8

How do we promote our site, sustainability.SE, both across the Stack Exchange network and beyond it?

This is one of The 7 Essential Meta Questions for Sustainable Living Stack Exchange

We've had a bit of a rise in traffic over the last couple of weeks - perhaps our site has been around long enough to start getting decent search-engine placing now.

And that means that the single best way to promote our site is to continue generating great content.

And there are other things we can do to promote our site too. Remember, more visitors means more questions, more answers, and more votes for your existing questions and answers, so more rep and more badges for you.

Over to you: what can we do to promote our site? What have you tried? What has worked, what hasn't?

  • As this has been posted on meta.sustainability, this confuses me a bit. Are we talking about promoting the SE network to the rest of the world, to promote sustainability to the rest of the SE network (because there are great sub-SE out there that a lot of us would be glad to know about) or a bit of both perhaps? – JeromeJ May 20 '13 at 11:45
  • The Q is (and I've just edited to reflect this): "How do we promote our site, sustainability.SE, both across the Stack Exchange network and beyond it?" – EnergyNumbers May 20 '13 at 12:25
5

Last year, over on the 2 Degrees network, Stephen Nemeth wrote an entertaining blog article that contains some messages we could learn from.

His article title is 5 things your sustainability program can learn from the adult entertainment industry, and I think they could well apply to our sustainability site too.

Here are his five things - but read the article for the detail:

  1. Don’t be afraid of technology.
  2. Get to the heart of the matter quickly
  3. You don’t always need to be original
  4. Use teasers.
  5. Weird Sells.
  • 2
    You might also mention what you've done with your SE network profile: putting a little advertisement for the site in your profile's personal description. For many of us that participate on multiple SE sites, that helps attract other SE users, who already buy into the concept of the collaboratively edited Q+A, but who may not know there's a SE for sustainability yet. – Nate May 23 '13 at 22:30
5

Occasionally I stumble upon a sustainability question on other websites that has already been answered here. Whenever I do, I answer the question briefly and/or link to the answers given here. I am hoping that other people will follow the link and become a member here.

4

I would guess that most people know that the internet is an inter-connected system of hyperlinks, and many search engines rank the relevance of your site by how many other sites reference it.

Of course, that's one reason why Stack Exchange gives people badges for providing links to questions and answers (Announcer, Booster, Publicist).

I'm a software engineer by day, so of course, I have a website and blog where I talk about software topics. But, I also have a page on my site (linked to in the footer of all my pages) that discusses my company's position on environmental responsibility. Since finding sustainability.stackexchange.com, I've added links on my environment page to this site.

Stack Exchange makes it easy to add image links, for your profile (either just for Sustainable Living, or for all Stack Exchange sites). Check out the flair link off your user page. (e.g. mine is https://sustainability.stackexchange.com/users/486/nate/flair).

Also, I wrote a very simple webapp that queries the stack exchange servers, and compiles a list of my most popular (by vote) answers. So, I can embed in my own web pages a short list of links to sustainability answers, that automatically updates.

The webapp is written as a Tomcat servlet, so depending on your web hosting infrastructure, it may or may not be useful to you. But, if people express interest here, I might take some time to put the code online (cleaning it up, so it's not hard-coded to my user account, etc.).

3

I just wanted to contribute with a few thoughts:

  • Diversity of means is important. Using social networks - and especially those that are particularly receptive to this field, for example Diaspora* -, emails, blogs, microblogging... As said before, the more hyperlinks, the better.
  • I think sharing the good material (best questions and answers) from this website is a good way to attract people by showing the quality of the contributions.
  • Continuity: conveniently, it is very à propos. It is by ‘sustainably’ (frequently, regularly, on the long term) contributing to this knowledge base that we will make it recognised as a reference for sustainability-related knowledge.
  • I know that one of the main tips that is given to contributors is to contribute with very precise questions that only experts can answer. Well, I think that diversity of content is important to, in order to attract the largest crowd of contributors and readers. By ’diversity‘, I mean diverse questions in time and space (historical as well as current, local as well as global), as long as it corresponds to the main purpose of the website.
  • Of course, quality is primordial. This means sourcing answers as much as possible, with research papers too when feasible.
2

As Nate mentioned in a comment, one of the thing I've done is to advertise the site in my user profile. I've copied that profile to all my profiles across Stack Exchange - you can do that with a single-button click while editing your profile.

I picked three of the ten most viewed questions, and tried to cover as wide a variety of subjects between them, to showcase the best of the site. Here's what it looks like (and you can click on my name at the bottom of this post to see it live)

enter image description here

This helps us reach an audience that are already engaged with the Stack Exchange format.

I also add a link to somewhere relevant on Sustainability.SE, only occasionally, when the context of a particular question, answer or comment on another Stack merits it, for example on this answer on Physics, or on a couple of questions on this Area51 proposal.

  • 1
    Good idea! I added something similar to my profile but with other questions. – THelper Jun 19 '13 at 7:58
1

I have been using stackoverflow as a lurker through web searches for many years. But I was next to oblivious of the existence of the other stack exchanges until recently, besides Ask Ubuntu.

Most people are not programmers who will investigate the greatness of stackoverflow enough to find this stack exchange.

Most people don’t know what stack exchange is.

I think branding, logo, and design are very important for promotion. When I discovered this site, about a week ago I was very excited without having even read the content of the questions, because I knew this was a stack exchange. Because I knew what stack exchange was I immediately saw its potential. Some people will be linked here, think it is another generic off brand yahoo answers and move along expecting that if it is worth their while they will be brought here by their search engine again. Except they likely wont remember it at all, since it has no significant branding.

I have been finding great answers on stackoverflow for so long but my earliest memory of it is their logo, and thinking oh how clever, an overflowed LIFO queue.

The only other stackexchange I had any significant experience with was Ask Ubuntu. Which uses the Ubuntu branding very elegantly, But they also have a name that is their own. This stack exchange has two names effectively because of the URL sustainability.stackexchange.com and Sustainable Living.

Anyways you can see it needs some work. I am sure there are plenty of designers eager to design for a site of this calibre.

  • 2
    I completely agree that we need a logo and special branding, but SE policy is that beta sites don't get those until they come out of beta. So first we need more questions and visitors. But it won't hurt to think ahead about what we want as our logo and design. In fact this is question 6 in the 7 essential questions for each beta site. – THelper Feb 3 '14 at 9:31

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