I was initially intrigued by Team Wealth Builder‘s tagline, “Let’s Build Wealth Together!” So I was delighted when I was offered the opportunity to write a review of the website! I have operated a forum for over 2 years, albeit a small one, at TESOLTeachers running on SMF. Also, for those of you who operate forums or have considered it, some of the information might be quite relevant, too!
Since this blog focuses on money making and similar activities, it’s always a good idea to put heads together to brainstorm ideas, work out kinks, and generally interact about an activity that many people would rather NOT talk about! Thank goodness for a forum that focuses on wealthbuilding like TeamWealthBuilder.
The review has asked for specific feedback in four primary categories: design, style, potential, and content. Naturally, I’d like to switch the order to suit my own preferences.
Potential: Is there a market for a forum like this?
Unequivocally, there is a huge market for the kind of information that you are likely to find at this website. Herein lies the challenge, how do you create a broadly universal forum that appeals to as many kinds of people who are interested in wealth making: business people, students, workers, etc. WITHOUT at the same time attracting the scams, snake oil and otherwise undesirable elements that can be found on some popular forums? TeamWealthBuilder has the opportunity to walk this fine line and generate a broader appeal.
Content: Creating Quality Content – Moderating Junk or Spam
Several large forums that I frequent manage to discuss wealth building, and do so well! However, in both forums, it is only part of a broader community, so the depth of expertise and range of topics/replies is limited by the ‘general’ nature of the main forums.
To create a forum that focuses specifically on this topic, the choice of content is going to be critically important. It will be as important to choose what content you do publish as what you don’t. A quick survey of the forums intrigues me as the titles and information of lots of the forums show thought and care, (e.g. “Think Rich”, “Starting Out”, etc.) but some other forums tend to emphasize the seamier side (e.g. “Tax Avoidance”). While it’s generally a good idea to choose clear names, you may wish to project a more legitimate or professional air by renaming that category as “Taxation Issues” or similar. “Speculation” might be renamed as “Riskier Strategies” or something more appropriate!
The Community Category has some essential categories, but at five I feel there are too many primary categories. Some categories could be recreated as sub-categories for which vBulleting certainly has the capability. Also, at 14, you may find that the overall number of categories might be a little high, given the number of postings/members. It’s much easier to create new categories of postings later on, as you divide and sub-divide postings.
If your intention is to create a real quality forum, where individuals go to share their successes and failures, you may want to look at some of the successes and failures of forums: a success is, of course, StevePavlina’s Forums, and a corresponding failure is TalkGold Forums. Both of these are highly trafficked but represent different extremes.
Design: vBulletin – a smart choice
Choosing vBulletin was indeed a smart choice for the forums: many users are already familiar with the functionality of vB, as it is widely used as an alternative to PHPBB2. Indeed, there are additional capabilities that you have in vBulletin that currently can only be added as ‘hacks’ to PHPBB2 (vers. 3 is around the corner!): attachments, buddy lists, subscriptions, to name but a few! Additionally, vBulletin is professionally supported, and has many of its own scripts.
Styling: Too Dark for my tastes
I don’t particularly care for the shades of gray that you have chosen, as I prefer lighter colors. In fact, many portals popular with gamers and geeks tend to choose much darker colors for themes. But these can be often difficult to read, and hard on the eyes! The grays you have chosen aren’t quite so dark, but the contrast with the text isn’t so clear. In fact, I reckon the text should be darker or bolder; otherwise, the lighter text will make it harder for a lot of non-tech types to spend much time browsing the forums.
To manage the growth of these forums, you will need to get feedback from a number of people, not just computer types (the typical ones who will do your designing) but also mere mortals! This will help a great deal with the choices you have to make in content and styling. Managing forums is an interesting task; it throws up challenges. Most of all, if your forums grow, you will need to cultivate good moderators! Good luck, and drop back to let us know how it goes!
For more information, go to the AdminZone Forums where you will find lots of great information and people willing to help you manage your forums.
This post was intended to be sponsored but now isn’t.