Good Practice Tip:
Make Regular Announcements or Add Interesting Content via Forum Discussions:

Do you make regular announcements on your site? Or, do you add Forum Discussions with interesting content for your site members and visitors? If no is the answer, "Wake up and smell the coffee." Get busy! ;-)

Adding regular blog posts to your Blog is a great way to add interesting and fresh content. But, this tip pertains to organizing Ning Forum Discussions.

Jen's Discovery: (a blonde moment...)
In an effort to make announcements, and report Social Networking and Social Media Industry News, I add "my" most recent Forum Discussions and Blog Posts to the home page. I bold "my" to bring attention to - - this tip applies to Ning Network Creators and Administrators, and the Forum Discussions we create.

Today I realized my announcements are not as up-to-date and dynamic as I would like - - just in the past week or so. My excuse: I just don't have enough hours in a day, LOL. But, who does? Fortunately, I've managed to keep Jen's Video Reflection of the Week fresh and interesting. So, with all that said, I decided it was time to stop everything else, and make this work more efficiently.

This is what I'm calling my "blonde moment", and how it hit me: "Good grief Jen, this is what you do, and you are adding HTML links individually and by hand?" Okay, so how do I fix this?

Organization:
Ning is lacking somewhat in the field of organization - - well, actually, a lot. But, I do have confidence this will get better and better as the platform continues to mature.

So, how do you organize your Network Announcements and All Forum Discussions?
You may be doing this already. I was for the most part. But, I missed my opportunity (until now) to utilize a special Category just for Admins. and to make Announcements. I've created one so far, and named it: Announcements. Now, when I add a special Announcement via a Forum Discussion, I can assign it to this Category.

My excuse is: I have focused on the Forum Discussions to accommodate Social Network Creators, a place for Site Visitors to find awesome Social Networks Discussions, and much more.

Bottom Line:
Utilize the Forum Discussion Categories. Go to Manage/Discussion Forum, and add Categories that are appropriate for your Ning Network. The interface to add Categories is fairly intuitive. If you have a problem, pop me an email, or even better - -  respond to this discussion. There are two types of Categories you can add:
  1. Categories that only Administrators can use for Forum Discussions.
  2. Categories that your Members can use.


Once you get all of your Categories added, you can even go back to existing Forum Discussions and change or add to a Category you created. I was a little concerned about the URL changing on existing Discussions. But, so far, so good. I did not see any URL change. Ning get a good job on this, from what I see.


After you have your Discussions organized, you can start adding those special Announcements.


How to Add a Special Category and It's Discussions to Your Home Page - - via RSS Feed?

  1. Add a RSS Feed Box to your home page, via Manage/Features.
  2. Go to your Forum Discussions listed by Category via: http://yoursite.ning.com/forum/category/listByTitle.
  3. Locate your special Category in left column, and click on link.
  4. In bottom left of the page, locate the RSS icon. Click on it. Note: See example below.
  5. Grab that feed URL, and copy/paste into your new RSS box on your home page.


Done!


Enjoy!


BTW, don't look for my Announcement RSS just yet. You will continue to find the latest Announcements listed directly under the Video of the Week. I'm still working on the "Latest Happenings..." HTML, and getting my announcement links moved to the RSS.


Or you can find the latest announcements here:

New Latest Announcement Category and in my Blog.

;-)





Views: 299

Replies to This Discussion

Jen,
Thanks for the tip! However, there is no RSS icon in any of my Forum Discussions pages. I've looked everywhere but I couldn't find it.. :(

Do I have to go somewhere at Manage page to activate/enable RSS funtionality for my Network?
I wonder if that is happening because my network is still set as "private"....
Thanks in advance,
Gus
Hi Gus,
Yeah, it's due to the "private". There are no RSS icons on private networks.
Best,
Jen
Thanks for this tip! I had NO idea that you could drag and drop these category modules and essentially rearrange your forum!!! AWESOME!
Good deal!

Hi Jen,

Found this tip today and it kind of does what i was looking to do.....

I always wished i could add more than one forum module on main page....So i could display latest discussions, featured discussion and a forum category all at the same time...but in different areas of main page.

Anyways i added a couple RSS Boxes to display a forum category and featured discussions....and my Forum module is set to display latest discussions

Just had a couple of questions...

1- Is there another way to do this?? The RSS feeds are ok but doesnt show member thumbnail and all the other info

2- If RSS Feeds are my only solution, is there a way i can set them to display most popular, instead of latest?

3 - I was trying to use a RSS Featured for a specific forum category, but it listed all the featured discussions for all forum topics.....Is there a way jus to list featured topics from a specific category?

Sorry if this doesnt make sense or is newbie stuff...never messed with this stuff much....Just lookin for a way to bring out various forum topics on to the main page

Any guidance, tips or suggestions would be great!!!

http://introasian.com/

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