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Top 5 tips to successful forum

Discussion in 'Manage your Site' started by Floris, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. Floris

    Floris I'm just me :) Hi. Staff Member

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    Top 5 tips to successful forum

    We could build a list together, so please post one or more tips to build a successful forum.

    Unique/Worthwhile content/services
    A steady flow of relevent content
    Slow site? Add an article or write some new threads
     
  2. Disjunto

    Disjunto OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    most commonly mentioned: Unique/Worthwhile content/services

    something every site/forum requires to stay alive
     
  3. Disjunto

    Disjunto OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    need steady flow of content more than just content otherwise you get dead periods when there is no new content
     
  4. OP
    Floris

    Floris I'm just me :) Hi. Staff Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    Thanks for the feedback, first post updated.

    If you are browsing this topic and think you have a great tip, post it!
     
  5. Royalridge

    Royalridge OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    1) Content is KING, but useless if people can't see it.
    2) Speed, especially if you're trying to build a forum. If it takes 5 seconds to load a page on a fast ADSL connection then what will it be like on a slow one or worse, dial-up. Unfortunately this can be a problem as speed costs money and that's most likely to be the thing you don't have at the start.
    3) Reliability, goes hand in hand with 2) but is essential and also costs money. No point in having the worlds greatest forum if it's down 6 days out of 7.
    4) "Sticky" posters, Once people have posted 500 times to a forum you can be pretty sure they'll stay there!!!! REWARD people that post frequently, even if it's a custom user title or something to make them feel special. Want to make them REALLY stay? Get enamel badges made up with your site logo, they cost about $2 in bulk. Send one to people when they hit 500 posts or 1000 posts or something.
    5) Good moderators, they have to have knowledge in their field and be able to articulate this. Don't just have your mates as moderators.

    That's all I can think of now, more later if I come up with anything.
     
  6. penguinmama

    penguinmama OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    Royalridge - you are well versed in forums, aren't you! Those are some excellent tips.

    A good rapport with the users is also a plus.
     
  7. XpcPro

    XpcPro OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    thanks for the thread floris
     
  8. Martyn

    Martyn OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    unique ness isnt everything.. theres prob about 20 decent vbulletin forums out there...but its the content on these top ones that keep people coming back...

    obviouse the main one...

    vbulletin.org - if someone was going to copy this site, good luck to them.. lol

    i my self was going to make a service where people could sign up, and get help, on this service, there would be serval different vbulletin people... people with experiance..

    i m currently doing a trial and error on a style, trying to code it css style, copying the vbseo look! i have a nice domain for it aswell...

    www.vbtechnician.com
     
  9. Sykko

    Sykko OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    my input on this subject :)

    first I very much agree with the following

    although I am not so sure that the worthwile part is so critical... the most important is that it is intresting content... a joke isnt really a worthwile bit of content but you might be likely to come back to a thread to re-read it to a friend later

    this one is huuuuge! always set up your user titles! you wouldnt think it would be that big of a deal but people tend to really pay attention to those... then perhaps at the top of the chain instead of having something like "ultimate member" or whatever... just give them the ability to customize it.

    things like bigger pm boxes and access to secret forums can be rather huge too! :)

    but dont make things out of reach. if your typical regular has a couple hundred posts... make it so that users get access to a secret forum at 500 posts

    here is another great one! your users see you as a leader. while they are the ones making up the social aspect and adding to the social content you are there to set the mood... if you constantly fight with members or talk bad about them then they wont follow... as a result they will be lost and not stick around.

    a couple more I would like to add:

    get your users involved in what changes are made to the site... if you are thinking about installing a new skin, go find a few options and have the members vote... if you have considered installing a new plugin ask the members if they would be likely to use it... you may already know what they are going to say but still ask them. users need to feel involved. the more invested a user feels the harder it is for them to walk away from your community.

    dont overdo the special features...

    the more mod's and things installed on a board the more that can go wrong. vbulletin is a well made bit of program mods are usually what go wrong. so only install mods that you feel are essential... the ones that you think gelsoft should have programmed into the board in the first place... it should feel like a default board, yet should have the features you need... no more no less... :)

    anyway that's my imput :) hope I have helped some
     
  10. kushal

    kushal OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    I would add six-some:
    1. Never let any post go un-answered.
    2. Always involve people in the introduction. Not just 'welcome to website', but trying to sincerely know your members. If the user has obscure name jps_30, then asking them their full name is a good idea. Also try to remember the user real name and try to address in the post, by his real name, rather than aka.
    3. Do not ask many things during registration. Try to make it minimal, this will help members to feel comfortable and slowly motivate them.
    4. Make good labels, stars and user titles to change more frequently during their initial posts.
    5. Always have some awards, incentive to members to participate in activity.
    6. Make your forum targeted and not let it be a place to discuss wider variety of themes.
     
  11. kushal

    kushal OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    You should always consult your members before significantly altering your community website. Make your members an integral part of your community’s development and you will encourage them to remain loyal members well into the future.

    Here is one good article I read about forum success:
    http://www.communityspark.com/the-wrong-way-to-redesign-a-community-website/
     
  12. galt

    galt OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    And I would modify kushals list as :

    1a, Don't answer every post too quickly yourself. Give other users a chance. Only answer as a last resort or when discussion is dying out on the subject.

    6a. Have one forum for just chit-chat, jokes, and other OT stuff. I like to call mine "Coffee shop" or "member's Lounge".
     
  13. schwab2clarkson

    schwab2clarkson OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    Gotta agree with you on that one.
    Even if you make a thread on your forum telling them that there is going to be a website created with the forum included.
    A discussion thread is always a great idea.
     
  14. Mach5

    Mach5 OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    Those are some great tips. Here are my suggestions:

    1) Created a Detailed Welcome Message With Links:
    My welcome message has links to popular threads, including a simple tutorials that explain how to post video on the forum. I also provide a link in the welcome message to an introduction thread. Surprisingly, most people fill it out.

    2) Make Participation Easy:
    Start threads that have polls, or questions that people can just answer. That increases participation since they don't have to dream up an idea by themselves.

    3) Post Lots Of Good Content:
    I actually believe that on the web volume counts more than quality. While you can't post crap, posting a bunch of ideas and seeing what sticks is a great method. If the users don't like a certain post, they will just skip it and go onto the next. So I try to post at least 5 or 6 times a day.

    4) Create Threads That Are Updated Daily:
    A daily update is actually not that tough to do. But it's important because it gets people coming back. Something very simple like song of the day or photo of the day is good enough. We even have a thread someone started called 'what did you eat for breakfast today'. People respond to it all the time.

    5) Be On Time and Stay Committed:
    You have to stay committed. Even when there is downtime. Logged out users are still reading your stuff. If you have monthly, weekly, or daily updates you must do them! Users will see your dedication and respect you for it.
     
  15. tester23

    tester23 OMG Member

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    Re: Top 5 tips to successful forum

    Great tips. Thanks everyone :)
     
  16. Spinball

    Spinball OMG Member

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    1) Pick a subject for your community which is not too narrow. Our main rival was the DVD forums. We have exceeded their traffic considerably by covering home entertainment electronics which not only includes DVDs, but games, and all sorts of home electronics.
    2) Pick a subject which you can monetise. You may be fanatical about stamp collecting, but the potential for advertising revenue is very limited. Pick a topic which companies with money will specifically want to advertise on.
    3) Try and associate with an established website which is closely related but does not have a forum. Try to be their official forum. That will drive traffic to you.
    4) Be prepared to work hard maintaining your forum for at least 10 hours a day for 7 days a week for 5 years. If it hasn't reached critical mass by then, give up.
    5) Have some technical ability relating to web design, HTML, PHP and MySQL. You will need it.
     
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