Looking further, they added something called Viglink - it Opts you in automatically on install and sends any affiliate commissions when people follow a link and then purchase something to the forum software developers (PHPBB) to continue funding the project.
BUT I also discovered I can Opt out and choose to have the commissions - which might just help towards another problem! Funding the site.
I don't like having advertising but it becomes a reality when you run a website unless you pay for hosting yourself or have sponsors. The forum hosting is around £250 per year at the moment and the poultrykeeper website £1800 per year (it has more traffic so has a 'business' plan). It doesn't help having to pay VAT on top of the charges as well.
Also, the forum falls over from time to time (behaves erratic) at peak times because the shared server runs out of resources or more correctly 'we are being limited so we don't impact other users'. The next step up is a 'Virtual Private Server' and yes, you guessed it, I'd need to spend more
Until now, poultrykeeper (.com) plus a few donations we've received has covered the forum running costs but traffic is down this year and there are more and more people using ad-blocking software and less people clicking on adverts. I haven't checked for the last few months but I'm getting closer to paying in myself.
I was thinking of adding Google Ads at the bottom of each page - but last time I did this, I think it generated a couple of pounds per month... We got a Sponsor one year (Verm-X) which was also very welcome. This Viglink scheme is certainly worth trying out.
Let's see how it goes and if it becomes too intrusive, or only generates a small amount, I'll disable it and go back to the drawing board.
I did notice the affiliated links in the 'jump to' menu at the bottom of pages other than the index. One took me to your 404 page Tim which I thought was very good! The posting award labels are a funny thing aren't they - especially with lots of 'wise birds' moving in. 'Stuffed and Mounted'? Is it that 'moderator' is no longer a general member label? i.e. a separate admin log in?
I've urged you before, Tim, to highlight voluntary contributions to running the site, along the lines of the Guardian newspaper, which is steadily returning to profit through voluntary contributions from people who value its content, despite being available free to all online. I know that not many of us are regular posters, but we all value the Forum very highly and I'm sure most of us would happily pay a subscription to keep it going, along the lines of a magazine subscription. We were shocked and dismayed when Practical Poultry Forum closed, and its archive was lost, and a lot of PP members are now active on here and want to keep it going. The archive is a fantastic resource in itself, and I'm sure this accounts for the often quite high numbers of people browsing.
How does the volume of the archive affect the server space and cost? In my recent edit, after you added two new subforms, I deleted the equivalent of many pages of outdated, uninformative, or unanswered posts, or pages dependent on photos now automatically time-expired/deleted from Photobucket, which must have freed up some server space as well. I didn't know you we're planning this change, but I'm glad I got the job done before you did the transfer.
Yes, I love the Error page as well! Trouble is, it all works so well I don't seem to get it. Thank you, Rick.
1. poultrykeeper.com > that's OK, profitable at the moment but traffic is down. I guess our Google rankings have changed but also I haven't been posting to Facebook or Twitter because I have been super busy with my job so just had to slow up on other things. Also the cold spring could be a factor? Less people looking for information perhaps?
That's the website with the 404 page you showed Rick and yes, it's a great photo, one of my favourites!
2. poultrykeeperforum > So this is where the Viglink software should insert links in posts automatically... so in the example, gardening gloves were linked to Amazon in a post. I have no idea how much this will generate, (it could be pennies) or if they are displayed to guests. I will let you know!
It manages everything automatically from what I see so I don't know how aggressive it will be (how many times will it link gardening gloves in a thread etc) or whether it always puts a link and to all users... time will tell. What is interesting is I haven't seen a link yet! I looked for the topic containing 'gardening gloves'
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=10593&p=65256&hilit ... ves#p65256
And found Lady A's post and that's not linked (for me). Maybe it doesn't show admin the links? I'll have to find out more.
Marigold, as for 'voluntary contributions' yes it's another way of doing things BUT we only have a handful of members and I think there is so much free information out there that people will just migrate elsewhere or not wish to pay? - e.g. to Facebook groups. What if someone joins to get help and then we can't help them? What if the advice they received was poor? What do you get for your contribution?
I guess you could have a group of 'Contributor' or something along the lines of Rick's suggestion, much like a Moderator group but would it encourage others? It might end up a very small group!
It worries me charging people for a service. Our 'regulars' ARE the forum. Without them, there's not much point? I don't want to put anyone off joining the community.
What is interesting is the 'Donation request' banner that I put at the bottom brings a couple of donations in when it's first installed, then nothing. I guess people get used to seeing it. I might just add this once per year for a few weeks to 'rattle the can' a little.
I'll let you know how the Viglink thing works when it's got going but please let me know if it is bugging people.
Ideas are very welcome though... I'm always happy to consider them. Anyway, my lunch break is nearly over, I had better get on. I'll keep working on the other bits that need looking at.
Wow that was a well hidden setting!
I think my list of fixes is done for now... so I will await feedback.
And guess what? The forum is 9 years old on Saturday.
I wish we could all meet for a party. Virtual candles, maybe?
Come on, Rick, and others, get your avatars sorted!
BTW, I'm not getting any ad links at all, anywhere. I thought they might appear from birdfood sites when I posted about feeding birds in the 'Spring' thread running in the Dustbath. Should I be worried, or just pleased?
gardening gloves anyone? Or how about maybe cat litter? Bee keeping equipment? Men's walking boots. Diamond ring.
Does clicking on the link earn commission Tim? If so, I'll happily click!