Build Your Site: Forums With a Purpose


Tazmanian Veteran
Jan 1, 2004
Kathy submitted a new Article:

Build Your Site: Forums With a Purpose

Forums with a Purpose

In the past few months as I have visited forum software communities I have seen threads posted by visitors asking these questions: I bought my forum software. What should my community be about? What theme should I pick? What ideas are popular?

When I see questions like this I don't understand what these people are thinking. Do they imagine that building a site on a popular topic will be an automatic success? Do they believe that if they build it, they will come? Do they think that it is the software that brings in new members and grows the community?

Although shopping for the correct software for your forums is a major consideration (and there are many good ones to choose), the software is the equipment used to create a community. It is not the community.

A community begins with a purpose.

Planning without a reason to populate your community will result in a potential ghost town. After the initial applause quiets down from your family and friends, the forum could go weeks without a new post.

Although this is simple and basic, it is epidemic in proportion. Create your forum around a topic that begs to be discussed. Be unique. Do you know how many webmaster forums there are? Do you know how many gaming sites there are?

Find a need and fill it.

Back when I launched my website in 1998, I didn't know about forums. My website was a content driven site which contained hard to find information on the internet. I set up the site and left it in place for months. When I discovered the guests were using the guestbook to ask/answer questions the lightbulb went off. I realized that with the 100 unique visitors per day in 1999, I might be positioned for a message board population. I installed a message board system as it was obviously a need of my website and has proven to be a successful decision on my part.

Create it based on your own needs.

One example is The Admin Zone Visiting the forum software sites for software needs is one thing but finding help for managing my large community is another. Realizing that management issues for community, staff, revenue choices were concerns I wanted to discuss with other community administrators, a plan for an online community for forums administrators was hatched. It was a need based on someplace i wanted to visit myself.

Research your idea

Take the Google search challenge and...

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Beanie and Shades
Feb 18, 2004
This is a very good article.
I host free forums (among other things); I would say rouglhly 90% of these boards are empty. Incidently, 90% of them are focused on the same old topics.


Jul 24, 2007
Now I have made everything ready regarding the content that I put in my forum and I am also having writers who can supply useful articles as threads. But the main question is I am not being able to find someone who can detail me on the way I can work with that forum software and make it into a forum of my liking. So I would also request some help in this regard.


Freezing your screens
Jan 23, 2006
It's a good article. Even somethings to think about for a webmaster who has ran a site for over a year :)

Aunt Clara

Sep 3, 2006
Wow! It's all I would have said if you had asked me. Only more so and with better grammar. :) Absolutely fantastic article. It should be a sticky.

I admit that I maniacally check the forums posted in the community forum. I always ask myself how many more gaming forums can the internet take. But I am not into gaming, so I don't know the answer.
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