is where they found me (they usually tell me google searches - My videos come up at #1 if you google "PHP Screencast").

    So I haven't started any real advertising, I've been doing the free stuff, like registering on technorati, posting a video on soapbox, etc. I will probably wait a few more months, see how "word-of-mouth" works out, and then advertise if the results aren't proportionate to my work load.

  • jsampsonPC

    Eric Falsken wrote:
    I would recommend against the forum, actually. Put your videos into a video blog ala Blogger or YouTube or any of the other blogging services. If people want to comment on videos, let them comment. Comments take a lot less effort for the occational visitor. Forums require more committment to register and check periodically, and are more appropriate for a community of people who are actively discussing a range of topics.

    There are hundreds of forums out there, and I hate registering for yet another site just to leave a comment. I typically leave without commenting. Especially if I'm not likely to come back.

    Blogs on the other hand allow me to subscribe in my RSS reader, and do not require registration before allowing me to comment.

    I've been running the db4o developer community: http://developer.db4o.com for almost a year now. Active users love posting. But the blogs almost never get comments because they're registration-only. (working on loosening that up a bit) But the only reason people come to post in the forums is if they want help on an issue they are having.

    If you're expecting a lot more "Help, X dosn't work" posts, leave it on comments until you start getting enough repeat traffic to make real "discussions" possible.

    As for driving traffic, put your feed/blog url into your sig everywhere you post (for starters), and get your feed listed anywhere possible. Keep the content coming. Even shows like ARCast and Hanselminutes took 20 episodes before they caught on.


    Hey Eric,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I have a forum, which compliments the main blog. My site, www.sampsonresume.com, is a blog. I actually had commenting turned on for unregistered users in the blog up until about 2 days ago. I turned comments off to encourage people to take part in the corresponding threads/polls (1 poll/thread per video).

    I may turn the unregistered commenting back on though. As for the signature thing,

    Best Wishes,
    Jonathan Sampson
    www.SampsonResume.com
    "Free Programming Video-Tutorials!"

    Wink

  • jsampsonPC

    erik_ wrote:
    
    Design for community: The art of connecting real people in virtual places


    If you want to read an book about it than this is a great one. Just talks about the stuff behind the community instead of this is how you setup a forum (unzip zip, upload files).

    But you need to be willing to spend some money and time reading.


    Willing to spend money? I just purchased Camtasia Studio for $317.00 - and I am paying for the bandwidth to host all of my videos, and blog, and forum Smiley If the demand for more money comes up, I'll provide it Smiley

  • erik_

    Ah, then order a copy of the book as quicly as possible Big Smile

    Didn't know camtasia costed that much, was thinking more in the range of 100 - 150.

  • jsampsonPC

    erik_ wrote:
    Ah, then order a copy of the book as quicly as possible

    Didn't know camtasia costed that much, was thinking more in the range of 100 - 150.


    $300 wasn't too much Smiley Considering they gave me two registration keys, and a free copy of Camtasia Studio 4 when it came out Smiley So, I really only paid like $158.50 for each version if you look at it that way Smiley

  • Kevin Daly

    eagle wrote:
    The average unique users on blogs per day is 1.


    Bloggers talking about all the traffic they get reminds me of 15 year old boys talking about all the woman they’ve had.


    1 you say?
    I can only dream of such popularity.

    I think the most hits I've ever had on my dotnetjunkies blog was when I foolishly titled a post "Fooling around with the Atom API", and got all the pathetic <word-that-would-definitely-be-censored-by-the-nannyware>s who were Googling for "fooling around". Big Smile

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