Simple Machines Community Forum

Customizing SMF => Building Your Community and other Forum Advice => Topic started by: Noddegamra on August 23, 2007, 09:47:41 AM

Title: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Noddegamra on August 23, 2007, 09:47:41 AM
What works, and what doesn't

I've had a lot of experience in forums. Over the years I have created and moderated about 10. Yes, it's not a HUGE number, but forums take a lot of time and effort in order to build a successful member base.

I'm offering to help as much as I can. So here is a brief post to get you on the right track.




Paying for Posts
There are quite a few services out there that will offer to do 10 posts for $1 etc. Whilst this may look like a good 10-post-boost to your forum, it can really harm it.

People aren't dumb. When they start seeing about 20 people only making 10 posts then never returning they will notice somethings up. When they feel that members are bots or paid people they will most likely leave. Who the hell wants to get into discussions with "fakes"? Members want to have REAL discussions and get to know each other.

In my experience I have found that this can really hurt a forums reputation.




Adding your Link to Signatures in other Forums
A great one this. You can get people to know about your forum/site for free, simply by joining other forums and having your link in your forum/profile signature. An added bonus to this is that search engines like Google can see these links, and it will help boost you in search engine results.

However! Please be careful about this. I have seen people join up to forums and do a huge advertising spam post about their website in hope to get clicks. THIS DOES NOT WORK!
In actual fact, it ruins the reputation of your forum. It makes you look like a worthless, desperate spammer. Who wants to sign up to a forum run by someone like that? No one!

The best technique is to join other forums with a positive attitude. Have a link to your site in your sig, but try to make 10 or so really great posts each day or week (whenever you have the time to spare). If you get a great reputation on the forum, people will check out your link. If you are a really cool person, it is highly likely that someone will join your forum. People like to join up on sites run by really great people.




Make alternate profiles
One technique used when starting a forum brand new is to make about 10 profiles yourself and get posting. Whilst this can seem like a good boost it can look pretty bad. Each time you post, your personality leaks into it. People can quite easily tell if its the same person or not. It also requires a great amount of effort to have 20 or so conversations with yourself, trying to present different views and make it look good.

Instead, contact your friends. Ask them politely to sign up and help by making a few posts. Offer to get them a beer or something if they do, or just reward them with your kindness. Get them to tell their friends about your site too. Word of mouth is great for getting people to join your forum.

Also, if you are lucky enough. Get your friends to put a link to your forum on their websites (if they have one). you can also link back to them.



Competitions
Competitions can create a real buzz for your forum. There is one thing that is very improtant though which can either make this a great idea, or a very bad idea.

If you are going to have a great prize, you really need to have a great way to promote your event (competition). If people dont know about your forum and competition, then hardly anyone will participate. Put all you can into word of mouth, links etc. you can even try contacting other webmasters to see if they will help advertise the competition on thier sites, linking to yours!

One great competition I have found is to do it based on referrals. The member who gets the most of his friends to join up and get posting will win a prize. PayPal cash, eBay items, or coupons all work great. Be creative and see what you can come up with! :)





That's all for now. I will try to provide some more information later. See this more as PART 1, hehe. I really hope this helps some of you, at times it can be really difficult to think of how to improve your forum and get more members.

You may notice that the current forum I am working on only has just over 80 members. You may be thinking "how can this person be going on about how to be successful if he only has 80 members?". Well, like I said I have worked on more. Things change over time and I can still try to provide the most useful information I can think of. I really hope some of you find this useful and go on to make some great, successful forums.

Good luck everyone! :)


PS. I will try to add PART 2 asap. I'm quite a busy man recently. In the meantime, also try and check out my forum and see if there is anything you can learn from it. If you have any questions or comments, I will be more than happy to look at them, answer them, and guide you :)


LINK: noddegamra forum (http://www.noddegamra.co.uk/forum/)




(edit)
Part 2 is now here: http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=204741.0
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: K0H_K1u on August 23, 2007, 09:49:12 AM
This is great, mods merge part 2 when done and sticky this please!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Dragooon on August 23, 2007, 09:56:03 AM
Nice ideas. Also try to get members which HAVE interest on your forums genre and try to make your forum a bit customized as being with default features is not always a good idea. Keep trying new things and see which affects most.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Noddegamra on August 23, 2007, 10:00:31 AM
Thanks for comments :)

+ good idea Dragooon. I will add a section about forum branding/uniqueness in PART 2  :)   
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Dragooon on August 23, 2007, 10:03:16 AM
Also be careful while using some mods which can drag your members attention from posting like Arcade. I am not saying it is bad to have it, what I am saying is people can get distracted on only playing on arcade rather then posting. Try having it with some minimum posts required feature.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Lilac on August 26, 2007, 05:34:55 AM
Something that always disturbs me when I see a new forum is people making scores of empty forums for exceedingly specific topics that no one has an interest in posting in (least of all them) because no one has posted there.

New forums should be made when one topic overwhelms the general discussion, or is offending part of your membership (religion and politics, for example).  It takes a few minutes to move the relevant threads over, yes, but it's really no big deal.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Noddegamra on September 03, 2007, 07:19:46 AM
I've recenlty added a 5 Free Online Marketing Tips (http://www.kungfound.com/5-free-online-marketing-tips.htm) guide to my blog which some of you may find useful. It suggests 5 free ways of promoting your forum/website :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Dragooon on September 03, 2007, 07:24:01 AM
Why didnt you posted this before :(
My forum is going very good now :( Now I have no use of this guide ;'(
:P
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: onlinecooking on September 03, 2007, 02:40:27 PM
Man it is so refreshing to see some good advice on building a successful forum.  I've tried starting about 10 or so and I help moderate 2 or three, that was hard work.  But thank you for posting this, I think its time to go back a revist a few things.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Noddegamra on September 04, 2007, 07:29:45 AM
Thanks, I'm glad some of you have found this post useful. I will post more stuff like this in the future :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on September 13, 2007, 10:09:19 PM
This is perfect.. thank you!  We have gotten well establish now.. and ready to begin marketing. Your posts have been *very* helpful! 
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Neorics on September 15, 2007, 07:02:36 AM
Paying for Posts
There are quite a few services out there that will offer to do 10 posts for $1 etc. Whilst this may look like a good 10-post-boost to your forum, it can really harm it.

Make alternate profiles
One technique used when starting a forum brand new is to make about 10 profiles yourself and get posting. Whilst this can seem like a good boost it can look pretty bad. Each time you post, your personality leaks into it. People can quite easily tell if its the same person or not. It also requires a great amount of effort to have 20 or so conversations with yourself, trying to present different views and make it look good.

i'm sorry but this tips is just sad... sorry i just got to say it... it's really sad... and i dont recommend doing any of those that i quoted...

"quality is better than quantity"

you'd want real people around the world with different time difference to log-in and be 'active' at different times so that your forum activeness is not concentrated in a period of time and if 'you' make up the 10 people who are active in your forum then the activeness of your forum is concentrated at 'your' online times...

also a forum with like 5000 members but has 10 active members and over 15000 posts is kind of a failure for a forum, it means that the registered members never check back after they got what they wanted and the post count is due to spam by the 10 active members plus the posts of the people you paid to post for 1$


i know you already mentioned on the bad sides when using those tips but i just wanna elaborate...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mys Videl on September 18, 2007, 08:30:15 PM
You could simply be patient and always add new content to your site, offer your members helpful ideas and do things yourself for them instead of asking others to do things. That is how you get a truly successful forum, not by bribing people. We have a SMF forum with nearly 200K members and we have never paid a single member for anything. Our website depends on not only the community to contribute but the staff does things to contribute to the community, no money besides costs for server had been put in to getting us advertisement or anything of the such. We lasted for two years and now we are getting nearly 250 members a day without having to do anything at all.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: christicehurst on September 20, 2007, 05:49:06 AM
I'm starting on a new forum myself and It might be hard to get this one going. My last forum is growing well at 21 000 posts.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: charlesmentor on September 23, 2007, 02:02:59 AM
hello guys, i am kind of confused here but all thesame i need somebody to reallly explain how i can build a forum site like www.igoldforum.com or www.nairaland.com. especially the lattter one, i need the info pls.my email is charlesdmentor@gmail.com.thanks
charles mentor
www.dollar4naija.blogspot.com
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on September 23, 2007, 02:20:22 AM
Charles..... your forum looks like it is going well!  What's the problem?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: K0H_K1u on September 23, 2007, 08:37:44 AM
Charles..... your forum looks like it is going well!  What's the problem?

Read his post again.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Oldiesmann on September 24, 2007, 08:44:35 PM
Cleaned up the topic and stickied it. The other replies have been split off into a new topic which is now in the Chit Chat board. Try to keep things on topic this time :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: DannyTMurphy on September 26, 2007, 12:38:29 PM
Well then, let me take your advice and ask friends to join my forum! My site is [link removed], and since we are all in this SMF craziness together, for everyone who signs up on my forum I'll also sign up on yours. no money involved and you don't have to post if you don't want I guess, but atleast we can help each other out.

Make sure to PM me if you sign up though, so I know to sign up at yours.

removed link, please do not spam.  Links go in the showcase board
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on September 27, 2007, 05:20:00 AM
Well then, let me take your advice and ask friends to join my forum! My site is [link removed]
, and since we are all in this SMF craziness together, for everyone who signs up on my forum I'll also sign up on yours. no money involved and you don't have to post if you don't want I guess, but atleast we can help each other out.

Make sure to PM me if you sign up though, so I know to sign up at yours.

I like it Danny!! I have already been helping out at a couple of other forums... with out being asked to... I'll be at yours asap!


Edit: Your site won't let me register, I get a fatal error message.  :(
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Log On on September 27, 2007, 11:16:37 AM
Fatal error: Cannot redeclare getavatars() (previously declared in /home/dannytmu/public_html/Sources/Register.php:596) in /home/dannytmu/public_html/Sources/Register.php on line 754
Well then, let me take your advice and ask friends to join my forum! My site is [link removed], and since we are all in this SMF craziness together, for everyone who signs up on my forum I'll also sign up on yours. no money involved and you don't have to post if you don't want I guess, but atleast we can help each other out.

Make sure to PM me if you sign up though, so I know to sign up at yours.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: metallica48423 on September 29, 2007, 07:14:56 PM
please do not spam links in this thread, the acceptable place to link to your sites is in the Showcase (http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?board=6.0) board.

Thanks
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on September 29, 2007, 08:24:37 PM
I have been surfing random forums.. not just smf, and found some things in common... the most active ones are either conflictual and controversial... (I pass LOL) or... they have several systems in place to reward their members for things like.. post quality, photos, recruitment, having a good reputation, and/or for participation in other ways.

These rewards or awards are not easy to achieve! In other words they do not cheapen the value of an award by making it to easy to get one.

With that in mind I just installed this awards mod at my form. http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=475 (http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=475)  It had some bugs and Alan S fixed it up for me... but I love the end result!! 

Here are some of our awards...

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FHEN%2520Pics%2Ftrophy.gif&hash=308af58240f4832404dca2797deee20b) = Post of The Month

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FHEN%2520Pics%2FPOTM.gif&hash=db423ba6aa8c819457e52dd4d0f1682d) = Photo of The Month

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FHEN%2520Pics%2Fmagazine-gold.gif&hash=ec604b0147ff3662aa0661a12de78512) = Distinguished Service Award

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FHEN%2520Pics%2Freferrals-gold.gif&hash=8feaedd0268a1e4b2f844a9eb7ace3a2) = Referrals Award, for making 5 new member referrals.

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FHEN%2520Pics%2Freputation-bronze.gif&hash=9df64dff23b53b54d9f41a24969cf2ea) = Reputation-Bronze, for receiving 500 Karma points.

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FHEN%2520Pics%2Freputation-silver.gif&hash=ff057c8c1f6d56a8d50f8df320b370b5) = Reputation-Silver, for receiving 1,000 Karma points.

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FHEN%2520Pics%2Freputation-gold.gif&hash=788bffe9002ec575002eced2a6eaa066) = Reputation-Gold, for receiving 2,000 Karma points.
 
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: christicehurst on September 30, 2007, 01:04:58 AM
Those images are great. My only issue with the mod was how hard it was to find good images for it.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on September 30, 2007, 01:39:03 AM
Those images are great. My only issue with the mod was how hard it was to find good images for it.

Oh thanks.. I could put together a pack of good quality images for folks.. but don't know what to do with it after that.. as in how to go about sharing it. Anybody? 

Edit to add: I also have mimi icons to go with the larger image and am hoping to be able to add the to folks posting profile, under their Avatars.
(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FHEN%2520Pics%2Fscamera.gif&hash=65d7d57ada8643b6e286bbab1f6a9fb1)    (https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FHEN%2520Pics%2Fsforumposting-gold.gif&hash=6058ca3a58ac2f6880e96b1d0f7ce88f)    (https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FHEN%2520Pics%2Fsachivement-gold.gif&hash=dedb862ef8c464037758b5841b2c264d)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: christicehurst on September 30, 2007, 02:27:40 AM

Oh thanks.. I could put together a pack of good quality images for folks.. but don't know what to do with it after that.. as in how to go about sharing it. Anybody? 
[/img]

I would like that, a package of good images to add.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: SaintsSoftball on October 11, 2007, 06:57:02 PM
is there anyone who can walk Me through building my own forum for My softball team....its a very small community...just want a place for our team to chat with one another....
My email is atlbravos1@aol.com..
just put forum in the subject...I will keep cheing here though

Thank you very Much
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on October 11, 2007, 07:00:46 PM
I'll help you set up!!!  Just PM me a link.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: net24 on October 14, 2007, 01:48:47 AM
Thank u for all. I have build a new forum free by php. Now I want to make an another forum using SMF. Is there any way? I have made a Readers Forum. The address is http://www.areader.org
If you like this please feel free to inform me.
thank you
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: SlyBaldGuy on October 26, 2007, 04:10:07 PM
Like all good websites, content is king.  So make sure your topics and posts are truly genuine. 

I also like the idea of rewarding the most active users, but instead of avatars, I open up new boards for them.  I don't publicize the fact, but word spreads to other members that if they get more posts they eventually get to post up in a "secret" board.

I also like to provide product discounts to members to entice guests to register and post up.  As they get access to "secret" boards they get better discounts.

To help promote the forum, I created avatars and provided code for people to put in their signatures on other forums or on sites like Myspace and Facebook.  This alone has brought a ton of traffic.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on October 28, 2007, 01:20:24 AM
That's awesome SBG!  How do you make the avatars and sig codes available to your members? On a Board?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: SlyBaldGuy on October 28, 2007, 04:27:02 AM
That's awesome SBG!  How do you make the avatars and sig codes available to your members? On a Board?

You can do it on a board using the code BBC tag or on a static HTML page outside of the forum like I do.  You can view the avatars at http://www.slybaldguys.com/promote.htm

Here's an example of the code I use on a forum board:

Code: [Select]
<a href="http://www.slybaldguys.com"><img border="0" src="http://www.slybaldguys.com/images/SlyBaldShadowSmall.JPG"></a>
Here's the code if you do it on a static page:

Code: [Select]
<textarea rows="4" cols="48"><a href="http://www.slybaldguys.com"><img border="0" src="http://www.slybaldguys.com/images/SlyBaldShadowSmall.JPG"></a></textarea>
I really recommend that people use static HTML pages or a blog that is separate from their forum.  The search engines seem to like these pages much better.  I use my blog to highlight specific posts or things that I think a relevant to the content of the forum.  Using a blog also allows you to tap into the blogging community to promote your site and thus end up with more members.  Though, it does add more work to keep up a blog and a forum, but it can pay off huge in the end.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on October 28, 2007, 02:59:37 PM
Thank you very much SBG!  You are the third person this week to suggest that I do a blog as a way for bring in more members.

Asking forum members for blog submissions and giving them awards for doing so was another good idea towards that end. Looks like I better get busy. LOL
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: SlyBaldGuy on October 28, 2007, 03:16:30 PM
Thank you very much SBG!  You are the third person this week to suggest that I do a blog as a way for bring in more members.

Asking forum members for blog submissions and giving them awards for doing so was another good idea towards that end. Looks like I better get busy. LOL

You're welcome Mother Goose!  If you need a blog software, I recommend Serendipity (S9Y.org) or Wordpress.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: christicehurst on October 29, 2007, 01:56:59 AM
Word Press is the way to go
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on October 29, 2007, 08:01:20 PM
You guys are great!! Thank you!

I am still trying to get those awards set up to be available christicehurts! I haven't forgotten. I just have to learn a new computer trick and it's doesn't help that I'm on an iMac or that I'm lysdexic. LOL I'll get there.

SBG.. please feel free to post the link to my graphics page for your forum members to use as well. In fact, any one else is free to do the same..  Mother Goose Story Time (http://mg.smileygenerator.us/index.php)

There are Avatars, sig images and smiley sets. More arriving all the time.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on October 30, 2007, 01:22:11 AM
SBG.. I *had* to make this for you. You are aware of course, that Bush has a bald guy fetish? LOL
(I can resize it of you want.. but it's mostly just for fun. )

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FTheBaldcopy.jpg&hash=9cc0e7a29c5f4ce94bb55ceb8e4b927c)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: christicehurst on October 30, 2007, 04:48:33 AM
That's ok Mother Goose, my forum is on Beta so it'll be a while before things are stable.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: SlyBaldGuy on October 30, 2007, 05:22:34 AM
SBG.. I *had* to make this for you. You are aware of course, that Bush has a bald guy fetish? LOL
(I can resize it of you want.. but it's mostly just for fun. )

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi157.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ft41%2FHomesteadHeaven%2FTheBaldcopy.jpg&hash=9cc0e7a29c5f4ce94bb55ceb8e4b927c)


That's Mother Goose!  That's great!  I'll check out your forum for some new smilies for SBG.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Gwion on November 22, 2007, 07:31:41 AM
Plenty of good information to find here.
Mother Goose, that's a nice idea.
SlyBaldGuy is right too - content is king.

The lesson I learned is that a forum takes time. Time to get going (if ever :)  ) and a lot of your time. It is at least as time consuming as running a website at least in the beginning. I have seen many people starting one just because a website must have a forum and don't give it more thoughts or time. The results are dead boards often spammed to death ..

My advice would be - only offer and run a forum if you have the time to maintain it and most important to build up the community.
Then check out other boards with the same subject (e.g. a tv show or football etc.) and compare - if they are successful (and the number of members alone is not that important - look at the number of posts per day) what do they offer. Which content are must-haves, what would work for your own board, what can be found on every board so it is completely boring to have it too and what would be new and interesting for users.

Something else I would think about - the use of board speech. It is quite difficult to find a balance here because some board-lingo creates a feeling of community but newbies or potential users will not spend a long time looking at a forum and decide whether they like it or not - if they get the feeling they can't navigate there, don't understand the category names etc. they will probably leave.
E.g. if the category titles in a Star Trek board are allusions to episode titles it can still be confusing for a new member or a potential member to e.g. find out where to find news. On the other hand, just naming the categories "news", "episode discussion" etc. is a bit boring and will not distinguish your board from other Star Trek ones or the zillions others.

Another difficult thing which however should be decided in the beginning is how strict you want to rule your board - every forum has rules and lawbreakers will face consequences but it is up to you to decide how much a rule can be bent.
Example: if you have the rule that chat or sms style is not welcome in posts you will not only have quite some work in watching over posts, you will also have to decide what is sms or chat style and what not.

I have also seen people begging strangers to become mods in their forums - this is so pathetic. I strongly recommend to pick moderators (if you really need them) from your own community - usually becoming a moderator is a kind of big reward but these people should also understand that they have new obligations too with that "promotion".

Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on November 22, 2007, 02:22:26 PM
Very well written and well thought out Gwion!  Nicely done! 
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: t2mkn on December 09, 2007, 04:04:26 PM
hi,

i m new to moderation.  :P but the info here is really greate.  8) thanks.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on December 09, 2007, 05:49:36 PM
Welcome t2mkn!! 
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: cru on December 09, 2007, 06:36:53 PM
very nice and useful  tips! thanks!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: dxyy on December 16, 2007, 02:08:40 PM
Well my forum isn't successful as yet, but the only thing I can think of adding is that you should never stop promoting it - online and offline. ;)

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the information, haha but I wanted to try to add something as well. ::)

Once I get the ultimate profiles and the felblog working the way I would like them to, I'll heavily promote my forum and let you know if it's a success or not.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on December 16, 2007, 11:12:22 PM
Good luck with your endeavors hugodiaz!

I wanted to share we have just hit the jack pot at our forum. We found a popular magazine that focuses on our specific topic and I wrote an article for it. They published it last week, and we have grown my over 100 members this week.

Good members to.. lot's of helpful posts etc.

The magazine got free content for the publication, and we got free international advertising. Can't beat that!! 
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: christicehurst on December 17, 2007, 12:48:41 AM
Good luck with your endeavors hugodiaz!

I wanted to share we have just hit the jack pot at our forum. We found a popular magazine that focuses on our specific topic and I wrote an article for it. They published it last week, and we have grown my over 100 members this week.

Good members to.. lot's of helpful posts etc.

The magazine got free content for the publication, and we got free international advertising. Can't beat that!! 

That's great to hear. Our membership has been going well. We are looking into anthologies now. So we might be lucky.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: dxyy on December 17, 2007, 02:40:03 AM
Good luck with your endeavors hugodiaz!
Thanks! :)

I'm extremely confident that once I can get the felblog and ultimate profile mods working the way I would like them to that my forum can really take off. ;) Haha, unfortunately I don't seem to be close to getting the exact functionality that I want out of them as yet.

I also think writing such as in a magazine, or as a guest blogger are great ways to get new members and exposure for your forum. ;)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on December 17, 2007, 05:06:50 AM
Great to hear christicehurst! Wishing you success as well!

Keep us posted everyone.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: christicehurst on December 20, 2007, 07:38:31 AM
Great to hear christicehurst! Wishing you success as well!

Keep us posted everyone.

Thanks. My forum is racing towards 27 000 posts and I'm happy with it. My writers are like a extended family.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: RubMinds on December 24, 2007, 07:04:06 AM
Avoid being rude to new members as they have been guests for long who probably refused to sign up but are contented with reading posts from older members.

Every new member is a potential loyalist.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: RubMinds on December 24, 2007, 12:27:48 PM
Rubminds.com is about 4 months old now though growing slowly is thriving on "conspiracy" topics, especially videos, some generating as much as 5,000 views a day
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: BradB on December 24, 2007, 05:12:47 PM
These are some great tips - but what can you do to get more active participation from existing board members of a new forum?

I've got a new board (about 4 months old) that is a spin off of a board that a friend ran that died last summer.  This is my first board BTW.]
When his died I tried starting this one and tried rounding up as many of the folks that I could from the old board.  Participation was failing on his board because of his lack of interest and involvement.

In my case, I'm having trouble getting this one started, just seems like there is only a handful of people posting and it is always the same ones.  Maybe my issue is more of a recruitment one but then again - I'm not sure how to go about that either.  I've solicited on a couple other boards where I know people in the area where I live but they tend to post regularly on boards already - and my board isn't a forum dedicated to s 'special' topic but rather a general discussion forum.

Any body got any suggestions?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on December 25, 2007, 01:56:56 AM
Nice looking forum Brad! 

It's focused on your state? Right?

Ya, getting the word out and holding their attention seems to be what you need. What brought the people from the first forum together in the first place?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: BradB on December 25, 2007, 03:38:41 PM
Right.  I decided to make it state focused and have the topics pretty much similar to the old forum topics only adding a few more that I always wanted to add.

What had brought the people together in the first place was people wanting a no-nonsense, no-sniping forum where they could post anything from  jokes, pictures of family members, you name it without having to worry about getting insulted or flamed.  A lot of folks had left other forums because of the lack of moderation, etc. or just grown tired of the trolls.

All my posters are within NC - maybe a few within SC, so hence my board name.  I think I am going to have to focus more on getting more board members that post regularly.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mother Goose on December 25, 2007, 05:50:44 PM
So Brad, how did they hear about a board with the "no-nonsense, no-sniping forum" goal?

I ask because figuring out how people heard about the first forum will help you know where to put your recruiting energies.

My observation is a forum needs committed regulars and a steady flow of new blood. It can just be one new member a week, but it keeps the place interesting. At some point a forum community hits critical mass and it takes on it's own momentum, but until then it needs constant nurturing.

My two cents, for what that's worth LOL, is read the news and start threads that have an opened question. For example.. "The local blah blah did such and such.. I think blah blah, what do you guys think?"

I see you have a sports board... great place to have predictions or contests for game out comes. Start talking abut an up coming game the week before, if it's going to be an exciting contest.

We are doing "Post of the Month", "Blog of the Month", "Recipe of the Month," and "Photo of the Month" awards. And even though there is lots of rumblings about how uncool, and how people don't care if they win, the posting and participation shoots WAY up the week after the awards are voted on and awarded. LOL

There is a GREAT awards mod, and I have made all kind's of award icons to use. Let me know if you want links to those threads.

Keep us posted!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: humbleworld on January 02, 2008, 10:45:48 AM
My one advice is for the site owner to keep on posting quality topics. People would love to revisit your site if they can learn something new from it.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: christicehurst on January 04, 2008, 07:41:35 AM
Getting good members who are active and with experience helps alot. My forum has made over 3000 posts in the past 10 days and that's been to new membership and new things to do at the forum.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: humbleworld on January 04, 2008, 07:54:13 AM
Make your members feel that each one of them is important and that you value their precious presence in your forum site.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: lebisol on January 04, 2008, 06:16:30 PM
Nice points, now...how come authors signature reads "earn money for posting" lol.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: humbleworld on January 04, 2008, 10:57:04 PM
In order to build a truly unique community, your forum site must focus a niche. Don't try to be anything for everything.

Just target a particular group or field of interest.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: dxyy on January 05, 2008, 01:57:32 AM
Nice points, now...how come authors signature reads "earn money for posting" lol.
I think he has a revenue sharing forum. So if you use Google Adsense, you can input your code for a share of the ads that result due to your posts and threads - or something to that effect. ;)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ets on January 06, 2008, 11:35:31 AM
I have just opened my forum. Right now I'm the only user. It's connected to my website which generates an average of 100 hits a day. Not much I suppose, but it's coming along. The majority of my referrals are from google now. Should I post daily in my forum as a topic expert to get things moving along? I'm looking for ideas to get it started.
http://www.effectiveteachingsolutions.com/teachertalk (http://www.effectiveteachingsolutions.com/teachertalk)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: christicehurst on January 08, 2008, 07:14:06 AM
I have just opened my forum. Right now I'm the only user. It's connected to my website which generates an average of 100 hits a day. Not much I suppose, but it's coming along. The majority of my referrals are from google now. Should I post daily in my forum as a topic expert to get things moving along? I'm looking for ideas to get it started.
http://www.effectiveteachingsolutions.com/teachertalk (http://www.effectiveteachingsolutions.com/teachertalk)

Just start posting good content and topics that get people interested. Also you have far far too many boards to start off with. Gotta cut them down.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Sun11 on January 15, 2008, 02:39:47 PM
Good Mod
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Noddegamra on January 22, 2008, 04:28:36 AM
I use the AdRevenue Sharing mod. It allows my members to earn a little cash just for being around and posting. I make enough money on the blog side of things to not need to worry about the forum (although i still have a share on the forum). At one point I was making a few dollars a day, but it has gone a little quiet recently.

One of the things I find hardest to do is advertise my forum as it's fairly general. Most of my time, effort, work goes into the main site. I have little time to concentrate elsewhere.  :(
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: lebisol on January 22, 2008, 04:35:11 PM
Hey Noddegamra ,
Nothing wrong with your model...I thought you used it as an example joke or perhaps was an 'old' signature with the whole $ part of it.
Your points are still great when building a community and some are learnt the hard way...definetly a good read.
Thanks!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Jonah2008 on January 23, 2008, 11:49:50 AM
Building a forum depends on the platform your operating on for your brand. This doesn't come with ease as we have already been a victim of. This is due to the a misunderstanding in your public domain. The truth for success is simple. Operate as friends offline as Friends and then build a network as the personality in faults, trolls and vocabulary and name changing eventually leaks out in our social lives. Like the car thief who became a salesmen in a high end car security office we were once lead down this path where we has a group in our forum became the trolls through the trolls reverse sociology of members and genuine traffic saw us in the light of aggressive backstabbing teachers.

On that reverse and deleting their lies we became the forum of truth a platform they simply can't climb above even with the information they have become historians of modern day forums with to much to say and no real answers. Simply Machines have a great download speed on our platform so please consider talking with us as members on the phone. You'll feel a little no doubt when reading this email. Keep your defences up but remain social to your business associates. Drink anyone?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Noddegamra on January 24, 2008, 04:55:55 AM
Hey Noddegamra ,
Nothing wrong with your model...I thought you used it as an example joke or perhaps was an 'old' signature with the whole $ part of it.
Your points are still great when building a community and some are learnt the hard way...definetly a good read.
Thanks!

i do need to work on a new banner, something to wet peoples appetite, getting them to visit and join! :P :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: up-club on February 02, 2008, 07:46:03 PM
indeed a very interesting and useful topic :)

Difficult understand how certain foruns are so popular and others are not sometimes ::) .....maybe timing, maybe luck in getting active members, I don`t know ::) .....but I really would love to understand that ;) :)

My forum name is up-club, so I have a section named UP Levels with private foruns members can only see when they reach these levels by their number of posts. It`s a kind of game that gives more and more privacy as a reward to the more active members.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: bsm on February 04, 2008, 05:53:47 PM
SO many good suggestions here! I've used a number of them myself!

If anyone has any SEO questions I'd be happy to help (I've finished reading three books on the subject, and am in the process of applying the techniques to our forum).

Just feeling like I should give a little back.

Cheers!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: mogoking55 on March 09, 2008, 03:17:23 AM
How do i make a forum what do i need to do
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ~Kikoish~ on March 13, 2008, 02:39:10 PM
How do i make a forum what do i need to do
You can try to sign up for a free forum.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: perplexed on March 13, 2008, 04:09:30 PM
I have just opened my forum. Right now I'm the only user. It's connected to my website which generates an average of 100 hits a day. Not much I suppose, but it's coming along. The majority of my referrals are from google now. Should I post daily in my forum as a topic expert to get things moving along? I'm looking for ideas to get it started.
http://www.effectiveteachingsolutions.com/teachertalk (http://www.effectiveteachingsolutions.com/teachertalk)

Just start posting good content and topics that get people interested. Also you have far far too many boards to start off with. Gotta cut them down.

hey christicehurstI just clicked on your signature link and your forum is vbulletin not SMF now?  How come?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: rjb235 on March 18, 2008, 03:49:26 PM
The forums are so saturated these days , no one wants to join a small growing forum cause the other established forums have been around for many years.  So you have to work harder than 90% of everyone else if you want a good forum now.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Texas_tea on April 04, 2008, 01:31:18 AM
I have yet to find a non-successful forum that does not use paid posters. Many people think like I use to back in the day before I even knew about paid posters and the such and assume they are just regulars to the forum. What the admin does is simply adjust thier sign up date to make it appear that they have been around for years and then adjust the number of posts.

I really do think that most sucessful forums use paid posters, at least for the first year or so.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: metallica48423 on April 05, 2008, 02:28:42 AM
In my experience, I disagree... but to each his own, huh? :)

The practice is generally looked down upon by webmasters (and truthfully most of them CAN tell the difference... )  But generally speaking, most people could not diffrentiate the difference.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: perplexed on April 05, 2008, 06:24:46 AM
I agree with Metallica, I would never pay people to post on my forums and it's never been necessary either.  We are not huge like Ben S's Liverpool forum (I wish) but we are not small either.   I don't think it's the answer to growing your forum, you may as well have some extra accounts and talk to yourself for free!

I do think that your forum needs to be either something unique (which is hard with so many) or something popular, if you want to attract traffic.  It needs to be open and well indexed, and you need to promote it as much as possible in every way you can, and encourage your members to do the same.

Maybe with so many forums out there to choose from, it's inevitable that some just won't make it, no matter what you do, but you have to keep plugging away for quite a while before you give up.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on April 05, 2008, 06:32:15 AM
We have a pretty large and to our standards really succesful general/ humourforum (846363 Posts in 22672 Topics by 2574 Members) and absolutely NO paid posts, NO paid ads, NO bots, NO spamming by staff... In the beginning people did have some alters, and stirred up conversation with themselves, but that ended pretty soon, as people started to find us.
Today, we are linked to from many relevant sites in Finland, and it's really easy to find us through Google, and at the most we have had almost 10 000 members...

I would think paying for posts and/or members as a sort of cheat, that really only hurts yourself and people usually can tell if someone is voluntarily with you or not...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Texas_tea on April 08, 2008, 12:53:41 AM
ok, if a person has no one coming to thier forum, and whenever the rare chance that  they do, nobody registers because they see nothing being posted so they leave....how do you propose to end this cycle?

I am glad to hear that you have made it with so many members without using paid posters, but I think that paying for someone to post is not much different then holding a contest stating that if you register you qualify to enter a drawing to win this or the person with the most post wins that.

I really do not think there is anything wrong with it. I think of it as paying a entertainer to come into my city and perform a concert...works the same way...to attract people.

People come to a forum for information and other benefits and paid posters normally can provide a forum with attractive posts which is helpful for a person who is just starting out.

Makes no sense to advertise a forum with no posts or threads. Only thing a person will do is visit then leave without registering to never return.  A endless cycle.

By the way, i speak from advice from 2 forums...

one has Threads: 27,863, Posts: 248,971, Members: 36,157 and always has at least 200+ users or guest

the other one Members: 16,073
Threads: 66,033
Posts: 574,119
and at the time I am posting this, they have close to 1000 guest and users on site.

of course, now they do not use paid posting cuase they do not need them but they did at one time and thier forum exploded.

The paid posters know what to do to bring traffic to your website. They are trained in this.

Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on April 08, 2008, 01:04:30 AM
In a way I fully understand, if that is the only thing to get you started, then you do that.
But I'd personally prefer drafting some friends to get things started, or try to think of some content of my own that could be of interest for others..

But to each their own. I only think, that paid posters tend to be easy to recognise, and can hurt your forum more than they ever helped...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Texas_tea on April 08, 2008, 01:13:10 AM
I understand your concerns, this was a something I had to consider. I brought this concern up with the company that I am going to use. I asked them how do I know I will have unique posters and not just one person with multiple ids as you said.

He asked for my url and said to check the stats in about 5 minutes. I did and at that time, there was 14 guest max at one time with people constantly coming in and out for about 15-30 minutes on my page.

I think I trust this place to bring me unique posters.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: perplexed on April 08, 2008, 08:02:16 AM
so you pay for some people to come post on your site, and let's assume they do a really good job talking about the content etc, and the other members enjoy replying to their posts unaware that they are actually being paid to post there and not because they want to be there, and one day you cancel your paid poster package and those people are suddenly just gone from the forum.

1. what does that do to the regular members and the community now that those posters are just no longer there and members are asking - hey where's so and so, I miss his posts
2. what happens if the regular members find out that the people whose posts they have been enjoying are actually being paid to post there and they're not

I think it's a bad idea and it is a little like cheating as LexArma said above.  I thought the idea of a forum community was to actually build a community, which doesnt happen overnight.  Otherwise we may as well provide smf forums complete with posts out of the box instead of empty.  - hey maybe that's not a bad idea lol   Then you sit back and wait for google to find you along with all the other sites with exactly the same content lol

I don't use ads on my forum either, because I hate going to forums/sites that are covered in ads, or free sites where you have no choice.  I *do* use ad managment mod but I don't use it for Ads :)

Content is what you need, unique content is getting harder to do, but something that would interest people and inspire them to join and help build your community.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Crusti on April 25, 2008, 06:15:12 AM
i would like someone to point me in the right direction to creat my own forum. to set it up. i have so many quetions that need answering. who can help me with this please?

i realise it will cost. installation, tutorials. etc......

Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on April 25, 2008, 07:08:01 AM
i would like someone to point me in the right direction to creat my own forum. to set it up. i have so many quetions that need answering. who can help me with this please?

i realise it will cost. installation, tutorials. etc......
First thing you need, is a suitable host. A host who offers php and mysql support.

Some links that might come in handy:
Installing SMF (http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?board=2.0;sort=subject)
Administration Center (http://docs.simplemachines.org/index.php?topic=102)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Noddegamra on April 25, 2008, 12:09:17 PM
Paid posting is a bad idea, it will inject no life into your forum, only harm it more by making the whole thing look false and dead.


I've recently used a new method of gaining members. One which is healthy and you may be able to adapt yourselves...


As mentionned earlier by another poster, online forums are heavily saturated. There are millions (if not, billions) of them set up. So to stand any chance in becomming noticable you need to have a focus. Now, my forum is VERY generic in topic/focus, but I can still achieve something by simplifying genericness into small groups.

Some forums have too many sections and subsections. Try shortening them into more generic ones such as Music, Gaming, and TV rather than giving each individual games console or music genre a board.

Anyway, that's simple advice that you probably already know..


My latest way of getting members
Recently I've been spending a LOT of time on World of Warcraft. It is an extremely popular online game. It is also extremely sociable. So, I setup a guild and a new section on my forum. I also setup a new domain name which is short and easy to remember, which forwards people to the specific forum subsection ("world of warcraft"). I also changed the graphics slightly to make it look a little different to the rest of my forum.

This is effective use of having a sub section.

Guild members/WoW gamers now get to my forum easily. The topic/genre is something they love and enjoy so they find it easy to talk about. People can introduce their characters and we can all discuss guild events, instance/dungeon runs etc.

Now, as they are posting in the warcraft section they are becomming sociable and building friendships with current members (about half of which already love world of warcraft), so they spread to the rest of their forum. As I get more guild members, I get more forum members. The guild members then spread to chatting around the other areas of the forum and the whole thing grows nicely :)

So.. maybe try finding a sociable team-based thing like a game, and use that to get more visitors too. Much more fun than paying for poor "paid posting" services where all the spelling, grammar and english is all wrong.


Got a forum on health and fitness? Join a GYM or leave cards around several about your forum.
Play xbox live? Put the URL in your profile and build an online gaming clan.. use similar approach to my WoW guild.


Just try and change it to a way that fits your sociable activities :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Mishibizhii on May 04, 2008, 09:34:37 PM
My own forum serves a specific niche within a broader community... and it's done well for itself over the years. It's one part of a broader community site, but it has become a very important, integral part of the site. My members got quite upset when it was offline in order for it to be rebuilt under new forum software last week. Heheh.
Word of mouth has certainly helped out. My members have often passed the link on to other friends of theirs.
Also made use of link sites within the broader community... and some of the forum users also posted links to my site from their own respective sites.
I link to my site from e-mail list services, like Yahoo! Groups... and I sometimes make announcements regarding the site through those e-mail lists and such... as well as related LJ communities. A forum is a rather different approach to communication as compared to e-mail lists and LJ communities, so if you have access to such things that follow the same theme as your forum, try posting there if you feel you're not stepping on someone else's toes.
While rebuilding my site under SMF software, I had sent the link to my reborn forum to friends on my IM lists. Some get annoyed since they don't use forums, but eh... it's worth a shot. You have no way of knowing, really. Just don't do this too often, or else you lose friends because they start to mistake you for a spammer. ;)
I'll add more if I can think of anything.
 
Benjamin
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: daisymaeholly on May 10, 2008, 03:59:27 PM
This has been a most helpful and instructive thread - thank you all. My forum is replacing one that had the plug pulled for no apparent reason earlier this year. Sadly I never got a chance to copy the contacts of the members so I am having to start from scratch.

I've signed on to YouTube with my forum name as my user name and just keep commenting in Buddy Holly's YouTube vids. Only been going for about 3 weeks yet so a bit early to have any result but worked with another topic and my website!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: machievellii on June 12, 2008, 01:30:50 PM
Im new to the whole forum arena but Im finding it very interesting.  I added  forum to my site and look forward to using your advice to grow the community.  As of now it kinda sucks but like I said... I just created it and Im gonna stick with it :)

Thanks
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: CalvinB on June 22, 2008, 05:49:03 PM
Nice article. Thanks. My forums only a week old and this should help it. On another note, I have been on such 'dead' sites you described using paid posting. It felt like I was totally alone, with absolutly noone helping me or even saying hello.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: pauldm on June 25, 2008, 07:10:09 PM

am going to follow some of the advice here to build our forum.  some good ideas

thanks  :D
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Kingmush on July 08, 2008, 12:54:46 PM
Pretty good guide.

I agree with the paid posts, that looks tacky to me and it's just a generally stupid move. Adding links is a great way of advertising, one of the main ways I get about doing it. The alternate profile trick seems good, but I've never had to try it myself so I really dunno... As for competitions, they are great! I've done a few on mine and it does raise activity and get some members.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: dj3hac on July 10, 2008, 11:05:48 PM
wow! those are some great tips. as you can see I have already put one into action by setting my sig the the link of my site / forums!

P.S. Anyone any good @ php if so and you wouldn't mind helping me follow the link to my site www.faoclans.net and send an email to me via the ideas section, I dont want to post my email due to web crawlers.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Ricky. on July 29, 2008, 05:30:39 PM
People with establish forums..

What do you think about rate of active members vs total members ?

I find it extremely low at my forums, I have good measures to make people registers but unfortunately, very very few are getting active. so wanted to know ratio of other people  for active members vs total members !

BTW, this post really came up with some good ideas which are mostly not shared or people do not find time to share.... people are really sharing :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: christicehurst on July 31, 2008, 09:14:19 AM
I was blessed with having a complete niche. My football club didn't have a forum board just for the supporters so I created one and it's turned out well. Still working on of course.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Amy-t on August 12, 2008, 09:21:59 PM
Very nice job on this and I will take advice and use it.

Thank you very much.

Keep up the good work.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: SpoogeBeast on September 01, 2008, 07:25:05 PM
Biggest problem I've had is people signing up but not posting. It's good to be active on your own forum. Post some articles and get things moving. None of it is easy though.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: gurulad on September 17, 2008, 10:59:28 AM
very informative
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ivnj on September 27, 2008, 03:27:43 PM
Yes all very good advice. 

There is also 1 more problem.  Every good subject has already been done.  I mean why start a gaming forum for example when thousands already exists.  So in order to get lots of posts you really need a unique idea.  But not too many are left.  Every good idea has already been done.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Nerve on September 30, 2008, 01:41:12 PM
Wow, thanks very much for all the great tips, I will use them a lot in my forum!

Many Thanks again!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Purrson on October 06, 2008, 08:25:47 PM
i would like someone to point me in the right direction to creat my own forum. to set it up. i have so many quetions that need answering. who can help me with this please?

i realise it will cost. installation, tutorials. etc......
I signed up but have the same question. On the start page it lists things including downloads.
I have a group thats been on MSN, but there have been progressive issues and I am trying to find an option. I have just dialup, so cant do a server, but our chats on a server and I would link to that, I am just trying to find an option for a free message board, and photo album type area to then transfer some of the msn board topics. Our chat is also a free IRC supported server.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Evil_Insanity on October 19, 2008, 04:21:26 AM
how the hell i even start get 1 ...?
i looked every where on this ''simple'' site but cant find my own forum to customize it..
any1 help me out pls ::)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: dWhite on October 26, 2008, 10:07:18 AM
Thanks for these advice and tips. I just started a forum project recently, and looking to build it up. Will use some of these tips to help it. :D
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: KahneFan on November 13, 2008, 03:58:17 AM
Yes all very good advice. 

There is also 1 more problem.  Every good subject has already been done.  I mean why start a gaming forum for example when thousands already exists.  So in order to get lots of posts you really need a unique idea.  But not too many are left.  Every good idea has already been done.

Just because there are large forums out there, it doesn't mean they are good. I've been on many forums where 1) people have left another forum because of (many reasons), or 2) people are leaving the forum I've just joined (you can tell when people are leaving) because of (again, many reasons). So, don't just give up because 'it's already been done'. Web space is so cheap these days, might as well give it a go.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ApplianceJunk on November 20, 2008, 07:29:00 PM
Quote
Every good idea has already been done.

Simply not true.
You just need to do some more thinking. :)

Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: jamkes on December 01, 2008, 09:49:03 AM
Good ideas!I hope I 'll  have a  forum.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ErinSolange on December 04, 2008, 01:03:51 PM
Hi, just joined and reading this thread. Great ideas, and I'll be definitely using a few, for my forum that I've got going.  Need to get
word of it out, as no one seems to be visiting it.... lol
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: alex30 on December 08, 2008, 10:14:53 PM
Great tips, thanks a lot. It will help our aquarium fish community!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: anakmacan on December 09, 2008, 07:21:53 PM
My forum, www.bincangprofesi.com have more than 100 members.. but only around 8 of them who post...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: KaneWorrall on December 14, 2008, 04:38:31 PM
Nice guide, but the talking to myself thing is abit umm how can i put it... Weird.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: That_Guy on December 28, 2008, 07:34:29 PM
Nice guide, but the talking to myself thing is abit umm how can i put it... Weird.
Yes, and as a matter of fact, a lot of people have said that this step or action is weird. It is weird, but it helps a lot. Would you want to register to a forum that's, well empty? With no posts in any categories and it feels like a complete ghost town?

It makes your forum seem active with people actually in it and posting. But, sadly, it's true. When you continue to post, people will eventually realize it's you talking. That's why when you get a good amount of members, you can let those "fake" accounts fade out or simply delete them.

It's better than nothing, I'll tell you that.  ;)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Nitrox on January 10, 2009, 02:08:21 AM
Thanks a lot buddy , these will really be helpful !!!!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Ricky. on January 17, 2009, 04:33:05 PM
Nice guide, but the talking to myself thing is abit umm how can i put it... Weird.
Yes, and as a matter of fact, a lot of people have said that this step or action is weird. It is weird, but it helps a lot. Would you want to register to a forum that's, well empty? With no posts in any categories and it feels like a complete ghost town?

It makes your forum seem active with people actually in it and posting. But, sadly, it's true. When you continue to post, people will eventually realize it's you talking. That's why when you get a good amount of members, you can let those "fake" accounts fade out or simply delete them.

It's better than nothing, I'll tell you that.  ;)

Believe it.. First requirement of a FORUM owner is to start posting and replying .. fake users..  and it helps.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: armybase.us on January 22, 2009, 11:01:33 AM
thanks for the  tips, it could be usefull for a beginner, though there's nothing new , I guess :)

Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: netmatrix on January 30, 2009, 12:21:50 AM
This is all useful information, and very helpful to anyone that is starting their very own forum.  It took me a little bit to read through the 6 pages so if I repeat any of the information that has already been provided I want to apologize for that.

One of the big things to always remember with creating a forum is like it has been said the content inside the forum.  I'm a moderator and member at several forums, and I have noticed that you need the forum to be based off of one specific genre.  For example if you want your forum to be a gaming forum then make it mostly a gaming board.  Maybe have some general things in there.  If your wanting it to be just a general board with different topics; that is where it can be a bit of a problem getting members from what I have noticed, because there is a lot of boards that are just general things. 

Now lets use my board as an example.  My board is a general forum board, but also is a gaming board for all gamers, and for my gaming clan.  I've combined 2 different things into one board.  Now the way I have my board set up could make it a little more difficult to get members, but I'm making mine to where pretty much everyone could become interested in it.

Modifications is another area that could be a problem for members or guests that might want to become members.  Having to many modifications could confuse members.  For example if you have the SMF Shop, trade, arcade, and any other different addons like that could make a member not know where to go. 

Granted customization is very important to a board so it is different from other boards, you will need to keep it somewhat basic, but of course make sure it is customized.

Advertising your site through your signature on other boards like what was said earlier in this topic can be very important, but you don't want to make it to obvious that you are wanting people to join a membership at your board.  Maybe create a image or use a software that will allow you to take a snapshot of like your banner, post that in your signature, and make that image a clickable link if the board will allow you to do that.

I hope this added information was some good information to members here to help get their board going.  Once again I am sorry if any of the information was repeated as it took a while to read everything, and to remember everything that was already said.

P.S.  one other good way to also rack up some membership is to maybe have a actual website page with different things in it, and then have in there a link to your board...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: rjcobarde on January 30, 2009, 11:58:07 PM
nice one..there. tnx for the info.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: aldo on February 07, 2009, 05:20:22 PM
can you help my forum
What do you mean..?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: appleid on April 04, 2009, 11:46:27 PM
I've moderated a few photography forums and also found that challenge is the best interest keeper for members. I also feel that being concise for members with problems is the way to attain new members. By concise I mean that the admins and the mods have to be on the same page and rescue those members with questions, even if they all sound the same, with a working answer, not a guess from a member.

Thanks for all your work.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: neteater on April 10, 2009, 11:02:03 AM
i dont want to interfare discussion but let me tell you one if you want to increase  your forum firstly you select your target visitor coz actual visitor are remain always
and be location specific in starting
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: 摩托车 on June 19, 2009, 06:09:17 PM
One thing I found that did not work was Google Advertising. What a waste of money.

I also tried setting some focused advertising up on Facebook but they couldn't make my card work for some reason so I gave up on them.

My latest attempt has been a contest based on posts (one rule is short, crap posts don't count) and referrals... which for 1/2 the price of what I paid on Google ads has already boosted the traffic considerably.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: alex30 on June 19, 2009, 09:11:56 PM
sremick you have a gaming community, my advice for you is to make more professional banner, gaming banner. Second change board icons to gaming ones, add icons to every board, on the side of description.

In order for guests to register on your forum they have to see that your forum is different from other ones. Do you know how many forums use default theme? Yes, a lot, so in your case I would customize your forum a bit to make it more unique.

Hope it helps you.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: 摩托车 on June 23, 2009, 12:52:50 PM
my advice for you is to make more professional banner, gaming banner.
Great idea! Are you offering? ;) Because I'm not a graphic artist.

Until I have some users who are, or I have enough users that generate enough advertising that I can contract one out, I'm sort of stuck.

Quote
Second change board icons to gaming ones, add icons to every board, on the side of description.

I tried to install the mod to do this but it had problems. I posted to the support thread for the mod but was not able to get help, so I gave up on it. But yes, I'd really like to do this.

See here:
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=126263.440

Quote
In order for guests to register on your forum they have to see that your forum is different from other ones. Do you know how many forums use default theme? Yes, a lot, so in your case I would customize your forum a bit to make it more unique.
I'd love to, but there are some things in the way of that:

1) I'm new to SMF, so I don't understand the customizing of themes all that well.
2) I'm not a graphics or theme artist anyway
3) None of the available free themes are to my liking
4) Until I have enough users, paying someone $50-$100 to make a custom theme is a waste.
5) No point in paying for a 1.x theme when 2.0 is out soon
6) The way SMF 1.x works, mods only apply cleanly to the custom theme, so unless you're very proficient at manual editing of themes (requires understanding the themes well, see #1), a newbie to SMF using mods will have a very bad experience if they deviate from the default theme. This should improve with SMF2.

I don't mean to be dismissive and I do appreciate your advice, but these are things that are a bit much for a new forum by someone new to SMF on top of that. However they are all things I've thought about and would love to do.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ShadoWind on June 24, 2009, 10:28:29 AM
This is definitely a good thread and I'll definitely be visiting this particular section for advice on how to build my forum once it goes live... :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: 摩托车 on June 24, 2009, 10:32:33 AM
For what it's worth: I sat down and made a new banner/logo. Although I don't really have good computer graphics skills.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: hachouchi on November 02, 2009, 09:20:10 AM
Hi i'm new to making forums and i don't have a forum can i make one on this site?? if not where can i make a forum like this one???  Thank you
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Arantor on November 02, 2009, 12:36:12 PM
hachouchi, this was answered in http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=345817.msg2338139#msg2338139
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: joseph09 on December 04, 2009, 11:35:50 PM
advice

had a very succesful  forum but after a nuclear  fallout and massive money spent. got involved and had to redo it.

have not added  theme yet as I am new to this software came from Vbulletin.

how and what is best way to get members.

http://isaiah601.com/Forum/index.php

tips and suggestion
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Utech22 on December 05, 2009, 02:18:40 AM
This is a good read for me.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: seomul on December 17, 2009, 04:21:39 AM
Its very usefull information thanks for providing.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: perplexed on December 17, 2009, 06:31:55 AM
my advice for you is to make more professional banner, gaming banner.
Great idea! Are you offering? ;) Because I'm not a graphic artist.

Until I have some users who are, or I have enough users that generate enough advertising that I can contract one out, I'm sort of stuck.

Quote
Second change board icons to gaming ones, add icons to every board, on the side of description.

I tried to install the mod to do this but it had problems. I posted to the support thread for the mod but was not able to get help, so I gave up on it. But yes, I'd really like to do this.

See here:
http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=126263.440

Quote
In order for guests to register on your forum they have to see that your forum is different from other ones. Do you know how many forums use default theme? Yes, a lot, so in your case I would customize your forum a bit to make it more unique.
I'd love to, but there are some things in the way of that:

1) I'm new to SMF, so I don't understand the customizing of themes all that well.
2) I'm not a graphics or theme artist anyway
3) None of the available free themes are to my liking
4) Until I have enough users, paying someone $50-$100 to make a custom theme is a waste.
5) No point in paying for a 1.x theme when 2.0 is out soon
6) The way SMF 1.x works, mods only apply cleanly to the custom theme, so unless you're very proficient at manual editing of themes (requires understanding the themes well, see #1), a newbie to SMF using mods will have a very bad experience if they deviate from the default theme. This should improve with SMF2.

I don't mean to be dismissive and I do appreciate your advice, but these are things that are a bit much for a new forum by someone new to SMF on top of that. However they are all things I've thought about and would love to do.

Well you seem to be doing OK in the last few months, lots of posts and members, well done :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: 摩托车 on December 17, 2009, 09:13:43 AM
Well you seem to be doing OK in the last few months, lots of posts and members, well done :)

Yeah really slow, and not as fast growth as earlier this year, but it HAS been doing moderately well. We're not dead yet. :)

Still, I'm nowhere near where I want to be. I'm working with a theme artist to get a new custom theme. We're both anxious, but the biggest problem has been the delays of SMF2 and the lagging support from mod authors. A number of my "critical" mods don't support SMF2 RC2 yet, and several other mods I use and would want to continue to use have never seen any SMF2 support ever. Meanwhile, SMF2 final seems forever away and approaching at only a snail's pace. I have to wonder if we'll be seeing it by next xmas? I'm not trying to be a jerk... remember: this time last year, SMF2 Beta 4 was out. So in one year's time, we've only had 2 more releases: RC1 and RC2. So if there ends up being an RC3, then at this pace we won't see SMF 2.0 final until December 2010. :(

If SMF2 would just come out and the mods support it, we could have the theme done in a few weeks. Instead, I feel like my forum is rotting in the stone ages due to not being able to update and modernize. But you can't paint a moving truck.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Joeh1 on January 06, 2010, 08:50:38 AM
Hi, thanks for the info it is very useful.  However I guess it all comes down to traffic.

No traffic, no members, no forum postings.

Have not started my forum yet a bit worried how much time it will take to moderate

Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Cassiel on January 06, 2010, 09:09:11 PM
Well for any new forum it's gonna take a lot of time and dedication. All of the effort is up to you (and any of your partners if you have any) and so you need to plan to put in the time or else it's gonna reflect in how much your site grows.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: xynder on January 09, 2010, 10:56:18 AM
hi, im new to smf. thanks for your advice in building successfull forum!!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: adbrad on January 09, 2010, 04:25:28 PM

Adding your Link to Signatures in other Forums
A great one this. You can get people to know about your forum/site for free, simply by joining other forums and having your link in your forum/profile signature. An added bonus to this is that search engines like Google can see these links, and it will help boost you in search engine results.

However! Please be careful about this. I have seen people join up to forums and do a huge advertising spam post about their website in hope to get clicks. THIS DOES NOT WORK!
In actual fact, it ruins the reputation of your forum. It makes you look like a worthless, desperate spammer. Who wants to sign up to a forum run by someone like that? No one!

The best technique is to join other forums with a positive attitude. Have a link to your site in your sig, but try to make 10 or so really great posts each day or week (whenever you have the time to spare). If you get a great reputation on the forum, people will check out your link. If you are a really cool person, it is highly likely that someone will join your forum. People like to join up on sites run by really great people.

OK this one didn't work for me i joined up to a forum and put my link in the sig like i have done here and then made a post introducing my self. never mentioned the website and with in less than a day i had posts asking why i was advertising a forum on there forum i did this on a similar forum to mine as it is the target audience for my forum. personally i would not recommend this if any one wants to see the posts, i will link to them.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Uhura! on January 09, 2010, 09:28:34 PM
You have to be careful with siggy lines on other people's forums - especially if they are related to yours. Some people take offense...It's seen as stealing.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: adbrad on January 10, 2010, 05:17:18 AM
You have to be careful with siggy lines on other people's forums - especially if they are related to yours. Some people take offense...It's seen as stealing.

i can see that point of view but if people are active on a forum and are well known there it's not like they are going to leave the current forum.
if some one was to start a new smf support forum how many people would leave this one to go there.
it was aimed mostly at people just browsing round and if they happened to check out my forum then so be it.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ufumes on January 22, 2010, 06:06:03 PM
I believe the contents matters a lot. if it promises to be interesting , people will naturally sign up
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ɔɔɔɔɔɔuɥoɾ on February 25, 2010, 12:13:09 PM
I believe the contents matters a lot. if it promises to be interesting , people will naturally sign up


Its all about the content, your forum must frequently change, not static, just make sure google is indexing your forum use webmaster tools there is some good tools in there to help boost your forum traffic, but remember things take time, its not a instant member filled forum, just wait and see :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: cutelover007 on March 22, 2010, 03:14:03 AM
dear sir,
  what i do in my forum to increase my forum members..i have only 29members..so dear sir what i do.....please sir also give me tips for increasing my members....
my forum is..

  www.megafunxone.cz.cc
 
  sir please give me some useful tips to make my forum nice and increase members...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: 摩托车 on March 22, 2010, 09:13:33 AM
dear sir,
  what i do in my forum to increase my forum members..i have only 29members..so dear sir what i do.....please sir also give me tips for increasing my members....

I'm don't believe offering download links for copyrighted music and movies is the right way to go.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: perplexed on March 23, 2010, 05:16:13 PM
dear sir,
  what i do in my forum to increase my forum members..i have only 29members..so dear sir what i do.....please sir also give me tips for increasing my members....
my forum is..

  www.megafunxone.cz.cc (http://www.megafunxone.cz.cc)
 
  sir please give me some useful tips to make my forum nice and increase members...

191 Posts in 189 Topics by 29 Members and 172 of the posts are yours.  This does not look good to any prospective members.  You also have too many empty boards which is also off-putting.  Nobody wants to join a forum that looks inactive or empty.  Get rid of some categories/boards until you are busier.

Also try posting some original non-copyrighted content that might be worth joining to discuss.  At the moment you have an empty looking warez site and there are many around that are a lot more active, so you have a lot of competition right there.

Plus, you know he's right...

dear sir,
  what i do in my forum to increase my forum members..i have only 29members..so dear sir what i do.....please sir also give me tips for increasing my members....

I'm don't believe offering download links for copyrighted music and movies is the right way to go.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Arantor on March 23, 2010, 05:17:18 PM
/me already reported the site to the moderators; warez site links are not permitted here.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: perplexed on March 23, 2010, 05:18:08 PM
ah good :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: cutelover007 on March 30, 2010, 05:11:58 AM
ummm yeah...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: BlackedOutNights on March 30, 2010, 04:42:55 PM
Thanks for all the great advice guys. Some of you talk about having referral contests for the board.
How do u go about doing this? Whats the best way to track referrals on a board?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Arantor on March 30, 2010, 05:13:46 PM
There's a referrals mod...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: cutelover007 on March 31, 2010, 03:57:08 AM
nice....
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: jijigren on April 01, 2010, 11:03:25 PM
There's a referrals mod...

Which one. I found one but it is no longer updated. Use the SMF version 2 RC 3 and the mod not compatible with this release.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Arantor on April 02, 2010, 04:35:20 AM
Well, funny that I just went to the mod site, typed in 'referral' into the search, got two results.

Second one is http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=1114 which clearly says 2.0 RC3 on the list of versions.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: InfoStrides on April 11, 2010, 05:34:06 AM
I read through this thread and find it really interesting. Although, I have applied some of the tips provided but not seems to be with result. May be my forum contents or the way I structure them.

Kindly help me review my forum (http://www.theinfostrides.com) and advise on what to do. http://www.theinfostrides.com

Thank you.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: derby on April 11, 2010, 05:37:47 AM

I read through this thread and find it really interesting. Although, I have applied some of the tips provided but not seems to be with result. May be my forum contents or the way I structure them.

Kindly help me review my forum (http://www.infostridesforum.com) and advise on what to do. http://www.infostridesforum.com

Thank you.
Too Much Board is the No1 problem of ur forum
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Arantor on April 11, 2010, 05:40:10 AM
Actually, that hideous 'Register Now' banner on the left that suggests it would even pop up for registered users is probably a bigger issue.

I agree, there is a lot of boards - on a forum with 100x the post count, maybe it'd be OK, but for that many boards, 2350 or so topics really isn't enough IMO.

I also find the header is a little bit cluttered, too.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: anakmacan on April 12, 2010, 11:35:24 PM
I dont want to make my forum to be big and famous. I love my members and members love my forum. Thats the most important.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Phat B4t on April 17, 2010, 08:05:36 PM
OP this is great info.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: DarkXWolf on April 18, 2010, 12:38:59 AM
Thanks for the advice OP.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: castrosebo on May 01, 2010, 03:07:02 PM
Thanks for the great tips. I just started my new forum today and am looking for as much help as i can
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on May 02, 2010, 06:21:38 AM

I read through this thread and find it really interesting. Although, I have applied some of the tips provided but not seems to be with result. May be my forum contents or the way I structure them.

Kindly help me review my forum (http://www.infostridesforum.com) and advise on what to do. http://www.infostridesforum.com

Thank you.

107 boards, with an average of 30 posts per board? Way too many boards...
The pop up ad for registration is also very annoying, as it jumps up again and again - if it would only come up once, it would be a lot better.. Also your front page has a lot going on, but doesn't really tell anything of your forums content or purpose...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: InfoStrides on May 02, 2010, 08:15:11 AM

I read through this thread and find it really interesting. Although, I have applied some of the tips provided but not seems to be with result. May be my forum contents or the way I structure them.

Kindly help me review my forum (http://www.theinfostrides.com) and advise on what to do. http://www.theinfostrides.com

Thank you.
Too Much Board is the No1 problem of ur forum

Thank you for this information. We are working on reducing the number of boards on the forum. More so, a new home page has been introduced with SimplePortal that presents summary of the contents. You view it and let me have your feed back
- http://www.theinfostrides.com
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: InfoStrides on May 02, 2010, 08:27:51 AM
Actually, that hideous 'Register Now' banner on the left that suggests it would even pop up for registered users is probably a bigger issue.

I agree, there is a lot of boards - on a forum with 100x the post count, maybe it'd be OK, but for that many boards, 2350 or so topics really isn't enough IMO.

I also find the header is a little bit cluttered, too.

Thank you for feedback. Actually, the banner only show for guests, once registered and login, it will not show again.

On the boards, we are working to make it smaller. A new home page has been introduced with Simpleportal to make address the issue a bit.

I am not quite clear with "the header is a little bit cluttered". Please explain further. Thanks.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: InfoStrides on May 02, 2010, 09:00:33 AM

I read through this thread and find it really interesting. Although, I have applied some of the tips provided but not seems to be with result. May be my forum contents or the way I structure them.

Kindly help me review my forum (http://www.theinfostrides.com) and advise on what to do. http://www.theinfostrides.com

Thank you.

107 boards, with an average of 30 posts per board? Way too many boards...
The pop up ad for registration is also very annoying, as it jumps up again and again - if it would only come up once, it would be a lot better.. Also your front page has a lot going on, but doesn't really tell anything of your forums content or purpose...

Thank you for your feedback. We are working on reducing the boards. The pop-up and the front page have also been improved.  Looking at possibility of having the pop up shown only in the front page. Please review the new outlook and give your comments. 
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: derby on May 13, 2010, 12:25:51 PM
Hello Guys please i run a job vacancies forum,i want to ask/know if i install pretty url or another similar mod if it will help with the traffic of my forum on google search and others or i should leave it the way it is....HELP NEEDED
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: rd on May 16, 2010, 10:06:30 PM
Well, I would like to challenge this topic:

Quote
Paying for Posts
There are quite a few services out there that will offer to do 10 posts for $1 etc. Whilst this may look like a good 10-post-boost to your forum, it can really harm it.

People aren't dumb. When they start seeing about 20 people only making 10 posts then never returning they will notice somethings up. When they feel that members are bots or paid people they will most likely leave. Who the hell wants to get into discussions with "fakes"? Members want to have REAL discussions and get to know each other.

In my experience I have found that this can really hurt a forums reputation.

I think that by paying someone to make posts it might actually help the forum. Why? Simply because it will give it some content worth discussing about and you never know, the people you payed might just continue posting because they like the forum.

Quote
Adding your Link to Signatures in other Forums
A great one this. You can get people to know about your forum/site for free, simply by joining other forums and having your link in your forum/profile signature. An added bonus to this is that search engines like Google can see these links, and it will help boost you in search engine results.

However! Please be careful about this. I have seen people join up to forums and do a huge advertising spam post about their website in hope to get clicks. THIS DOES NOT WORK!
In actual fact, it ruins the reputation of your forum. It makes you look like a worthless, desperate spammer. Who wants to sign up to a forum run by someone like that? No one!

The best technique is to join other forums with a positive attitude. Have a link to your site in your sig, but try to make 10 or so really great posts each day or week (whenever you have the time to spare). If you get a great reputation on the forum, people will check out your link. If you are a really cool person, it is highly likely that someone will join your forum. People like to join up on sites run by really great people.

People disregard signature links these days, because they are nothing more then just links... I wouldn't click anything that has a www. and a .com on it. Also, if I am not mistaken most forums make signature links <no follows> heck, I have never seen a signature popping up in Google search, have you?

Quote
Make alternate profiles
One technique used when starting a forum brand new is to make about 10 profiles yourself and get posting. Whilst this can seem like a good boost it can look pretty bad. Each time you post, your personality leaks into it. People can quite easily tell if its the same person or not. It also requires a great amount of effort to have 20 or so conversations with yourself, trying to present different views and make it look good.

Instead, contact your friends. Ask them politely to sign up and help by making a few posts. Offer to get them a beer or something if they do, or just reward them with your kindness. Get them to tell their friends about your site too. Word of mouth is great for getting people to join your forum.

Also, if you are lucky enough. Get your friends to put a link to your forum on their websites (if they have one). you can also link back to them.

More profiles? Mmm, depends, if you are the type of person who can talk to your self without getting bored, then go ahead. Getting friends to post with you is a great idea but most of the time they ask for staff position and that's bad. People don't really like two staff members posting back and forth.

Quote
Competitions
Competitions can create a real buzz for your forum. There is one thing that is very improtant though which can either make this a great idea, or a very bad idea.

If you are going to have a great prize, you really need to have a great way to promote your event (competition). If people dont know about your forum and competition, then hardly anyone will participate. Put all you can into word of mouth, links etc. you can even try contacting other webmasters to see if they will help advertise the competition on thier sites, linking to yours!

One great competition I have found is to do it based on referrals. The member who gets the most of his friends to join up and get posting will win a prize. PayPal cash, eBay items, or coupons all work great. Be creative and see what you can come up with! :)

I don;t know about you but I'd rather pay people $1.00 for ten posts rather then give things away. At least with the ten posts I am getting some quality content and that might attract some people.

Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: derby on May 17, 2010, 01:16:04 PM
Hello Guys please i run a job vacancies forum,i want to ask/know if i install pretty url or another similar mod if it will help with the traffic of my forum on google search and others or i should leave it the way it is....HELP NEEDED
::)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Cassiel on May 17, 2010, 08:51:56 PM
I think that by paying someone to make posts it might actually help the forum. Why? Simply because it will give it some content worth discussing about and you never know, the people you payed might just continue posting because they like the forum.

It's a cheap (no pun intended) way out. You're not working on getting a larger user base, you're just getting people to do with work you should be doing yourself. You should be dedicated to your site. If you don't want to put in the time to create the content yourself then you're obviously not dedicated enough. The people that are posting only do it because of the money. They don't care about what they are posting, and the content you get from them reflect that. Not to mention that once their incentive, their money, is gone so is there reason to be there.

People disregard signature links these days, because they are nothing more then just links... I wouldn't click anything that has a www. and a .com on it. Also, if I am not mistaken most forums make signature links <no follows> heck, I have never seen a signature popping up in Google search, have you?

It's not about backlinks. Surprisingly enough, sometimes human people read signatures themselves. If you are a respected member of a forum then members would want to visit the links in your site. Whether it's because they want to support it, because they are curious, if they know the quality of the site is going to be just as good as the quality of the posts you have on the forum, or whatever. In the end it still ends in traffic, and in the end it's better advertising than posting on a directory. The link in your signature is suppose to tie in to being a member on the forum and having good quality posts around that have your signature underneath. Which is why the quote says to not be a spammer, and make great posts.

More profiles? Mmm, depends, if you are the type of person who can talk to your self without getting bored, then go ahead. Getting friends to post with you is a great idea but most of the time they ask for staff position and that's bad. People don't really like two staff members posting back and forth.

No. Having multiple profiles is just a sad thing to see. It's just a desperate attempt to try to make it seem like your forum is better than it really is. Rather than working on advertising and creating good content you are just posting on your own forum for yourself....kind of counter productive.

Getting your friends to join is a hell of a better start than just posting it yourself. And in the beginning it's pretty much the only userbase you have. Thats not to say you're not wrong about friends demanding staff positions, i've had many a bad experience with that, but it's kind of obvious that 3 friends > 1 person posting all over the place with different accounts. There is strength in numbers, especially with online forums.

I don;t know about you but I'd rather pay people $1.00 for ten posts rather then give things away. At least with the ten posts I am getting some quality content and that might attract some people.

The quality of the paid posts is never guaranteed. And it's not a very good image that part of your userbase don't even want to be there because they like the community. Give-aways show that you are dedicated to your users and are willing to go the extra step for them. Something that is very commendable in a site ower, which is why Frank's give-aways are supported so much by the community. I could go on about the importance between a owner and the userbase, but I think you get the point.


Did you challenge this post just to challenge it, or did you actually think you had substantial arguments? Because really, a lot of these tips have been repeated a lot in this board.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: derby on May 22, 2010, 05:56:52 AM
why is nobody giving me a reply?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Cassiel on May 24, 2010, 11:56:48 AM
As far as I know Pretty URLs or any other mod that changed the look of your URL have no impact on Google Searches.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on May 24, 2010, 12:43:38 PM
My experience has also been, that any type of SEO mod is pretty much unnecessary, if you just have content and enough relevant inbound and outbound links on the web... SMF is pretty search engine friendly as it is..
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: derby on May 25, 2010, 01:28:21 PM
Thanks GUys
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: bidzinski on May 29, 2010, 02:51:03 PM
This sounds good, this thread is a good idea I like it
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: rd on May 29, 2010, 03:01:38 PM
My experience has also been, that any type of SEO mod is pretty much unnecessary, if you just have content and enough relevant inbound and outbound links on the web... SMF is pretty search engine friendly as it is..

I agree with this, sometimes you don't even need inbound or outbound links for example if you have the right keywords.

One of my forum is a reference site and most of our 32% Search engine attracted visitors come through author names or story titles (forum indexes FF stories, but is also a community). 
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: El maestro on June 18, 2010, 04:32:22 AM
I've read through all 9 pages of this and there is a lot of good tips which I will be applying to my new forum.

However, I would like (if possible) some help making this forum a success.

Here is the situation...

the main site is a music blog [www.wegotitfirst.com] where people come, get their daily music and leave (some do stick around and comment on posts)

so I made a forum for the site so the users can register and talk... I really want it to become a successful community.

If you could visit the forums and tell me what you think...what I could do to improve it etc... I would very much appreciate it!

here is the link to the forum : www.wegotitfirst.com/community

What I want to achieve is something like
http://www.realestniggas.com/board/
or something like
http://forums.projectcovo.com/forumdisplay.php?f=1
or
www.montrealracing.com

Those are 3 boards I visit regularly and I like them a lot... I can only dream to achieve that...maybe someone here can help me achieve that.

Thanks!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: VirusData on July 13, 2010, 09:29:01 PM
hello everyone, I need someone to help me to add this great chat forum to my political website, I am not a computer person, here is the Url Link to my website www claytonmspaparazzi.com

If someone can help me with this they can email me at master@claytonmspaparazzi.com


                                                     Thank You
                                                      VirusData


                                                             
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: x86cam on August 25, 2010, 01:11:17 PM
That is great!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: imeekaye on September 16, 2010, 12:19:20 PM
Very informative...:) It will helps a lot for a newbie like me...thanks for sharing... Keep it up and more power!...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: hsimpson on September 23, 2010, 08:57:41 PM
My experience has also been, that any type of SEO mod is pretty much unnecessary, if you just have content and enough relevant inbound and outbound links on the web... SMF is pretty search engine friendly as it is..

Clean URLs is just one of the 200 factors if you got many other factors okay then the value of clean URLs won't weight much.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: cprmerced on September 27, 2010, 05:03:46 PM
Awesome!!! I will use this knowlege for my new forum. Not new at joining forums, but definately new at building one.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: haifa on January 07, 2011, 06:57:13 AM
Thanks for sharing.....
I build the web site here goresellers.com  and also i got the reseller plan,hosting,domain name register, domain appraisal, online file folder, ssl certificate etc...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: InfoStrides on January 31, 2011, 07:51:53 AM
This is really helpful topic with lots of useful discussions. Some months ago I posted request for review of my forum http://www.theinfostrides.com. I have taken every steps to follow the advice and it is really yielding positively. Kindly visit http://www.theinfostrides.com for your comments and further suggestions on what needs to be done to improve the website. Thanks.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: EntrepreneurCrowd on February 08, 2011, 05:54:06 AM
I'd be really keen to get feedback on growing our new database (loving simple machines by the way!)
We just released a community forum for Entrepreneurs of all experience levels, link can be found via my name/email.

Currently we are looking at spreading the word organically and via social media but any other suggestions would be really appreciated :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: directglobal on February 15, 2011, 11:23:39 PM
Hey i am lost here guys i want my own forum where i can invite peopleto join post information and so on  pls help guys  my email is bankydirect at yahoo.com
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Arantor on February 16, 2011, 08:37:17 AM
This forum only provides the software for running a forum - if you want to start a forum you have to get a webhost then install the software.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: purnima on February 28, 2011, 11:53:57 PM
I agree with you, When starting a forum brand new is to make about 10 profiles yourself and
get posting. Adding a link to other forums, Make alternate profiles and competitions are good
techniques to build a successful forum.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Bolt™ on March 05, 2011, 04:00:45 PM
Cool post, thanks a lot, really helped.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: nutn2lewz on March 05, 2011, 07:10:28 PM
My forum enhances my main site - the main site draws about 5,000 visitors per day and they then join the forums to ask questions about the info that they read on the main site. If you want more visitors to your forums ... build a static html site with info that corresponds to your forum. SEO your main site to get referrals from search engines. My main site is the #1 link on Google for numerous home poker tournament search phrases (run a poker tournament, build a poker table, etc.).

Hold small giveaways on your forum. People love free stuff and the chance to win something. I give away decks of plastic playing cards ($20 value). People join my forums to register for the giveaways and then end up posting and becoming lifelong members. You gotta bribe 'em (giveaways) to make that first post.

If you have a modified theme and lots of mods, do not upgrade to a RC (Release Candidate), and then another RC, and then another RC. Wait for a Final Release and then upgrade one time - you don't have to always have the latest, greatest major upgrade.

nutN2Lewz
forums.homepokertourney.com (http://forums.homepokertourney.com)
www.homepokertourney.com (http://www.homepokertourney.com)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: niru786 on March 08, 2011, 04:19:21 PM
Hello ,

It is very helpful about what guidelines we must follow when we write in forum.

Thanks for suggesting us .

relwax.com
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Maever on March 12, 2011, 08:20:53 AM
i literally laughed at this;

Quote
It also requires a great amount of effort to have 20 or so conversations with yourself, trying to present different views and make it look good.

Nice guide, thank you.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: anakmacan on March 31, 2011, 05:20:36 PM
Treat them well, they shall do the same t o you. Be nice to your community, hear their voices, give them what they want, so long my forum's loved by members cos i love them too, theyre part of my family.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: adnano on April 20, 2011, 08:57:01 AM
wow such a nice idea

thank you so much bro
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: naikvarda on April 25, 2011, 01:15:28 AM
Forum posting is really challenging work in SEO.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: LoneSilverWolf on May 01, 2011, 05:45:01 PM
I am glad to see some tips for starting a successful forum. I've been -trying- to get my own forum going from scratch and have been having one hell of a time dong it. It is so hard to attract members that actually post, rather than ones that make a post and you never hear from them again. I've implemented a mandatory participation of 1 post a week and a mandatory introductory post within 2 days of registration, to try and cut back on inactive members.

Great post, hopefully some of these tips will help Michael Jackson HeadQuarters actually grow :D
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: denysaputra on May 09, 2011, 06:26:10 AM
sometime it works, but not always. Just how and right or wrong the ways used.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: esanyemayor on May 12, 2011, 05:52:40 AM
I have learnt a lot from these tips and I hope to implement some as soon as possible and will eagerly awaith the results.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: h4llw4lk3r on May 13, 2011, 02:33:09 AM
Brilliant Guide. 10/10
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: fastcorvetteusa.com on May 29, 2011, 03:11:51 PM
WOW newbie here for first post.... Im a mod on a forum with smf, and i am wanting to start my own site..I have everything already to go.. I have a host, url, store set up and all the click adds ready to go, just need to know the what and how to.....would anyone be interested in helping out a newbie here...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: XraZer on June 28, 2011, 09:30:56 AM
Thanks
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: smartblogz on July 06, 2011, 05:04:34 PM
Thanks for the guide. Very useful.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: macjive01 on August 10, 2011, 11:26:18 AM
sorry guy, i recently open a forum website imostateforum.com
however, the title bar still says MY COMMUNITY, pls how do i change that to my desire name ?

Thank you

pls email me

macjive01@yahoo.com
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Illori on August 10, 2011, 11:28:33 AM
please open a thread in the proper support board.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: anteater on August 12, 2011, 12:47:07 AM
Thanks guys,

This topic was extremely helpful! I've figured out basic rules of user engagement, now it is time for fine tuning.

Would you have a minute to review my forum? Here it is: forum.therfblog.com
The forum is an extension of my blog about Russian fashion (in English).
I've been blessed with a large Russian followership on Twitter lately, and they don't seem to bother to read or write in English... So:

1. I've created one board for Russian-speaking visitors. Is it enough or should I open a whole different forum in Russian? I guess this board can confuse English-speaking visitors. And for Russians to see only one board allotted to them... they will think I don't respect them.
On the other hand, it would have been great if this forum became a cool place where people from all over the world could meet.
2. Do you think it makes sense to allow unregistered people to post, with a captcha? Only in the beginning.
3. My current topics are: Russian fashion/culture and fashion blogging. Do I need to expand to fashion in general?

Any other ideas will be hugely appreciated!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Ricky. on August 12, 2011, 03:01:16 AM
Thanks guys,

This topic was extremely helpful! I've figured out basic rules of user engagement, now it is time for fine tuning.

Would you have a minute to review my forum? Here it is: forum.therfblog.com
The forum is an extension of my blog about Russian fashion (in English).
I've been blessed with a large Russian followership on Twitter lately, and they don't seem to bother to read or write in English... So:

1. I've created one board for Russian-speaking visitors. Is it enough or should I open a whole different forum in Russian? I guess this board can confuse English-speaking visitors. And for Russians to see only one board allotted to them... they will think I don't respect them.
On the other hand, it would have been great if this forum became a cool place where people from all over the world could meet.
2. Do you think it makes sense to allow unregistered people to post, with a captcha? Only in the beginning.
3. My current topics are: Russian fashion/culture and fashion blogging. Do I need to expand to fashion in general?

Any other ideas will be hugely appreciated!

In short / brief..
1, You should make it Russia specific as whole and add only single section for English speaking people, once you see if there is sufficient activity from English speaking people then add more boards. But in short it all depends upon your traffic, if its mostly non-english then you know it what to do.

2. Ya, it does make sense but only for a while, I had done this and this is for who are in real hurry but they can give you real good discussion start point. Only problem is that you will have to deal with lots of spam.

3. I already answered in first one.. if your majority of traffic is Russian then make only single section in english rest in Russian and later expand on the basis of activity.

Good luck !
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Er.mehulpopat on September 09, 2011, 06:40:52 AM
hello friend i am new here...

i am a member on so many forums which r provided by SMF...

but i want to know that what is my benefit if someone post on my thread...

please help me...i want to open a new forum from here.....
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Ricky. on September 09, 2011, 09:33:37 AM
You can't open a forum here, but you can download forum software ie. SMF and then create forum from it on a webhosting server.

Benefits ranges from donations, paid memberships, support to other product to ads revenue.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: derby on September 10, 2011, 09:42:42 AM
Please i own a job vacacnies forum but i dont know if there is sumtin i nid to add or sumtin i nid to do to make my forum successful..check it out @www.derbhotjobs.com
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: klaaskv on September 11, 2011, 07:24:50 AM
i great way to get people to sign up on y form is join a Competition price pack on a other form
Y have alot of forms where they have Competitions and mostly they ask for people that whant to give money for the 3,2,1 place and in return your lik is the ron her form and people need to sign up on y form  as a rule to join the Competitions
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Ron Sebastian on September 21, 2011, 01:56:11 AM
I am looking for the information finally i got your post it is really great to read about to build forum. i would like to read your future post also. thanx for the information.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: azureboone on September 22, 2011, 03:23:27 PM
I'm probably on the wrong section, but I'm wondering how to download SMS.  I downloaded the full version but I don't know what to do after I unzip it all.  There's like no install link or file.  Just a long list of stuff that was unzipped.  HELP
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: derby on September 25, 2011, 07:33:04 AM
I'm probably on the wrong section, but I'm wondering how to download SMS.  I downloaded the full version but I don't know what to do after I unzip it all.  There's like no install link or file.  Just a long list of stuff that was unzipped.  HELP
Pm mi i would help u out
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on September 25, 2011, 08:29:05 AM
Or take a look at our wiki, you will find detailed installation instructions there. But before anything, you will need a host that supports php.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Xuoxo on November 07, 2011, 05:53:02 AM
Very nice information....
I like to add more:
4 Tips for building a successful forum

1) Spread the news of your forum friends. They are the best people to promote your forum even if they find interesting and useful.

2) satisfy the tastes of your friends as much as possible. This is because you can only keep visitors who like your website. Try to create more sections that talk about different things and that you like better.

3) Publish your site to search engines. You can register at Yahoo or Google for your website (forum) published in the major search engines. Make sure there is a distinctive name but not too specific. This gives you the best chance of being the first couple of places when entering a keyword.

4) At the forum, if possible, give certain "advantages" to the members that make them feel superior to ordinary visitors, for example, upper limit on the size of uploaded images. This encourages the registration of your forum and directly increases the number of members of your forum.

Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: AHipHopLovers on November 17, 2011, 01:49:22 AM
Hi guys,

I've read all 11 pages and I have to say I'm impressed by the amount of feedback, help, and quality. Thank you. I've learned so much. I've noticed a lot of members giving feedback and suggestions to websites when asked. So I would like the same if you all could. My site is AHipHopLovers.com My user name is also the web address. I've been promoting it and getting visitors but little to know posts. I haven't applied all the tips you guys said yet, but I wanted to first to see if the website and forum looked reputable or good enough for you guys.

Thanks again.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: SereneSeaForum on January 21, 2012, 11:47:03 AM
I've recenlty added a 5 Free Online Marketing Tips (http://www.kungfound.com/5-free-online-marketing-tips.htm) guide to my blog which some of you may find useful. It suggests 5 free ways of promoting your forum/website :)

What happened to your website?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Donn H on February 28, 2012, 03:40:33 AM
well. I kind of like what you guys are up to... I hope i can join that help team and we can work together @Danny & Mother
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: noahbarn061784 on March 12, 2012, 04:42:53 AM
Well for a fact I really have no idea on how to do it. But at least now that I've read this posts, I am much more aware on hoe to build a successful forum.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: James George on March 12, 2012, 08:14:32 PM
In my opinion, having a successful forum needs a lot of time, work and probably money. In life, you can't do anything great if you don't love or at least like what you are doing. Creating a forum is easy because of the SMF script, but getting your forum to the "successful forum" state is hard, and maintaining that state is even harder. You need to work a lot, help others and so on. It's not impossible, but neither easy, which makes the satisfaction even sweeter.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: abbey4biz on March 13, 2012, 08:43:22 PM
Please I always have people posting url links on my forum, hoping to get an image displayed of which i have stoped, but yet they keep on posting url links and i am thinking this is been done automatically.

please how can i stop this?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: TheListener on March 13, 2012, 08:53:25 PM
Please I always have people posting url links on my forum, hoping to get an image displayed of which i have stoped, but yet they keep on posting url links and i am thinking this is been done automatically.

please how can i stop this?

Knowing the version you use is a start

 ::)

Have a look at the anti spam mods.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: pbchitchat on March 19, 2012, 12:54:17 PM
Thank you so much from the advice. I have built my Forum which SMF made so easy for me but getting user to the forum is a differnt story. But I will keep work on it thanks

Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: MidasBalaa on June 13, 2012, 03:00:37 AM
Well my forum is picking up but I would thin it would take for up to a year for people to become really active. You will have to be more active in your posting and get lots of traffic
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: LaurensPlace on October 29, 2012, 07:06:11 AM
Thanks I'm going to try to add the "competition" tip to help boost my beauty forum
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ishan1991 on January 26, 2013, 02:46:51 AM
Thanx for the excellent ideas. I too have started a new forum based on Indian freebies, discounts, hot deals and contests. These knowledge is surely going to help in expanding my forum.


Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: SimpleJoe on February 28, 2013, 01:59:26 PM
From my experience YouTube videos can be pretty effective in making a successful forum, and other social media. Here are some more ideas on how to promote a forum (http://www.onlineinstitute.com/forum-twitter-promotion.html) that includes some innovative stuff to get your forum known.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: appleid on April 12, 2013, 06:13:00 AM
I have an SMF photographic forum with a few dedicated and friendly folks. It is all I wanted and it is fun to do as I wanted it that way. All is friendly and professional. That is a great experience for all. 14 members of high caliber photographers. I don't need a thousand. I kept very small and manageable and have a great time everyday. I am a retired photographer with a ton of knowledge and help and am finding after 6 years of SMF so very rewarding. cawtoons@att. net, if you want to join. It is invitation only but I am open to interested parties. Photography and SMF is a great combination. I just use the SMF, am not in any way affiliated. TC
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: vlajce992 on June 20, 2013, 05:38:49 PM
Im pretty sure that this topic will also work for forum build since its building success topic :D

http://criticalthread.blogspot.com/2013/06/when-is-my-topic-gonna-succeed-on.html (http://criticalthread.blogspot.com/2013/06/when-is-my-topic-gonna-succeed-on.html)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ricktee76 on September 18, 2013, 05:58:02 PM
I would say dont be too specific for example:

A music forum covers a massive spectrum, an RnB forum will probably attract a slightly broader range of members because it hooks into many different genres especially with all the collaborations etc.

For instance poetry is something i've seen as a subforum on  a few music websites, this makes sense because songs are basically poems with music.

A forum for left handed bass players called Andy, is in all probability going to fail.

Basically, what i'm trying to say is dont be too overly specific with the 'niche' your working on and look for ways in which your forum can maybe pull in or touch on another 'niche'.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: KibaHime on December 24, 2013, 03:01:22 PM
If anyone wants to take on a charity case and help me start a forum, please feel free to email me.

NVRattatat @ gmail.com

I would essentially worship you.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: miffynt on June 01, 2014, 10:39:45 AM
Great post...

If you want a successful forum simply generate nice content. If you talk about something interesting there will be memebers pretty easily.

I was thinking to create a forum but I realize I didn't have nothing useful to say and there was already a huge competition about that subject so I did the best thing I could do: I didn't make it!
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: ApplianceJunk on June 01, 2014, 11:06:20 AM
So it's seems it's not really as simple as you say then. ;)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: wishmasterdjl on July 19, 2014, 02:46:48 AM
thanks for this, this will help with my new site/community i am trying to make
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Femmetreysie on July 29, 2014, 06:07:36 PM
Thumb up! Great list! This is definitely a better way to start your forums.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: PokémonS on February 13, 2015, 01:59:08 PM
However, all you need before to make a forum is 5-10 close friends with same interest, then open a discussion about the forum.
By working alone, you'll never get a successful forum.

Trust me, I am ASIAN one of many owners of successful forum since 2010 (That time I am still 13).
These screenshots below explained. :P

Forum:
(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fpuu.sh%2FfS2K1.png&hash=a82bb6b656260957ea85bef8fc885b88)

Chatbox (from mod SimplePortal):
(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fpuu.sh%2FfS33l.jpg&hash=f14070943f819b306e7422f858023fee)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: runningmom604 on February 28, 2015, 04:18:59 PM
Nice ideas. Also try to get members which HAVE interest on your forums genre and try to make your forum a bit customized as being with default features is not always a good idea. Keep trying new things and see which affects most.

You must be a starcraft fan?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Asadullah on March 19, 2015, 04:44:51 AM
Great Ideas i really appreciate ur ideas..  :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Professor Sea on March 31, 2015, 04:18:50 AM
I too had made a forum about biology, but am having a lot of trouble getting it off the ground, so to speak... Any advice you could give me? About 30 members on my forum are actually spam-bots, sadly.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Kindred on March 31, 2015, 09:00:34 AM
Did you even bother to read the previous posts in thus thread?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Professor Sea on April 01, 2015, 03:49:01 AM
Yes, I did...
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Kindred on April 01, 2015, 06:41:55 AM
Well, your questions has been answered several times in the past 12 pages of this thread.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: suhaneankit on April 04, 2015, 05:55:57 AM
Very good tips and idea. I have been following all since long and my forum is stable and running very well ;)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Malone Chess Club on May 25, 2015, 04:39:24 PM
I'm trying to put together a very small private forum for a nonprofit chess club in which we can have around ten threads running within it. We the four individuals on the board of directors have been communicating through email on a number of things and it's turned into an unholy mess. I thought this might be a better way to go but I have no idea on how to start (I'm new to this stuff).

I thought that it would be simple to figure out but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. Any advice on how to create our private forum (and from there create the conversation threads) would be GREATLY appreciated. Thank you!

Matt
Malone Chess Club
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Kindred on May 25, 2015, 09:13:11 PM
Read the wiki/FAQ/manual --link at the top right
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Rust on August 23, 2015, 06:40:24 PM
so you pay for some people to come post on your site, and let's assume they do a really good job talking about the content etc, and the other members enjoy replying to their posts unaware that they are actually being paid to post there and not because they want to be there, and one day you cancel your paid poster package and those people are suddenly just gone from the forum.

1. what does that do to the regular members and the community now that those posters are just no longer there and members are asking - hey where's so and so, I miss his posts
2. what happens if the regular members find out that the people whose posts they have been enjoying are actually being paid to post there and they're not

^ I've seen this happen before on more than one forum and it isn't pretty.

The most recent one happened this past week.  There is a forum that I am a moderator on (not owner) that ran on PostLoop for over a year and TheForumWheel for a few months.  The owner spent thousands of dollars on paid content and finally got sick of shoveling money at it.  As soon as the site was delisted from PostLoop and TheForumWheel, almost everyone disappeared.  Who was left was the owner, me, a PostLoop member who stayed because she liked the forum, and one regular poster.*  The latter started asking a lot of pointed questions on what happened.  I hope he sticks around, but I doubt it.

So, Perplexed makes a very good point.

* For a while there were several other regular posters, but they one by one disappeared over the last few months.  I'm not entirely sure why they went away.  I could make some educated guesses, but they'd still be guesses.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on November 21, 2016, 03:14:20 PM
I was always afraid of using PostLoop or other similar services for the reasons above. I prefer giving incentives to post via contests, although money shortages have made it a challenge lately.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: bendigital on December 23, 2016, 06:26:38 PM
Hi, I'm from Indonesia.

Being an active members on several forums in my country, I've seen some of them dying and disappear. Based on my observations, here are what makes a forum dies:

1. Social media. More and more people spend time showing off their life on social media than learn something useful on forums.
2. Spammers
3. Nobody maintains it

And I believe to make a successful forum you'll need to build a niche forum (hobby forum, automotive forum, programmer forum, technology forum, etc), a niche with active communities that have interest on that subject.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on January 20, 2017, 09:30:01 PM
About 3, even if a forum is maintained regularly, if it's mismanaged by admins or moderators then it can make people leave.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Rust on March 02, 2017, 10:50:22 PM
I was always afraid of using PostLoop or other similar services for the reasons above.

You are right to be wary of those kinds of services.  I'd add that beyond the reason given above, they just don't work.  The heart and soul of any forum is the content and the personalities who created said.  Low grade, even idiotic, drivel posted by people with little or no knowledge of the niche and who don't give a damn about the community, is not an incentive for people to sign up.  On the contrary, it is a good reason to hit the back button on their browser and never come back.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: DJ Omnimaga on March 06, 2017, 09:36:08 PM
Yeah you're better off using forum directories or some sort of link exchange in such case. Advertising via Project Wonderful or something like that can probably work as well, but the userbase gains will be minimal. Even if minimal, though, It's still much better to gain 1-2 users that will care about your forum by using those methods than getting 30 postloop users or whatever is the amount to post, then suddenly disappear once you're broke.

Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: florence000 on April 26, 2017, 07:54:20 AM
I've read all pages!
Thank you for your suggestions. some of them were completely new. I have in my mind one question...
Most of the forums have the space for general discussion. Some post thread games, like the alphabetic game or something similar to that. What is your opinion about it? Do forums need such spaces?
What I realise, in some occasions such spaces create a fun but in some, it seems like that such spaces distract. What is your opinion?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Rust on July 20, 2017, 02:43:14 PM
better to gain 1-2 users that will care about your forum by using those methods than getting 30 postloop users or whatever is the amount to post, then suddenly disappear once you're broke.

Very true.  And I'd add that once normal users find out there are paid posters on board, it is rarely pretty.  One example I saw recently was a site (MySurvivalForum.com) that made the mistake of using PL.  Here's a comment (https://mysurvivalforum.com/threads/how-did-you-guys-find-this-website.9/page-2#post-22482) from a less than happy regular member:

(https://www.simplemachines.org/community/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FSq97Nmc.png&hash=90dfff7cda13e07eb1d3b605d0915d4e)

This is not the first time I've seen a public meltdown like this.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: salenaadam on December 22, 2017, 05:06:34 AM
5 steps to build a successful forum:
1. Think minimalist when building categories and forums.
2. As the owner you must keep contributing.
3. Create some fake personalities.
4. Publish content.
5. Recruit your mates and spread the word.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Shambles on December 22, 2017, 05:15:55 AM
Quote from: salenaadam
5 steps to build a successful forum:
1. Think minimalist when building categories and forums.
2. As the owner you must keep contributing.
3. Create some fake personalities.
4. Publish content.
5. Recruit your mates and spread the word.

6. Install good antispam controls.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Steve on December 22, 2017, 09:12:57 AM
What's with number 3?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Aleksi "Lex" Kilpinen on December 22, 2017, 10:35:26 AM
3 steps to build a successful forum:
1. Think minimalist when building categories and forums, but be prepared to create more.
2. As the owner you must keep contributing. Publish relevant content.
3. Recruit your mates and spread the word, but don't expect miracles over night.
Fixed it. That's all there really is IMO that is required for a succesfull start. I've seen it many times. :)
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: bluevoodu on March 20, 2018, 12:26:38 AM
I checked this out because I'm starting a new forum.  Been out of the game for awhile... and it's harder this time around to gain new users.

The problem I had with my 1st board, If I had to go back to school or do a task for a few months... activity would die off.  I found #2 to be crucial.  I've seen other boards where it worked without the owner being active all the time... but I never had that fortune.  I sold my old site off and didn't do another forum for 5-6 years... just started end of January.   Found out I was a little rusty... back in the saddle again though.

Spam bots were a problem back then... the old board was infiltrated HARD ... it was near impossible to keep up with the deletes.   Someone above mentioned this, but it is a buzz kill to have spam bots on board.   SMF needs new features to help combat Spam bots.   The older capcha doesn't work - and sometimes keeps members out.  I've lost a couple due to capcha.   On the new board... 1/3rd of the small number of registrants were spam bots - version 2.1.5.

Anyway, it's definitely difficult these days. 
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Virginiaz on March 20, 2018, 02:08:47 AM
Spam bots were a problem back then... the old board was infiltrated HARD ... it was near impossible to keep up with the deletes.   Someone above mentioned this, but it is a buzz kill to have spam bots on board.   SMF needs new features to help combat Spam bots.   The older capcha doesn't work - and sometimes keeps members out.  I've lost a couple due to capcha.   On the new board... 1/3rd of the small number of registrants were spam bots - version 2.1.5.

A high activity forum I moderate uses the Stop Forum Spam registration mod, as well as captcha and a unique question (though that hasn't changed in a while). It's been very successful, and I don't think there has been a successful spam post in months. It's not for a lack of trying either - the user approval list grows regularly but is blocked by SFP. It's very useful to have, imo.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: GigaWatt on March 20, 2018, 05:36:29 AM
https://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=531660.msg3776163#msg3776163

I tried this advice and... so far, it seems to do a good job ;). I dropped my registration questions from 3 to 1 just by applying the advice above. No anti spam mods, nothing ;).
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: Rust on March 28, 2018, 10:19:42 PM
3. Create some fake personalities.

Do this and get caught, or at least strongly suspected, and your credibility is gone.

6. Install good antispam controls.

^ Indeed, immediately.
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: bluevoodu on March 28, 2018, 11:03:17 PM
I'm going to give variants of the questions  a try from the link you posted,  Gigawatt.   Thank you for sharing, I'll post results.

@virginiaz - depending on results, I will work on your suggestions after trying the questions. 
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: GigaWatt on March 29, 2018, 09:02:51 AM
The question template does wonders ;). I even dropped the cpatcha, haven't had a bot register for 2 weeks now ;) :).
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: bluevoodu on April 16, 2018, 04:51:47 PM
So far the questions worked!  I'm thinking of dropping captcha as well. Is that still working for you?
Title: Re: How to build a successful forum
Post by: GigaWatt on April 16, 2018, 07:30:23 PM
Yep :). Not one bot registered since I've implemented it ;). I have bout 20 different questions, no captcha. I have about 3 or 4 users active at all time and around 30 to 40 guests... I haven't checked but I'd bet at least half of them are bots... some just crawling, some trying to register.

Although, I have to add that the forum is not in English and that the questions are in Cyrillic, so... I guess that adds a little more extra security. But, hey, you can always just add Cyrillic or characters in some other language and do the questions with those characters included randomly in the strings, along with other Lain characters and ask users to write combinations of them in the answer filed (the first five, the last two and the first three, etc.), so even if the users don't actually know what the characters are, they do understand that they have to enter them in that particular order, which can be done with a simple copy/paste from the question :). This also might limit your user base, but... hey, I'm not making money off of mine, I'm doing it because I like it (and I love what the forum is about), so I'm actually not too keen on gaining users that can't get that the simplest way to enter characters which your current keyboard settings doesn't support, is through copy/paste ::). I actually did a user purge about a month ago... out of almost 4000 users, about 2500 haven't posted anything and haven't logged in for the past 5 years.

If the forum is in English, I'd drop the captcha for a day or two, see what happens, if a few bots register, I'd either reinstate the captcha or add another question, see if that fixes it.