You may or may not have noticed it, but Fourtitude is going through some changes. They’ve been subtle, I know, but the site just received a re-freshening less than a year and a half after we launched it. There have been several key new features added, the response through growth of readership has been most humbling.
Here’s a rundown for those interested in checking out the changes.
800 Pixel Format
The whole site has moved to a new 800 pixel wide format. For the few left on 56k dialup connections, this may not be that welcome, but for the rest of us, this means more space, more magazine-like graphics and more functionality.
Audi News Blog
Blogs are hot. Some have suggested they are a passing fad, with their buzzword name and all, but we’re not convinced. Aside from all of the hype we’ve seen on them since the Presidential Election, blogs have emerged as a more humble effort to bring news to the reader. They’re less formal than our typical news format, and usually involve some commentary from the blogger.
Looking for a way to implement this into our existing editorial and discussion forum format, we created a new discussion “fourum” entitled Audi News Blog . This forum is set for solely Fourtitude staff and moderators to create threads, but for anyone to comment in an effort to keep the forum focused solely on Audi-oriented news and editorial.
In this forum, we’re doing our best to make sure we keep an eye on the content from the major print magazines, automotive news and traditional web-based news outlets. This also includes other bloggers like GermanCarBlog.com, AutoBlog.com and Jalopnik.com, as well as some of our direct competitors like GermanCarFans.com and Audiworld.com. Our intent is to make sure Fourtitude.com readers are the best informed… period.
We know we’re not the biggest Audi forums on the ‘net, but we’re growing rapidly. There are more and more key players in the Fourtitude discussion forums – knowlegable guys and girls who make the forums the resource they are, and that’s a winning combination for growth. It’s this sort of support that only you as enthusiasts and readers can instill to help make a site successful. If you think we’re doing the right thing, you can ensure Fourtitude’s growth by making our forums a regular place to post during your virtual travels.
Recently I caught a thread in our exploding “ A3 8P Forum ” – the forum for Audi’s new A3 offering. Readers suggested it’s the most active Audi forum on the site, and the most active English-speaking A3 forum. Judging by the activity at some of other A3 forums, I suspect they are probably right. There’s a strong group of hardcore A3 owners on Fourtitude who know that car in and out, despite its relative newness to the market. Many of them haven’t even taken delivery yet. They chat together, hang out together, and most recently, many got together for a VAGBQ where they hung out and programmed each other’s cars with a Ross-Tech VAG-COM. In our book, that’s the makings of a great community and Fourtitude’s A3 forum would be nowhere without this group of hardcore owners and enthusiasts.
In addition to the existing forums, we’ve been adding several new ones. Model-specific forums for soon-to-come Audis such as the Q7 and R9 now have their own areas. There’s a “ Cars For Sale ” forum in the Audi Classifieds area, and our Regional forums have been split to include more defined geographic regions and more upcoming events.
Finally, Fourtitude pulled out a first among enthusiast forums earlier this year when it hosted 48 Hours Interaction, with Audi of America’s A4 product manager Christian Bokich answering questions in our B7 A4 and S4/RS4 forums. It was extremely popular, offering many of our readers a chance to talk one-on-one with one of the company’s key decision-makers. Look for more of these opportunities in the near future.
Like I said, I know we’re not the biggest forums out there (yet) for Audi owners. We weren’t the first in the Audi enthusiast arena (probably Audifans.com, I was a user of their listserver as early as the late ‘90’s), nor are we the biggest (probably Audiworld.com as near as I can tell). However, we’re offering a relatively standard forum user interface that, while it may not be the same as what many Audi owners are used to from other sites like Audiworld, our ZeroForum system offers its own set of strengths.
If you like what you see on Fourtitude and want to help it grow, consider taking the extra time contribute to these forums. In many ways, you as readers choose what sites to support through your use of their forums. Your participation makes forums a stronger resource and your traffic gives a site more weight in the industry. It’s this sort of support that only you as enthusiasts and readers can instill to help make any site successful. If you think what we’re doing is the right thing, consider throwing your support behind us by making our forums a regular place to post during your virtual travels.
For those of you early adopters, the leaders who have made Fourtitude your home, or a regular haunt, we thank you immensely. Your throwing your support behind us with your visitation and participation makes all of what we do here worthwhile, and for that we couldn’t thank you more.
No Better Place for Audi News, Features and Resources
Of course, forums aren’t the only thing on Fourtitude. According to a traffic logging site like Alexa.com, the editorial side of Fourtitude still makes up 65% of our traffic. We take great pride in the thoroughness of our news, features and resource sections – a grouping of brand-oriented information with which we hope to push the envelope of information available to Audi owners and owners of the other current and historical marques that make up the Audi Brand Group.
We pull news in from many sources geared toward the Audi, SEAT and Lamborghini enthusiast, the lion’s share of that being for those who own Audis. We’ve blasted through our goal of at least one news piece a day, with an average of over 3 releases or articles per weekday in the last month and a respectable 1.5 average articles per weekend day. Of these 85 news pieces from July 19th to August 19th, over 25% of these were original news articles (5) and feature articles (17), with a heavy focus on show coverage, including nine enthusiast events from around the world in addition to basic motorsport coverage. While other sites similarily run releases geared for Audi owners, you won’t find those original articles anywhere but Fourtitude or one of its affiliate websites.
Did you know we’ve covered 33 industry and enthusiast events this year with help from our staff and European contributors like David Corfied of Total Audi Magazine, Patrick Hille of VWHome.de, along with some very generous readers of this site who’ve shared their time and work to make sure the community reads about an event?
Beyond our news and features, Fourtitude’s resource pages include extensive image galleries -among the best groupings of Audi pictures on the web. We’ve added new sections like our Design Gallery and within that our Photoshop Illustrations Gallery . If you have created some “fictitious” photoshopped Audis that you’d like to share, you’re an independent designer who’d like to share your portfolio, or you’re an artist who’s focused on Audis of some form, please feel free to submit contributions to email@example.com.
You might want to also check out resources like our events calendar to make sure you’re current on dates of Audi-interest or other new sections of the site that make it more navigable, such as our Road Test and Reviews Archive and our new Events Coverage Archive . In these two new sections, readers can dip into our extensive archives in a more targeted fashion.
We’re adding more project cars too. This week marks another thematic editorial week entitled “ Fleet Week ”. During these five days, we’ll take a closer look at cars in the Fourtitude fleet, with the introduction of two new project cars and updates on our 4 Seasons Cabriolet, Project TT and Project A4 1.8T Avant.
If you’re into Audis and you’re not visiting Fourtitude at least every couple of days, you might want to reconsider. Within four days, current news has rotated off of the sites front page already.
In the past, Fourtitude has helped cover events such as TT-East and TT-West with publications like European Car (EC). We’re continuing to maintain all-important relationships with titles such as EC, Eurotuner, Audi Driver, the Audi Club of North America and more. We’re shoring up a very close relationship with the upcoming UK-based Audi Magazine “Total Audi”, so much so that the managing editor of that magazine has also begun acting as European Editor for Fourtitude.
Where Can We Improve?
We’re most happy with the direction Fourtitude is going in establishing itself as a “must-see” for Audi enthusiasts. That said, there’s always room for improvement. Readers have been generous enough to point out when we include a mistype or if they think we didn’t cover something properly. I’m sure though that as much as I can puff my chest out about this site, there are just as many ways we can improve.
We’re open to and welcome your comments, critiques and suggestions. Either click on the “Fourum” button below or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think.
In closing, I’m happy to report the state of the union at Fourtitude is stronger than ever. Traffic continues to climb, and this can only be done through the choice of readers who make it a regular visit. We’re doing our best to make sure it’s a sought-after destination. I hope you enjoy your stay.
For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums at the left.