Well, we don't have any budget for anything. In fact, I'm not really sure how the professional sites make the money to do all the stuff that they do.
I remember when I started this site I made alliances with some other web sites. I made links to them and asked for links back. Marcus Green at jchq.net was my greatest ally and taught me lots of stuff about how to build traffic. I spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours trying all sorts of nutty stuff to build traffic. And then I just got too busy with the discussions to spend time building traffic.
I have to admit that I don't think I've done even one thing to build traffic since 2000. Well, other than suggesting software/page tweaks.
And now I think I may have been negligent in that space. Back in 2000, lots and lots of sites made very prominent links to JavaRanch and we made prominent links to them!
The big guys buy links and enter into "partnerships" with other big companies. And play golf. And do all sorts of stuff that is way beyond what I want to touch. JavaRanch has always been nothing more than a bunch of geeks fiddling with stuff. We have never run a single banner from Oracle or BEA or any of those big, shiny outfits, let alone "partner" with them. Hell, I have no idea what being a "partner" even means.
We ran some banners for JavaOne. They wanted me to pay them money, have a booth there and be "a media partner". Lotsa pressure on that front. In the end I was emphatic: "we can't afford any of that, we're just a bunch of geeks that like to visit about java. look, I'll run a bunch of banners if you'll give us some tickets for those that wanna go." We've done this several years now. I've never been to JavaOne myself. I just can't afford the time or the plane ticket.
So! Where I'm trying to go with this is: I think JavaRanch should get back to link swap stuff. I think JavaRanch should help folks find cool stuff and I would like cool stuff to point out JavaRanch. It just seems ..... right.
So I think about the era of 1998 to 2000 when I was so bonkers about each day getting two or three more people to come to this site. Of course, things are much different now. I get bombarded with email about JavaRanch that I need to deal with (99% of which turn out to be scams - kinda sucks a lot of the fun out, especially after ten years of it nonstop).
I remember the last time we needed a new server we did a fund raiser. Wow! People REALLY love JavaRanch!
So I'm trying to mash these two things together.
So, I would like to ask: how do folks feel about making links to JavaRanch? Maybe just "I like this java site" or "I like this thread" or "I like this forum" or .... ?? Some people have a site that shows off their apps. Or their resume. Some folks are on facebook or twitter. Some like delicious, reddit or digg.
Ulf was good enough to put some social network buttons on nearly all pages. I would think that if you create a thread and want more attention to it, you might wanna click on one or more of those to draw attention to it.
.... I think this thread should be about brainstorming in this space. Getting links to JavaRanch, and vice-versa.
a few years ago you changed hyperlinks in posts and in the signature to use rel="nofollow". That made this place a little less attractive for people like me who didn't participate because of an increased page rank, but appreciated it as a nice bonus. I understand that you have to do it if that solves a problem with spam or other forms of abuse. Just mentioning it as part of the requested brainstorming.
What if we made a page on the wiki that was controlled just by the staff that had links to resources - and all of the links on that page did not have no follow stuff. The software currently doesn't support that, so there would be a code change required. But it would be possible. And then when a user has been around a while and appears to be a good member of our community, that person can ask their favorite staffer to post something there.
There might be some other things we can do in this space.