Forums have become a great way for people to learn and share knowledge about search engines. Now there's a new forum site joining the fun, one from Search Engine Watch itself.
Why launch another search forum? As you know, Search Engine Watch constantly publishes original content about search engines. The new Search Engine Watch Forums now allow readers to contribute comments about those articles. In particular, we'll soon begin running links at the end of our stories inviting readers to add their own advice and observations about topics covered.
Of course, you're free to start discussing any of our stories right now or to talk about any other stories that have piqued your interest. Just drop by! Registration is free. You can also just lurk in the background and read what others are posting without having to register.
You needn't depend on search news stories as a launching point for discussions. Seen something unusual on a search engine? Wondering what experiences others have about a particular search marketing aspect? Looking for advice on a particular topic? These are just some of many reasons why you might start a discussion thread.
Here's a quick guide to the major discussion areas of the forums site, which you'll find listed on the home page:
- Featured Discussions: These are discussions that have especially good posts or are around topics that will be of interest to many people.
- Search Engines & Directories: An alphabetical guide to search engine-specific discussions. What's up with Google AdWords? Any news on MSN's search engine developments? What's happening at Yahoo? There are areas for all major search engines and catch-all areas for others.
- Search Engine Marketing Strategies: Areas here are focused around different aspects of search engine marketing, such as gaining free listings through SEO work, link building or dealing with dynamic web sites.
- General Search Issues: Search Engine Watch has always been about helping people search better, as well as search engine marketing. This area has sections covering searching tips, specialty searching and search toolbars, as well as general search issues such as industry growth or technology.
- Member's Lounge: Home to "The Padded Room," a safe place for you to bounce ideas about the forum off the walls. The forums are clearly new and will continue to grow and be defined by the community. So don't hesitate to drop suggestions or ideas in here.
Moderators & Management
Managing a forum is no easy task. We've got a variety of welcome volunteers who've stepped up to help, and you'll find them all listed on the site's home page. Their job is primarily to help weed out the spam that can plague any forum, plus they'll be contributing to topics, starting new ones and helping to shape the new community.
The moderators will also help enforce general rules of behavior. The forum has a standard acceptable use policy used by all forums operated by Jupitermedia, the publisher of Search Engine Watch. The SEW Forums may add some specific additions to this as the site matures, but only if deemed needed to help preserve the usefulness of the community.
Watching over things on a day-by-day basis is Elisabeth Osmeloski, Search Engine Watch's new forums editor. Elisabeth has been a popular speaker at the Search Engine Strategies conferences that Search Engine Watch organizes, as well as a long-time search engine marketer. We're very pleased to have her as part of the team!
Of course, Search Engine Watch associate editor Chris Sherman and I will be participating in the forum as well. We'll be posting to threads and reading many others.
Ready to jump in? Here are a few features and tips to keep in mind:
- User Name: When you sign-up, you'll need to come up with a user name or nickname for yourself. This will appear above all your posts. Choose carefully, because you can't change this once created.
- Custom Title: A title will appear below your User Name when you post. You don't have to use the default titles such as "junior member" or "member" that change depending on the number of times you post. Pick a custom title! Use the User Control Panel link, then the Edit Profile option to alter the title to show your real name, your company name, your URL or even a funny message or phrase. Like some forums, the SEW Forums doesn't use signatures below posts. So, a custom title is a great alternative to this.
- Reputations: Like what someone said? Look above their post, to the right of their user name. You'll see a scale icon and the link that says "reputation." Approve or disapprove of their post and optionally enter comments that are sent anonymously to the poster.
- Reputation Meter: To the right of the user name, you'll see a meter made of green boxes showing the earned reputation of a poster. The more green bars, the better. Hate the idea? You can disable having your reputation shown via the User Control Panel.
- Thread Rating: Think a particular discussion is great? Use the Rate This Thread drop down box at the bottom of the page to give it a rating.
- 40 Posts At Once: Personally, I find it useful to see as many posts on a page as possible. Our forums allow 40. To change to this from the default, use the User Control Panel, then the Edit Options page.
There are many more features, and the FAQ area provides help about them. Over time, we'll also customize and expand the FAQ as makes sense.
We'll also enhance or add additional features, as well. While the forums were beta tested over the past week, they'll definitely continue to grow and be shaped as the community develops. It's a process I'm looking forward to participating in, and I hope you'll want to take part in.
NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.