Successful Forum: Forum Creation

Shawn Gossman

Tazmanian Master
Dec 16, 2005
Shawn Gossman submitted a new Article:

Successful Forum: Forum Creation

Successful Forum: Forum Creation
By: Shawn Gossman
(Forum Owner)

Welcome to the first article of my “Successful Forums” series which was inspired by my other, How to run a successful forum, article series that I had written a number of years ago. This is the first of five articles about running a Successful Forum on your own. In this article, I will be discussing ideas and suggestions for starting your very own message forum.

What is a forum?

First we need to discuss what a forum is and if it is right for you. A lot of people confuse a forum with a chat room. While there similarities, a forum is still much more than an actual live chat room. A chat room allows users to post lines of text to one and other and when a new line gets posted, it lowers down the other lines of text in the chat room. A forum allows users to create paragraphs or lines of text and it puts it all in their own page (thread) and then allows users to create additional posts to the page to reply to the first text. If someone replies to a thread, that thread will usually become the first thread in the main index where all the threads are held. A forum is an online version of the bulletin board and it allows more interaction between members.

A forum not only allows discussions that never disappear unless removed by a user who deletes their own content or forum staff who deletes content. A forum also has many other features including search, calendars, member profiles, registration and login, email abilities, a control panel for forum staff and much more. If you want to build a community with many discussions present, then a message forum is right for you.

Where do I start?

Okay, here is the fun part, deciding how to go about creating your new message forum. First you need to decide if you want to use a free forum hosting service or get your own paid hosting and a domain and then install forum software on it. Personally, I would recommend that you get a domain name, paid hosting and install forum software that way. A free is good but it usually will not let you get that big without charging you money further down the road as your forum gets more active.

Now you need to decide what free host to go with or what forum software to download and install on your hosting service. For free hosting, there are many big free hosting services out there such as ProBoards a free forum hosting service with many options that have been around for many years. I recommend...

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