The Mumdrum + Panel Update

As most of you know, I met with the Local Panel at the end of last month and on Tuesday I had a call with the Online Panel, so I wanted to update you all on what we discussed:


Latest Stats

Since The Mumdrum launched just over a year ago, the site has attracted over 8 million page views, close to 1 million visits and nearly 150,000 unique visitors, which is great for a new site.   And our unique visitor numbers and membership base are growing rapidly.

New Developments

A lot has happened since the last set of Panel meetings, including:

-    The launch of the mobile site
-    An Online Child Memory Book Facebook Campaign, which has generated over 10,000 Facebook Likes
-    The introduction of Online Pregnancy Memory Books
-    The Lullaby Trust Safe Sleep Campaign and Live Forum Web Chat
-    The launch of The Mumdrum Photo Cards

Forums

The Forums are not as busy as we would have expected at this stage.   We have undertaken paid advertising on both Google and Facebook, but as so many sites offer forums it is difficult to attract new forum members.  We anticipated that new members joining the site to create a Memory Book would also participate in the forums, however unfortunately this has not proven to be the case so far, but we have plans in place to improve the cross-promotion of the site.  An e-mail introducing The Mumdrum continues to be sent to Hitched members who have recently married.

The Panels have suggested more Live Web Chats, such as The Lullaby Trust one that we held at the end of last year, as a way of encouraging forum traffic and new members, which is a great idea.  If you have suggestions of parenting charities / brands / experts that you would like to see join us for a Live Web Chat, please let me know.

In regards to bug fixes / enhancements, we have taken your feedback on board and are revisiting Private Messaging as a high priority.  I hope to have a timeline for delivery of this next week.  We have investigated the recent photo upload issue and have decided to build the ability to add photos from the mobile site to resolve this.
 
Focus for 2014

Our focus for 2014 is on brand awareness, registration, Memory Book creation and the development of new revenue streams.  We will also be implementing plans to encourage new members to try out the Forums.

At the beginning of the year we kicked off our 52 Memories challenge and this has been really well-received with lots of social media and print coverage, including a half page feature in the March edition of Prima Baby magazine:

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (where The Mumdrum ranks for pregnancy / baby / parenting keyword searches) is an important component for us.  However, this is not a quick fix and is something that will take time to build.

New Panel Members

Both Panels agree that it is still valuable to meet / call once every few months.  A couple of members have now stepp

Posts

  • Sarah just today I searched for UK baby forums and Mumdrum wasn't even on the first five pages. I don't know where it ranks I gave up looking at that point. I know the site is more than the forums but the forums have lost a lot of people recently and there's not that many new members coming through, there are more leaving daily.

    I also searched for baby thank you cards UK, something that was obviously a recent launch for you but that you are promoting, I couldn't find that on a Google search either. I understand it's not quick to get up the rankings with regards to search engines but I can't see how mumdrum is being promoted at all?

  • is there any stats to compare how busy the hitched BT page was compared to MD ?

  • Hardly surprising news about the forum. They're dead.

    The transition from WP/OT to BT just isn't happening anymore, like it was when BT was part of Hitched.

  • Monnie- makes a really good, valid point. I would be really interested to know the stats on that.

    Also I second what weekender says about promoting MD and advertising.

    There's a few small things which annoy me about posting on the forums:

    1) I often have a look through the forums and want to comment, so I go to "log in with Facebook" it logs you in but takes you away from the thread you wanted to comment on and takes you to the main Forum page which is so frustrating.

    2) On Hitched BT you could click on a post, and then there was a next/previous post which would take you straight to the next post.

    Another point I'd like to make is way back when were still on BT, almost everyone agreed that it wouldn't work if the new site was split into different Forums as there wasn't enough poster's to do this at that time. We were all ignored and look what's happened. I know MDHQ say they want our opinion, but when people give it, we're not listened to.

    I will openly admit to using other Baby Forums more and more.

  • X posted with AK, completely agree that the transition just isn't happening anymore.

  • As one of the local panel I can assure you that MD do listen to all feedback. Some requests are extremely difficult to implement as this forum uses different, newer software than hitched. Other things take a lot of time hence aren't instant.

    The separate boards issue was put to those who use ttc and us all and some users felt more comfortable posting on a different board.

    The google ratings takes quite a long time and bearing in mind MD isn't 2 yet, it will take a while.

  • Sorry working hard but it shouldnt take over a year to set up a PM function..

    They really should look at there IT guys if they cant implement things in over a year.

    Just using that as an example. 

  • Echoing what WH has said - MD most definitely do listen to their users and a huge number of the things that have been suggested have happened. It simply isn't possible to tackle everything at once though and there are things which have had to be prioritised at certain times.

    The issue of separate boards has been an ongoing thing since the forum was on Hitched where there were people who felt there was too much OT on BT, not everyone will agree but the decisions were taken based on the prevailing opinion at the time.

    If people feel that they have ideas or suggestions, I'd urge them to join one of the panels - as Sarah says, there are vacancies on both and it's the ideal way to get involved and play a part in how the forums and site work.

  • As Sarah has said, PM functionality is now a priority.

    They've had a lot of things to fix before turning attention to this so I don't think anyone can criticise their IT team. Bear in mind MD hasn't got a huge team to get through everything too

  • Hi All,

    Thanks for all the feedback.  To answer your questions:

    Development Priorities – last year’s forum development priorities (as agreed with the Panels) were the launch of the mobile site and the resolution of the intermittent log-in issue – both of which have been delivered.   We are a very small team and are constantly prioritising our work.   Private Messaging is our next priority for the forums.

    SEO – the online parenting sector is incredibly competitive and we are currently focusing our SEO efforts on long-tail search terms (ie phrases or questions) as opposed to single words or short phrases such as ‘pregnancy’ or ‘baby forums’.

    Promotion – we have a small marketing budget and are running targeted and very successful promotions on Facebook for both our Memory Books and our Photo Cards.  These will not appear in any Google searches.   Unfortunately the Forum Facebook advertising which we trialled did not yield the same results.

    TTC / BT / OT – as Margot said, the decision to keep BT / OT separate and to introduce TTC was a Panel / Forum decision, which we supported.  And I think I’m right in saying that our current and recent TTC members have very much appreciated the addition of the TTC board.

    Transition from Hitched - we will give some thought to how we could encourage more Hitched members to make the switch to The Mumdrum - if you have any suggestions please let me know.

    Sarah

  • With regards to the separate boards, is there no way this can be repolled amongst the forum users? Just the other day there was a thread where people we're becoming more and more disheartened with visiting a board that simply does not move. I really do think that unless things change or we have an influx of newbies there will be even more people leaving.

  • I've about left this place now which actually makes me very sad, but it's just not the same as when we're were on Hitched.  I thought I may as well add my points still in case you might find any of it helpful.

    Firstly, getting high up in Google rankings doesn't have to take a long time - my husband is part of a group who have put together a website that went live just over a year ago - within about 6 months on many, many searches they would be on the first page of Google, if not top - fortunately they do have some fantastic developers who know a lot about how the Google rankings work.

    Next, yes you have chosen different newer software to what was on Hitched, but I think you should have researched it further as there are so many functions that the users have been wanting that you can easily get on free forums for example, the ineffective search really annoys me tbh as well as a lot of the other functionality we lost in moving here.  Obviously too late now, although there are many improvements that can be made on what you have.

    Also, the split of the forums - yes a lot of TTCers wanted a separate board, but I was also a TTCer but never in agreement with having a separate TTC forum so never posted there.  I always viewed the front page of the forums so I can see the posts from them all, but never liked the segregation of a separate OT either, it just makes all the forums too quiet.

    I can only hope that things improve for the forum, but I know a lot of people have now moved on to the same place as where I mostly post these days.

  • Those of you who've got lots of opinions/ideas on ways to get mumdrum working better it would be great to have some more input on the online panel. I'm a member of the online panel (I think there is only 4 of us left on it but that might be wrong) and on average only 1 or 2 of us are able to attend each meeting. Having a few more voices would be great - it's not a big commitment it's just a 45/60 min skype call roughly every 6 months.

    Please let Sarah know if you would be interested in joining! :)

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