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Author Topic: How to build a successful forum #2  (Read 42918 times)

Offline Noddegamra

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How to build a successful forum #2
« on: November 08, 2007, 11:22:15 AM »
Hi all,

I really appreciate all the feedback from my first post (part 1). Also thanks to the moderators of this forum for making it a sticky topic. I feel it really helps reach more people, preventing it floating to the bottom.

So, here are a few more tips to try and help you all with your forums...




Create a unique look
This is extremely important. With literally millions of forums out there, what competitive edge do you think will separate you from another of the same topic/niche? That's right, a great looking forum.

When starting a new forum, many people tend to stick with the default template. I cannot stress enough how bad this is. Whilst the default theme does look nice, it is far too common. Visitors to your forum will know this and think you either don't know what you are doing with a forum, or you are not willing to put in enough effort to make it look different. This will make them think it is not worth their time and effort posting on your forum.

You do not have to be a programming genius in order to do this. I found that simply changing the colour scheme and a couple of graphics really works wonders. Spending just a couple of hours on your CSS (stylesheet) and images can be the difference between visitors signing up or going to another website.




Auto-insert content
Much like the "Paying for Posts" issue raised in part 1, there are services out there that will provide a database of members, posts, topics, and categories for a price.

To some this may seem like a great idea to kick-start a new forum. After all, the hardest part of a forum is starting it off and trying not to make it look "empty". Well, this is a bad idea. Why? Because when you get the first few visitors signed up and posting, they will notice that all your other members haven't been online in a while. Also, most of these services are very poor. The quality of posts and topics may prevent people even signing up to your forum. I have found most to be full of spelling errors and spam. Not something you want on your forum.




A little thankyou
In the early stages of your forum being online getting visitors to join can be extremely difficult. When they do, it can be just as hard to keep them coming back to post (considering the lack of other members and posts).

One thing I've found that really works is to contact a member when they have just signed up. Send them a PM welcoming them to the forum, explaining to contact you if they have any problems, and that you thank them for joining. Possibly even mention any upcoming events on the forum or future plans of improvement.




An introduction category
These are brilliant. There's nothing harder than trying to make your first post as a new visitor. With so many conversations going on between other members, it's hard to automatically fit in and join the natural flow.

Adding an introductions section to your forum allows visitors to make an extremely easy first post. This also allows others to boost their post count (and give them another reason to post) by responding and welcoming them to the forum.

The benefits of this are your members feel more welcome, you get an increase in user posts, and it makes it easier for new members to jump aboard and get to know everyone.







Unfortunately, thats all i have time for today. I still plan to add plenty more tips in the future. Sorry it took so long to make this post, I will try and get PART 3 out a lot sooner.

I hope this, and my previous (part 1) post help you build a successful forum :)

Offline jcolome

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2007, 04:45:54 PM »
Very glad to have found this forum -

Name is Juan and I am an alcoholic (sober 20 years now)

I  recently registered a domain name (soberhands.org) and I think I will make it into a forum -

Thanks for sharing this info and keep up the good work  8)

Offline K0H_K1u

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2007, 07:42:51 PM »
Respect and do not flame members.

Offline Lilac

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2007, 01:33:35 AM »
Along the lines of thank yous, we send bi-yearly e-mails to all of my members. Some of them turn them off (fine), and a lot of members end up with non-functioning e-mail addresses (argh!) - but it reels back many older posters who have forgotten the site, lost the bookmark, etc (though now that we're at the top of related search results this is no longer such an issue).
Elliquiy Adult Role playing is a mature roleplaying community with some 500,000 posts in over 100 boards.

I don't know everything.  Please ask questions in the support forums instead of PMing me!

Offline christicehurst

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2007, 06:29:07 AM »
I agree with most of your points. Great advice for new forum owners.
www.brisbanelionsunited.com - A forum for everyone!

Offline LadyAkasha

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2007, 07:13:15 AM »
Thanks for your advice.
I'll use it for my brand new forum.

Offline geo32101

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2007, 10:19:19 PM »
Great posts!
I was going to make something simple like this, I still might thought.

Offline rpbu.com

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2007, 01:40:39 AM »
Good advice.
I will install your SMF forum. PM me for details.

Offline HoTmetal

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2007, 08:16:48 PM »
Another great post!

Quote
Create a unique look

While this is one of my tips as well, it isn't as important than knowing your market.
A fellow SMFer' runs one of the biggest SMF forums on the net http://www.inthe00s.com/ using the default SMF theme.

The reason?

 His site is unique. When I say unique, I'm talking about the content, not the theme.
There are many ways to accomplish this.
Start by finding a niche, some untapped place in your market and offer a way to fill it.
But remember, as you are doing this, don't forget to be yourself.
After all, it your site and should have your unique flavor.






 

Offline trnt94

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2007, 08:18:15 PM »
Thank you, you dont know how much you have helped me.

Offline ArkServer

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2007, 10:02:39 AM »
Thanks for the tips, good read :)

Offline Shadowblade

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2007, 03:20:45 PM »
Thanks for the tips!
My website:Colzdragon.com [nofollow] My forums:forums.colzdragon.com [nofollow]

Offline TwistedGFX

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2007, 11:46:51 PM »
I don't remember if I ever made a post to the community here or not. I am currently building a forum again with smf dealing with graphics designing and back to the basics and such as well as an area for off the wall stuff. However this area i am wanting this in has quite a lot of competition i guess you can say. I am currently trying to figure out with my site admin what categories and boards we should make and as wells rules and such before we really get out to a lot of people. I currently use the default skin with a few graphics changed and more planed.

I've said all this to say that just reading this topic and the other one has really been helpful to me so thanks.
hxxp:www.twistedgfx.com/ [nonactive]

Offline Snow Wolf

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2007, 08:22:06 PM »
Not sure how graphicly pleasing my custom theme is. I tried to make it match my home page.

www.MythicSoftware.com/forum/

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Software for the Pagan community

Offline cru

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2007, 06:38:20 PM »
very useful tips! thank you Noddegamra

Offline HoTmetal

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2007, 07:13:05 PM »
I don't remember if I ever made a post to the community here or not. I am currently building a forum again with smf dealing with graphics designing and back to the basics and such as well as an area for off the wall stuff. However this area i am wanting this in has quite a lot of competition i guess you can say. I am currently trying to figure out with my site admin what categories and boards we should make and as wells rules and such before we really get out to a lot of people. I currently use the default skin with a few graphics changed and more planed.

I've said all this to say that just reading this topic and the other one has really been helpful to me so thanks.

I'd start with a few general Categories, then expand as the site grows. You and your admin could always make more Categories, but only have them visible to moderators and admins until you feel they will be of use to your forum. There's nothing worse than visiting a site with 100 different Categories and no posts. Remember, you can always move posts as you open new Categories up to the general public. This way the new Category will start off with posts in it.

Example. Lets say you have a general "chit-chat" Category and as your site grows, you decide to add a "Joke Board". You can then move the bulk of your jokes to that new board. This way when your users see a new Category and they see it being posted in, they'll be more likely to contribute to it.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2007, 07:14:44 PM by rickC »

Offline 58tbird

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2008, 06:48:18 PM »
Not sure how graphicly pleasing my custom theme is. I tried to make it match my home page.

www.MythicSoftware.com/forum/



I like it...I think it looks good!

Offline craser

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2008, 03:12:36 PM »
hi iam facing a problem smf 1.1.3 on applying mods an error is comming check direct permissiomns

Offline 58tbird

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2008, 10:36:00 PM »
Hi fellow newbie!

I was helped with something similar today.  Have a look at the advice I got here

I hope it helps you too.

Offline khoking

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Re: How to build a successful forum #2
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2008, 10:58:30 PM »
For me, another important success factor of a forum is to grab those who are keen and have the same passion as you in the forum, invite them to be part of the team/moderators.

You can't make a forum success all by yourself, you need a team. :)