Review Of The Webmaster-Talk Forums

I normally don’t do a lot of reviews, but Tim, the owner of Webmaster-Talk recently asked members with a blog to review the forum. Since Webmaster-Talk has given a lot to me over the last year I wanted to give something back to Tim and to the forum.

The Forums

As you might expect the Webmaster-Talk forums discuss issues relating to almost everything you might want to know where a website is involved. There are 8 main forum topics, 33 subtopics within those main topics, and an additional 19 sub-sub forum topics so you should be able to find something of interest to you.

Before you think that having so many topics leaves many thin on discussion you should know all those forum topics are populated with close to 340,000 posts in over 70,000 threads. There are no empty forums here and while things might slow down on the occasional weekend it’s generally a busy and active place. If you have a question there’s a good possibility you’ll have an answer in minutes.

Here are links to each of the main forum topics and if you click through you can see the sub topics for each.

One of the growing forums is the recently reorganized Marketplace. You can find domains, sites, and content for sale as well as a help wanted sub-forum. If you’re new to web design, development, or seo the freelance jobs/help wanted forum might be a good place to get your feet wet and get some word out about your skills and business.

I’ve spent time in most if not all of the main forums and I’m easily active in more than half of them. There’s so much inside that there are days where I login with the intention of having a quick glance at what’s new only to find myself lost in engaging conversations for a couple of hours.

The Community

The strength of any forum is the community of members it builds and the Webmaster-Talk community is one of the friendliest I’ve come across anywhere online. The community is closing in on 28,000 members, but you won’t feel lost in all those people. WT, as it’s affectionately called, comes across as a much smaller place where you’ll get to know the names behind the usernames.

Newbies are welcomed. Yes, that’s right, welcomed. If you’ve ever had a question you wanted to ask a forum, but were hesitant, thinking the community would knock you for asking, this is the place for you. No question is considered unworthy of an answer. Don’t know what http stands for? You’ll get an answer? Not sure what the URL for Google is? Someone will post a link to it it. The community is there to help above all else.

WT is for more than just for newbies though. The community is as knowledgeable and experienced as it is friendly. You’ll get more than a simple answer for fixing your css layout issue. You’ll get a detailed explanation as to why the solution works to help you prevent future problems and you’ll also get links to more advanced resources to further your learning.

Over the last year I’ve made friends on six continents through the forum, some of whom I regularly chat with over IM. You may have come across some of my thoughts on benefiting from social networks and marketing yourself through forums. If you have then you probably know I believe in building relationships with people more than I believe in trading links with them. In addition to the friendships I’ve made through Webmaster-Talk I’ve built some good working relationships.

The Staff

I’m a little biased about the staff since I’ve been a part of it for about a year now, but it is made up of a great group of people all interested in nurturing the welcoming environment. Being part of the staff does give me an extra look inside and while I can’t share everything we talk about I can say most of the conversation is around how to make Webmaster-Talk a better place.

I’ve always thought any organization gets it’s character from the top and it’s easy to understand why WT has the community it does. Tim is a greater leader for the staff. He values the opinions of both the staff and the community and if we moderators do a good job it’s because of the trust Tim has placed in us. Tim is an active member of the community himself and if you spend any time there it probably won’t be long before you get to know him.

As with all well trafficked forums Webmaster-Talk gets it’s share of trolls and spammers. The staff is very quick to respond and it’s not uncommon for a moderator to click into a thread to delete it only to find one of the other moderators a few seconds ahead and already taking care of things. Much of the spam is gone before anyone ever sees it and we’ve at times joked how a few spammers have gone from signing up to being banned in under a minute.

We’re also pretty quick to diffuse an argument on the few occasions where things get heated. It’s not often, but it does happen. Very rarely have any gotten out of hand. With Tim’s lead the staff is very dedicated to keeping WT a great place to spend your time.

The Extras

All of the above are the main reasons I visit WT every day, but the forum has a few nice extras if you still need more.

Free Webmaster Tools: A couple of months ago the forum added a new section for webmaster tools. At the moment there are two. First a Google PageRank checker if you’re into PageRank. It can look up PR at 20 Google server and also offers code to display yours on your site. Second is a free keyword suggestion tool so you can find related search phrases along with the search count for each phrase during the previous month.

AdShare: WT shares ad revenue. If you have an AdSense account and post on the forum you can earn a share of the revenue from the ads on the site. You won’t get rich, but it’s a nice way for Tim to give something back to the community. Post more and start more threads and you can earn more money. Not long ago someone made $3 in a single day. Hardly a lot I know and it won’t happen every day, what you get back is directly related to how much you participate. And how many forums give you something just for posting like you normally would?

Talkupation: You’ve probably seen most forums have some sort of reputation system where members vote each other up and down. I know I have, but most of the time these systems aren’t taken seriously. WT seems to get it right. Reputation on the forum is called Talkupation (or TP) and it’s given out more fairly than most places I’ve seen. There are mechanisms in place so you can’t constantly pad your friends TP and the community doesn’t abuse the reputation system. If you want some you have to earn it. How much you can give is based on how much you have, how often you post, and how long you’ve been a member. Make helpful posts and you’ll get some. It’s as simple and fair as that.

iTrader Rating: Lots of forums run contests and allow buying and selling of sites, content, and ad space and Webmaster-Talk is no exception. Sometimes, though you don’t always know how trustworthy the people involved are going to be. WT has added an iTrader rating system with a complete breakdown of positive, neutral, and negative comments on a given member over the past month, six months, and year. It’s a good way to decide whether or not you feel comfortable getting involved with a contest or sale.

WT Blog: One of the things that’s been in the works and is almost ready to go live is the new Webmaster-Talk blog. Looking for an authority site to accept your articles? Join WT and you might get a chance to write for the new blog. It’s yet to debut, but I have no doubt it will turn out to be another great addition to an already great forum.

The Final Word

Well maybe not the final word, but it’s my final word for now. Webmaster-Talk is truly a great place to spend time. There are more than enough forums to find something that interests you. When you do be prepared to make some good friends who you’ll look forward to talking to and sharing ideas with. It will happen. Be kind to the staff (especially me), because the staff really does put in a lot of time keeping out the spam and working behind the scenes to make the forum a more enjoyable place to be.

I joined about 15 months ago and WT has been a part of most of my days since. I’ve helped some people, learned from others, and mostly had a good time getting to know the other members. The forum has pointed me to useful resources and given me lots of ideas to blog about.

Give Webmaster-Talk a look and see for yourself. It’s free to join, there’s no obligation, and no one will even know if you’re just lurking to check us all out. Take an hour to read over some threads and you may just find yourself posting to introduce yourself to all the members. I promise we’ll say hi.

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