UPDATE: FEB 29, 2016 - Website Babble is not allowing new registrations but will remain open for now. If you want to find out why, click here. If you want to receive updates on what I plan to do with the forum next, go here.


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Thread: Time to Retire Website Babble

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    16,283

    Unhappy Time to Retire Website Babble

    Update 2/29/16: Website Babble is not closing just yet. See my update here.

    -----------------------------------------------


    With much sadness (but relief at the same time), the time has come. Actually it's LOOOOOOOONG overdue. Anyone who has been a long time member of this forum knows what a pain in the you-know-what this has been to deal with malware and spammers.

    If this forum wasn't costing me extra money every month to secure and time to manage -- AND if it was something I was monetizing well, I would keep it around.

    However, it's gotten to the point where this is too much work and money for what it's worth.

    I learned a big lesson about running a forum that I will pass on to the rest of you...

    1) Never start a forum just to have a forum. Have a plan in place to monetize it to make it worth the effort. I never really had a strategy in place for this forum and that was not a good idea. It's always been like a stepchild to the rest of my sites. If I could do this all over again I would integrate it into my domain.

    2) Never run a forum on shared hosting. I've known for years I need to move this to my dedicated server but I was intimidated by the move.

    3) Never run a forum without some kind of firewall or malware cleaner in place. vBulletin has so many exploit issues and it's why I had to use SiteLock for the past 2 years. However, I haven't been happy with their services either. As you can see, there are still issues with logging in and they can't seem to fix it. A lot of it has to do with it being on shared hosting.

    4) Drop the superman(woman) syndrome and stop trying to do everything yourself. Years ago when the forum was really active, I should have hired part-time people to help out instead of volunteers. I am thoroughly grateful for James, Scott, TG, etc. but they were volunteers and they did more than I ever asked. But you really need to hire people.

    I don't think I'd ever use vBulletin again for any kind of forum or membership site. I'd probably use a WordPress plugin of some sort and would definitely have a private/paid section to make the forum worth my time.

    Lesson learned!

    I just want to give a big thanks to all of you guys who supported WB over the years. I've kept this site up running a lot longer than I should have...partly due to pride and I wanted it to be here to help you! But this site has become a HUGE pain to run and not worth the effort anymore.

    This morning is a prime example. I got up to upgrade the software and broke the site and was denied access to my own site! I called SiteLock and they blamed my host. Called my host and they blamed SiteLock. I've spent hours on the phone with SiteLock and GoDaddy and still have gotten nowhere. I had planned to spend the day recording videos for courses and got NOTHING done. What a pain. Enough is enough.

    And even if I did keep it up, I'd have to move it to a dedicated server. At this point, however, it's not really worth it.

    We've had our fun, but it's time for WB to say goodbye... at least for now. I may have another forum-like site in the future but it would integrated into my site and definitely be monetized better than this ever was.

    Now that I'm heavily into course creation I'm considering doing a site with a private forum/membership for those who want to learn. But that's waaay down the line.

    I can't lie. I feel a little sad because I'll miss our chats, but I'm also relieved at the same time. This is like a weight being lifted off my shoulders!! I already feel 10 pounds lighter.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Israel
    Posts
    190

    Default Ho no! :-(

    Lisa,
    i have to say i'm really sad to read this. I enjoy this place so much, love the great information and advice i get from the awesome people here and get tips from you of course. With that being said, i totally understand how much work you have to put in here, especially as this place grows and more people ask questions, reply to others and the data gets bigger in general. I hope you will somehow find a way to keep all of the great content here online because i think it really helps others, and if you ever decide to create a place like this again, i will definitely join

    Wishing you much luck with whatever you will put your hands on and keep up the awesome job you already do!

    Maya.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    St. Pete, FL
    Posts
    395

    Default

    What others forums like this do you recommend?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Wilmington NC
    Posts
    217

    Default

    Just my luck! I finally discovered a great forum site and you're leaving! Where else could I go and ask dumb questions but get empathetic, serious answers. Members here have been so tolerant of my long winded questions and responses. (need to work on that.)

    Sad for me but happy for you Lisa since it will give you more time to devote to your other projects. I will certain miss the forum. But you're not rid of me yet. It just means, I'll be hanging around more on 2createawebsite. No I don't use WP anymore but the wisdom you so generously share often applies to anyone with a website. Thank you so much for Website Babble. I wish you the very best.
    annsliee on apartment living.
    I'm retired: an age when most friends are bored with interior decorating. I'm not!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    16,283

    Default

    Thanks everyone. Mateo, I don't hang around forums much anymore but I know DigitalPoint is a very popular one, as well as WarriorForum -- although, I've heard mixed messages about that one.

    If there is still a demand for this kind of setup, perhaps I'll re-create something similar on my own domain. But it will definitely be a different setup than this.

    I'm putting all my attention into this new project and I don't have time to babysit (the site, I don't mean you guys... lol) and constantly monitor/clean/fix things anymore.

    But I am going to miss chatting with everyone. You guys are awesome.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    315

    Default

    Wow... I'm sad but not surprised Lisa. I know the site hasn't been as active as in the past and you were always struggling to keep things running well. I wish you all the luck and can understand why it's a huge load off your shoulders.

    I've done real well with my own website, so much so that it's my main source of income. I'm making more money than I did with my full-time job and I'm striving to do even better. I didn't know one thing about websites when I started. You weren't the first source where I learned about creating a website and earning money, but when I found you, my instinct for recognizing good information when I saw it paid off.

    I've always appreciated your white hat tactics and bucking the "get rich quick" trends. It was your info about not spending so much time worrying about building backlinks that really got me involved in what you had to say. I had always gotten much better quality information here than Warrior Forum for example. I will have to check back on your main site more often now.

    Wishing you the best,

    Shea

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    St. Pete, FL
    Posts
    395

    Default

    Thanks Lisa. You really were the inspiration in starting this whole web business in the first place. So I thank you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    423

    Default

    I just came on here to see what was new and saw this message. I'll miss knowing that this place is here, and that I can come on and ask long winded questions that find answers! This is the only forum that I am a part of, so I'm going to have to go find another one, but I imagine it won't be like this one has been.

    There is a lot I could say, but to keep it short, I'll be definitely looking in on your website and blog more often. The members here and especially you Lisa have been very helpful in my journey to finding an online income that I'm happy with! Like with anything you appreciate that's been there for a good amount of time, I'll miss this forum. With that being said, I so understand having to drop certain things in life to make room for other things. I can't even begin to imagine the amount of work needed to keep up with a forum, especially when you have so much else to do!

    You've been so much of a help Lisa, and a lot of inspiration. Sometimes it's just good knowing there is someone like you out there. Balances out some of the crap you run into on a daily basis.

    I feel like there is more I want to say, but I'll just keep it short. If you ever do open up another forum, I'd be happy to join!

    Thank you very much for all of your help, patience, and realness over the years! I hope that whatever direction you decide to go will be one that brings you satisfaction, happiness, and growth. I'll be following your blog for sure!

    Take care everyone else on here that I've ever chatted with, that's answered a question I had, or that I've attempted to answer a question for! It's been real.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Israel
    Posts
    190

    Default

    BTW, have you thought about trying to sell this forum? This way you will profit from the sale and not have to take care of it anymore, the content will remain online, and the users will be able to keep posting messages and get help from one another

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pattaya, Thailand
    Posts
    2,014

    Default

    Yes Lisa, quite a sad news even if I don't come as often as before.

    Perhaps you could disable new member registrations, and let it online with the existing content and either :
    - block all new posts even by existing members
    - let existing members add content, but block any new registration

    And yes, you could have monetize this forum much better, for visitors and members alike.
    For instance placing adsense inside the post, with a div float left or right, inside the messages, not in between. It's just a matter of editing the template once and for all.
    Also with a plugin you can make all words such as "aweber" or any webhosting name, automatically link to your affiliate link.
    And of course also, have links to your products.

    That way, you don't have to manage anything anymore, but still benefit from the traffic. I don't know if this forum has traffic, but if it's over 1000 per day, it is more than enough to justify keeping it live until it dies from php bugs and what not :-)

    I mean, no need to put it offline all of a sudden, but if you think you'll feel better with nothing to worry about, then of course you can do it :-)

    Cheers,
    James

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Lowell, MI
    Posts
    215

    Unhappy This makes me sad.

    This is sad to me! I, for one, would be willing to pay a membership fee now so that you can hire someone to take the site private and monetize. Am I alone?

    I was a reader and avid fan for a long time and it never would have occurred to me, Lisa, that I could ask you a question personally or reach out to you. I am continually amazed that, with everything else you are doing, you take the time to answer my questions! I've been grateful beyond measure for Website Babble and I'll just stalk it on the WayBack Machine if it goes away.

    Best of luck to you and I do respect your decision! It's been wonderful, for the last 3 years I've been here, anyway.
    Bring the Boom - imaginations on fire!
    DAW Apparel - shirts that ROCK!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    16,283

    Default

    Thank you everyone! I appreciate the kind words and feedback.

    James, blocking the new members is not going to help with the malware issues. That will only help with the spam. The biggest issue now is I cannot even upgrade the software anymore which is not good. It will keep getting infected with malware if I don't/can't. So that means I'd have to move the entire forum to another server/host. That will also cost money because I am certainly not going to bother with doing that myself. This database is huge.

    And I just noticed this forum no longer loads in Firefox anymore. I just get a non-styled version. A mess! Who knows how long it's been like that.

    So if I keep the forum up that means I will have to continue paying SiteLock or some kind of scanning service... which right now is costing me $100/month in addition to hosting. This forum gets less than 1,000 visitors per day. Last time I checked it was around 400.

    Believe it or not, this forum never reached the 2K/day mark. I think it peaked in 2011 at around 1800.

    I wish there was a way to keep this up and secure without having to pay additional security scanning fees. If there was a way, I certainly would.

    As far as AdSense goes James, I did have ads in the posts for a short time to test, and the earnings weren't worth the bother. I even tried selling ads back in 2008 and the advertisers never renewed because they didn't get a lot of clicks. And this was when the forum was a lot more active. So if it was hard to monetize then, it would certainly be hard to monetize now.

    I think the best way to monetize a forum is to have a private area where members pay monthly. Unless you have tens of thousands of views per day, it's hard to make much from advertising. Lesson learned for next time.

    Maya, I have thought about that, but I will probably keep the domain in case I want to use it later.

    I appreciate all the suggestions. I would love to find a way to keep it active and avoid the security risks.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    St. Pete, FL
    Posts
    395

    Default

    I'll pay you a million dollars!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    16,283

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mateo3847 View Post
    I'll pay you a million dollars!
    Oh OK... then it's settled. LOL

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Ilkeston, Derbyshire, England
    Posts
    2,487

    Default

    Sorry to hear this Lisa, it's a great community. Could you not recreate a forum on your 2createawebsite domain using a plugin, and then keep us informed via your newsletter?

    I do not bother with any other forums because of the general negativity and trolls. Hire someone to build a new forum and do all the heavy lifting on a project basis, perhaps?

    Can you give us a time frame as to when we can expect the forum to be taken down?

    I hope those of us who wish to remain in touch can do so before you pull the plug.

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