The site is focused around pc and console games. Its using wordpress for the home page and vbulletin for the forum.
Forums on console and pc computer games
Please review the home page and the forum.
I reviewed, but I find myself strangely short on words.
The top banner didn't really speak out to me. Perhaps it was just looked too low-resolution? I can't put my finger on it, but it just seems like it could be far better.
Other than that, it looks like you've done pretty much everything right.
Are you using a bridge to connect vBulletin and Wordpress accounts?
I would install vBSEO -- or perhaps one of the newer free alternative SEO packages for vBulletin.
For Wordpress, I've never liked URL's with post dates in them. Personally, I would change "www.elgms.com/2009/07/10/quake-2-files/" to "www.elgms.com/quake-2-files.html".
Building on Will's suggestions here is my review..
As someone with a soft spot for gaming I am attracted to the gaming related imagery in the header and the rotating box. However, while the general look of the site is neat it isn't very exceptional, especially for a gamers site.
As Will mentioned, the header could use a higher resolution image. It might be a good idea to go through screenshots of popular games and pick the most exciting one you can find that fits your site's color scheme and logo. Another option is to have multiple such screenshots cut into the header rotating the same way those rotating images in the main content area do, in which case the current rotator can be removed since it feels somewhat out of place there. That said, I would also add the following suggestions.
1. The current "www.eglms.com" is a poor substitute for a full blown logo. I would suggest creating or having someone create an attractive site logo fitting for a good gaming site. Something that emphasizes "EGLMS" letters in some fancy way and then saying "Elite Gamers" in a neat way below it. I actually did a quick mock up as one possible example (but I'm not a professional logo designer so.. this can be much better).
2. If you do not decide to make the header contain rotating images, I would suggest, at the very least centering the current rotator to make it look somewhat more aligned. Otherwise it might be best to remove it. An alternative is to resize it to exactly the width of the main content area and lower height and put it right beneath the header. It would then appear like a subheader for the content area and fit in nicely.
3. One thing that always makes content appear better when they have videos or images embedded in them in between paragraphs is to center them. You could center youtube and image embeds in your posts.
4. Consider increasing the font size of your post titles so that they are more eye catching, but not too much.
5. Since the forum is the second most important thing of the site, it might be a good idea to create a special button that can fit at the top of the sidebar and link it to the forum. The button could be made eye catching and attractive and say something like "Join our community" or "Check out our forum".
6. On the forum itself, the header is somewhat different than on the site. There is no double border and there is a black margin on top which isn't present on the block. Usually the closer the forum header matches the header of the rest of the site the better in that it feels more integrated.
Design Rating: 6/10
The domain name of elgms.com isn't very clear in terms of what it represents which makes it all the more important for the site's title, slogans and about page to build a clear picture of site's focus. Unfortunately, there is only the title "Elite Gamers", no slogan and no about page so the best one can conclude immediately after visiting the site is that it's a blog about gaming.
This isn't necessarily bad and ultimately if the content is good, forums are active, the site could still thrive, but it is still something that would add to the quality of the overall experience, especially of new visitors. It may therefore be a good idea to think up a slogan that clearly identifies what's unique or what is the focus of elgms.com, aside from being a site for gamers. The about page could be written to further, but briefly, explain site's purpose, what makes it special and what can visitor expect to gain from it.
In fairness, there is an introduction on the forums, but that should also be present on the main site.
That said, forum categorization seems sensible, covering popular consoles and most popular games.
Focus Rating: 7/10
There is more than 100 posts in 18 categories about popular games a lot of which contain interesting images and videos. Reading (and watching) the content one can learn about various happenings and news from the gaming community as well as more about the games themselves. There is also a files section with game maps.
Forums have more than 3500 threads dispersed throughout them, though there are still a few forums with a small number of posts. It also appears quite active, if a little slow. Most latest posts have been made within last month.
Content wise this is pretty good and new content seems to be added to the main site quite frequently which may help with further increasing forum activity.
Content Rating: 10/10
Albeit a little weak on the design side and with room for improvement in terms of presenting its focus to new visitors, elgms.com contains plenty of relevant content and decent forum activity which gives it a fair bit of potential. If said weaknesses were rectified, possibly with a full redesign, elgms.com stands a chance of being a top notch gaming resource and community.
Overall Rating: 8/10
The banner is really, well, less than interesting. I'm a gamer and that doesn't interest me. I feel as if there are too many different color schemes going on, gray background, white text area, reddish banner, etc.
Are you writing these posts on the site yourself?
I didn't see a category for Counter-Strike or Counter-Strike Source. 1/10 :p
Pretty good looking blog and forum. Should be easy to promote. You're off to a great start :)
yea the banner could be better, the content seemed pretty decent though. I suppose I though the content was a lot better than the looks. The great thing is you can always mess around with templates/colors and a new banner so good luck.
vbulletin cost like $180 right ? I am considering getting it but I just don't know. working ok for you ?
Thx guys and gals - the banner is something that I have received a lot of "negative" or at the very least "neutral" feedback on. Its a screen shot from the second level of Doom - which is Hell.
The concept of the image and why is used as a header has not been convened to the reader. We might be so used to looking at bland logos that we do not pay attention to ones that might have a real meaning. So either people are just numb as to what a header might really be about, or maybe their not paying attention? Or, the header has failed to do its job.
The header image is a screenshot to the entrance to Hell. Its after the player completes the first series of levels in Doom, then goes to Hell its self to kill the cyberdomen boss. The concept of a door on the plains of hell stood out in the game.
It might help if the header was in a higher resolution, and I think I can get that done this evening or in the next couple of days. I have a bunch of left 4 dead screen shots I can look through. People might recognize a screen shot from left 4 dead faster then one from Doom.
There is no Counter-Strike section because there is no real new news about CS and CS:S. Its not like a new version is going to be released in a few months. The hot thing now from Valve is Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. That is what people are looking for.
I write all of the articles on the home page myself, and use all my own screenshots. But I might embed a random video off of youtube.
Unlike a lot of people, I like a simple site design. Sure I could buy a magazine theme with 4 columns, but why? Once you get more then 2 columns on a home page, people start skipping over stuff. You should be able to read over a page without having to scroll over 4 or 5 columns. 3 would be the max, and I find 3 column layouts a little cluttered.
The header I agree with and need to fix that.
An "About Us" page needs to be added - that is a very good suggestion.
As for naming the articles just quake-2-files.html - sooner or later your going to run out of article titles. You need some kind of variable so you can use the same name in an article 6 or 8 months later. The dates are more then "dates" - their variables so post titles are not duplicated.
I tried having just the "article name" as the title. And when I hit around 90 - 100 articles, things started getting confusing. I found that I was having to watch for duplicate or almost duplicate titles. If that happened at around 100 articles, what about 200, 300 or 400 articles. So the date was added just to insert a variable that would change everyday.
Thank you for the logo memenode, I'am gonna give it a try this even to see how it looks.
---- EDIT ---
stickycarrots - there are some counter strike threads in the forum. So I want some points for that.
cls1321 - if your serious about your community, then VB or IPB are the only way to go.