Use Promo Codes To Spruce Up Your SMF Forums

So You’ve Installed SMF on Your Site. What Now?

First off, congrats! We’re always glad to add new members to our tribe of open-source forum websites. Installing SMF is pretty straightforward, but once you install in on your website…what next?

Use Professional Images and Iconography on your Homepage.

This is the most effective and simplest way to make your forums look clean, professional and respected. You can use your high-quality website logo at the top of your forums to give your website’s visitors a sense of continuity between your main website the forums.

Another great way is to add high-quality stock photography. Not just mindless photos of guys in business suits laughing, but instead you can add high quality patterns and imagery for the ‘wallpaper’ of your site.

Promo Codes Are Your New Best Friends…

promo codes
And if doesn’t even have to be all that expensive, either. Stock photo site’s prices are jacked up because they deal with professional companies that buy thousands of images each month with their ‘purchasing department’. If you’re an independent publisher, search for a oupons, which focus on independent publishers like you. Try CouponFeed for some coupon codes that work.

Create (or Upgrade) Your Website Logo:

Having an clean, pleasant and effective website logo can do absolute wonders for your website.

For Those Who Need To Create a Logo From Scratch:

There are two main ways to go about this: hire a professional (highly recommended) for your site, or you can create one yourself.
Option #1: Hire a professional logo design company like These are professional graphic artists that can design dozens of variations on a logo and then narrow down the options based on your feedback. If you want the highest quality logo, this is the way to go, but it’ll cost you at least $1,000.
Option #2: Use This is a ‘middle of the road’ alternative, where it doesn’t cost as much as a professional agency, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get an amazing logo.
The way 99designs works is like this: you make a request for a logo, along with your guidelines. Then, 100 graphic artists will create logos based on your requests. If you don’t like any of the options, you can walk away and not pay a penny. If you do, it’ll cost anywhere from $200-$700, depending on which plan you sign up for.
Option #3: – Design it yourself with free logo makers. This is the riskiest, but also ‘free-est’, option out there. Site like have free logo makers on their website where you can quickly try a few different ideas and designs to see which one you like.
If anything, you can get an idea of what you want before you approach a graphic artist.

Whoo! That logo design advice ended up becoming a whole lot longer than we had anticipated. But it does make a huge difference in visitor experience.

Other than that, you can install new themes on your forums, and try a few different ones until you find one you like. But if the background wallpaper and logo are unprofessional, then the themes can only do so much…, Expedia and Forum Internet Trolls

Trolls Attacked the and Expedia Forums. expedia coupons

A few years ago I had a travel site that discussed all things to do with Hawaii. The forums were specifically focused on sharing Hawaii travel tips (that’s coffee grown in Hawaii). But the website attracted all sorts of Hawaii-loving people from all over the world. Our most popular thread was where we shared coupons for travel sites like and Expedia.

The forums went along swimmingly, until one days there was an unusually high number of registrations. I didn’t think much of it, but then I started seeing what was being posted. The new members would join every thread and say ever sexist, racist and insensitive thing possible. People sharing pictures of their kids were insulted, and my community started to leave.
I banned as many of them as I could, but they would only make more accounts and post even more terrible things. My community stopped posting about themselves (for fear of attach). I restricted new registrations to ‘only under my approval’, which helped stem the tide of harassment. I used extra security measures, but to no avail. The damage was done. People in the community left and the forums were soon shut down.

Image Credit: Wikimedia

Image Credit: Wikimedia

We laugh at internet trolls, but they can be devastating to a business that relies on a community of people interacting for their business. Even massive sites like Reddit have been hit by internet trolls. Here’s how to make sure that you don’t end up being attacked by trolls.

1. No-Index Your Forums

This is tough pill to swallow for many web-masters. Forums create more content for your website, which presumably helps you to rank better in Google, right? Well, there is no direct evidence of such a thing. But if you no-index your forums, which means that you prevent search engines from crawling your forums, you’ll be more likely to escape the detection of internet trolls. If you already have a robust community, this can help you to preserve it. If your community is just starting out, it may harm your ability to grow it.

2. Restrict Registrations to Manual Approval

If your community is small, then there won’t be that many registrations for you to deal with anyway. Manual registrations will scare away trolls, because they will almost certainly be denied, and it ends up being much more trouble than it’s worth.
If your community is growing and you need to manually approve dozens per day, then this may not work for you.

3. Use only Facebook Registration

It isn’t foolproof, but many internet trolls have trouble getting Facebook accounts because they get kicked off of the social network so often. Again, it’s not foolproof, but you could limit their ability to troll.

4. Empower Your Community:

Giving your community some tips on dealing with trolls is a great way to ‘starve’ them out of your website. If you don’t react to the trolls, they see no reason to keep creating havoc on your site. Also telling your members to report any troll like activity right away is the best way to stay on top of banning trolls.