Making Your Forum More Social Part I: Design & Setup

2dub

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2dub submitted a new Article:

Making Your Forum More Social Part I: Design & Setup

Making Your Forum More Social Part I: Design & Setup

Hopefully its no great revelation to you that forums are one of the many varieties of social networking sites out there. That being said, forum owners and administrators can do a number of things to their site to make their forum more social and in turn more successful before they even go live.

Ill start with choosing a design. It may sound silly, but this can play a huge part in how social your forum is. If you go to any forum for forum administrators you will probably find a poll about what initially attracts you to a forum. In virtually all of them the winner is the look/design. Choose a design or theme which fits your niche. A forum for little girls to discus Justin Bieber and other tween heartthrobs may be better served by lighter, brighter colors, while a forum dedicated to World of Warcraft may want a darker color scheme.

Your design is part of your forums identity. If your niche has other forums make sure that your forum stands out from them visually. Many of your members and potential members may visit several forums regularly. Having a distinctive look helps them not only remember where they are, but will also help them remember your site when theyre elsewhere. This will help keep those people returning.

What ever you do, dont just simply use the default skin for your site. There are so many forums which do use the default, your site may not stand out enough and get lost in the shuffle. Every major forum has a number of free skins available so you dont necessarily need to spend money. You may also want to try simply playing with your CSS yourself to come up with something attractive and unique. It really isnt that difficult once you get in there and start playing with it.

Have a unique logo for your site. The best logos should be attractive to your target audience, match your forums color scheme and identity, and be a snapshot of what your forum is about using a tag line and/or graphics. Your logo is generally one of the first things guests will see. It will become the anchor of your marketing campaign. Nothing says, I run a half assed forum more than having no logo, especially if combined with the default theme.

Customize your site is with your forum/thread/ post icons. Once again try to steer away from the default and have something a little bit different, yet related to the niche. So what if you're not a graphics person, there are so many...

Read more about this article here...
 
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CM404

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Jan 30, 2010
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I read this article earlier and apparently, forgot to comment.

I could not agree with you more in regards to administrators choosing to use the script's default style as the forum's default. Simply replacing the script's default logo and uploading something that you've created yourself is not going to complete the job... fully, at least. If you were to combine a custom logo with a custom style, I'd say that you're off to a promising start.

Excellent article, Warren. :D
 

MjrNuT

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Jun 23, 2008
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Excellent article 2dub. You've enlightened me on some points that I may indulge upon or at least given me some extra insight.

One thing about the personalization I have done is a mod that adds another profile page and a profile filed dropdown from within the postbit.

As a gaming site, one thing that gamer's like to showoff, are their PC rigs. So, users are able to enter their hardware specs and it can be accessed directly from their postbit.

Also, I tried to give you rep, but this rep system here prevents me b/c I have to rep elsewhere first. So instead I repped CM404...as he was first to give you props. :D

Sound logic, I know. I'll get ya though, promise.
 

2dub

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Mar 10, 2010
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Thank you guys, this is my first tech related article so I really appreciate it. I'm working on Part II now. I should have it ready in the next few days.
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
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I really enjoyed reading that, there is some great tips in there :) I particularly liked the part about PMing someone who referred a member letting them know you appreciate it, I have never heard of that being done before and would like to try that myself sometime.
 

PandaMarketer

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May 20, 2010
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Excellent article! :coffee:

If I may make a suggestion, try to use more white space, or boldness. People like to scan, then skim, then read an article. Get them hooked right away!
 

mcrickeo

= Hi Diddly Dee =
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Jan 26, 2010
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Fantastic article I almost had everything done on the list and then you gave me 2 very good ideas.

* Invitation System
* Link To Us Page

Thanks for that it's much appreciated.

Rick
 
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