One forum / Different topics - Good balance ?

I just bought a license for XenForo. My plan is to have a somewhat generic forum. I need for people to get the idea behind being on the forum because of the approach.

However. If you need to find stuff and discussions, talk about, sell used items, read reviews, follow blogs, find retailers or producers, actors/musicians offering services and a lot of other stuff on as diverse topics as dog training, gardening, photography, philosophy - the topics/sections themselves should have prominence. So someone interested in photography could go to a section, but still know they are on my forum with my approach. Just like a general newspaper with sections.

Would like to hear thoughts from people on how they would/have approached this - and balance and successes/failures related.


Well-known member
The topic is less important than the audience. If the topics on your site attract different audiences then they might not be compatible.

My two main sites are very very different.

One is aimed at property investors in Australia and so the members are generally older, well educated and have higher income. They are also pretty culturally similar given that 95% of the members are Australian and the rest are mostly expats.

The other is aimed at zoo and animal conservation enthusiasts and so the audience skews much younger, generally less well educated and often lower income. It has a global audience and so has huge cultural diversity and a lot of the off-topic discussions that we have on the investment site simply wouldn't be tolerated on the zoo site becuase of that diversity - for example, we have had to ban all political discsussion on the zoo site because it is really difficult to manage with an international audience. Similarly, we have almost no COVID related discussions on the zoo forum - while the Australian forum has threads with thousands of posts discussing it.

So the topics are only important insofar as they determine the audience you are likely to attract.

I'm not saying your mix of topics won't work - just highlighting something to keep in mind.

I'm sure there are some pretty diverse forums out there - but most of the large ones have something in common - either a specific topic, or they cater to a specific geography.

In my opinion, a diverse topic forum targeted to a specific geography is more likely to work because the members are much more likely to have things in common than a bunch of random people from different locations wanting to talk about very different topics.

Don't forget - your forum is only as good as the people who frequent it. Don't look at building a site - look at building an audience.

How are you going to attract your audience? What is your unique selling proposition (USP) that they can get from your site that they can't get from somewhere else? What will keep your audience coming back?