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macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 19, 2016
You've already told us "this is a basic forum, nothing pro". Is it professional or not?

Sounds like you're not really serious about this -- so why should you expect your target audience to?

There is a disconnect here between what you are saying this project is and what you want in it. You want the street cred of your own domain and no other branding on your forum, but you aren't willing to commit to the meager financial support that needs. There are a lot of other ways of promoting a forum (or any website for that matter) than SEO. Search Engine Optimization is a business-level feature. It exists to drive traffic to specific websites for financially competitive reasons. That's not something amateur websites use. I suspect you choose it because it's easier than work of mouth, ads, siglinks and being active on other forums.

If I may be so bold:
All you seem to want from this is "the community" and to be in an upper-level position of it. As someone who has been in online forums for 20 years, do the fandom (or whatever community this is) a favor and don't make this forum. People don't appreciate a poseur trying to "seem professional" only to become an admin-in-absentia (and if you're still in college I can see that happening real easily). Go join a preexisting forum run by someone willing to put his money where his mouth is, and maybe you can rise up the ranks the old-fashioned way.
Sorry maybe I misunderstood what SEO is. I just wanted it to appear in search engines, that's all.

I just left high school fyi


macrumors 68030
Jul 22, 2003
Somewhere Else
Sorry maybe I misunderstood what SEO is.

SEO is the somewhat sleazy business of gaming the underlying algorithms of search engines to influence their results. The idea is to make a website appear close to the top of the results for a search for a particular topic to increase the number of idiots who will click and go to the site without carefully looking at the results. But this practice is actually detrimental to the web at large because it means the most relevant info is no longer what's easiest to find on a search engine. This is how Yahoo lost to Google as a search provider, btw. Their own search algorithm was being targeted by SEO and Google came out with a more complicated, better algorithm (PageRank). They also had spiders that crawled the Net looking for new sites with was a more efficient way of indexing sites compared to Yahoo's old methods. You know at one time Yahoo was really just a website index that was updated by hand with new websites? Google gave people more relevant results, so people started using Google instead of Yahoo, and the rest is history.

In more extreme cases of SEO abuse, you can have people getting defrauded or their identities stolen because a phishing site used SEO to make its version of a site appear more "correct" than the real thing on search results. So people will go to what they think is their online banking site for example, and enter their log-in credentials, giving their passwords to crooks on a silver platter.

Google and other search engines have had to try and find ways to combat this, like with "Offical Site" suffixes applied to the correct sites on search results for some terms, or the "corporate sidebar" (example) so people can see it and hopefully click the website link there rather than click the wrong search results and go to the wrong place.

I just wanted it to appear in search engines, that's all.

Any website will appear in Google without SEO if you don't have a robots.txt file telling it not too. There even is some way of "submitting" your site to Google so it will index it (I forgot how). As far as subdomains being detrimental, consider there are all sorts of people running websites on Blogger, Tumblr or other sites, which use subdomains, and they still appear in search indexes and are highly popular. The popularity comes form the community, the community comes from the content. Trying to manufacture your own "community" comes across as marketing AstroTurf (compare, say, the Scion modder community, with a real grassroots modder community like Honda has behind it).

To start a forum, I would say the first thing you need is a community already ready to go -- like people you know in real life and can't talk to easily in one place. People who feel disenfranchised by an existing forum because of leadership or sudden changes in rules or focus of a forum are also a good way to start. Begin with a forum you're already an established part of, and a bunch of like-minded people who are thinking of leaving, and you begin a breakaway forum and those people you take with you help bring in new members -- and the community grows.

This doesn't change the last paragraph of my previous post. You're just out of high school and starting college now? Yeah, you can have you own website if you want, but I predict you will find yourself very busy in the coming months and wont have the time to nurture this forum they way you have to in the beginning to get it going. Trying to put up a front about your level of dedication will only hurt the community you are focused on. I would suggest you just look out for a someone else's forum to becomes a part of instead if you are looking for a group to discuss a topic with.


macrumors newbie
Sep 14, 2013
If you want a free domain just to have one, what's wrong with Alternatively, you should follow Namecheap on Twitter or Facebook. They frequently hold free domain giveaways.
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