I see a lot more people starting message forums nowadays than they did back when I first started back in the day. The reason is because it is now easier than ever to get hosting, buy a domain, setup and forum and launch. Heck, I remember when a .com domain name cost as much as a year of webhosting costs these days – needless to say, it wasn’t easy starting a message forum back then like it is today.

However, I am seeing a trend of one huge mistake being made by a lot of new forum owners…the assumption that a forum is a short-term thing! I see a lot of forum owners create a forum, get it somewhat active, disappear and then come back only to be depressed because the forum has lost all of its activity and has died quicker than it took to set it up.

Your Forum Demands You!
Your message forum will never be short-term! It will demand you from the start all the way until the end, if you want there to be an end. You will need to always remain active on your message forum in order for it to be truly successful. Consider yourself the blood vessel to the heart of your community because without you, the heart (your members) will not get enough blood and it will die.

Make Time For Your Community!
If you plan on starting a message forum with no time to spare, let me stop you now before you realize how much of a mistake it would have been. Your community demands that you give it plenty of time to grow. You will also have to visit frequently and by frequently, I mean many times a day. You will need to post often and promote it away from the forum as well. If you want to make time for something, make time for other things around your time for your forum.

No Sitting Back And Watching Allowed!
I saw a member once say on my admin forum that they are waiting for that moment when they can sit back and watch the forum become a big board. I laughed at them! I wasn’t trying to be mean or hateful about it – it just made me giggle a little bit. The reason I laugh at that is because it’s not true and very far from the truth. There are vacations or breaks when it comes to running a successful message forum. Your attention will always be needed and you cannot ever just sit back and watch unless you like watching nothing, if that is your thing!

Having Huge Goals Isn’t Appropriate!
Let’s say you start a forum and it has a total of 200 posts in a week! You decide to set a goal of the forum getting 200,000 posts in a year. If you do the math, you will see how silly that looks! If you get 200 posts a week on average and there are 52 weeks in a year, at that rate, you will gain a bit over 10,000 posts in a year. That is way less than 200,000, right? My point here is that huge goals will be way too overwhelming for you as a forum owner. When you don’t meet these goals in a certain amount of time, it might kill your interest in running the forum. Then when you close, you will probably be upset over all the time you wasted on the forum. Instead of having huge goals, have smaller goals that lead up to a larger objective. Have a goal to increase the 200 posts a week to 500 posts a week or even 1,000 posts a week. Smaller goals will take less time to achieve and it will allow you to keep enjoying your message forum!

Thank you for reading my little article about how message forums are not short-term. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it helps you with your own online community. Please share this article with other forum owners to help show support for me writing it. I would also love to see your comments and further ideas!