When looking for an information-based forum where you could learn, would you rather belong to a close-knit community or a professional corporate site? For example, we all want to feel welcome in a forum. But there is a more family-oriented feel (such as this forum) or the more corporate feel of internet.com forums, for example.

Does the latter give off the impression of a more knowledgable userbase? Is there a feeling of more reputable information from a commercial-oriented site?

Which is the best approach for DaniWeb to be headed in the future?

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i like the idea of a close-knit community where it feels more like a family :) that is why i like this place and linuxforums.org they both have no corporate backing and i like it that way. it just feels like you know the people that use the forum better. the few forums that i use that have a corporate backing are more formal and you dont feel they know you very well :)

Thanks for your feedback. But do you tend to get the impression that the more corporate, professional forums offer more, and more reputable, information?

personally not really. the only reason i would think that a person would feel that way is that the forums that have corperate backing tend to be huge sites with over 30,000 members and out of that many members there is probably quite a few ppl that know alot of what they are talking about. i know that when i need a quick answer i will sometimes go to one of the bigger corperate sites as you can normally get someone to post an answer for you with in a min or two after posting and if not atleast it has been read by alot of ppl and hopefully they will know soon. but i also dont like the idea at bigger sites you have a better chance of getting flamed by other members who think your question was stupid and you dont see that with close-knit community forums like this one. pretty much everyone is pretty laid back and will help out no matter how stupid the question is :)

Thanks for the feedback. It gave me some insight into where I want to head with DaniWeb.

Yeah, I like a little of both.

I like corporate-type forums because I'm not a big fan of colloquialism. As in, I absolutely can't stand people using chat-speak in a forum, as there's no reason for it, since users have all the time they need to compose a post.

On the other hand, I enjoy the tight-knit feel of a community. I feel that when people get used to a place, they're more apt to contributing.

I guess I'd like to have the community feel, but I don't want all of the cruft (all of the HELP ME PLZ thread topics, and all of the ppl who cn't tpye nething but abbrviations b/c their so uzed to tpying in chats ok ttyl kthxbye) that comes along with the 5cr1pt-|<1dd135 who sometimes populate such forums.

I kind of like how it's done over at justlinux.com (not a shameless plug this time!) I'd like to think we stay pretty congenial, but we take kind of a hard line on people who don't provide decent thread titles, we cut out things like swearing for the most part, and we discourage chat-speak, like "hey guyz... I gt sumting 4 u". But, the place still feels like a community, and the informaton we're able to provide is exceptional because we've managed to quell a lot of the immaturity that you'd associate with a gaming forum or something.

My current goal is to grow this site while maintaining its community feel. However, I think that I would like to move away from me - or the name Dani - being the center focus of the site. I can't see how it would be a positive / productive thing in the future to promote the site as a hobby site run by a 21 year old college girl. Disagreements? Comments?

it makes sense. you could go back to using the domain techtalkforums.com that was a great domain for the site :D

and then just use daniweb.com for your own personal web site

I had a few reasons for wanting to move away from the www.techtalkforums.com domain name. The primary reason being that it was very long-winded and confusing. Many people couldn't even remember the site title - techtalk.com ; talktech.com ; techtalkforum.com ; talkingtechforum.com ; etc. That definitely hurt any branding I tried to do to the site. Another problem with the name was that it reminded people too much of tech support - the name didn't seem reminiscent of programming or web dev forums. For that reason, techtalkforums.com now points directly to, you guessed it, our tech support category.

I then stumbled upon an article somewhere about how the new wave in site branding and corporate branding was to avoid keywords in the name. For example, the best way to market your name, is to have something that, alone, has no meaning - but over time, it gets associated with you and only you.

The following is an excerpt from an article over at: http://www.howtoadvice.com/DomainBranding
Let me ask you another question: why there is Coca-Cola instead of Candy Water or Mercedes Benz instead of Comfortable Car?

The domains like Amazon.com, Overture.com, Google.com, eBay.com or even GoDaddy.com are perfect examples of what direction you should move. My-Cool-PPC-Search-Engine.com or BestOnlineBooks.com are the worst examples of the domain names you can ever imagine.

Answer another question. Does your domain leave some "taste" in the minds of your visitors, or it is "just another one" name? Does your domain as well as WS transfer any hidden or obvious message or is it "flat" and simple as a log? Remember: your branding policy of the WS and Domain name should provoke emotions, thought, curiosity or desire. PayPerClickSearchEngne.com is pay per click search engine. I know that, you know that, what next? Overture.com tries to make your subconscious imagination work. It has unique abstract inner meaning. Wake me up in the middle of the night and I will tell you that Overture is the best PPCSE, despite the fact that Overture's meaning has very slight connection to what a PPCSEs really are.
Point of the matter being that I have actually read lots of other articles describing the same thing. Now why daniweb.com? Because it's me, first of all. But people don't need to know that. My goal is to market "daniweb" as a single word with one meaning - a computer forum. People don't have to know that Dani is the admin over at DaniWeb or that she is really a Danielle. They just need to know "daniweb" is a site. Better yet, "daniweb" is an I.T. forum with a community-oriented atmosphere. And that is where I would like to be headed.


Here's something to think about. I've been in consulting for 15 years and customers all tell me the same thing. They want the reliability and quality of service that a corporate can offer. However they want the service to be personalized, friendly, and helpful in a way that only a close client/customer relationship can offer. I suppose the moral of the story is if you want a forum site project a professional corporate image, offer prompt and reliable service, but try to make it as personalized, friendly, and helpful as possible.

Defiitely the direction I'd like to be headed. But there is so much difference between portraying a professional corporate image and where DaniWeb seems to be at now, graphic design wise. Is it possible to portray corporate America without huge banner ads plastered all over? Sometimes I feel that's the only difference between a hobby site and a professional site. Food for thought.

Basically I think you are pretty spot on. I've designed my site so that it portrays an image of not being a one man band, but rather an established company. This is done through standard ways, simple design, no ads, common links (mission statement, faq, etc etc), and so on. Fine it doesn't look like a big corporate site, but it (I hope) looks like a reasonably competent product based commercial site.

This coupled with my policies for turn around on support and sales enquiries give people the 'professional' support they are expecting. My tone, and willingness to roll up the sleeves and solve customer problems give them the personalized approach that I know a lot of them appreciate.

Really picking an approach for your site depends on what your goals are. Do you want to make money from it? Or are you doing it out of the goodness of your heart? The two are very different.

A few reasons I like "daniweb" better than "TechTalk Forums":
*It's easier to type daniweb.com.
*There aren't just forums here, there's also the code snippets, etc.
*I didn't even know you named it after yourself, until I read this thread. And it doesn't really seem like a hobby site.(at least compared to mine, it looks so unprofessional and "cheesy" at the moment I won't even give a link...)

I was inspired by this site and created my own...
<< url snipped because no site specifics / site ads are permitted in this forum - post in the site reviews forum instead >>
Now I just need members!

I would also suggest close-knit. People can get information everywhere but they would rather stay where they are known.

I tend to support a cross between a corporate environment and a relaxed atmosphere.

Being a relaxed Midwestern individual, I tend to support the community atmosphere: where I know each member of the site on a personal level, and where each member can relate to each other in various ways.

However, when a site reaches 27k+ members, I recognize the need for a more structured design. Without corporate influences, any site can easily fall to newbies and easily lose its educational charm.

I think Daniweb is currently right on the money -- members get their questions answered professionally and promptly, but are treated with a Minnesota style small town response.

I like this site. I havent been on in a few months and thats because I havent been doing anything web related in forever. Just busy with work and staying focused on that.

I agree with a lof of the responses you've gotten. I think the close-nit is great, i like everyone on here and think a lot of people on here give some good advice not only from a webmasters stand point but also from a consumer stand point.

Just from not being here in a few months I have noticed that you've gotten more traffic and more daily posts.. GJ!

Thanks Brock and everyone else! I appreciate your comments :)

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