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How to start a forum

October 6th, 2009

How to start a forum

How to start a forum is a question that not many website owners will ask themselves. That’s because - they use or participate in a successful forum and think “I will do that” so they do.

Unfortunately, that’s where the hard work tends to start.

How to start a forum is never asked because no ever uses a forum that isn’t busy. I will repeat that just so that you get the message. No one uses a forum that isn’t busy…

Why? Because using an empty forum is like starting a conversation in an empty room - You are worried that people will see you and hear you and so you keep quiet so as not to disturb the peace.

Assuming you do decide that the world can’t live without your forum - How do you start? Well, first thing is - make sure you don’t lose any users you do get so make them feel welcome.

Offer “Admin/Moderator” status to people you like the look of. (Just enter their email address into google to see where they have been online before). People will often be an admin and work for you for free - just for the kudos of saying they are a moderator.

Make sure you clean spam off regularly. You need to be on this 24/7 (and that’s another reason to get good moderators). Spammers use bots that hunt down the manufacturers code in forum scripts and can automatically register and post spam. (And some of it can be pretty offensive - so you need to get rid of them and ban them). Look for IP addresses and emails to ban on forum webmaster websites and upload via csv.

Consider paid postings - you can pay people - usually via a webservice to post to your forum. This usually works out at so much per post. Have a conversation with yourself. You may find that to get the spiders visiting and to move the discussion along, sign up for multiple accounts. Be careful though - modern browsers are very good at remembering passwords - so don’t lock yourself out. Keep a note of your user names and passwords.

Don’t try to copy your favourite forum. They probably have lots of sub categories and sub boards. If you do this - new users are likely to not know which one to post on - so they won’t bother.. Start with a small number of boards and try to get the community going in each one.

Don’t believe the “gurus” - You can’t expect to send the link to your twitter followers and see them come flooding to your site. It is hard painstaking work starting a forum.

So you need to monetise it quickly - Get signed up for and get some banners and graphics for your site.

This post brought to you by the Sharp End Training affiliate team. - Get more details

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