We have made some changes have been made to the Social aspect of Aquarists Online.
Actually there is one change and two additions!
Prior to having Aquarists Online Social we had a community forum on the site and whilst it did well and was growing it felt cold (if you know what I mean). People came on asking and answering questions. Some people returned and others did not – yet it did not feel like a community. Aquarists Online Social was created so that we could build a community. An area where aquarists of all skill levels could come hang out, share pictures, movies, articles etc etc. We also wanted this to be an area which anyone could visit and read the content and view the other areas of the site. We chose to make uploads etc to the site for members only so that we could combat the various types of spam attacks which do appear to come out of nowhere.
The forum area is still available as we felt that there was some good content in there with some good discussions and we do appreciate that there are many people who will still prefer to use a community forum.
The one area that we wanted to accomodate was for people to have the ability to be able to do all of this and for it not be hard. We believe that our Social area does accomodate for the above but there was something missing – well two actually and that is why we have two new additions.
Before that though I will cover the small change made.
On the home page there is a members login box. This has been changed so that existing members can easily log in and new members can easily sign up. Only a small change but one that makes it easier for both new and existing members.
On to the additions.
The new additions to the site are an auction area and a news/article area.
The first addition is the inclusion of an auction area. This area is basically like E-Bay but is designed specifically for the aquarium hobby. E-Bay is a huge site with thousands of items listed and for this reason it is sometimes hard to find the items you are looking for. One big difference is that E-Bay charges for items to be listed as well as pictures etc. We are not going to charge for items listed on this area of the site. The only time we may implement a charge to this area is if it becomes popular and we need help in funding the website hosting costs (we only have a certain amount of traffic our current hosting allows and as with anything if you need more you have to pay for it!) – if this happens it will not be a lot and nowhere like E-Bay charges.
Anyone can view this aspect of the website, however in order to sell an item, purchase an item, ask the seller a question you do need to be logged in as a member.
There is a huge amount of functionality available in this addition – to much to list here in this post so why not pop over to the auction area and have a look. For oobvious reasons it is quiet at the moment however over time we firmly believe that this will become a popular addition to the site. After all who does not like finding a bargain or making a bit of spare cash by selling unwanted/un-used items.
The second item is what is called ‘Dig News‘. A huge area of the site which we believed was missing was the ability for members to upload their own articles. Whilst there is the ability for blogs to be created this is not the same as an article. Of course we create articles for the blog area of Aquarists Online, however this is our opinion, our experiences etc. There are lots of other articles all over the internet. What if we could have an area where these articles could be all be retained in one area and people could peruse them at their pleasure. What if the readers could vote on these articles so that other people would know if there were good or now.
Now we can!
Basically what this area allows is for several things. It allows for the posting of a link to an article on another website, the posting of a link to a video on another website, the posting of a link to a picture on another website and also for the posting of an article which is hosted by us.
When a link is posted you also have the ability to be able to add some content so you can say what the article/video/picture is about and why you like it.
On top of all this people can vote for entries which they like and find useful. The entries are sorted by the amounts of votes they have therefore the most useful and informative entries are at the top of the page. Comments can also be left against any entry, therefore if you really like an entry you can vote for it and also leave a comment.
We have split this area into several categories so that it is easier to locate entries. We have also included a search function so that entries are easier to locate.
As with the auction area of the site we have made this area so that anyone can visit however in order to vote or leave a comment you need to be logged in as a member.
Over time we believe that this could be built into a really useful resource. As said there are loads and loads of useful articles, information videos, great pictures and more all over the internet but they can be hard to locate.
We will be actively posting entries into this news area and invite you to do the same.
So there we go – a couple of additions to the Social aspect of our site. I hope that you agree that these are useful additions and would welcome any feedback you may have about these areas.