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Fatalysm

Making an accessible website

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There are always talks of updating the way the site works and it's designs and the time has come once again for me to speak up amongst a silent majority.

There are those of you that believe the site is dead. But to that i say nonsense my dear fellow. It is an old beauty in need of repair.

Admittidely the numbers for the game have dwindled and the popularity of wiki's and reddit have become a very popular destination. Also alot of the hardcores left here no longer even use Runescape with so many more games out there to play.

But the point remains that there is an active userbase and people that play the game can be enticed here. Im so thankful for the people like @Sobend who consistently uploads content and makes sure we tick over.

I don't know what suggestion i'm truly making today, i've had a lot of discussion with @Salmoneus about different things but what I truly want is an open discussion about what can be done to draw people to the site once more.

Here are a few of my ideas.

Changing the CMS of the website so that anyone can suggest edits that need approval by admin/mods. This allows accessibility and encourages regularly updated content.

A brand new design for the site that not only simplifies the website, takes it back to it's root and gives as much useful information without being tricky to navigate or read.

Taking advantage of our large database of information and the current SEO tools of 2017 to improve our ranking and get us back up to the top of the page where we used to sit. This is massively important.

Allowing youtubers a place to embed their videos/guides on the website. Youtube and video platforms are 70% of the guide content i watch for Runescape. Promoting videos opens us up to a much wider audience and helps the Youtuber. Also it's something that other places haven't taken advantage of.

Giving twitch streamers free promotion on the website in return for their loyalty and sending people here. Perfect way to get people to the site. Ties in very nicely with back linking seo too.

Offering incentives for content is a sure fire way of getting people active and engaged. Not always the most practical thing, but a sure fire way to get people back on here doing stuff.

A far more active presence across all social media. I don't care who does it, but somebody should be posting something every single day. It baffles me that nobody is really doing this.

I do think we also need something that people can only come to us for. What can we create and do better than anyone. Or what can we do that will keep people coming back?

My final suggestion is more of an open invitation. Find your ideas. What do you think would work?

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I'd be interested in seeing the results of when we were posting more frequently on facebook and twitter. Did our population get a boost? 

I like your Twitch idea the best, however without a large base in the first place I'm wondering where the twitch user finds the point of advertising us in the first place. Even if they did, wouldn't this site become populated with viewers of the few twitch streams that advertise us? So what would the streamer gain if everyone here already watches them?

I also really like the idea of opening the site to editing easier with mod approval. I noticed your slew of content updates/corrections which would have been a lot easier to employ if you had permissions, which you should, or didn't have to make a post for each correction and a notification would instead be sent to a mod on duty. 

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The reason I think this website would be compelling to Twitch streamers is that according to the public trackers for views of this website it estimates in the last 6 months that the website has had over 300,000 users.

I imagine some of those are repeat users and spider bots crawling through information but if that is anywhere near correct it means that a lot of people use the site but not the forums. Which makes a fair amount of sense.

But 300,000 users is nothing to sniff at. The potential for an audience for some of these entertainers is massive. Also think of it this way. Twitch streamers can get like 12,000 watchers but only 120 people commenting. If we could gain the attention of like 10% of that example userbase that would be 12 active people who might help out the site.

Obviously there aren't that many people streaming with those numbers but you get my point. My other point being, if the website is still active, we just need to point their eyeballs in the right direction.

I defenitely think we should allow user made edits on the website that require approval. Like you said, posting is just ridiculous.

But here is the stupid thing, most of our guides are good. Some poorly worded and a little outdated but they are pretty good. If we opened that to the internet, i'm hoping we would see an increase in changes. We do need to fix the guides, they are good but my god some of them annoyed the hell out of me.

Even if social media didnt increase followers or things like that, it showed active content and links to the site and social media is crucial to search engine optimization. If we had a following brilliant, but it's not the end of the world. The more websites that link to us the better.

Edit: rs wiki had 11m users and the runescape website itself has 13m in the last 6 months. I think the numbers are fairly accurate! :o

 

Edited by Fatalysm

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IDK if posting updates is ridiculous but giving more people CMS would be a wise idea.

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19 minutes ago, Sobend said:

IDK if posting updates is ridiculous but giving more people CMS would be a wise idea.

You're probably right, it was a little bit of a crazy statement to make :laugh:. I was very tired, my defence rests!

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On 8/14/2017 at 10:12 PM, Chaoss said:

I'd be interested in seeing the results of when we were posting more frequently on facebook and twitter. Did our population get a boost? 

I like your Twitch idea the best, however without a large base in the first place I'm wondering where the twitch user finds the point of advertising us in the first place. Even if they did, wouldn't this site become populated with viewers of the few twitch streams that advertise us? So what would the streamer gain if everyone here already watches them?

I also really like the idea of opening the site to editing easier with mod approval. I noticed your slew of content updates/corrections which would have been a lot easier to employ if you had permissions, which you should, or didn't have to make a post for each correction and a notification would instead be sent to a mod on duty. 

It's really hard to quantify, but IIRC traffic didn't really increase, even when we were were at the height of posting on social media. We do have quite a few followers on Twitter and Facebook, and maybe we could bring some folks back if we started posting interesting stuff through those channels?

The problem is that the CMS that we use wasn't meant to be used as a wiki, which sounds similar to what you guys are suggesting. I'm sure that it is possible to do without changing to a new system, but it would be a large undertaking. My concern and number 1 priority is to make it safe to update content without opening our site up to vulnerabilities like cross site scripting, malicious links and SPAM.

On 8/14/2017 at 10:01 PM, Fatalysm said:

There are always talks of updating the way the site works and it's designs and the time has come once again for me to speak up amongst a silent majority.

I'll reply to a few of your points...

Quote

Changing the CMS of the website so that anyone can suggest edits that need approval by admin/mods. This allows accessibility and encourages regularly updated content.

Like I mentioned above, this gets tricky, because our CMS isn't really designed to be a wiki with front-end editing capabilities. It can certainly be done, but it would need to be done in such a way that it's not going to open a security hole in our site. Right now we can give specific permissions to specific users to edit content which isn't a problem, but to do it on a mass scale would be more complicated.

Quote

A brand new design for the site that not only simplifies the website, takes it back to it's root and gives as much useful information without being tricky to navigate or read.

I would definitely like to see a refresh on the site design to bring us back to the look that we had years ago. I'm fond of the current design, but the old "retro" design was our signature. It was simple and clean, and despite its basic look, people loved it.

Quote

Taking advantage of our large database of information and the current SEO tools of 2017 to improve our ranking and get us back up to the top of the page where we used to sit. This is massively important.

Indeed, there are tons of things we can do. The unfortunate thing is that back when we redesigned the site, I did put a lot of effort in to make the site SEO friendly. But it backfired, for whatever reason and our ranking tanked immediately after the design went live. Attempts were made to bring us back, from building quality backlinks, to optimizing markup, posting new and updated content frequently, improving the load time of the site. And really, the old site was an SEO nightmare, but it fared really well. But nothing I did really made any impact whatsoever.

But there are other things we could try. We need a mobile design for the site. Page speed can be optimized with newer tech. SSL can be put in place. Maybe these things can help some.
 

Quote

Allowing youtubers a place to embed their videos/guides on the website. Youtube and video platforms are 70% of the guide content i watch for Runescape. Promoting videos opens us up to a much wider audience and helps the Youtuber. Also it's something that other places haven't taken advantage of.

Giving twitch streamers free promotion on the website in return for their loyalty and sending people here. Perfect way to get people to the site. Ties in very nicely with back linking seo too.

Definitely! I think these are both cool ideas. Video guides and other content are something we discussed years ago but it never took off. I'd love to see something like this on our site.

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On 20/08/2017 at 4:31 AM, Salmoneus said:

It's really hard to quantify, but IIRC traffic didn't really increase, even when we were were at the height of posting on social media. We do have quite a few followers on Twitter and Facebook, and maybe we could bring some folks back if we started posting interesting stuff through those channels?

It's definitely difficult to quantify, I think we need a more active social media because not only will it help older members remember us, it will also help seo and some of the things you mentioned further down :).
 

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The problem is that the CMS that we use wasn't meant to be used as a wiki, which sounds similar to what you guys are suggesting. I'm sure that it is possible to do without changing to a new system, but it would be a large undertaking. My concern and number 1 priority is to make it safe to update content without opening our site up to vulnerabilities like cross site scripting, malicious links and SPAM.

So at the moment we're using a custom CMS built by yourself I think? An open system like a wiki where people can make approved edits is definitely what I'm suggesting. But would it be easier perhaps to switch to a CMS like wordpress where you can easily work on SEO, have plugins available and can make these sorts of changes? I'm not actually sure but it's worth mentioning in my opinion just for the pure brilliance of wordpress and how far it's come and amazing tools like yoast seo.
 

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I would definitely like to see a refresh on the site design to bring us back to the look that we had years ago. I'm fond of the current design, but the old "retro" design was our signature. It was simple and clean, and despite its basic look, people loved it.

Currently working on a design and structure that will make it very easy to read, but also highly usable on mobile and tablet. That and also fitting into that retro style we are trying to get back in with. The big thing here is mobile and search ranking for mobile as well. Seems to be a bigger trend coming with mobile use so we need to be on it with the seo there. We also have Runescape for mobile coming out next year, so a mobile friendly site would be extremely useful. I can imagine people using their tablets to play and having Sal's open to quickly use it for guides.

I've been looking at google results and they are VERY interesting. Just to get into the mindset of what people want.

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I second on the old retro design the forum/website used to have.  It was friendly and warm, the new one is modern but doesn't have that feel.

 

Also... off topic here but this is the most recent topic in this sub-forum... the most users online was a year ago at 3,000 some and now there's only 2 users online... what happened so drastically in that year timeframe? (I've been off since 2013 with a brief visit in 2014) Or is that number wrong or something?

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4 hours ago, Pies said:

I second on the old retro design the forum/website used to have.  It was friendly and warm, the new one is modern but doesn't have that feel.

 

Also... off topic here but this is the most recent topic in this sub-forum... the most users online was a year ago at 3,000 some and now there's only 2 users online... what happened so drastically in that year timeframe? (I've been off since 2013 with a brief visit in 2014) Or is that number wrong or something?

The amount of users online isn't reflective of actual users. The forums count guests as online users. So spider bots crawling through the internet searching for pages like google and yahoo count as users online. Occasionally there will be around 6-7 actual people online at once but you're more likely to see 1-2 people online. I can imagine the results are different for other people as well because we're in different timezones. Last year there was more people around, but it's been gradually decreasing.

If you want to see what I mean, look at the online users list, it'll show you there's 10's of users online when in reality they're bots crawling through information on the forums.

I'm glad you're interested in moving back to the older design, if you want to add some input to my creation you're more than welcome to here

 

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