Here we go again.
In my Dj Khaled Voice: “It’s another one”
And not just any other one. It’s another forum site review.
I generally am not a big fan of forums, because that’s where majority of the trolls hang out online.
And I don’t like trolls.
Okay, enough of my own “senrenre”, let’s begin…
The Naija Hut Site Review
From a quick “scroll-through” (yes, I just invented that word) of your site, you haven’t really given me much to work with.
But a review thou asked for, a review thou shalt get.
Let’s get technical.
Your blue background is nice. It gives me that sense of “this might be a cool place to hang out.” And that’s good, considering blue is a colour usually associated with cool, calm, collected and cool things… I already said cool right?
That being said, it seems a bit bare when it comes to layout.
(i) Your Site Title
Sure, you have one at the top of the browser tab, but nowhere on your home page. Not good.
I don’t know why you don’t have one showing on your home page, but no matter what your reasons may be, that’s a wrong move.
Your site title tells us that we have arrived at the right place. Sure, we might figure that out by ourselves, but that will take some thinking.
Remember one of my Golden rules from this post, “Thou shalt not make thy visitor think.”
Make your site title visible. Or create a logo using the words and then put it in that upper left corner of your home page.
(ii) No tagline
Oga/ Madam bet why?
I keep droning on and on about this in every review.
The tagline tells us what your site is about and what the benefit to us for staying on your home page is.
Without that, we start to think and maybe get a bit confused.. which is exactly what happened to me. I don’t know what your forum site is about.
A confused visitor is one that is going to leave your site sharp-a-ly.
Arrange a tagline for us. STAT.
(iii) Your Primary Navigation Menu
All you have here are 3 tabs- Home, Forum and Members.
It’s nice you have the “Home” tab but why do you have Forum and Members?
We obviously know your site is a forum but we don’t know what the sections or categories of this forum are.
Bad. Bad Web designer.
It would be better to have the different categories of your forum up there.
Then I click on your Members tab and it shows me 2 members.
That is not important to the visitor.
The visitor came to your site for an answer to a problem. Showing him you have 2 members…. Who that one epp?
Cos it neither helps him or you ( 2 members might mean your forum is not worth his time… so why tell him that by yourself?)
REMOVE it with Immediate alacrity
(iv) Why is your “Login/Sign up” link so small and located in one tiny part of your header?
I’m going to let you in on a secret. Are you ready?
If you want people to notice something, you need to make it noticeable.
Even Nairaland makes the login part on their site noticeable (even though it’s surrounded by so much “senrenre”)
It would be better to either have that centralized and bigger, with the appropriate fields attached.
(v) Right Side Bar
I’m glad you have a Search field here. That was a good one.
The Sign up widget is catchy, but you need to put a field for emails there so visitors know instinctively that all they have to do is type in their email and click the Sign Up button. The way you have it now, we have to think first about where that link will take us to.
I clicked it and this is what came up.
No need for all that senrenre.
Just put the email field above the button and title the widget “Join a growing community of [insert whatever cool thing you call your forum members here]”
Now, the other widgets are good. I suggest you leave that as it is.
(vi) Main Content section
This is the part that actually begins to make it clear what your forum is about. This should have been done earlier in your tagline or primary nav menu.
From this section, it appears you’re trying to do the same thing Nairaland is doing- create forums about everything.
We’ll talk a bit about that later.
I love the arrangement of the sections. I just have an issue with the “Contains no new messages” thing beside every post, but we’ll talk about it in the next part of this review.
Nothing wrong with the arrangement you have in the Main Content Section.
Okay, this is one of the places where your site is really suffering… forreal.
I’m not a pro when it comes to forums, but as a professional crazy user and internet addict XXXL, when I see sections of a forum with no topics, it makes me want to leave and go back to good old and green Nairaland where there’s more action.
I would suggest you either find a way to create topics (I’ll give you an idea on how to do this later) for all those sections or simply, remove them.
Also, the only topic that you have there is you trying to sell an Adsense account.. And what I’m wondering now is “To who?”
Before you start trying to sell anything, you need to first attract your target customer, get him to trust you and then sell to him… which leads me to the next section:
III. Golden Nuggets/ Your Free Consultation
I didn’t know what to call this section, so I’m gonna just go with Golden Nuggets for now (I’ll find a sweeter name later).
Anyway, this is about giving you ideas to move forward.
Kinda like my “Monetization and Other Biz” sections in most of my previous reviews.
Yes, I know I skipped the “Promotion” yarns. I’ll get to that in a bit.
Okay, to turn things around here, this is what I think you should do:
(i) First you need to pick an angle.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews of forums, the chances of your forum becoming the next Nairaland are pretty much slim to none. Yeah, forreal.
You’re better off finding a particular segment of people, sorta like what Forumversity is trying to do. Then you create the forum around something they’re interested in.
(ii) Content creation
You have a lot of sections on your forum with no topics or content. And that is a big problem. I think what you should do to solve this problem is to talk to your close friends or just friends and acquaintances that would be willing to help you build this.
Talk to them and get them to help you create topics, discuss , etcetera.
If you even get just 10 people who can help you, that can take you far and at least make it look like your site is actually alive.
Also you could create content that teaches lessons on how to do various things in whatever niche you choose. This will also attract your ideal member.
I’m a big fan of finding the best social media platform for your business and using that.
I would suggest you create a Facebook group around your forum, and using Facebook ads to target your ideal members.
You could use that to share and promote trending topics on your forum, increase your reach and engage with your target members.
I would suggest you also use SEO to find keywords with a huge amount of traffic and create topics around that. This would bring you organic traffic.
These are just a few methods to start, but you need to start doing this. Promotion is an integral part of growing your forum.
Well, that’s my 2 kobos and kolanut on Naija Hut.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section.
P.S. If you’re reading this review and you’d like me to review your site, post it here.
And with that, this review is over.
Author: Tomi Joshua
Tomi is a case.
A bit brash, at first blush. But ultimately, he means well. There are very few things he won’t say or do in the presence of tolerant company (especially when it could make for a good story later).
Tomi is a Doctor, writer, certified inbound marketer (Shout Out to HubSpot), Digital Hustler, and online business addict.
He is most likely to be found dancing to the beat of his own drum, even in accapella.