The ABC of building a successful forum

bradley

Rockforums.net admin
Joined
Mar 15, 2005
Messages
200
bradley submitted a new Article:

The ABC of building a successful forum

The ABC of building a successful forum

A is for... Authority

Your forum has to build a name for itself as the best place to go to for discussions about the particular niche.

* This means you and your team have to drive debate and discussion, usually by creating new topics the whole time. Get each team member to start one or two threads each day, and then go make interesting posts in the other threads to get those off the ground. Don't be afraid of bringing back interesting threads that aren't on Page 1 anymore and so are being ignored; bring it back with an interesting post aimed at pushing the discussion in that thread further and deeper. Each new thread means members staying on the forums just that little bit longer, making a few more posts, having a few more interesting things to read and say... basically, getting into the habit of spending time and being active on your site

* This also means getting top spots in search engines. Do that by getting links to your forum. Aim to add at least 1 new backlink every day; this means sending out lots of emails suggesting related websites link to you or to a thread about their subject. If I had a forum about fishkeeping, I might hunt down a thread about Koi fish and send an email to a website aout Koi fish suggesting they could link to that discussion. Many webmasters will ask themselves 'what's in it for me?' - you could perhaps suggest they sign up, stick a link to their own website in their signature, and post in that thread - even if you don't get the link back, you've still added a new expert to your community, which helps with our target to become the Authority in the niche anyway! And if he likes your site, a link will eventually come... you'll see!

* There are other ways of getting links; if you run a website about music, getting an interview with a band will get bloggers and people on other forums linking to you when they talk about that interview. Remember: Content is King. Getting a reputation as a site that features lots of interviews (or other examples of attention from big names in the industry) will also boost your Authority

* In some cases it's easier to become the Authority in your niche if you focus of a fairly narrow niche only. It could be easier for you to get big by (easily) becoming the #1 board for Classical Music discussion, than being the place people think of to come to to talk about classical music if your boards are about all kinds of music. You can...

Read more about this article here...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Graham

I Like It Here :)
Joined
May 27, 2005
Messages
1,120
An excellent and thought provoking post.

/btw - koi carp, not koi fish :) /
 

bradley

Rockforums.net admin
Joined
Mar 15, 2005
Messages
200
finding a word for B was hard enough! (I should have gone for Bloat though perhaps; A could have been Attention, alternatively)

I suppose you could go through the alphabet, but they'd basically fall under those three headings


On a further note, it's important to bear in mind that not all boards will value A, B or C as much as the others. Forums like WebmasterWorld don't have great community spirit (C) - however, they're very active because they're the authority in that niche. To some extent, if they were to develop their community spirit, that would dilute the actual content of the site - and it's that content which is making it the Authority, so it would effectively be chopping it's main pillar down just to take the risk of boosting another one.

In essence, their boards are so incredibly focused on pure on-topic (webmastering) threads, that pushing for C would just increase Ballast (or Bloat, whatever you want to call B)! This is because what keeps people coming back to WWW isn't the feeling of belonging to a community - it's the strength of the content. B is also kept to an absolute minimum with a forum program they designed themselves which looks, frankly, butt-ugly, and isn't the easiest to use. Not all sites can pull that off, which is why I'd recommend most sites starting off take the whole ABC into account. But bear in mind if you've got an established board, your boards' needs might be particular
 

shashank_hi

Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 28, 2005
Messages
140
This is a wonderful article. The best guide that i've ever read. In fact, i now feel, why didn't i read this before setting off :). Well, i guess no time is too late. I'm chopping down the number of forums on my site from 23 to 12 this evening. And I'll be giving out *dignity* to useful members as you suggested.
Thanks for the guide.
 

ArcticFlood

Participant
Joined
Sep 17, 2005
Messages
82
I liked the Keep it Simple part. I've seen a lot of forums fail early on due to things like that.
 

bradley

Rockforums.net admin
Joined
Mar 15, 2005
Messages
200
just a quick note to say this article is one of a few i'll be writing for the BoardBuilders forum admin tips blog

If you'd like to take part in the blog, PM or email us. It's a nice opportunity to share quick tips from your experience with forums and drop links to your forums here and there :D

-------------

Shashank, I saw your post on sitepoint forums... "I was clocking some 8 posts / day and now i've reduced the no of sub forums and started getting some 20 posts / day" is that true?! cool!

I can't help but notice that your site, pick14.com, redirects from the homepage... this will really hurt your popularity with search engines. If your site is going to spread by word of mouth, people will mention pick14.com and link to that page. When a search engine robot follows that links and comes to a page that just redirects to another one... It won't like that at all. If you can, make pick14.com the homepage to your website, not pick14.com/biotech/index.php - but there might be a reason you're saving the front page for something else? Either way, the current setup will really hinder your growth (I'm a biochemistry MSc student so I really want to see it do well!)
 

ProperMethodz

Aspirant
Joined
Oct 5, 2005
Messages
18
Thank you very much. This was an awesome article. I hope you don't mind, but I copied this and posted it for my mods in a private forum on my site. I also asked them to please sign up here and do some reading.

Currently I feel I'm the only person who does work on my site.

Does anyone have suggestions for removing staff but not losing their friendship or loyalty to the site? I have a small site (~300 members) but an active one (5-6000 posts a month). It's difficult to moderate it and not give everyone mod status.
 

Jesse

Participant
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Messages
62
excellent article. really helpful to me, as I'm about to start up a forum
 

Patriot

Invision User
Joined
Mar 27, 2006
Messages
154
Great article. I am starting a new forum soon, going to helpful.
 
Top