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Building a Community Here at Royal Blue Mersey

We have big plans for 2013, but we can't do it alone.

Stu Forster

2012 was a banner year for Royal Blue Mersey. Site traffic has increased exponentially, we've added several new writers to the team, and the response from our readers (especially on Twitter and in the Live GameThreads) has been great to see.

But we’re not satisfied. We know this site can become even better, and we are constantly working to provide you with quality Everton content that is informative, entertaining, and unique. While we take pride in our work, we also know that the readers are the heart and soul of a blog like this, so we thought we’d take a quick moment to explain how you can get the most out of Royal Blue Mersey and how you can become a member of our growing community (if you aren't already).

Since site traffic has been on the upswing recently (January is on track to be one of our busiest months ever), our goal now is to convert some of our new readers into commenters. Now obviously we can’t force you to comment, but we can make it as easy as possible for you to join the conversation. Many of our readers may have found Royal Blue Mersey through NewsNow, Google, Twitter, etc. and may be unfamiliar with SB Nation, so here’s a quick refresher on how to sign up for the site:

1. Click "Sign Up" at the top right of the screen (or just click here).
2. Enter in your information.
3. Check your inbox for the confirmation email and click the provided link.
4. You’re ready to start commenting!

It’s that simple. And even if you don’t expect to comment very often, registering is still a great idea because of the magic of the "Z" button. If you haven’t experienced the SB Nation commenting interface, you really don’t know what you’re missing. By signing up for the site, you’ll be able to "Z" through threads, which automatically marks comments as read and allows you to move quickly down the page (this is especially useful when following the Live GameThreads). You really have to experience it to realize its greatness.

(Side note: Apparently you can also comment on stories by signing in via Facebook, Yahoo and OpenID now, though I don't have any personal experience with this.)

The other topics we wanted to touch on are FanPosts and FanShots. If you’re familiar with SB Nation you’ll know how these work. Basically, these options are a way for you to start your own "thread," much like in a traditional online forum. FanPosts have a 75 word minimum and are the best choice when you want to add your own commentary to a particular topic. FanShots, on the other hand, have no minimum word count and can be used to post a quick link, quote, video, or photo. FanPosts and FanShots are infrequently utilized here at Royal Blue Mersey, and part of that is our fault for not explaining or promoting them adequately. However, we now have the capability to "promote" any FanPost or FanShot to the top of the front page, allowing us to showcase particular topics that we think are particularly interesting. It also helps us when there’s breaking news and no one is around to write up a story at that moment!

If you’re a lurker and just enjoy reading the site, there’s nothing wrong with that (I know I lurk quite a bit on a number of other sites and forums). But at the same time, we strongly encourage you to consider getting more involved by registering, commenting, and posting FanPosts and FanShots. It’s our ultimate goal to build a true community here at Royal Blue Mersey, and while we’re improving in that regard we still have a long way to go. We hope that the Everton Journey will contribute to the community vibe of the site (be on the lookout for the first post very soon!) and we will of course continue to provide you with all of the regular features you enjoy as well as more original pieces. As always, thank you for reading our little Everton blog and we hope to see you around!