Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tips for Starting a Forum

I am currently trying out the new forum which I have created -,I thought of publishing a post which includes what all I did from scratch to get the forum running.My forum uses  SMF-Simple Machines as the forum software which is free,and the version I am using is 1.10.Recently,version 2 was released and the new features in version 2 includes WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get.

1.Choosing the forum software:
Forums needs a software like SMF/MyBB/vBulletin etc to work.If you are thinking of starting a new forum you must first know about the features each forum software possess and the price-whether its a shareware or a free software.Wikipedia has an excellent list of all comparisons between all the popular forum softwares,both free and paid- Comparisons between all popular forum softwares(PHP).

Visiting the above link will give you a rough idea of which forum software to use.

2.Choosing the forum theme:
After you have chosen which forum software to use,the next thing to do is choosing the right forum theme.This is really important, as within a few seconds of visiting the forum a guest reader would have made the decision about the quality of the forum,and whether he/she will register or not.While choosing the theme of your forum,also keep in mind the subject which the forum will be upon.Avoid themes which takes a lot of time to load,and those which are striking the eye.It is recommended to have a theme which has a pleasing look.

There are a number of free forum themes available which you can google it.Most of the forum softwares allows the user to select any theme they like(if the Administrator allows).Using this feature,you can preview all themes easily,and will help you to select your theme of choice.

3.Facts that you must know:
Before you start your forum,there are a few facts that you must be aware of.I am not telling these to discourage you from starting a forum,but to ask you be prepared of what you will face.
  1. Initially,it will be really hard to make people join your forum.One,the forum is new and doesn't have lots of threads/members.Two,they might already be a member of another popular forum.Three,even among the members who have joined,most will be idle with 0 posts.
  2. Most of the time,it will appear that you are talking to yourself.It will be the time when even a spam post might bring you some joy.
  3. It is not easy to monetize a forum.Forums just have the lowest click throughs.(If you don't believe,this was stated by one of the most popular forum owner)
  4. Until you make your forum popular,you will be spending more time and earning less money.Patience and hard work are really important.
  5. You must make at least enough money to cover the bandwidth charges.
4.How to Overcome the initial hurdles:

Even though I have stated that the above are all facts,it is not impossible to overcome them.Here I will suggest you some tips to overcome the above said hurdles.

  1. Organize a posting competition/referral competition,with some attractive prizes.Remember that attractiveness of the prize is more important than its price.
  2. Since,forums have low click throughs,try affiliate products.Test and find out which works for you.
  3. Whatever each member posts,read it and make a useful reply.
  4. Ask your friends to join the forum,and take part in discussions about what you normally speak with each other.
  5. Avoid sending too much emails during registration process,unless its necessary.
  6. Ask for suggestions from members,and if its good acknowledge and implement them.
Good luck! If you have any more tips to add,feel free to post them in the comments.

By the way,my forum is still in testing phase and will open next year.Do check the forum out,and send me suggestions you think of.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Make free calls from PC to Phone

I have heard many people ask if it is possible to make calls from PC to phone for free.In short,the answer is yes,it is possible.You don't even need to register in a site for that.

There is free directory service which offers 5 free minutes per call and you can call to anywhere around the world.After the 5 free minutes,the call be cut.You can use this service even multiple times per day.Although this free directory service is in US,the method I am telling you here will help you make free calls from anywhere around the world to anywhere around the world.

  • To utilize this free service you will need skype,which you can download for free here.
  • Add +18003733411 to your contacts.This is the toll free directory service.
  • Make a call to this number.Listen carefully to what it says.You will hear an ad(about the service etc) and will ask which one would you like.Tell "Free Calls".
  • Sometimes,you may hear an ad which would ask you to press "*" to activate a service.It is advised that you don't press anything,unless you know what you are activating.
  • After the ad,it will ask you to dial the number.
  • Now,dial the number along with the country code.
  • Enjoy the free 5 minute call!
This service is purely sponsored by the advertisements and you won't be charged anything.If the service is be busy,try again after a few minutes.If you have any doubts,feel free to ask in the comments.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Firefox celebrates its 5th birthday :)

Today,November 9th 2009, marked the 5th birthday of Firefox.It has been 5 years,since Firefox 1.0 was launched on Nov 9th,2004.It has been a huge success - from 1 million downloads in the first 4 days of release, to 330 million users till now.Firefox revolutionized the internet with its customizable,community created add-ons.At present it has 7,000 add-ons which makes our browsing a lot more easier.

To mark its 5th birthday,Mozilla communities are hosting parties all over the world in a special campaign called "Light the world with Firefox".To join the fun,all you have to do is,be creative,and post a photo/video of it in Flickr with tag 'Firefox5'.For more info,go to Spread Firefox.

There is also a design contest going on,to celebrate this special occasion.Create a celebratory poster design that is about Firefox,and its 5th birthday,and the winning design will be highlighted on Creative Collective Home page and Mozilla blog.

Good luck!