Hey everybody. I was hoping to get some comments on my new site, Forum Rank. Anything from the design to the content I'm willing to listen to. I really want to make this the best resource and rankings site for forums, so I'm ready to hear anything you guys have to say. Keep in mind that there are still one or two bugs with the Forum Awards sytem (it should be done by the end of this week).
Forum Rank is a revolutionary new forum ranking system that uses a sophisticated algorithm to rank forums based on a number of specific criteria. The system is entirely automated and there is no limit to what size, genre, or age your forum has to be before you can add it.
Our AFR (Automated Forum Rank) system gives a fair playing ground for small to medium sized forum owners to compete with the "big boards." Although size does play an important role, we take into consideration a number of other factors such as forum activity, registration rate, and more. Forum Rank also offers a significant database of forum administration articles, interviews, and custom forum reviews in the hopes of helping new as well as old administraters make the most of their forums.
Site loaded instantly. Mostly good main page, but the actual useful part (the list of forums) is too far down and too far to the right. "FR" should be replaced with "Rank". The "not reviewed" button should not look 3D so it's more obvious that the blue checkmark buttons can be clicked. In fact, they arguably should just be a blank pale-gray ring, like if you erased all the orange in the current graphic, maybe with a light gray X in the white inner circle.
Clicking categories like "Computers & The Internet" should list the message boards (sorted by rank) belonging to that category. Clicking the message-board names should go straight to the website instead of to the info page; instead, there should be a "details" link that goes to that page. Or do the opposite by keeping the current functionality but with a direct link also offered.
I like the inclusion of a screenshot.
Lastly, the usefulness of your site is determined by the effectiveness of your ranking, so you need to make it very clear how forums are ranked. If you leave it a mystery, the usefulness of your site would likewise be a mystery. It's not like PageRank where it's obvious how well or poorly Google ranks sites; ranking message-board forums without searching for something specific is rather ambiguous.
Thanks for the review! I fixed that little typo, good eye
And do you mean clicking the category text? Because when you sort them it does display as you suggest.
The details thing - why? In my mind at least I prefer seeing the details page before the actual site. Why do you think it should take directly to the site (other than that's what big-boards does)?
As for the ranking criteria - if I give that out completely then my site will no longer be unique. I am going to release an article soon as well as a FAQ that gives tips on how to improve rank as well as giving a general idea of what's involved.
The details thing I suggested because many people would want to go straight to the website, not have to first view a small page about it to find the URL. Plus it's nice immediately knowing what the URL is, and you give no indication of it on your main page. You may prefer seeing the details page, but not everyone does, and you should always design websites so anything people want done can be done as quickly as reasonably possible.
For the ranking criteria, your ranking appears completely arbitrary and is basically meaningless unless the criteria are known. For example, sites that list forums by number of users make it clear that they are ranking them by number of users. So people can view those lists and see which forums have the most users. A site that lists forums by number of threads will make it very clear that it's sorting based on the number of threads, so people can view those lists and see which forums have the most threads.
Such lists are only useful if the users know what the rank means -- how it was determined.
EDIT: Note that I am not saying your ranking is arbitrary; I'm saying it appears arbitrary if the details aren't disclosed.
You have really good points - I was a little insulted about the arbitrary remark until I read your edit The ranking system has been extensively researched and is very complex; that is the reason I don't want to release too much about it. I do agree with you, however, that I need to release *some* information about it and give people an idea of how it grades forums. This is going to be done very shortly