People often join because they want to post about some dilemma they are in with their chooks and shouldn't be put off by paying for a month or even a year for what may, or may not, be a brief visit. Ads will pass as the norm in those situations and only get annoying, if at all, for regular visitors.
You could put a little banner under or beside the add saying something like 'subscribe to remove ads'. I think that would probably more than do it without any status awards.
... can you make the paypal link for hosting contributions open in a new tab Tim? So you don't have to navigate back to the page, just close the new tab?
Let's hope others will follow...
Tim - make the link in a brighter colour, as it doesn't stand out. It was difficult to find.
Is there a way of having the ads on each page of a thread? They seem to only open on the start of threads. So often, I'll just go to "new posts" so if a thread has gone on to a second page, they won't be seen.
Thanks for the great feedback (and donations! Wow thanks!). I've been away for a couple of days with work, hence the delay in responding.
I think there's a good plan coming together here. Here's what I see so far from the Ads (it's early days of course but looks promising):
So it's working
As I said, I'll test this for a while (3 weeks should be long enough) and then try other positions and see how they perform.
Regarding your feedback -
1. Yes, the links don't stand out very well, I'll take a look to see if that can be changed somewhere .
2. I've set up a new group "Full Members" and 'hope' that those of you that sent in a donation (THANK YOU!) won't see the ads now?
I can't tell from this end... please let me know.
I created a new rank called Full Member too so it shows in your profile instead of 'Laying Well' etc...
Full Members also appear in the group list under 'Members> The Team' at the top of the page.
3. Is the general consensus that we shouldn't have the ranks at all? Just 'Visitor' and 'Full Member' perhaps?
Or do you think we keep those ranks and add 'Full Member' (that's what I've done for now).
4. Yes, I can put the Google ads after the first post in a thread or after all posts, in the footer and next to the logo at the top. I'll test a few more but want to get a few weeks of data first to see how this one performs. It's about finding a balance really.
5. Yes, I can look at creating a banner or something to say subscribe to remove ads or something. I want to make sure it all works first though. This is one of those 'live' experiments!
6. Sending out an email of recent posts etc is quite a bit of work - and I think the open rate is so low, it's probably not going to work so well considering the small number of active members. Then there's GDPR to consider.
7. Having someone manage emails and donations could mean GDPR problems with sharing data - for now, I guess I would handle the renewal through the PM system, that way, the person signed up for notifications from the forum already and would just get a normal notification saying there was a new PM.
I think that was about it for now. Thanks again everyone for your input.
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I'll keep the ranks for now... I think it's a bit of fun!
Two more people made a donation Thank you Marigold for mentioning it in the Dust Bath.