"Forum" vs "Forums"

sactown

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Hi everyone, I'm starting a new automotive related forum and wanted to hear opinions on the use of either forum or forums in the name. For example (not the actual names) BMWForum.com or BMWForums.com. I have both names for my project and was curious to hear opinions about which domain you would prefer and why.

Also, is there any preference in this regards as it might relate internationally. I'm in the US and the site will be in English but I expect to have an international audience.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 

sixlxvi

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I've seen and answered this question a few times since 2004 and my answer remains the same.

In my opinion, it should always be forum. The website itself is a forum. Within the forum, there is a list of forums.

Also, I prefer to drop the plural on most directories. One, it shortens the URL a tad, and two, I think it looks cleaner. Because if everything has the S, nothing really needs the S anymore. As a silly example, if everyone is naked, is anyone really naked anymore, lol?

/forum/category-name
/members -- this makes sense with the S, but for a specific member, /member/sixlxvi.1 makes sense
/thread/thread-title.1
/articles -- this makes sense with the S, but for a specific article, /article/article-title makes sense

Edit: One other small pet peeve. If you're gonna have forum in the domain, don't use /forum as a directory. BMWforum.com/forum is redundant.

etc.
 

sactown

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Thanks for the informative replies, so far Forum is the leader.
 

sactown

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I agree with the comments preferring "forum".

But frankly, I think the term is outdated - especially in a URL. I don't like having the word "forum" in my URLs any longer.
So for example, you would prefer something like BMWOwners.com vs BMWForum.com?
 

haqzore

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So for example, you would prefer something like BMWOwners.com vs BMWForum.com?
100%

Having "forum" in the URL puts unconscious confines around what people reasonably expect from your site.

With the BMW example - say you want to add regional clubs, events calendars, group ride & meet up planning, a member marketplace, virtual store selling stickers or repair manuals, etc etc etc.

I'm not going to ASSUME any of that from a "BMWForum". But from "BMWOwners"? Could be anything, so I need to check it out!
 

zappaDPJ

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But frankly, I think the term is outdated - especially in a URL. I don't like having the word "forum" in my URLs any longer.

In retrospect that's the best answer to the original question. I've run many forums but I don't ever recall including 'forum' in the URL. I also agree that doing so limits expectations.
 

sactown

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In retrospect that's the best answer to the original question. I've run many forums but I don't ever recall including 'forum' in the URL. I also agree that doing so limits expectations.

I wonder if our perspective on this is biased as admin/software types. Does the general public feel limited in their expectations by the word forum associated with a website?
 

haqzore

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I wonder if our perspective on this is biased as admin/software types. Does the general public feel limited in their expectations by the word forum associated with a website?
I think - if anything - the bias would be toward us Admins WANTING to use "forum".
We are used to "forum". It was our standard for many years.

And when we lean away from "forum", its due to experience and seeing things evolve from the inside out.

The general public, today, is no longer used to it.
 

haqzore

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Wouldn't that then suggest the public isn't limited in their expectations?
I don't think so.

When I say "not used" to it, I don't mean they have no idea. It's just not an intuitive term any longer, even when people think of pure discussions.
 

sactown

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I don't think so.

When I say "not used" to it, I don't mean they have no idea. It's just not an intuitive term any longer, even when people think of pure discussions.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, thanks. Even if I stick with using forum it gives me a sense of the possible headwinds.
 

Joeychgo

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Feb 28, 2004
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6,957
IMO --- Think about what someone is likely to search for...

BMW Forum or BMW Forums ? Well, the first is included in the second, so I would lean toward forums.

As you can see - it does make a difference in rankings


1596572796692.png
 

zappaDPJ

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I wonder if our perspective on this is biased as admin/software types. Does the general public feel limited in their expectations by the word forum associated with a website?

Ironically what prompted me to post apart from the comments by haqzore were thoughts about how I search the Internet for information and resources. While search results will still lead me to forums it's never because I've used 'forum' as part of a search term. That raises a question in my mind on how much value the word has as part of a search term. Would I get better results if I included it? I can't answer that because I never use it and I suspect neither does the average user. I can say categorically no one else in this household does but that's obviously too small a sample to be of any real value.

One other thought which has already been touched on; I would question its value further if your forum listing was tabbed rather than your landing page. If you are thinking about providing further tabbed resources such as articles or classifieds it makes more sense in my mind not to have any of the tabbed content as part of the URL.

There's probably no right or wrong answer to this, just shades of grey because your domain name might ultimately be determined by what's actually available.
 
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