Reviewed The Noobist: News and Community for Nerds!

Discussion in 'Community Reviews' started by Taylor, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. Taylor

    Taylor Sexier Than You

    Board Title: The Noobist Community
    Board URL:
    Launch date: February 2013
    Number of members: 189
    Number of Posts: 2,835
    Custom style?: Yes
    Software: WordPress + XenForo
    Related Sites:


    The Noobist ( publishes headline news on technology, entertainment, and gaming, as well as op-eds, interviews, reviews, and fan fiction, all served with a heaping spoonful of nerdy.

    Every post auto-creates a discussion thread with an excerpt from the story. These discussion threads are linked to the original WordPress post for seamless integration: when someone comments on a WordPress post, their linked forum account replies to the discussion thread; when someone replies to the discussion thread, their linked WordPress posts a comment on the WordPress story.

    The bottom line:
    • Original, engaging content is created daily by our many talented writers
    • The software is integrated stylistically and technologically
    • Our brand and site are beautiful
    • We've hired an SEO expert
    • We promote all stories to our social media outlets
    • . . . and yet, no growth
    I've been a TAZ member for quite some time and managed communities as large as 1.7 million posts. Clear brand, fresh content, large team, unique perspective, social media marketing, we've taken all the basic steps. What can we do to improve? And why do you think we're not seeing community growth, despite our publishing growth?
  2. Justin

    Justin *Insert witty title here*

    Congrats! Approved. Give us some time...we don't have any reviewers :( so it's just the two of us...should be up in a few weeks.
  3. Shawn Gossman

    Shawn Gossman Tazmanian Master

    Point of View
    First Impressions

    After reading some about how you have hired various services to get The Noobist out on the web, I did a search and it looks like those services are starting to pay off. Upon entering your online community, the first thing I noticed was friendly the theme is. I love the colors, the navigation effects and the footer customization. All of the colors fit one and other quite well.

    Guest Outlook
    As a guest seeing your forum for the first time, I have to look around quite a bit before realizing the “subject” of what the forum is about. A title like “The Noobist” doesn’t really explain what the forum is about or I am not getting what you wanted the name to regard. I then found an about statement on the footer of the page. A lot of people who get on websites tend to skim-read around the top of the page, if they don’t become interested or don’t know what they are looking at, at time, they move on. My suggestion here would be to put the about statement at the top of the forum maybe in a sidebar region to better explain what the forum is about right off the bat.

    Around the Site
    Home Page

    I see that the forum has a homepage, after some minor checking, I discovered that the homepage is using WordPress. First off, congratulations on integrating the theme between your WP and your XF community – they both look just plain wonderful. My question though: Do you allow registration through your WP and does it integrate into your forum membership? You don’t want to have to require two different registrations because that will often confuse your participants. The homepage is full of content and it appears to be updated – thus, a homepage feature fits your community very well. Good job with that!

    The Forum
    Back to the forum: I noticed the forum navigation is different than the homepage navigation. You might consider making them both equal as they will appears to be seamlessly integrated and the site framework altogether. People who directly land on your forum might miss out on the other features listed in the navigational menu of your homepage. The structure of your forum looks good, not too many boards, not too few boards. Some boards either lack a detailed description or lack a description altogether, I would go with 1-2 short sentences explaining what the board is about. For example, what is the Community board all about? I have no idea what to post there.

    Navigation looks fine – see my few suggestions above.


    Banners and Logos
    The current logo looks great though it isn’t very descriptive on what it is about. The symbol in it almost looks like it is an ancient text of some sort. Maybe it’s a letter and that I am just not getting it? I almost wonder if adding something before “community” in the logo that further explains what the forum is supposed to be about would help new comers understand what you are trying to do with the forum.

    Advertisements and Other Means of Making Revenue
    I see two advertisements, one banner on the footer on some page and your “steam” banner. I think the footer banner should be static on all pages – you will have a better chance of getting more clicks to it. The “steam” banner looks too small for the position in which it’s in. The extra banner space background sort of throws everything off.

    Color Schemes and Styles
    This is quite wonderful. I have no complaints about the color scheme whatsoever; you are the winner in this area!

    Favicon, Buttons, and Other Graphics
    The favicon is custom and fits the site and them. The favicon image in the about us block doesn’t look right to me; it’s too crunched up with the words starting the statement. Social icons would be better at the top of the forum – get them seen because being seen in the footer is slim chances. Other than that, all over buttons and graphics look fine.

    The theme in terms of what the forum is about is something I cannot place. I assume by the about statement that it’s a general forum. Do tell me this though, what is present that makes your general forum unique from the rest? If you have things that does this, you need to put them on the homepage so others can see your uniqueness right away.

    Members and the Forum

    Sense of Community and Participation Overview
    I see quite a few members but it looks like not as many are posting as there are as members. Try to determine why some members are lurking and how you can convert them into active members. Something I have always had success with is sending lurkers a PM asking how they are doing, once they respond, go from there – befriend them and develop them into active participants. Find out what they like and post topics that relate to it so that you entice them to participate.

    Posting and Quality
    You seem to post frequently but some boards are dated days ago for the last post made. I try to keep the last post made either “Today” or “Yesterday” to help make the forum look more active. Each day, try logging in and posting at least a new topic on each board to help make things look active! Quality-wise, some of your own topics are information-only topics. What I mean by information-only topics is topics that just tell readers information and do not invite engagement. Try asking questions in all of your topics to invite and encourage other members to respond to them.

    Contests, Games, and Diversions
    Steam, Noobist.TV and other buttons seem to be diversions set into place on your forum. I have no comments for this area of a community because everyone is different on this subject.

    Staff and Management

    Registration is simple looking and I like how you have enabled multiple social logins – be sure to market on all of those social media sites as well. The sign up button is fine but it’s bland, consider adding a Call To Action to it telling a guest why they should join the forum. I think XF should make this into a feature, really.

    FAQ, Rules, and Privacy Policy
    You have a custom rules page and privacy policy – all good in that neighborhood!

    Quantity of Staff and Activity
    All your posts seem legit and everyone seems to be active.

    Overall Impressions
    I think you have a great community going for you here. With some minor changes and more focus on explaining the community from the get go, you will have even a better community. I have personally bookmarked your forum and will monitor it for progress from time to time as I wish to see your forum success in its market.

    I thank you for allowing me to review your forum and please don’t hesitate to tell me how you feel about my review. :)
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  4. Phillip

    Phillip The Priest

    Another awesome review by Shawn GossmanShawn Gossman. (I hit the wrong button when I was trying to like it and it the disagree button, lol)
  5. Taylor

    Taylor Sexier Than You

    Thank you, ShawnShawn, for your thoughtful and and insightful review of The Noobist Community. We'll be implementing some tweaks based on your recommendations. For example, we will add more descriptive category names, we'll become more active with creating engaging discussions across all forums, and we've implemented a call to action for non-logged-in users.

    To answer a couple of the questions, regarding WP vs. XF login, it's single sign-on for XenForo and WordPress. Clicking the "login" link on WordPress takes you to the XenForo registration page.

    On the logo question, it's the symbol for "pi" inside of a triangle. Seemed nerdy. :)

    Thanks, again! Great review.
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  6. Shawn Gossman

    Shawn Gossman Tazmanian Master

    Pi, I should had known that :p I am glad you liked my review :)
  7. Phillip

    Phillip The Priest

    LOL! I did it again! My mouse wants to hit that button too much. But yes I have to agree I'm glad the person wanting the review also liked it as well.
  8. Taylor

    Taylor Sexier Than You

    Seeing some nice growth this month!

  9. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Tazmanian

  10. Taylor

    Taylor Sexier Than You

    Sadly, after the brand was sold, the new owners decided to permanently close the community. ;_;