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3 best practices for a great exposure on forums

The saying “content is king” does not apply only when creating posts on your blog or articles to be published, but also when creating content by commenting on blogs or discussing in different relevant forums. Forums are not only a way for getting some links to your website (some say those even improve search engine ranking, some argue about this) but also a fantastic way to share your expertise and receive only laser-targeted traffic to your website.
Here are some practices that could translate into forums-exposure success:

1. Register on relevant forums

If you own a business related to dating, what is the purpose of joining forums where most discussions are about gaming? On the other hand, a web designer could easily promote himself on different niche forums while, in the end, any business needs a website, right? Stick to this plan and search only for your industry related forums, active, with medium-high number of members already registered. Also, use your profile to make users getting to know you better, from bio to photos, everything will add a little personal touch to your profile.

2. Help, ask, start discussions

Being registered on forums does not mean you shall only respond to different threads just to share your link through signature, posts like “interesting, thanks” bring no real value to the community and second make you look like a runner for links, that is not the way. Like when creating content for your blog, research a little one subject and start a discussion that could turn into a popular one. Hint: always subscribe to the threads you have started and come back for new replies.

3. Be consequent in posting

If you are not consequent in posting, results will not appear. Posting 1 reply today, another after 3 days and so on it’s not the best way to deal with forums. Create a posting plan and stick to it, if you decide to post 2 times a day then do that, nothing less, more is better though.

UK Festivals Guide

The British public have long been into their festivals, from the early days of classical and folk music to hippy and rock affairs such as The Isle Of Wight and Glastonbury. Here is a brief summary of some popular UK festivals.

Glastonbury

Glastonbury is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world and attracts some of the biggest names in the music industry. It is a popular event which first formed in 1970 and has since gone from strength to strength.

Many different stages and tents cover all genres of music, from rock to reggae, dance to folk, all tastes are catered for. There is live T.V. coverage and the entire area becomes a medium sized city of around 130 thousand people with it’s own police force, medical staff and food markets.. you will have to use your imagination for description of the toilets. The event takes place towards the end of June in Glastonbury, England.

V Festival

Close on Glastonbury’s heels is the V Festival which is currently held simultaneously at two sites – Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex and Weston Park in Stafford, Staffordshire. The festival is run by the Virgin organisation and takes place over the penultimate weekend of August. V is primarily aimed at an indie rock audience and some people regard it as a “bit posh”.

The Isle Of White Festival

The Isle Of White festival sells around 50 thousand tickets and takes place at Newport on the Isle Of White just off the south coast of England. The festival inspired such events as Glastonbury and first took place in the psychedelic 60’s.

Early legendary acts to play include the likes of Jimi Hendrix (who made his first UK appearnace there), Bob Dylan, The Who and The Doors who all had to catch the sea ferry over to the Island. The event takes place during early to mid June and recent line ups include stars such as The Rolling Stones, Roxy Music and REM.

T In The Park

Considered my some to be the next best music festival after Glastonbury. Set near to Perth and Kinross, Scotland, the 2007 “T In The Park” event has sold 40 thousand tickets in February even though the event doesn’t take place until early July. Many renowned music acts play this festival with 2007 line up including the Arctic Monkeys, Mika, Rufus Wainwright, Interpol, Scissor Sisters and Lily Allen. Some call it the Glastonbury of Scotland and it is set in beautiful countryside surroundings.

The Carling Weekend

Formerly known as the Reading Festival, The Carling Weekend boasts a similar history to events such as Glastonbury. Great tunesmiths to have played include Nirvana, The Stone Roses and The White Stripes all adding to the events reputation. Mean Fiddler, ensures that since the event has been twinned with a Leeds version, fashionable indie types make up much of the audience with an emphasis on modern rock and Indie. Band lined up for the August bank holiday weekend include Smashing Pumpkins, The Horrors, Kings Of Leon and Razorlight.

One of the largest heavy metal and rock festivals in Europe is the Download Festival which takes place at Donnington Park, near Derby. The festival takes place during early June and also appreciates T.V. coverage. This event is popular with heavy metal maniacs.

For dance music enthusiasts there is the legendary Global Gathering event.

With an enormous 75 thousand revellers in 2006 and full coverage in the BBC this has to be one of the most renowned dance music events in the world. From Fat Boy Slim to Groove Armada, Faithless to Basement Jaxx, even the Red Arrows air display team are now listed as an attraction. Global Gathering takes place at Long Marston, Warwickshire during late July. Expect strange hairdos, furry boots and lots of whistles.

A bit more eclectic

Some of the more eclectic festivals worth considering include: Latitude which features rather lesser known indie rock bands and takes place in Henham Park, Suffolk in mid July, long established dance event The Big Chill at Eastnor Castle in Malvern (early August), Bestival which takes place at on the Isle Of Wight in early September and is curated by BBC funk and electronica DJ Rob ‘Da Bank’.

The alternatively folksy Green Man Festival takes place in the Brecon Beacons in mid August and the psychedelic Moseley Folk Festival in Birmingham is set amongst the landscape that inspired Tolkien and takes place early September.

A few tips

For anybody not familiar with British weather, put it like this… the great Caesar of Rome visited these shores once and didn’t return. From John o’Groats to Lands end, the weather is totally unpredictable, sometimes not even the Met office know whats going on and for this reason the best advice is to be prepared for the worst.

Make sure you don’t camp too close to toilets for obvious reasons, if you would like at least one nights decent sleep then keep away from generators or anything that could be a distraction, pitching a tent next to a hedge can sometimes be a mistake as hedgerows can become midnight urinals at certain events. A pair of wellies, hat, poncho or rain mac, a cooler box and a few drink and food provisions (preferably stored in the car) would be worth a thought as well as sleeping mats and a bum bag or small rucksack to keep the essentials in, but make sure they fit comfortably.

On the rare occasion the sun decides to “shine on” be sure to have adequate sun cream to avoid ending up looking like a beetroot ready for pickling. Never leave valuables in your tent, even the safest of events will attract tent burglars.

A Brief History of Hip Hop

The early days

The seeds of Hip Hop were first sown during the early 70’s by DJs such as ‘Cool Herc’ in the Bronx, U.S.A.

DJs would play parties with twin turntables and soon realised that by using two copies of the same record they could prolong their favorite breakdowns to the further enjoyment of the crowd.

Over these extended breakdowns MCs could tell or ‘rap’ stories along to the beat, whether it be about a woman they liked or about what they had for breakfast, it all added to the effect of the records and sometimes added a touch of light hearted entertainment in an otherwise difficult ghetto life.

Eventually the DJs started making their own records to rap over. By using Roland drum machines and electronic synthesizers that could be synchronized together, a new sound called ‘Electro Hip Hop’ was formed.

Breakdance & Graffiti

This music craze was accompanied by another new art form.. Spraycan Art or “Graffiti Art” which also originated in the Bronx but quickly spread across America and eventually Europe and the world.

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Gradually a new way of dancing accompanied Hip Hop and Electro, it took wild moves from Jazz and other street dance forms and became known as ‘break dancing’. Breakers would form crews and use linoleum sheets or card to battle each other, sometimes in front of passers by.
The fashion was also important, b-boys would wear designer sports labels such as Nike, Puma, Adidas, Fila and Elise.. from head bands to trainers and caps to shell tracksuits.

The popularity of the sampler allowed hip hop producers to sample old funk and soul records to further experiment with break beats. By the late 90’s Hip Hop was reaching it’s zenith and artists such as BDP, Mantronix, Eric B & Rakim and De La Soul were finding great popularity.

Evolution

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Even white punk and rock bands tried getting in on the act with artists such as Aerosmith and The Beastie Boys getting “DEF” and kids normally into heavy metal started wearing lace-less shell toe adidas trainers.
Hip Hop has since remained popular in two forms, on a commercial level which is more commonly associated with R&B and MTV but also it carries on in a more underground fashion with sub genres like grime, garage and bhangra.

Hip Hop will always be around thanks to a rich heritage laid down by such luminaries as Afrika Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force, hip hop continues to evolve.

To CMS or not to CMS…

Okay – the question may seem dumb. You say “of course yes” – it is easy, installs fast and has looots of features. And most of all it does not require you to have much technical idea of what is going on with all this PHP, MySQL and stuff. Even if you pay something it still saves your time and time is money…

Sure… But go back to the project itself. What is your purpose? To build a unique website on your desired topic. Unique in look and contents. Only this can guarantee success of the project in search engines optimalisation and users rating. But what do you get with those ready-to-go CMS? Themes – few standard themes. So if 2000 people use this software and there are 4 themes your site will look like 500 other sites… This is no good.

“But there are loads of free themes on the web!” -Okay, yes, not all of them are free, but sure there is more. There is also more sites using this and other CMS’ with all of their themes… But let’s say you end up with sharing “the look” with 2-5 other website. Better, but not perfect. And if your theme is really nice it has quite a chance to become popular…

So what now? To make it really unique you need a little bit of D.I.Y with the theme files. But this requires at least minimum HTML and CSS, not to mention it would be very good to know some PHP on top of that… Huh… What is the option then? Basically there are two – either you learn mentioned above or live with the fact some site look alike as yours. There is a third option too – you get someone to do it for you…

“Okaaaay – so should I or should I not use ready CMS???” Well, I say yes, no matter if you are beginner or advanced, do it for money/company or pleasure. The reason is quite simple – time and effort to build it from scratch is just not worth it (unless you are a professional and really do this things in minutes/hours…). But how to stand out of the crowd? By trying! The picked up theme is good for start. Then in time, if you learn (because you do it for pleasure) or earn more money (business) you can make effort (in time or money) to make it unique. This or that way the real thing that makes people come back is the CONTENT which actually is another vote for CMS in matter of saving time and using it for building good content 🙂

I haven’t said anything about the soft yet. This is because it really depends on what you really want your site to be.

Blog – WordPress – the best soft I ever worked at – it is extremely EASY! in installation, use, customisation and adding extra modules. If you want blog, this IS your choice 😉 Oh, yeah, it has like a million free themes…

Forum – I’ve got experience with two kinds of software in this field – phpBB and VBulletin. The first one is quite simple. However installing any extra features require some… patience 😉 In looking and changing all those template files… It’s biggest feature is being totally FREE. And you can really have nice forum with it. VBulletin on the other hand is a commercial product. The licence for 1 year is around $100! But if you can afford it it is worth the price. Better support, easier installation of additional modules, more functions in administration panel and for users too. Worth trying it, but if you are sure you really need it 😉

General CMS – you just want a website, some news, few articles, few pics etc… Yes, this is your choice. I will skip commercial products, mainly because there is quite a lot of free and good software! Just to give few names of popular ones: Joomla, Mambo, PHP-Fusion… Basically there are almost the same. So my advice – look for feature you will want to include, extra modules, themes etc. on websites supporting such for those CMS. See how they look like, are they easy to install and if they are free (yes, people write those addons also for sale, so be careful – free basic pack does not mean all of the addons are also free!). Once you’ll find what you want go for it! 😉

And there is a cherry on top of that! Imagine you have forum and after a while things go sooo good you want to make it a portal. How to do it without any data loss? It turns out there are software ready for that. E.g. MKPortal can adopt some popular forums (phpBB, VBulletin) and other CMS. It will even import the skin! Beautiful.

OK, that’s all from me, hope this helps some of you with a start 😉

Best wishes,

Piotrek

Australia web directory

Haabaa editorial team and the countries we cover continues to grow. We have a new dedicated Australia web directory, which goes live on Monday. The directory accepts sites from Australia and New Zealand. The submission is completely free.

Jack, the editor of the new Haabaa Australia Directory is an experienced software engineer and directory owner from Melbourne. Jack is the owner of UK Zone, a UK focused web directory. We look forward to benefiting from Jack’s editorial experience.