October 1, 2014

Outdoor Blogger Community Changes: Spring Sprucing

Outdoor CommunityI have a case of Spring Fever.

Whenever I’m feeling antsy, I have to do something radical and this weekend I focused the fever on the OBN.

First off, I finally bit the bullet and changed the format throughout the entire site so that everything is cohesive with the exception of the Blog Directory – which is a unique directory template.

I really liked the look and feel of the old homepage, but that theme didn’t play well with cache programs, certain software, aggregation of other layers of the OBN etc, etc. Sadly.

I still have some cosmetic  tweaks to do, but it’ll do for now.

Community Enhancements:  

The premise of this entire site is to connect like minded Outdoor Enthusiasts. We’ve done our best to help promote Outdoor Bloggers via several features.

  • Featured Outdoor Blogs of the Week
  • Quickfire Interviews
  • The Outdoor Blog Directory 
  • The Community News section (self submitted blog links)
  • Forum

With the exception of the Forum, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make the OBN a more interactive community. I believe I’ve figured out how to accomplish that by providing another avenue in which you can connect with others, promote your personal blog and discover others in real time style.

Outdoor Members: If you’ve already signed up for an account via the main OBN to use on the Forum, you’re all set. You just need to sign in once and the new system will ‘pick you’ right up. Once you sign in, it’s time to personalize your profile. Click your name—>Click Profile—->Click Edit—>Add Info – Save Changes

Next you’ll want to import your personal Blog Feed to your profile activity stream: Click Settings—>Import a Blog—>Add your feed address

Outdoor Members Benefits: Make it easy for people to find you, follow you and connect with you. Your personal RSS Feed info will update into your own activity stream. 

Personal Member Set Up

Community Activity

This new feature reminds me a bit of Facebook. The community activity stream picks up ‘activity’ from everywhere in the site and auto posts them here. You can also drop a note, a link, an image, a video…whatever you’d like, into this information feed.

Last night when I was messing around with everything, Mel signed in and I was able to comment back and forth with him in real time and I loved it!  If you are checking in at the OBN, I think it would be a great idea to check in on the Community Activity feed and see what’s going on for the day. The more people that use it, the more fun it will be!

Activity Feed

Outdoor Groups:

I’ve been torn about the OBN Forum for some time. Or maybe I should rephrase that and say, the OBN forum has been tricky, cantankerous and unreliable for awhile now. With the new Outdoor Groups option, I may just take it down (depending on the feedback you all give me) and let Groups do their own thing.

Anyone can create an Outdoor Group. An Outdoor Group can be just a meeting spot, or if someone wants, they can take their Outdoor Group the extra step and the option is there to click “add a forum’ to my group and you can have an activity stream and forum for your Outdoor Group. Skies the limit kind of deal!

For Example: I created the group Idaho Outdoor Bloggers. It’s my hope that I can connect up the Idaho Bloggers into one spot so I can find them all easier. (If YOU are an Idaho Blogger, come join us!)

You can make public groups or private groups. You can invite people to your groups or if it’s public, people can ask to be part of the fun. You can be the only admin of your group or you can assign more admins. You have the control…

So make a new group today! Start a State group, an outdoor specific groups, etc…let’s get the groups going and growing.

Outdoor Group

Recap and Notes:

It’s a new system. I’m still learning it myself while trying to fix issues I come across. I’d love any and all feedback so I can make it the best feature possible. A lot of things I’d be able to fix, some things I may not be able too…but I’d try!

For those of you that use the old Forum, what’s your thoughts? Leave it? Take it down and bring back the best parts via the Outdoor Groups?

Note* The Blog Directory and the Main OBN run on different databases. Which means if you’ve signed up to submit your blog to the directory, you still need to sign up for an account here to participate in the activities I mentioned above. Sorry about that!

Rebecca (and Joe who is innocent and should not be held accountable for all the changes) 

Technical Issues Updates: I got reports of people trying to register and unable to get past the Captcha spam barrier. Not sure what’s wrong with it so it’s gone, zapped, no longer a part of the registration process.

 
 
About Rebecca

When Rebecca isn't running the Outdoor Blogger Network, she is off Fly Fishing her favorite rivers. Occasionally she writes about those adventures at The Outdooress.

Comments

  1. 1

    Rebecca, I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for the OBN (Joe, too!). However, this new format I absolutely love and think it will be a huge asset to outdoor bloggers uniting, communicating, grouping and all the other things I can’t think of right now.

    As far as the old forum goes, I say “trash it”. I thought it was a total pain in the backside to use. The content was good, but, accessing it, finding what you were looking for etc. just didn’t work for me. I believe that this new format gives bloggers the chance to communicate and, if they want, make a forum of their own group interest.

    Thanks again,
    Mel

    • 2

      Thank You Mel! I really appreciate hearing that and I’m so glad you like the changes (hopefully everyone does)

      I’m always looking at this site and wondering how I can make it better for everyone. There’s more features I can add to the new system, but I thought I’d roll them out slowly and give everyone time to get used to what I’ve added so far.

      I’ve noted your vote for “trash it” on the old forum. Agreed…love the information that’s in there, but that program & I have a bit of a hate/hate relationship and I’ve never got it to work just right. As Joe would tell you, I’m a perfectionist and it’s given me hours upon hours of grief.

      Anyway, Thank you for your input and as always, your support and participation here at the OBN!

  2. 3

    I have to agree with Mel on all accounts. I really do appreciate all the work that must go into OBN and I use it as a main hub to not only promote my own stuff, but to find other blogs out there. I can’t tell you how many blogs I have discovered because of OBN.

    The new looks is fantastic. I think it will take some getting used to, but it just feels “better”.

    I also have to agree that the old forum needs to be thrown in a Hefty bag and drop down the garbage chute. I could only log in occasionally and every time I would go to a new forum, I would have to log in again. I just gave up and don’t even try anymore.

    Best

    Nick

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