Is it better to have a standalone forum?

Solaris

Thinker...
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Jan 9, 2005
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Solaris submitted a new Article:

Is it better to have a standalone forum?

Is it better to have a standalone forum or with a site attached?

An online community has a significant power over hundreds, thousands or even more individuals. But we all know the already common SEO techniques that want you to promote your forum only for that when visitors come they will quickly register. However, I pose a question here: is it better to have a site as a homepage for your forum or leave the forum’s index page to do the work? I propose a short analysis over many aspects of this problem, but a significant area will be occupied by the mentality of the visitor.

Introduction
You may think that having a forum is just enough to make it successful in a short period of time with the help of inbound links, promotions on related forums and so on. Expensive techniques when thinking to the time required to do so. But many forum administrators neglect a basic condition to the success of the forum. Of course, you can achieve success without some serious SEO, but you will be better off with it. The simple way of making a forum well known through search engines is to make a site that will eventually lead through a link to your forum. Simple as it is, it still requires some time resources. In the following lines I will show the advantages and disadvantages of having a site as a homepage.

Pro’s and con’s
Now, having a standalone forum is a good thing when you are addressing yourself to a specific segment of users, and that is “gamers, online MMORPG, computer-related, etc”, but if your targeted audience has a slightly increased average age, you might want to consider making a site. Why? Because youngsters and teenagers are well known to be impatient, most of them don’t search Google, MSN, Yahoo, or any other search engines, their searches are based upon links picked up from other related forums. To give examples of the opposite case, forums related to “automotive, home interior, weather discussion, politics, philosophy, etc” have a more specific audience, in this case not anyone has access to cars, not anyone can talk about politics or philosophy, and not anyone can interpret the weather and more. In this case, the number of related forums is significantly lower in comparison to the forums related to “things-that-anyone-has-access-to”.

While you may think that it’s useless to have a site , because it will still lead the visitor to the forum, this process only delaying...

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SaN-DeeP

TechArena.IN
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How about including costs for site related scripts ? any ideas or suggestions here
 

Aunt Clara

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Sep 3, 2006
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How about making the forum the site? They don't have to be separate entities. I needed to migrate my 4 year-old site from html to something more dinamic after the site had grown to over a thousand pages and doing any changes would take me forever.

I thought of using Mambo or Joomla and vBulletin in the forum. The problem was that this solution didn't satisfy me either. I needed a CMS that was flexible, customizable and that would stitch seamlessly to the forums. After much pondering I decided to use vBulletin as my CMS and making the navigation stichless. This has proven a success. People come for the content and stay for the forum. Our very small niche community is growing rapidly.

In short, although this is not a solution suitable for everybody I think that vBulletin can be tricked into performing as a fantastic CMS. I haven't reached the point I want, but I am close. Now, the day I have to update is going to be madness.
 

Wes of StarArmy

Adherent
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Sep 17, 2006
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If you have the site first, it's easy to add a forum. How would you have a forum without a site, though - unless you were using someone else's hosting?
 

Aunt Clara

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Wes of StarArmy said:
How would you have a forum without a site, though - unless you were using someone else's hosting?
I am afraid I don´t understand your question.
 

Wes of StarArmy

Adherent
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I mean that in order to have a forum at all, you need hosting for that forum. If it's not on a webserver you control, then it is on someone else's server.
 

COBRAws

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Jun 22, 2005
Messages
58
Wes of StarArmy said:
I mean that in order to have a forum at all, you need hosting for that forum. If it's not on a webserver you control, then it is on someone else's server.
I believe he was talking about having only a forum, and having a forum and a front page that was not the forum itself. Something like a portal maybe.

I've done both, and the best thing is to keep them both updated with new information every day, every hour. You have people that only browse the forums, and then you have people that will only browse the frontpage/portal and then leave.

my 2 cents
 
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