Guide to a Successful Forum

The Kingpin

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Joined
May 9, 2005
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The Kingpin submitted a new Article:

Guide to a Successful Forum

Guide to a Successful Forum


Anyone who has started a forum will know that it is long and very hard process. If you are setting up for the first time you will find that it is not as easy as you might have first thought. Hopefully this article will help the inexperienced understand what to expect. My aim is to outline all of the important features, in one article, that will contribute to aiding you run a successful and healthy forum.

Planning

Charging straight into a project like this is not a good idea, planning and preparation is key. I remember a quote from my high school head teacher:

“Fail to prepare, then prepare to fail”​

Keep this in mind throughout reading this guide and the period leading to the birth of your community.

Passion and Knowledge

Having an interest in a subject is not enough for someone to start a forum! I can’t emphasize that enough. To be able to create a successful subject it is really important that you have a passion for the subject, otherwise failure is the only path. Passion is so important because if you don’t life and breathe the subject you will find that your interest in your forum is going to deteriorate as time goes on. This would simply means instant death for your newly born community.

Knowing a bit about a subject is not enough either. The success of a forum lies on your, the admins, shoulders and therefore you need to be confident that you know the subject inside out, otherwise you’re wasting your time. You have to be the sort of person that knows all the little useless facts on the subject, as these useless facts are not useless when creating a forum. Having a forum admin that has a vague knowledge of the forum subject is like having a dictionary that is vague on its definitions, it just doesn’t work!

In my opinion passion and knowledge are the constructional foundations of building a forum.

Looking for a Host

This section of the article is not really exclusive to forums but it will apply to all websites in general.

It goes without saying that you need a good host when creating a forum. I can’t stress enough the importance of actually paying for a host. There are many good...

Read more about this article here...
 
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Kathy

Tazmanian Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
9,030
Some great pointers,Kingpin. Thanks for writing this article. :D
 

NicoMoon

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
118
Very nice, Kingpin! Thanks!

I'm not in agreement about the paid posting services, however. I think they cause more problems than they solve. I think the money is better spent on advertising or promoting a forum. How hard can it be to nab a handful of posters who actually are interested in your topic, and who better yet, can become loyal and regular posters?

I'm not sure that I see the advantage of having a group of people run through, drop posts and open threads and then disappear completely. Assuming that it ever happens in the first place, which by my experience, isn't always the case.

A piece of advice that I would offer anyone who is planning on using a paid posting service is to ask up front what the time frame is for delivery. If it's going to work at all, the posts have to come within a very short timeframe, not piecemeal here and there over an extended period of time, IMO.
 

joftech

Neophyte
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
8
This post is great. But it's like some admins failed to put some of your points into consideration when starting and running their forum.
 

MarkG

Participant
Joined
Jul 31, 2005
Messages
82
Hehehe, quite a nice read. Had quite a good laugh when reading the 'converse with yourself' bit. Though it may sound ridiculous to some, I am sure it works :)

Note: Make sure to use different styles in replies when conversing with yourself ;)
 

Emultion_Rawks

Participant
Joined
Jul 26, 2005
Messages
64
Very interesting Article! I'm revamping my methods and my forums because of it! :D Seriously!

Thanks very much!
 

thorax999

SnapShot Hockey Admin
Joined
Mar 13, 2006
Messages
366
Very good read as it points out some of the mistakes I have made with my own forum and I agree with all of it. My website and forums always seam to get better with evey visit to TAZ. Thank You for your article.
 

ccs

Aspirant
Joined
Mar 25, 2006
Messages
40
agreed with the friends part.. thanks for the good read;)
 

GardenHelper

Making Do
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
175
NicoMoon said:
Very nice, Kingpin! Thanks!

I'm not in agreement about the paid posting services, however. I think they cause more problems than they solve. I think the money is better spent on advertising or promoting a forum. How hard can it be to nab a handful of posters who actually are interested in your topic, and who better yet, can become loyal and regular posters?

I'm not sure that I see the advantage of having a group of people run through, drop posts and open threads and then disappear completely. Assuming that it ever happens in the first place, which by my experience, isn't always the case.

A piece of advice that I would offer anyone who is planning on using a paid posting service is to ask up front what the time frame is for delivery. If it's going to work at all, the posts have to come within a very short timeframe, not piecemeal here and there over an extended period of time, IMO.

Building a sense of community involves more than having a specified number of posts over a certain amount of time delivered to your forums although people coming to a dead or empty forum don't often stick around so the usefulness of a paid posting firm is obvious here.

I run one of these firms as well as a site to offer tools to manage the business model and provide for a marketplace of services since there seems to be no location to really compare the services.

I think many of the posting services fail to deliver on the promise of paid posting because they lack the depth of writers needed to really be capable of getting people who are interested in the subject matter. My service currently has nearly 100 writers available which helps us to assign the best suited talent to every subject (forum) we post in.

If you combine other methods of getting a memberbase started with paid posting then it is possible to wean yourself off paid posting and develop a committed and interested group of people.
 

breakloose

Participant
Joined
Apr 13, 2006
Messages
56
Nice article. I've struggled with my forum for a couple of years now.

They seemed like a good idea to compliment my site's other areas but I'm no expert of the subject I chose and now I question whether I should be even trying! The knowledge part of your section 'passion and knowledge' really hit home.
 

Teknomancer

Tekno Sorcerer
Joined
Dec 24, 2005
Messages
260
You will be happy to hear that there are many ways that this task can be tackled. The first is to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in making post after post yourself. What you need to do is create a huge number of different usernames for yourself. What you then do is something that you can only do on the internet without getting locked up, talk to yourself day after day. You make about 10 new topics everyday using your different usernames and then discuss them with yourself. This is why you need to have great passion for your subject, if you don’t you will get fed up writing about the same thing over and over and you will abandon the project. Also it is the reason you need a great knowledge, otherwise you are going to simply run out of material.

Err... is it really a good practice to make fake accounts and post ??
 

snoopy_inc

#myadsl.co.za Admin
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Messages
134
Very informative.

Thanks for the tips.

I have a question thou.... where can i find the mod guide that you spoke off.
im interested in implementing that so they have guides when they get stuck and im not around.

thanks again
 

ArmyMissionary

ArmyMissionary
Joined
Feb 16, 2006
Messages
789
snoopy_inc said:
Very informative.

Thanks for the tips.

I have a question thou.... where can i find the mod guide that you spoke off.
im interested in implementing that so they have guides when they get stuck and im not around.

thanks again
One question: Are you on free forum providers or paid software?
The main reason is that: If you have a free forum provider they already offer guides to help out users, like registering(why it's important), posting, making threads the sort.
 
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