Over the past 4+ years, BiggerPockets has steadily grown, forging its place as the leader for the real estate investing community. We’ve gone above and beyond in an effort to meet the needs of our users, and as a result, new members from every corner of real estate investing have flocked to our site. Want more articles like this? Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox Sign up for free As this has happened, we’ve also noticed that a new group of members have also begun to participate here on BiggerPockets — professionals who are looking to build their businesses, homeowners looking for advice in selling their home or in dealing with possible foreclosure, renters seeking help with their landlords, and many more. As a result, we realized that we needed to adjust, make some changes, and start accommodating these new users. As such, you’ll note that we’ve added new forums, and have other plans to serve the new audience who are now calling BiggerPockets home. The following information details many of the changes we’ve made, and we’ll continue to let you know as we strive to transform the way people interact online regarding real estate. BiggerPockets will always focus on the investing community, but we realize that others involved in real estate are also seeking a place to call home — we are working hard to be sure that they too, feel comfortable here. Forum Changes / Upgrades: We just launched a drastic change to the look and feel of the BiggerPockets Forums. After years of having the same design, and a ton of feedback from our membership, we’ve reorganized how things are found on the forum. Here’s a list of the changes: We created new Sections called Categories that are color coded. Within each section are now sub-sections, and within those are individual forum categories. For each Section, we’ve added a navigation area on the left sidebar called Jump to Category, which will quickly take you to the section you seek. We’ve added a Popular Tags area in the left sidebar so members can quickly follow discussions under the tags they are interested in. We moved our Stats section to the left sidebar from the bottom of the page. We added a new search feature at the top of the forums. We added RSS buttons for the feeds of each forum category, so members can subscribe to those that interest them. On each individual forum category page, you can now see the description of that category so there is no confusion as to the purpose of that category. We moved the Related Topics to the bottom of the forum topics as requested by our members. We’re working closely with the membership to make this change as easy to digest as possible, and are open to suggestions, as always. Nothing is locked in stone, and we do have a few tweaks to make to the final layout of the new forum front page, but you have the general idea of where we’re headed now. New Forum Topics In addition to all of the structural changes to the forums, we’ve actually removed some forum topics that weren’t being utilized and have added some new ones. The additions include: – Buying Real Estate – Found in the new General Real Estate section of the forums, this forum was created so the non-investors could have a place to discuss any issues related to the purchase of a home. – Selling Real Estate – Also found in the new General Real Estate section of the forums, this forum was created so the non-investors could have a place to discuss any issues related to the selling of their homes. – Political Talk – Removed 1/2011 Due To Excessive Partisan Nastiness & Fighting – Found in the Off-Topic area, this forum was born out of a need to separate the heated political debate on the site from everything else. Enter if you dare! We felt that BiggerPockets has become well known as the go to investing site, but realized that others might feel unwelcome. We hope that the Buying & Selling forums, as well as our new real estate professionals area (for real estate agents, lenders, & contractors) might make those who may not have considered participating on BP, think twice. I hope so! BiggerPockets Site Awards When we announced the new Awards system on the site, our awards page showed a tally of all who received any given award, but there was no way to tell who all the winners were. We’ve since added a directory of all award winners for any given award. Just go to the Awards page and click on any award, and you’ll see everyone who won that award. You can sort the list by date the award was granted OR alphabetically. Influence Fully Implemented When we first announced our Influence system, we had only deployed it to include activities on the forum. We’ve since added to the system to include activities on the blogs, bulletins, profile, etc. Members can now gain influence from Referring New Members by invite, referral link, or by importing their colleagues through other mail systems. The influence system has made it easy to quickly see who is on the site for themselves (those with negative influence), and who wants to participate, help others, and be a contributing member of the community. Additions to Our Stats Page Our Site Stats page now shows those members with the highest influence score (a great way to see who has contributed the most to the community), and you can see those site members who are currently online. PRO Account Upgrades Thanks to a great suggestion from Nick J. (motiv8td), we’ve added the ability for our PRO members to see any external links that are sending people to their profile, blog, and property listings. Once a visitor goes to any of those places through an external link, it will show up on your dashboard stats tab. We know that our PRO members will find this addition to be incredibly useful! Not Enough to Digest? More to come! As our long-time members already know, we’re always working to improve the user experience on BiggerPockets! Be sure to let everyone know what we’re up to, and that BiggerPockets is the place to be for real estate investors, professionals, and anyone else with an interest in the world of real estate. . . . doing so gets you some great influence points! Thank you, Joshua Dorkin, Founder/CEO Coming up next: More tweaks to get the forums perfect, adjustments to the member dashboard allowing them to choose which forums to subscribe to, other site improvements, and much more.