Finding interested members?

Started by Senkusha, October 14, 2022, 11:11:43 AM

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Senkusha

Hi, so I've had my forum up and running for a few months now, and I'm finding it extremely difficult to find people interested in my discussion forum.  I've tried several Facebook groups, adding a unique theme (though, I'm not entirely sure I like it) to the site, placing a link in all the online places I visit, I've even tried the small number of real-life friends I have.  It seems that no body is interested in something I thought would at least have SOME interest.  I think my forum content is diverse enough for people to participate, but it seems all I get is spammers/bots to my site.  I've even tried a Facebook integration mod (haven't been able to get anything else to work like Gmail or Twitter) for people to register/login with, but I've had like no luck.

Does anybody have any tips that I've missed?  Or is my idea/site just too boring to engage with?

Thank you!
--Kokoro (f.k.a. Senkusha)
The Anime Brigade
Anime-style Role Playing Games and Discussion.
(SMF v. 2.1.3, PHP v. 8.0)

Steve

Are you talking about the site in your signature?
Autocorrect is my worst enema.

Diego Andrés

Usually promoting it in "bigger" niche communities would work.
Groups, subreddits, etc?
Assuming their rules allow it, or you find a way "around" it so it doesn't look like spam.

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TwitchisMental

#3
Quote from: Senkusha on October 14, 2022, 11:11:43 AMHi, so I've had my forum up and running for a few months now, and I'm finding it extremely difficult to find people interested in my discussion forum.  I've tried several Facebook groups, adding a unique theme (though, I'm not entirely sure I like it) to the site, placing a link in all the online places I visit, I've even tried the small number of real-life friends I have.  It seems that no body is interested in something I thought would at least have SOME interest.  I think my forum content is diverse enough for people to participate, but it seems all I get is spammers/bots to my site.  I've even tried a Facebook integration mod (haven't been able to get anything else to work like Gmail or Twitter) for people to register/login with, but I've had like no luck.

Does anybody have any tips that I've missed?  Or is my idea/site just too boring to engage with?

Thank you!
Please note that this is just honest feedback.

First things first, forums in general are not nearly as popular as they once were. So there are less people in general looking to join forums. The ones who are still interested in forums are more likely to join an already active forum community. I do not consider forums to be "dead", but they are less common nowadays.

A-lot of forums that I have been part of over the years have sadly faded away due to this unfortunately.

Social Networks and Reddit are the more common areas for talking about various subjects in todays world.

Second, building a community takes A-LOT of time, patience, and hard work. You have to promote, stay active, and find like minded people. It will not magically pop off over night with members. If that is what you are expecting, you will be disappointed.

Third, you need to be unique in some way. As stated above, there are already tons of other active forums for just about any subject. So you need to give people a reason to join your forum/community.  This can be done via special features, a special look,  etc etc

There are sites dedicated to promoting your own website/forum. There are also other "Admin Communities" that provide alot of information about running a successful forum.
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Senkusha

--Kokoro (f.k.a. Senkusha)
The Anime Brigade
Anime-style Role Playing Games and Discussion.
(SMF v. 2.1.3, PHP v. 8.0)

DJ Omnimaga

Nowadays my old SMF forums, as well as every single other forums about the same main topic as one of mine all act as gateways to their respective Discord servers. One of the Discord server even has a forum section now, although it rarely gets used. A few of those Discord servers are bridged/linked to IRC channels on EFnet network as well. If you already have a Discord server then it might help to use the Discord web hook mod so that whenever someone registers, create a topic or reply on the forums it notifies the server in a specific room.

8vanima88

You need a point of difference. Why would people join your forum, rather than going to anime communities in reddit or other platforms like it where they can not only be apart of this niche, but hundreds of others? When you find something to set yourself from the rest, your potential to start getting people interested in joining to take advantage of that point of difference will increase. Marketing and new fresh content for that point of difference will help continuing to grow and retain the member base. 

My suggestion TLDR:
- Find a point of difference
- Create a plan on how you can make it last
- Market!

If it fails, trial and error until you get there. I will give my opinion though, I think previous posters were right in that not many people join forums anymore unless there is a compelling reason to, and your niche is extremely well-covered on mainstream platforms. Don't let that kill your drive though, have fun with the experience of running a forum, whichever way it goes!

morningstar19

Here are a few ways to find interested members for a forum:

1. Leverage online communities related to your forum's topic. For example, if your forum is about photography, find photography groups on social media and invite members to join your forum.

2. Utilize search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to make your forum more visible on search engines like Google. This will make it easier for interested individuals to find your forum when searching for related topics.

3. Advertise your forum through online ads or through sponsored posts on social media platforms.

4. Reach out to influencers and other experts in your forum's topic and ask them to share your forum with their followers.

5. Participate in similar forums and communities and share information about your forum with the users.

6. Use email marketing to inform and invite your existing customers or clients to join the forum.

7. Organize a contest or give away prizes to attract new members to join the forum.


Steve

Quote from: morningstar19 on January 18, 2023, 12:53:26 AMinvite members to join your forum
Many admins hate that so get their permission first.
Autocorrect is my worst enema.

Senkusha

Honestly, I'm considering just hanging it up when my hosting/SSL fees are due.  $400-ish a year for a dead community is a lot to part with.  I've given this two years at this point with nothing to really show for.  My site doesn't even pop up on Google, and what other forums are out there, memberships are waning.  I haven't made up my mind yet, but I am giving it serious thought.
--Kokoro (f.k.a. Senkusha)
The Anime Brigade
Anime-style Role Playing Games and Discussion.
(SMF v. 2.1.3, PHP v. 8.0)

Steve

Autocorrect is my worst enema.

[chrisB]

Quote from: Senkusha on January 18, 2023, 05:06:15 PMHonestly, I'm considering just hanging it up when my hosting/SSL fees are due.  $400-ish a year for a dead community is a lot to part with.  I've given this two years at this point with nothing to really show for.  My site doesn't even pop up on Google, and what other forums are out there, memberships are waning.  I haven't made up my mind yet, but I am giving it serious thought.
Try to look into ways of optimising your SEO.

SMFHacks Pretty URL Pro mod is quite useful. There's things you can do for free, but don't stress on Google alone. Maybe seek like cal communities and gatherings surrounding your site's subject.

Social media has always been the main traffic source for me.
I'm stuck in a time warp from the early 00's.

TwitchisMental

Quote from: Senkusha on January 18, 2023, 05:06:15 PMHonestly, I'm considering just hanging it up when my hosting/SSL fees are due.  $400-ish a year for a dead community is a lot to part with.  I've given this two years at this point with nothing to really show for.  My site doesn't even pop up on Google, and what other forums are out there, memberships are waning.  I haven't made up my mind yet, but I am giving it serious thought.
I would like to echo what Steve has said. There are certainly much cheaper hosting options out there.

With that said though, I can also understand if you would like to stop aswell. Forums are not nearly as popular as they once were. If there are already other forums popular of the same category that makes it even harder to get off the ground.

Do what is best for you at the end of the day :).

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Senkusha

After giving this some thought, I think I'll hang in there.  I just added a discord server (although, I don't really care for it -- it's not as "historical" as I'd like), but I haven't really found any other place where I can discuss both anime and have an anime themed role play in one place.

Thank you for you input.
--Kokoro (f.k.a. Senkusha)
The Anime Brigade
Anime-style Role Playing Games and Discussion.
(SMF v. 2.1.3, PHP v. 8.0)

Senkusha

Quote from: Steve on January 18, 2023, 07:43:16 PM
Quote from: Senkusha on January 18, 2023, 05:06:15 PM$400-ish a year
WHAT??? There are far less expensive options.
SSL Certificate:  $199.99 / yr
Domain Hosting:  $11.99 / mo ($143.88)
Domain:  $19.99 / yr
Total:  $363.86 / yr

And I probably forgot something in there.
--Kokoro (f.k.a. Senkusha)
The Anime Brigade
Anime-style Role Playing Games and Discussion.
(SMF v. 2.1.3, PHP v. 8.0)

vbgamer45

SSL can be free with lets encrypt or with cloudflare. You really don't need to pay for SSL I only pay for wildcard ssl.
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