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How to build a popular forum these days?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Robby, Jul 25, 2013.

  1. Robby

    Robby Well-Known Member

    Hello everyone,

    I would like to start this threat so we can share our thaughts about how to build a forum from scratch. Do you make fake users and let them chat? Do you go to other forums and leave your signature?
    What are the new ways in getting a popular forum.
    Examples of things that worked in the past would be great.
  2. Lisa

    Lisa Well-Known Member

    Mostly hard work. A forum doesn't become popular overnight, it can take years. I personally don't go down the fake users route, and while i do put my link in my signature I don't post on other forums solely to get my link out there.

    When you first build a forum, your first job is content content content.... get lots of threads up, make sure they're ones that leave room for people to respond, tweet the link, FB the link, beg your friends to join and post.
    bibitbunga, jauburn, Dakis and 4 others like this.
  3. Robby

    Robby Well-Known Member

    I know it can take years but there must be a difference why some have succesfull forums after years and others still searching to kick start it off. Are their examples of forums of the last couple years that became very succesfull?
  4. AndyB

    AndyB Well-Known Member

    In order for a forum to be successful, it will need to these things:

    1) Fill a need
    2) Provide good content
    3) Have enough members that will create content

    Need- When selecting a forum topic or need, you should research to see if there already is such a forum, if there is and it's doing a good job, it will be very difficult to compete. So find a topic for your forum that you are knowledgeable in and where there's a need for such a forum.

    Choose the audience carefully before starting the forum. For example your new forum might be regional as opposed to world wide. The region might be a country, part of a country, state or even smaller area. For example if you choose the region to be a state forum, you can focus information on just that state's activities on the subject. This focused forum allows your forum to be the go to place for activities related to the subject.

    Content- Most forums survive because of content. So when starting off be prepared to seed your forum with content and lots of it.

    Members- Make sure you select a topic that will eventually attract enough members that the forum will create it's own content from the members.
    bibitbunga, Lisa and Robby like this.
  5. JulianD

    JulianD Well-Known Member

    My thought is:

    1. Try to focus on a niche.
    2. Bring unique features to your forums that your visitors won't find anywhere else
    3. Before starting your forum make sure you have an established user base. One of my forum was created when the users of another forum felt the admins were not paying attention to the site anymore. I stepped in and told everyone about the possibility to create our own forum, and the rest is history.
  6. Shelley

    Shelley Well-Known Member

    Start a forum about a subject your good/fluent with and that you thoroughly enjoy.
    Lone Wolf likes this.
  7. LPH

    LPH Well-Known Member

    My rule is pretty simple - do what you want and break every rule anyone presents. This includes breaking my rule ;)

    On a very serious note, if you are not interested in your own site and would not register then the site will never be successful. Nothing else matters. Just do what interests you. Otherwise you will get bored and abandon the site in disappointment. But if you love it then you'll keep going regardless.
    bibitbunga and Lisa like this.
  8. =MGN=RedEagle

    =MGN=RedEagle Well-Known Member

    Two things I dislike are hard work and patience. Actually, I like hard work. But if you don't want to wait a long time for your forum to get going, market it. You can:

    1) Draw them in with new and amazing content, reworking that content and syndicating it on social networks (syndicate to podcasts, scribed, facebook, twitter... everything).
    2) Market your forum like mad via paid advertising, social networks etc.

    A little note here, I saw your post about wanting to buy a forum. Try to make a forum which 500 active members first. If you can do that you have what it takes to run a forum. I dish out up to $1,200 a month in expenses on my community. Running a big forum is not free and it can be hard work. Think about fighting hackers, organizing creative server infrastructure, development, member moderation, community building and bug fixing. This year I was hacked 4-6 times, broke 8-9 hard drives and put in hundreds of tickets with my devteam/host.
    bibitbunga, Robby and LPH like this.
  9. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Well-Known Member

    It's easier said than done, but in the end the easiest thing to do is think of something new/amazing/unique that you are offering to users (something they want of course). Basically solve some sort of problem for people. Applies to any type of site (including forums).

    If you plan on just opening a forum that is no different than 100,000 other forums out there, there's no reason for users to go there. Ask yourself the hard question... Why would YOU use your site if you weren't the owner?
    bibitbunga, jauburn, iTuN3r and 2 others like this.
  10. petertdavis

    petertdavis Well-Known Member

    Instead of creating fake users and talking to myself, one of the things I've been using on the last few new forums I've started has been Postloop. It's a post exchange, but one where you can also buy or sell posts. It's worked pretty well on a couple of the forums I've gotten going, and not as well on a couple of others. It really depends on the topic, and whether you are putting in some effort on your own and have other members joining too. It's not something I'd rely solely on getting a forum going, but it can certainly help with the dilemma you face when inviting people to join your forum but there are no members there posting yet so nobody wants to join.
  11. =MGN=RedEagle

    =MGN=RedEagle Well-Known Member

    I kinda feel like if you have to pay people to use your site... you are not doing something innovative or different like DigitalPoint said.
  12. =MGN=RedEagle

    =MGN=RedEagle Well-Known Member

    Maybe you should co-found a forum with someone who is marketing savvy?
  13. Deepmartini

    Deepmartini Well-Known Member

    So is google adsense the best way to monetize a forum?
  14. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Well-Known Member

    Found a good domain that I need to register then. RUAjackass.com
    From what I'm told, I'm an expert on the topic.:p
    And yes, if it's still available on the 1st, I'm registering it.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
    bibitbunga likes this.
  15. tajhay

    tajhay Well-Known Member

    Its all about fulfilling a niche market and doing it for an interest that you are passionate about.

    anything else, and you will be fighting the odds.
  16. Tracy Perry

    Tracy Perry Well-Known Member

    Even in a niche market... getting the word out about it is paramount.
  17. OSS 117

    OSS 117 Well-Known Member

    For a newbie, yeah. There are far better substitutes to AdSense. Well, to clarify most of them are invite only (application process).
  18. OSS 117

    OSS 117 Well-Known Member

    An adult orientated forum is one way to get a lot of traffic. Not really recommended since it would be difficult to monetize, and the traffic incurred from real folks and bots would just burn a hole in your pocket.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  19. Robby

    Robby Well-Known Member

    It's certainely not easy to build, that's for sure.
    Forums are hard work, the only question i'm still asking myself. Why should people join?
    What makes your site different to the others?
    I have to find a way to be unique.
  20. Crazyfruitbat

    Crazyfruitbat Well-Known Member

    Recently I found this to be the more deciding factor. You can sometime make a lot of content and keep pushing it out there but if the users aren't wanting to make content of their own it gets a very frustrating experience.

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