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Steve C.

Has the sheen worn off a little?

62 posts in this topic

We will be turning a critical eye to the site when the new board forms - including seeing what works best for the members - we have some other challenges that need to be addressed too - like becoming a legitimate not for profit organization.One aspect we do need to look at is how we can make information more accessible - whether that be a set of links specific to a topic or ? is up for discussion. The current search function is not that useful at times. I guess we are in a sense a bit of a victim of our own success - with so much material - finding specific items can be a challenge.Part of what I feel is needed also is to reach out a bit to smart owners that may not be aware we even are here. We can do this through a few open events in different areas and making sure the Club gets behind folks that organize those events.Stay tuned - as the Club and site mature it will only get better.Cheers,Cameron

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I'd like to see separate forums for old and new versions of cars blown out and instead get people to tag the subject header with 450 or 451 for any posts that deal specifically with that model of car. Is that possible?I read one person's speculation that we could become a legitimate national car club out of this. As a canadian I love that we're dominated locally. I truly value the international aspect but it's so nice to not be in the minority for a change. I'd really love to see us form an official car club and I'd be quite willing to pay dues for extra real benefits, possibly discount card from participating businesses or just something to put on our cars? Yes a windshield card would be a good start but what about a nice clean clear decal with lettering in white or black to give the club name and website? :-) Cafe Press remarkets such things for organizations.I don't know if I"d be forward enough to slip a card under someone's wiper but certainly would put something on my own car if not too big. I've already got enough info on it :-)

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I own both 450 and 451 and the club is the answer for most of my question. I don't believe the glamour is gone, we have lots of people reading everyday and it shows it still a big hit. Perhaps now with the americans getting the car, it might take some people to their web pages, but we are the first in N. America. We have to keep the good work.Thanks

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Out of curiosity, I googled 'smartcar', and we appeared on the second page. I then googled 'smart car', and we didn't appear until the FIFTH page! In both instances, there were some pretty obscure sites listed before us, certainly containing far fewer references to smart cars, AND in both instances, our link came up as the former .ca rather than .com. Does anybody know why our newer .com url isn't showing up on the google search? Perhaps that's a clue as to why we appear so far down the list when searching for info about the car.

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But in terms of attracting new owners or potential owners, they're more likely to simply google 'smartcar' or 'smart car' and get sidetracked long before they encounter our fine site. I'm sure those words are used here much more frequently than on some of the other sites that appear ahead of us on the google search. It has me baffled.

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But in terms of attracting new owners or potential owners, they're more likely to simply google 'smartcar' or 'smart car' and get sidetracked long before they encounter our fine site. I'm sure those words are used here much more frequently than on some of the other sites that appear ahead of us on the google search. It has me baffled.

When I google smart car it's on the 1st page, 4th down.

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Too weird! I just did it after reading your post---- page 5 (second from the top)----- several spots after Mercury News. com!!!! WTF!

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We need better meta-data so the search engines rate us higher. This is a black art in and of itself. Once way to drive ourselves higher is for all of us to search for and then go to the site. The search engines key on that as well.

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I get CsC as the fourth hit, page 1.

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On Google.com a search for "smart car" (without the quotation marks) returns CsC on page 5.On Google.ca CsC shows up as the fourth result.Probably a good indication of how Americans will be finding the Smart Club of America forum before this one.

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But in terms of attracting new owners or potential owners, they're more likely to simply google 'smartcar' or 'smart car' and get sidetracked long before they encounter our fine site. I'm sure those words are used here much more frequently than on some of the other sites that appear ahead of us on the google search. It has me baffled.

Search engine ranking has to do with a lot more factors than just what's written on a page itself. Meta tags (though not nearly as important as they used to be) and proper titles are factors, but a major factor is how other people are linking to this site. Linking itself is good, but the terms used in the link are important as well.

Examples of links:

Here's a cool site I found! Check it out!

Here's a cool site I found! Check it out here: http://clubsmartcar.com

Here's a cool site I found! Club Smart Car! Check it out!

Here's a cool site I found! It's a smart car club! Check it out!

The 3rd and 4th examples are more helpful to our search ranking than the first two, because they use our desired keywords in the link itself, though the first two do help out as well.

This site doesn't have any meta tags or meta description at all! Implementing those would be worth the 3 minutes of time it takes to activate them. I'm not sure if IPB (the software this forum uses) has added a better way lately, but it used to be done through the individual theme's AdminCP --> Skins and Templates --> Board Wrappers --> "Edit Board Header & Footer Wrapper" section. Our Admin/webmaster can just Google a meta tag generator, and pop the results right in the <head> section (leaving out the <title> section if the generator makes one; we already have appropriate <title> tags that are automatically generated by our forum).

What other steps has the club itself taken to promote themselves online? Link swaps with other smart car clubs (eg European ones, etc.) or smart car parts suppliers, Google Adwords, asking members to link from their own personal websites, etc? Providing the code for a link for this purpose usually works great - then you can guide the keywords and phrasing used in the link, and it makes it way easier for people who aren't as familiar with coding.

Though as always, even with meta tags and links, the familiar webmaster adage still rings true: Content is King.

The items on the main portal page are a bit stale; the top text is very sort and not very keyword heavy, and doesn't do much to encourage new visitors to dig beyond the portal page. When was the last time it was updated? Keeping content fresh and relevant is one of the best ways to attract new visitors. ^_^

It's also slightly confusing for newbies as it says: "Most people start with the forums, and then they dig deeper into our site for more specific information.".

But what else is there besides the forums? We have an articles section, containing no articles except a single test, and a calendar that's empty of anything except automatically-generated forum member's birthdays. The threads listed vertically on the right just seem to be pulled directly from the "In News & Entertainment > Front Page News" forum, but is a random cartoon about the smart car really front page news for our main webpage? Does it really count as "The best news", as per the description of that subforum? The very first thread listed (the sticky one) doesn't even have any actual content; it's just a video link.

We should also be encouraging members to submit events to the calendar, and get some of our club events up there! Or put one of the BoD in charge of adding member events to the calendar (though as this would still require members alerting the BoD of events, most forums usually just allow members to add their own events, and implement an approval system if spam or irrelevant events become a problem). For example, the Third smart ForTwo Show and Shine should definitely be in the calendar, as should the other gatherings!

Someone suggested a community blog a while back, in another thread. I really liked that idea, especially if it were used in conjunction with sprucing up the main page to help get new people interested. Members could submit articles to the blog, and the BoD could appoint a Blog Monitor to read over the submitted articles and approve/decline them (and perhaps doing things like correcting spelling if need be, etc). It would keep fresh content coming in, and would keep up the buzz for CsC. I suggest WordPress, since it's the best blog software out there, and very easy to implement. ^_^

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I became turned off to CsC when you started to restrict links to SCOA. Only a day or so ago that US site's Adm. posted a link here. I post often on other sites and because of your policy, I no longer link CsC.IMO, It's way past time to go after Canadian NA451 business. I encounter Canadian posters often now on other boards, where in the past they would have posted here. Kidding yourselves on how vast your membership is, is a joke. You now only have a handful of posters a day. More needs to be said on this issue, but the thread is getting too long. A2Jack.

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I think the 450 vs. 451 "conflict" is a bit of a tempest in a teacup. Bottom line is that the majority of smart owners on this site, and in Canada as a whole, are still 450 owners so we are seeing a bias towards 450 posts on CsC. The number of new 451 members is, one would assume, vastly outpacing the new 450 members so we should see parity and even 451 dominance (in terms of posts) before too long. Not really sure why there is so much teeth gnashing and pulling of hair over this issue. Doesn't seem to have affected the European forums that I visit. They split the technical discussions for 450s & 451s (as well as roadsters and forfours) into separate areas and then have common discussion areas for news, meetings, enviro, general discussion, etc. Seems pretty straightforward.Something else that is bothering me is all the anguish over growth (or lack there of) and failure to capture the North American market. As far as I know, we aren't beholden to any shareholders or corporate sponsors so we don't have to grow for financial reasons. Why then the impetus for growth? We aren't in a "pissing contest" with the other smart forums, and we don't have to be bigger than SCOA, the smartclub, smart mania, smart insider, etc. to be successful -- all we have to do is meet the needs of our users. Does CsC do this? I think so. We have a friendly, articulate, active and extremely knowledge user base capable of providing answers for just about anything smart related. On top of that we have lively off-topic discussions relevant to the non-smart related interests of the members which, for me, makes it a well-rounded club. This doesn't mean that growth shouldn't be a part of the club's plan as without new blood, discussion will go stale and users will become disinterested. However, I don't think we should be crying failure if we fail to add ten thousand users each year as IMO it is much more important to add a few dozen or a few hundred quality members each year than to simply pad the numbers. Now for something that might be unpopular...I think we made a mistake in failing to brand and market CsC as a Canadian forum. Identity is a very important part of any club. In our case the smart is, of course, integral to CsC's identity. There are, however, smart forums all over the world, and what sets us apart from them? Well we might argue that the quality of posts and the friendliness of the posters set us apart, but, in reality, most forums will likely believe that of themselves. Clearly it is our Canadian content that sets us apart -- most of our users live, drive and meet-up in Canada. Why not declare the obvious and identify us a Canadian club?? I do understand that "for everyone who loves smart cars" (an excellent motto, btw) was chosen because we wanted to appeal to all smart enthusiasts or, more specifically, all North American smart enthusiasts. I'm an internationalist by nature not a "little Canadian" and I agree with the sentiment. It is just that I ultimately don't believe that CsC will truly become a North American forum. I think that most American enthusiasts will gravitate toward SCOA, smart insider USA and the like and we will never gain the numbers of American members necessary to make this a truly international club. Maybe not a big deal you might think, as it would be pretty much status quo. However, I think the danger is that in changing the club to try to attract more American members, we may end up alienating Canadian members. I'm not a Canadian chauvinist or patriot, and I visit French, American, and British smart forums/clubs and feel very welcome but I always know that they are French/British/American sites. I want foreign visitors/members to feel welcome and contribute, but to also know that they are on a Canadian club/forum...that's all. uggh, that it too long and convoluted...apologies...garth

Edited by garthD

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Garth, Strange. On the Canadian ID issue we said the same thing. But If CsC doesn't at least get more NA451 posters there will be no reason for people to come here. If you want to be a small 450 club only, then so be it. But as you see by what's happening now, you can't be all things to all people. Your club Admins were pushing for growth has that goal changed?Europe has a base of almost 1 million cars so their clubs can cast broadly. Take away the NA451s and how many cars do you have here in Canada?You've read my posts and know I love CsC and wish you well.We will soon be free of Bush and I hope you guys can rid yourselves of your guy too.Best Regards.A2Jack

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IMO it is much more important to add a few dozen or a few hundred quality members each year than to simply pad the numbers. garth

Unfortunately, Garth, we can't simply find new 'quality' members without being visible (findable) to everybody who is interested in smart cars. If we attract thousands of new visitors, hopefully the 'quality' ones will recognize our merits and stick around.Speaking of sticking around, you mentioned that "we may end up alienating Canadian members" by appealing to smart enthusiasts around the world. If that is indeed the case, I personally hope that those alienated members leave. There is enough xenophobia in this world, and if the small-minded ones aren't comfortable socializing with people from other parts of the world, then too bad.It was decided long ago that this club would be dedicated to 'EVERYONE who loves smart cars' and welcome new members from around the world, whether they be from Europe, Asia, or wherever. We do now have members posting from almost everywhere, and their perspectives enrich the club.Kitty, I think you've got some great insights and ideas. Perhaps you could volunteer your name to the BOD to work on a committee to upgrade the site?

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In the early days of CsC, I submitted the clubsmartcar.ca address to all the search engines. It used to be a free service. Maybe it's time to submit the dot com addy as well?

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Speaking of sticking around, you mentioned that "we may end up alienating Canadian members" by appealing to smart enthusiasts around the world. If that is indeed the case, I personally hope that those alienated members leave. There is enough xenophobia in this world, and if the small-minded ones aren't comfortable socializing with people from other parts of the world, then too bad.It was decided long ago that this club would be dedicated to 'EVERYONE who loves smart cars' and welcome new members from around the world, whether they be from Europe, Asia, or wherever. We do now have members posting from almost everywhere, and their perspectives enrich the club.

No Deezle, we won't alienate people by apealing to smarties worldwide but, instead, by changing the nature of the forum so that we can compete with the big boys down South...some people can only see the worth in something if it is the "biggest" or "number 1". As I said before, this doesn't have to be a "pissing contest".And, yes, there is too much xenophobia in the world, and my thoughts had nothing to do with that and doesn't contribute to it in the least. I enjoy and value the posts from people from around the world and long may it continue, but why can't we be recognized as a Canadian forum/club? It is a bit of a sham to state that this is a truly international forum when only a small percentage of active posters are from outside the country. Besides, do you think that these vistors from around the world would shudder with horror and flee when they discover this is a Canadian forum, when a few minutes reading posts here would have confirmed it anyway? Besides, I believe that a lot of non-Canadians join CsC because they want a Canadian perspective on smart cars, the environment, politics, etc....at least that's why I join foreign forums.garth

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Garth, Strange. On the Canadian ID issue we said the same thing. But If CsC doesn't at least get more NA451 posters there will be no reason for people to come here. If you want to be a small 450 club only, then so be it. But as you see by what's happening now, you can't be all things to all people. Your club Admins were pushing for growth has that goal changed?Europe has a base of almost 1 million cars so their clubs can cast broadly. Take away the NA451s and how many cars do you have here in Canada?You've read my posts and know I love CsC and wish you well.We will soon be free of Bush and I hope you guys can rid yourselves of your guy too.Best Regards.A2Jack

Honestly A2Jack, I think it would kill the club if we focussed solely on either the 450 or 451. Over time, the 451 posts will continue to grow and the 450 posts will continue to diminish. Don't see the problem anyway...they are both smart cars.garth

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Speaking of sticking around, you mentioned that "we may end up alienating Canadian members" by appealing to smart enthusiasts around the world. If that is indeed the case, I personally hope that those alienated members leave. There is enough xenophobia in this world, and if the small-minded ones aren't comfortable socializing with people from other parts of the world, then too bad.

I humbly submit that there's a huge difference between Canadians wanting/liking Canadian things and being "uncomfortable socializing with people from other parts of the world".

I agree with a lot of what Garth said up there.

I came to this site through Google, because I was looking for a Canadian Smart Car site/club. While I'm sure I would be more than welcome on a British/American/European smart car site, I wanted a Canadian one because of things like location, environment, weather, laws, etc. It's nice to have a chance at having local events/meet-ups, because with other (non-smart) USA-based sites/clubs I'm in, anything in Canada is few and far between, and that sucks. ^_^

Including everyone is fantastic, but I'd wager that, based on how these things tend to work on the internet, that most new American smart car owners will end up going to one of the American clubs instead of here, simply because like attracts like, not because they're afraid to associate with the Europeans or us at CsC. Which would make us an mostly-International-except-America smart car clue. Which is fine, if that's what we want, but we should clarify everything now, so the site can streamline its focus going foward.

Please don't throw too many tomatoes at me! :tomatos:^_^

I became turned off to CsC when you started to restrict links to SCOA. Only a day or so ago that US site's Adm. posted a link here. I post often on other sites and because of your policy, I no longer link CsC.

Wait, what? I don't see anything about that in the rules! Is this seriously a rule? :huh:

Kitty, I think you've got some great insights and ideas. Perhaps you could volunteer your name to the BOD to work on a committee to upgrade the site?

Perhaps I could; is there a procedure to do so?

I run a handful of websites including my own business site plus a public blog, and I moderate a small business forum, and I enjoy helping out when I have the time. ^_^

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Kitty, I think you've got some great insights and ideas. Perhaps you could volunteer your name to the BOD to work on a committee to upgrade the site?

Never mind--- I take it back. ;)

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Hi Gang,A lot of this is already on the BOD radar - we will start doing some organizing of the ideas and see where we can get some quick hits, longer term stuff and a good cut polish and swirl glaze going. Will take a bit of time though.Cheer,Cameron

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Never mind--- I take it back. ;)

Gee, thanks. :stars: :tongue3:I never claimed to not be opinionated. :lol:;)

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Wait, what? I don't see anything about that in the rules! Is this seriously a rule? :huh:

No, and that would never be a rule. That was something that caused problems over at MBCanada.com and annoyed everyone.Unless I'm mistaken, what happened was that a new "How To" topic was created that merely contained a link to an article over at SCOA. While the information and the contribution were appreciated, it was suggested that simply posting a link was poor netiquette.We post links all the time in response to people's questions. In my case, it's quite often a link to Evilution's site; however, I would never just create a series of How To topics that just created a link to each of Evilution's pages.

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Thanks for the explanation Gent! ^_^

I fully agree with not just posting a link to somewhere else with no explanation here for something like an FAQ. Not only does it not really help people while they are here, there's always the risk of the site that's linked to going down, or change their URLs and then the link would no longer be helpful at all.

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