Posted Thursday, August 12, 2004
There are plenty of good scripts available on the Internet which will provide you with all the features you could want in a forum.
However having the most sophisticated and advanced features on your forum doesn't mean it's going to be successful, because it's people that make forums good not the features of the forum itself. This article is dedicated to the art that is getting people to talk at your new forum.
It can be really quiet on at your forum particularly at the start when there's no real discussions going on, this is because people don't want to be one of the first to post. They want to see a few topics that interest them already being discussed, they want to be able to read through some posts first and then maybe they will reply or start new threads. So what should you do to get your forum of the ground? Well their are a number of things you can do.
First things first, make the sign-up process an easy as possible, people are not going to bother if they have to fill out a big long form which asks for details such as age, sex, pet's name, favorite color, connection speed, monitor resolution and other things not mentioned here. At the start you should just ask for their real name, email address and the username that will identify them in the forum.
To attract people to participate in your forums you and a few friends should start topics yourself and then actively discuss them, you should each use a few different usernames so that your forums appear to be active.
To find the most current and hottest topics related to your websites theme to use as topics in your site visit some of the other major forums, discussion boards and of course the newsgroups. Look for topics that have ten or more replies, and post similar topics on your forum and of course post a couple of replies too. This is a great idea because if certain topics generate interest on other forums and the newsgroups chances are good that the visitors to your forum will also be interested and will want to participate.
A great way to get people to start talking is by using contests. You could say for example ''the first 5 people to post 25 messages wins a free ebook...free software or whatever''. This works best if you have something people would normally have to pay for. Post details of this contest on your main page.
Another good method is to post subject lines and parts of threads on your main page also, and let people know how they can have their say on the topic by going to your forum.
When you write articles and content for your site, you should post a little message like "what do you think" and have a link to your forum at the end of the article.
If you publish an Ezine use the loyalty that your subscribers have for you and simply ask them to post, tell them you are trying to make a great resource for all them. Your bound to get a good response if you have provided them with quality information over the life of your Ezine.
Basically try and plug your forum and the benefits wherever you can by doing the above, by creating banners for it and displaying them on your webpages, by placing a note in your signature file encouraging people to visit if they need help with anything or just what to chat and by doing any other things you can think of. It's hard work but once you get a few regular posters, it will take off.
One final note - don't overload your forum visitors with 10 different low-traffic forums. At the start you should have at most 3 forums, all the posts will be concentrated and people will see them as being busy and will be more inclined to get involved.
About the Author
Article by David Callan - firstname.lastname@example.org
David is the webmaster of (http://www.akamarketing.com).
Visit his site for free internet marketing articles, advice, ebooks, news and lots more.