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How to Build an Online Presence - Ultima Online

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  • How to Build an Online Presence - Ultima Online

    Here is a great post, originally written by Orbit Storm

    "How to Build an Online Presence"

    Original post from:

    For those of you who know me, you'll know that the content of this post comes with merit. For those of you that don't, I encourage you to review this post and pose any questions you may have.

    I'd like to share some pro-tips with the community, for building your online presence. Over the years I have watched communities rise or subsequently collapse based on the presentation of their brand. Many owners overlook the necessity of placing their brand at the fingertips of their players. I'm not here to "call out" any communities in particular, nor would I have any desire to do so even if asked to. My advice is not necessarily fact, but time has proven it's value. This post is more geared toward presentation of your product than "where do I advertise".

    With that said.. let's get started!

    Buy yourself a domain! Don't use Wix, Weebly, or any other generic site building tool. While the building tools themselves often times have quite a bit to offer, these sites all require that you use a sub-domain that includes their company name or chosen URL (e.g. Unless of course you pay for premium, in which case it's a wiser investment to spend a few dollars to purchase your own domain if for nothing else other than freedom. If you choose a quality registrar, you'll have access to DNS records which will also allow you to add A Records to point to shard sub-domains (i.e. instead of using something generic such as If you're truly invested in your project, you'll want to invest in that domain to claim your chosen name as well.

    Purchase an HTML or CMS template! Don't make the mistake of using cookie-cutter freebies. Often times the CSS quality is poor and they offer little to no clean/advanced HTML or useful Java features. is an excellent place to purchase HTML5 & CSS3 optimized templates. If you opt for a CMS front-page, I strongly recommend WordPress (mostly due to their recent backend overhaul). Quality WordPress templates range anywhere from $30-$60 in comparison to $10-$20 HTML templates, but they're certainly worth it with all of the extra features such as custom shortcodes, typography, sliders, etc.

    Stay away from ProBoards! This point isn't exclusive to just ProBoards. This includes all externally hosted forums. If you're not downloading it and installing it on a local machine or webhost, walk away. I have no personal qualms with ProBoards other than the utter lack of professional design and administrative freedom. ProBoards is too closely linked to prepubescent Belieber fan-clubs and other "1, 2, 3" step setups. If you're not willing to devote a bit of time into installing your own software, then you're missing an opportunity to make an impression (and leaving your players lacking in functionality with your forum). If you're determined to stick with free software, I encourage using SMF or perhaps phpBB3 if you intend to bridge your content with a CMS such as WordPress or Joomla. Otherwise, give XenForo or Invision Power Board a try. Both are expensive licenses that have annual renewal fees, but the options are endless. XenForo is much more socially oriented, while IPB is all about functionality. RunUO currently utilizes XenForo (for a live example). JoinUO utilizes vBulletin, but vB is a much more advanced package and isn't known for being "user friendly". As such, I recommend not using vBulletin for a shard forum.

    Get Social! This is simple, although often times tedious. Open an official Twitter account as well as a Facebook account. Personally, I believe Facebook pages are pretty much a senseless waste of time. Twitter now allows you to link your Twitter account to your Facebook page, and your tweets will automatically be shared on your page. It saves time and negates having to split said time between the two networks. Brief updates on downtime, patches, quick tips, events, etc are all you need to maintain your presence online. If you're really interested in expanding your social reach, you should take an earnest look at Hootsuite for social media management. Hootsuite will allow you to setup social networking teams that can tweet or share content on Facebook under your brand's name (as well as communicate with social media users).

    Maintain a Wiki! This should be a no-brainer, but alas there are administrative teams that simply overlook this. No matter how "vanilla" your community may seem to you, your users still need information present on any customizations or additional features. Posting such content on a forum or expecting users to find it buried within your patch notes is pure silliness. Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress are excellent for merging your main site with a wiki format that your users can easily browse. MediaWiki is the next best alternative

    Be Creative! Try to avoid using images from Google. There are literally dozens of online image editing tools if you don't have Photoshop (try Pixlr) that will allow you to put together a bit of artwork for your community. If you are going to use Google-searched imagery, don't be a stooge and utilize the imagery in such a fashion that you're implying it's from your community. It creates reasonable expectation and will chase players off if they find that your T2A faction combat image isn't what your Stygian Abyss duel pits have to offer.
    RunUO - Ultima Online Emulator -