Creating a forum is no longer a ‘fun only’ activity. Right now, as millions of communities already exist, you need to put effort and work into a new forum, to really hit success. By trying to use shortcuts in your work or not invest in the right things, you’ll only hinder your growth and success. Here are the 5 things you really need to work on, so that your community gets a nice head start in the ‘marathon’ you’re about to embark on.
1. a good domain name, brand and hosting
If you’re not willing to invest in a domain name and are using free hosted forums, you’re less likely to make anything out of your forums. You need a BRAND, and will not achieve this by having a link like myfancyforum.somelousyfreehost.com.
Choose your domain name CAREFULLY, take SEO into account, study keywords etc. Then get a small cpanel hosting plan (the smallest, you can upgrade at any time) and get working.
2. a unique beautiful design
I just launched our new admin forum 2 months ago. Worked on a custom theme design, trying to make it ‘stand out’. Well, I did it, since we had new people from the first days who were commenting something like ‘the design is so nice, I had to join’.
Having a default skin or something thrown there shows you don’t care. And, if you don’t care, why should others bother? By getting a nice design into place (even paying a web designer for this is a good idea, if you’re not good with design), you show commitment to the site. The forum will look unique and professional and will entice people to join.
We all love a nice site, so will your visitors.
3. good quality content
Don’t just post junk to increase your post count. Write original articles, make your content USEFUL. If I visit your site and see just junk, I won’t come back. If there’s some good stuff to be read, you can be sure I’ll get back for more.
Start new threads and organize your categories so that they’re logical and easy to use. Make sure you come up with new threads on a daily basis and keep your users entertained.
4. good activity and a sense of involvement
We all appreciate people who put in a lot of work in their sites. A dedicated admin, who’s always there, coming with new features, excellent content etc. is someone we’d always like to have around. We respect such people and want to be a part of their communities.
Be that admin. Become a leader, be a well respected specialist in your chosen niche, be present in your community and show everyone how much you care. Your energy will be infectious and people will want to join your forums.
Maybe one of the most important aspects. Don’t get on your high horse after few months and think you’ll never fail. A HUGE forum can become a ghost town, the fact you have a lot of posts and members doesn’t mean you won’t be left alone if you stop caring about your forums.
Never let your guard down, never stop promoting, never stop being active. Consistency is what makes great forums and lack of it is what breaks even successful communities.
Take care of these 5 ‘details’ and you’ll ensure your success