Forum Signatures
What is a Forum Signature (Sig)
The forum signature is a block of information automatically appended at the bottom of each forum post. The kind of information allowed in this block can be:
  • None. Some forums have this feature disabled.
  • Plain text. Most users fill their signature with some kind of witticism or aphorism, or even small drawing made by letters.
  • Links. Some forums use links with the "nofollow" attribute, and other forums use links without it. Usually the signature links are used to link to sites owned or favoured by the post author, although only those forums without the "nofollow" attribute provide the best SEO Benefits.
  • Images. The images are usually uploaded on photo-sharing sites, such as Photobucket or Tinypic. If the forum allows signature links the image can be used as a link too. The forum rules typically disallow "big" images. This is because big images can be annoying and increase page loading time. There are different types of file formats used for images on the web.
    • JPG. Best for photographic type images.
    • GIF. Best for animates images, logos or simple images wich require transparency.
    • PNG. Best for quality images using effects or requiring transparency.
Customizing Your Signature
You can use plain text for your signature, but if you want a specific look or add other elements like links or pictures, you will need to use special codes to achieve that features. The vast majority of forums use BBCode for that special codes. The ability to use BBCode is set on a forum-by-forum basis by the administrator, so you should check the forum rules when you post a new message.

For instance, with BBCode you can change the text size, color, and make it bold, or underlined, or italicized on one specific text line or word, or even use graphical emoticons like the following:

The main difference between BBCode and HTML is the tags that control the code. BBCode uses [ and ] brackets where HTML uses < and > brackets.

Although the basic tags of BBCode are similar in most internet forum software, there is currently no standards document for BBCode and there are consequently many incompatible variants. Some variants require are case-sensitive while others are not.

Common restrictions and requirements
Most forums will have some regulations on forum signature lengths or forum signature formatting.

Examples:

  • Signature length up to 250 characters, and/or no more than 3 lines.
  • Signatures with more than two links are not valid.
  • Links to adult or warez related sites not allowed.
  • Signatures and live links within posts are not available to users until they have been a member for several days and/or have made several posts.
  • Images wider than 400 pixels or with a file size greater than 400 Kb are not accepted.
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Forum Signatures