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How to promote and market a Forum ?

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by erich37, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member

    considering starting off a Forum from scratch, what are the best ways and tricks in order to make a Forum popular ?
  2. ArnyVee

    ArnyVee Well-Known Member

    You're probably going to get lots of advice here. But, from what I've learned....you have to have LOTS of content and promote the site everywhere. You can have the prettiest and feature-filled site, but if you don't market it correctly, you won't get visitors.

    I've used my RSS feeds and signed up at TwitterFeed. Then, that feed goes to my Twitter account and the Twitter feeds into Facebook.

    Now, that also assumes that you are "working" your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Simply go through and find folks with similar likes (or dislikes depending on your forum topic) and 'friend' or 'follow' them. The more you have, the more others will 'share' or 'retweet' your topics and information.
    bibitbunga and erich37 like this.
  3. ArnyVee

    ArnyVee Well-Known Member

    Another big piece of getting a forum to be popular is to have exclusive content such as features, downloads or information available only to registered members. And, in order to help your community promote your site, run promotions such as "refer a member" for points. And, the highest point totals earns a prize of some sort.
    erich37 likes this.
  4. Blandt

    Blandt Well-Known Member

    AND Patience ... :)

    and you are going to need lots of it. One good keyword will jump start your forum, then more keywords will follow... It's an exponential :D ...
    bibitbunga likes this.
  5. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member

    what do you mean with keyword ?
  6. Blandt

    Blandt Well-Known Member

    Some people will find you through google... you need to keep them coming back. That's what you need to focus your forum on : KEYWORDS.
    Organize yourself and target specific keywords

    It really depends on what your forum is about...
  7. DSF

    DSF Well-Known Member

  8. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member

    well, that I know :)

    I have been actually looking for more advanced advise and tricks.......
  9. DSF

    DSF Well-Known Member

    I think you expect too much. There is no universal answer. :)
    bibitbunga likes this.
  10. Floris

    Floris Guest

    Post content, and good content.
    And word of mouth will do the rest. Especially if it is good content.
    erich37 and Forsaken like this.
  11. Forsaken

    Forsaken Well-Known Member

    Only thing that I've ever seen work consistently.
  12. 0ptima

    0ptima Well-Known Member

    3 words: Kontent is King
  13. Blandt

    Blandt Well-Known Member

    This is the only sincere and true advice.

    This is the advice : Focus on your target keywords.
    What I meant is don't try to own the web :D rather focus on let say 5 keywords to start, rank well on those then ad another and another ...etc ... Just make a plan and follow it.

    Dedicate 30 minutes daily to facebook,
    Forums must have good content AND good members Who are knowledgeable/good (sometimes sweet/good looking/hot models :D it really depends on your forum :D)
    Not to forget Technorati, yahoo and your authority site (which depends on what kind of site you are developing)

    ... etc ...

    xenforo will be a great source for forum administrators, so if your main target is us then you must advertise here. This is just an example ...
    bibitbunga and erich37 like this.
  14. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    There is a lot to know about online marketing, in combination with running a forum. My experience being:
    • The minority of forums that begin will actually be around in 5 years time.
    • The minority of forums that are created will be successful within their niche.
    • The majority of all traffic to your site will come from Google.
    • A minority of traffic can be sourced via direct advertising upon other websites.
    • SEO techniques are not quintessential of running an online community. They play a small part only.
    • The majority of forums will only remain IF the initial first year, two or even three, the administrator puts in daily time to create conversation.
    • Content is king, but only when used specifically, not just to attract users, eg.
      • Placing RSS feeds in to create site content and garnish traffic is useless, because news stories rank in date priority normally, with the exception of a handful of highly valued established news sites, because they are literally replicated in their millions upon release. Absolutely useless.
      • News stories are worth if, and only if, you are completely writing the news story in your own words and only quoting specific aspects from a source. This makes new, original content vs. replicated news feed content done in the millions.
    • Create a small number of forums initially, extremely subject broad, and only create more forums when you have atleast enough specific interest in one topic to warrant such. Basically, too many empty forums and your site immediately loses impact to the new user who stumbles upon it.
    • Popular becomes only from a conversational forum that also answers a persons question. There is nothing worse than a new user who registers, you neglect their question or send them elsewhere for the answer... that doesn't retain users nor garnish popularity. Questions must be posted, they must be answered. When starting off, this means the forum creator.
    • Be unique... there is already plenty of people who are doing most topics... so you must be a unique voice with a unique opionion. A cult is often formed because the leader has a unique opinion. A forum is somewhat built under the same premise, being it must contain a unique opinion / angle that appeals. I a subject has a main forum that allows a, b & c... then yours must target d, e & f as a primary angle, as there will always be those who disagree with the current angle / site / site politics / rules / etc.
    There is lots and lots more... most of which you only need to know once you have created the site and its functional.

    My average expectations for a typical niche topic would be something like, 100 members in the first year, 1000 by end of second year, then exponential growth. It all depends on how broad or narrow the niche topic is. It could be 1000 by year one, 10000 by year two, if the topic / market was that popular. Those forums that see instant fame, they are the 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% of forums created. Sometimes the right idea just catches on and a forum gets that instant success... but its not something you can really look for. MySpace thought it was going to live forever... now its dead compared to FaceBook. AltaVista thought it had the search market sewn up... now most don't even know who AltaVista is as Google accomplished that space.

    Popularity, being the word you used, is something you must measure based on realistic facts and the topic presented vs. existing competition. Even xenforo... if they didn't have those existing ties to VB, then that immediate market wouldn't even be here for an initial sale... they would just be another BB trying to make a name for themselves. If you have that name already... then certainly a forum based on that can create advantageous membership for an opening.

    A global press release for a forums opening can do more good than thousands of wasted $$$ on other site advertising. One well written press release via someone like PRWeb, for less than $500 can create an instant buzz to any community and quickly find its way into being written about as a possible new buzz site for x topic.
    Rob Fritz, Forsaken and erich37 like this.
  15. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member

  16. x3sphere

    x3sphere Active Member

    Exclusive content does wonders.
  17. fattony69

    fattony69 Well-Known Member

    Best advice I was given was do your own thing. Content is king, but listening to everyone else is copying them. Be unique and have good content and that's all you need.
  18. Jethro

    Jethro Well-Known Member

    A few techniques to get things started.

    1. Dummy members, have an argument with yourself, I sometimes win those.

    2. Post exchange with another Admin. You agree to post X amount of times on their site in return for them posting X amount of times on your site.

    3. Banner in Sig at a related site, not go overboard with the spam.

    4. Ensure you have the twitter thing going down, your visitors will jump with each tweet/twit/or whatever they call those things.

    There's a number of paid for option, posts etc, but the evidence I've been given is you end up with a whole bunch of useless posts.
    erich37 likes this.
  19. dutchbb

    dutchbb Well-Known Member

    I'll just tell how I did it. Since I seem to be doing pretty well it must be one way of doing it :D

    1. post on other forums in the same niche for a while, build yourself a reputation on those (of someone friendly who helps anyone for free)
    2. build up strong connections with members on those forums, if possible meet them IRL
    3. when you have a reputation and connections, start to think about a domain name and how you want to set up things (technically & your principles...)
    4. setup things the way you planned
    5. let all your connections know about what you are doing, tell as much people as possible, if possible announce the news on forums and social networking sites
    6. ask your connections/friends to start posting on your forums, tell them you have plans to grow it in a big community in the niche
    7. post as much unique content you can. Let others reply to questions on your forums, if no answers, answer questions yourself!
    8. try to minimize moderation, give people freedom to post whatever they want. But make sure you draw a line!
    9. don't expect success in a few months.
    10. expect possible failure or temporary slow growth, but never give up

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