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.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome article buddy....It was very much usefult to start forum section in
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