I recently wrote a simple explanation of what to expect out of the forum world to all new people when they visit the myBB Community forums. I am going to expand on what I wrote and explain it a bit more.
As a new forum admin you think it is all going to be easy. You see huge forums like IGN and DigitalPoint ect and think that your forum will go to that level with in a month. As a new admin you will most likely try and search Google on ‘how to make a free forum’ or something like that, which will most likely lead you to Zetaboards or Forumotion. This is not the best way to go for a successful forum but can be the best way for someone starting out. However no matter whether you go the self hosted way or the free hosted way, what to expect as a forum admin will be the same.
There will be a lot of forums in the same niche as yours that will be ran as a business and therefore will have a lot of money thrown towards it and will be much bigger than yours. This means you will have to work extra hard in your forum to make it stand out in the niche. My tip for making your forum stand out in the niche that you are in is to target something that has not been done before, a new idea that has not been done much that you can target and use as your main selling point.
Lack of time.
You have to prepare to say goodbye to your free time. Forum administration takes a lot of time and if you are serious about making your forum the number one community to go to then you will have to put in a lot of time to making the project succeed. Make sure that if you are going to go into the path of forum administration that you have the time to dedicate and that you do not have any exams, school or work that could get in the way. If you encounter a time in your life where you are ill or have a weeks holiday then you should resort to paying someone to keep the place alive and keep discussions coming.
Willing to invest
This is not always key but you will need to throw some money at your forums if you want it to do well. You can use a sub domain and some free hosting but that will not get you far. If you want to be the next big forum for the niche you will have to be willing to invest in a domain, hosting and even some SEO to help advertise the forums to the world. Even a little bit of money can help but remember, the majority of the largest in the niche are ran as businesses so they will have a lot of money put into them to stay number one.
Disagreements, threats and arguments
As a forum admin and been on the internet with more people than you can count, you are bound to come to a disagreement or have an argument with someone. As an admin myself I have encountered many threats online and so has many others. You have to be able to cope with getting these comments but remember everyone is entitled to an opinion but at the same time you are the owner. You need to stand up and show your authority and earn the respect of those members.
Forum attacks and spam
Your forum may also get to a point where you encounter spam on the forums or an attack or hack attempt. This is pretty common in the forum world these days. Spam prevention and ways to secure your forum will be available by just using the Google search. Make sure you spend time before opening to secure your forum and stop these things happening.
Aside from all of these I suggest that any new forum admin out there reads the ‘Forum Start’ book which was created by dojo, the owner of the blog. You can read that here. My tips to all new forum admins is to have patience, it will most likely not work out first time round but just keep up with what you are doing and with the right dedication you will get somewhere.