The Sapling Forums is an animal crossing forum I created in 2014 and has since become a lifelong project/community for me to maintain. When I was around 12-13 I developed a passion for creating forum communities and video game websites. I learnt how to code minor html so I could edit specific parts of templates and how to use graphic software such as adobe photoshop so I could produce graphics to match.
Since I left secondary school, university had taken up most of my time and my old projects faded away. In 2014, I wanted to re-ignite my passion for web content and hosting communities so I decided to create a forum based on one of my favourite video game series of all time, animal crossing!
A little history, it started in 2014 with zetaboard’s free hosting service and I slowly modified the template, added new sections, produced events and built up a small following. First of all I wanted to create a name which linked to nature, represented growth and was relevant to animal crossing. I created the name, ‘The Sapling’ (a tree sprout you can buy in the game) and purchased the domain ‘www.thesaplingforums.com‘.
I was paying for ad removal and eventually it become quite costly due to the traffic, so later in January 2016 after alot of hesitation, I moved to proboards and basically had to restart along with all the people who were loyal enough to rejoin. I still pay for ad removal, albeit not that much at all (possibly might have to consider moving to a paid forum hoster eventually).
Overtime I developed it into a great looking unique forum and have optimised it to the point where it shows on the first page of google when you type ‘animal crossing forum’. There aren’t much active animal crossing forums out there currently so there is a good market for this. To increase awareness, i’ve also recently created a facebook page and discord channel so people can easily keep up with news from the forum.
What started as hobby has overtime turned into an actual project and now I take it very seriously! I hope one day it becomes a massive thriving community and I will be using it as a medium for testing my SEO knowledge along the way.