I have about 5 years of experience running a small but successful forum board. It's time for my next venture.
I'm torn between starting just a forum, which I am very comfortable with, or having the forum be a big chunk of the content under a website on the subject. Let's use dogs as an example, even though I'm doing nothing about dogs.
I own the domain doginformation.com. I also own the domain dogforums.com. I know I can kick off, and probably succeed with the dogforums.com site. However, I also know that there is lots of good content I could put on a homepage, such as news about dogs, dog groups, dog products, dog blogs, and similar things.
I know I could launch any of these with a tab off of the forum page, but IF I wanted to possibly grow this into something substantial, it would seem that having a dedicated homepage would be the place to have everything but the blogs (which I'd launch from the forum homepage).
I know it's going to be a struggle to get high page rankings on Google because there is so much dog info out there. So, will having dogforums.com and doginformation.com make it harder to climb the rankings, or will they help each other if I have lots of links back and forth?
Again, I'd ultimately like to have a big site (I know the odds aren't great), and I'd like to start this off the right way as opposed to trying to fix something down the road and possibly mess up my search rankings.
So, the way I see it:
Pros of having a website homepage:
- Ability to add much more content
- Many more people will type "dog information" into a search bar than will type in "dog information forum" or "dog forum." At least I would think so.
- IF I'm successful with it, having more content is going to make for a site that is much more valuable.
- Not everyone that makes it to the homepage is going to find the forum.
- I'm far from competent (today) in "modern" web design. I can do the basics, but that's about it.
- It's going to take a lot of work to keep the homepage updated and fresh.
- I'm not sure if it's wise to start out with the forum and later adding a homepage. I could do it, but would I be better off launching both at once?
Any advice or any suggestions you might have would be much appreciated!