Well maybe you guys could help me come up with contest ideas but have something to do with getting people to read more and partake on the site. I want to keep Folding involved with it. That is my main goal with the contest but I need to build readership of the site also.
Disclaimer: I'm not running a successful tech site. My opinions are mainly based on my experience with other sites, my personal reactions and my analysis. So take everything with a grain of salt.
- Competitions which encourage "spammers" can discourage non-spammers, who feel they have a low chance of winning.
- Similarly new folders may be intimidated by the threshold required to get bonus entries, especially since new SMP folders get very few points initially (and need to know about passkeys to get more).
- Forum building competitions don't necessarily build general site readership. They build the forum to an extent, but people won't necessarily go read other parts of the site.
- Cap the post count eligible for entries. This way active posters will get more entries, but not in a way which completely unbalances the competition.
- Give new folders (who have never before folded for Bjorn3D) either a special prize for which only they are eligible or a large number of bonus entries (equal to what top folders get is probably a good value).
- Post a link on each competition to a post describing how to get started with folding (such as "GPU/CPU Folding: The Easy Way").
- If you can get sponsors who ship internationally that should help get more people interested in the competitions.
- Link to more information about Stephanie. You mention her in the competition posts, for which she's the obvious inspiration, and I think that being able to find out more about her would help connect people to the cause, and so make them more likely to fold in general and for Bjorn3D in particular. You can make it just a sentence or two if you don't want to dedicate a full page to her, but I think that more than just a mention would be good.
The question is what's the goal of getting more readers. If it's just page hits, then monthly competitions Hi Tech Legion style would probably get page hits, simply because people will go over the specific reviews. It's easy to get hundreds of page hits per entrant using this kind of competition.
Regarding news comments, I think there's a little confusion in that news items have both Disqus on the page, and then the news items are also posted to the forum. The current incentive is to respond to them on the forum, since most regulars are on the forum anyway, and the competitions encourage forum posting. People who read the item through the site then don't see any of the comments. It would be nice to have a single consistent way of commenting on news items. I'd also suggest making news items take less space each on the front page, so more of them can fit or be easily read.
I think that in the end a site's success boils down to its content. Bjorn3D is an also-run hardware site. It posts some news, a few reviews per week (which is not bad), but has nothing which really distinguishes it. From my point of view the best thing about the site (not including the competitions and forum) is the daily roundup, with other news items being rather meh (ECS improving components, USB 3 media reader, Symantec Enterprise Vault -- powerful sleeping pills).
Two things I think can help. One is a more interesting voice and commentary. Where there are opinions there are counter opinions, arguments, flames and the destruction of civilisation. Err, I mean it could help discussion.
Better, at least IMO, is to find a focus for the site. That could make it a place where people who are interested in a specific subject come. For example, make folding a subject, since it's already an important part of the site. Promote folding news to the main page, even post community updates (i.e., how Bjorn3D and its fans are doing; the kind of thing that's in the forum now). For CPU and GPU reviews, dedicate a section to folding performance. Do articles on driver effects on GPU folding, measure power use of systems when folding, measure temperatures when overclocking and underclocking / undervolting, with various coolers. There's a lot of ground to cover.
Doesn't mean everything has to revolve around this, but pepper enough of it that people interested in this particular subject would see Bjorn3D as the authority for it. It's possible to do that with another subject, I just suggested this one because it felt like an obvious match and I don't think anyone else is doing it (I may be mistaken, I'm not a hard core folder). Still, a focus is good. I read Bjorn3D in its Rendition days (even though I didn't own a Rendition based card), and it was attractive for that focus.
Edited by ET3D, 02 August 2011 - 01:50 PM.