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How much are you making from your forum?

D37

Active member
#1
Don't know if people want to share this info, but approximately how much are you making from your forum and how long did it take you to get to that point.

This thread can serve as an inspiration to those looking to start a forum with the goal of making a side profit from that forum.
 

Blandt

Well-known member
#2
I have a small forum with about 1000 members and 125000 page impression per month brings about $140/month

and I have a much bigger one (5 time the size) brings the same amount every month

so it really depends ...
 

jonsidneyb

Well-known member
#4
I made an average of 3k a month from June forward in 2009. I moved the forum and it went to below $500.00.

As much as people seem to hate SMF it worked better for me than vB4
 

Blandt

Well-known member
#5
I made an average of 3k a month from June forward in 2009. I moved the forum and it went to below $500.00.

As much as people seem to hate SMF it worked better for me than vB4
The software plays a small part in the traffic decline (unless your forum keeps going offline due to the software bugs :p )

You need to adapt to your market changes.... PPC changes ? outdated and irrelevant content ? a new competitor sucking the life out of your site ? Do your homework :)
 

jonsidneyb

Well-known member
#6
The software plays a small part in the traffic decline (unless your forum keeps going offline due to the software bugs :p )

You need to adapt to your market changes.... PPC changes ? outdated and irrelevant content ? a new competitor sucking the life out of your site ? Do your homework :)
I finally asked members what they didn't like about the changes. I was kind of surprised at some of the results. My best month of growth was before the move but it was not the growth that mattered as much as the old members. Many told me I was doing everything wrong on the old forum. The members that contributed the most where the least forum savy people. My market really has not changed, the products are very low tech in design but high tech in material. The people I lost where to 40-50 year old guys that spends more time outdoors than in front of a computer. The comments I got where they want simple and was the reason they stayed at my site for years. I had good retention doing everything wrong.

What I think it is going to take is getting it as simple for the users as possible while at the same time have an area to show my products. My younger crowd likes features but does not buy much as they have no money, the older crowd is who created the revenue.

The members that stuck with me and spent money where word of mouth where people where meeting each other in person. The ones that surfed in where a bit different group. I actually at first didn't monetize the forum as that was not it's purpose. How the initial members learned about my site was through caving and backpacking clubs I belonged to and spread through the national organizations. The guys that belong to multiple forums are welcome but that is not where the cash flow has been best. It has been the one forum guys that have provided the most.

I have members that have spent a bunch on my site that can't figure out how to post a picture.

The reason I want to get moved to XenForo is I think it is intuitive enough for my older very little time on the computer crowd. Financially I do better with a mountain man than a tech savy person that spends a lot of time on a computer.
 

D37

Active member
#7
I finally asked members what they didn't like about the changes. I was kind of surprised at some of the results. My best month of growth was before the move but it was not the growth that mattered as much as the old members. Many told me I was doing everything wrong on the old forum. The members that contributed the most where the least forum savy people. My market really has not changed, the products are very low tech in design but high tech in material. The people I lost where to 40-50 year old guys that spends more time outdoors than in front of a computer. The comments I got where they want simple and was the reason they stayed at my site for years. I had good retention doing everything wrong.

What I think it is going to take is getting it as simple for the users as possible while at the same time have an area to show my products. My younger crowd likes features but buys has no money, the older crowd is who created the revenue.
I am honestly confused as to what your site is :p I had to google what it was about and I still don't understand it.
 

jonsidneyb

Well-known member
#8
quote="D37, post: 102703"]I am honestly confused as to what your site is :p I had to google what it was about and I still don't understand it.[/quote]

Well it was a simple Idea, it has changed quite a bit recently. It was for people that carried a lot of gear everyday. The idea was how to manage carrying the gear without it getting in the way of what you are doing or to put less strain on you. It also was for those that carried a medium amount a gear and not look like Batman. At first I was getting people that already carry a lot of gear that they use. After the changes I got more and more people that carry gear because it is cool. In the early days it was guys that carry gear related to field work, others where guys that go out and carry stuff to live a month at a time in the wilderness, some others where those that will spend weeks at a time underground. It was anything that involved carrying a ton of stuff with them. The shift is to the guys carrying a lot to be prepared for the unknown which is fine, It just does not create the same revenue for me.

I actually didn't expect the forum to grow. I threw it out there thinking it would never ever get 100 members. I was not surprised when people that knew me personally joined after I told them about it. When they started telling their outdoors friends from other states about it and they spread the word to other clubs and it started growing. I was the most surprised when it became a real crowd.

I guess my target audience is different than most. Financially my target is predominantly the older outdoors man that is not that tech savy.

The basic feedback I got was keep it simple stupid. The more detailed feedback was I liked it when I got what I wanted with one click, I like it less with two clicks. I am here to read about products, and real life experience with them.

Some comments that I got was that the search made it difficult to find some of the really old threads that had the kind of information they are looking for.
 

CTXMedia

Formerly CyclingTribe
#17
Around £150 per month for CycleChat - but since my costs are higher I'm also in the "hobby" negative camp.

Slow and steady growth will hopefully increase the revenue and turn a profit sometime in the next 10 years, but that's not my focus for that site. Making the site run fast and work well is what gives me kicks and keeps my community happy.

My new "geeks" project will have revenue built-in from the get-go (so will be accepted by that community as a matter of course). If I can get it to make a similar amount I'll be able to break-even and from there I can hopefully look to make a profit with further sites as time/resources allow.

I'm in a similar boat to many though in that I don't work full-time on my sites, and therefore with work and family commitments, can only grow them at a certain rate and can only "manage" so much at any one time.

Now, if only someone would start selling time - then I'd be able to do all the things I want to. :D

Cheers,
Shaun :D
 

-GR-

Well-known member
#18
I am in negative camp also. I do it for a hobby and granted it would be cool to have a profit someday I enjoy seeing people get the information they are looking for and helping them out. My hosting costs are almost breaking even but till you factor in all the other expenses it is in the negative.
 

Jethro

Well-known member
#19
Work on both sides of the divide :)

Jon Xen sounds right up your alley mate, had a talk to a few older people about joining one of our sites and they were simply confused by all the options and felt intimidated. Not a good look for forum software imho. Simple does it best imho, put the complex stuff under the hood for power users to discover.