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Wanted: The Secret to starting a successful forum


redwall_hp
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Well, I don't have any personal experience with this, but this is what I would consider:1: What is the forum about? Who are the target users?2: Where do these people typically go, on the net and otherwise?3: What do you intend to offer them?4: Are these people already being offered the service you intend to provide? If so: What can you do better? Is your service really needed?5: Tell them about it! Use banner adds, posters, flyers, etc. to tell them what you have to offer.6: Provide the service you have promised. Be consistent and work for it. Take extra care when things are moving slow or don't go as easy as you had hoped.Also, take some time to think about what your motives are for doing this.In my experience, if my motives a pure, things usually go very easy. If my motives are self-centered, things go wrong.Good luck and have fun!

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Someone, tell me. What's the secret to starting a successfull message board? I know how to set one up and all, and how to manage one. But HOW do you get a bunch of users to register and post regularly (I'd like to get 200 users and have new posts regularly).

RAZZ, explained it pretty well... I only have moderate experiance with this, as I'm an admin of an anime forum with about 30 users - Most of which don't post regularly. But I try to keep them to stay by making them want to come back for some reason, be it a contest, quizes, awards, etc.As for getting more members involved... I would ask the members if they know anyone that might also be intrested in joining your community - That's my best shot. :)
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If I told you it wouldn't be a secret anymore...Okay, I guess I'll be the one person to let the secret out . . . purpose.Successful discussion boards have a purpose and a purpose that people are drawn to and interested in. Of course, you would also technically have to define "success". I mean I could have a discussion board with three members but it together we talked through a solution for world peace, wouldn't that be successful?Well, obviously I'm not being much help.:-)But, in all sincerity, purpose is the underlying factor. Look at this board, its purpose is to basically provide an area for w3school.com tutorial users to interact with other programmers to share and discuss solutions. It has a wonderful purpose that people find value in. The hosting company I prefer, crystaltech.com, has a users forum that is very useful. Again, a clear and directed purpose - serve their customers and online support tool that allows them to interact with other CT customers and with teh CT staff -all to solve problems/issues.So, find the niche of people that you want to cater to, and as long as you can reach them and they want to talk, then you would concevieably have a successful online forum.

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If I told you it wouldn't be a secret anymore...Okay, I guess I'll be the one person to let the secret out . . . purpose.Successful discussion boards have a purpose and a purpose that people are drawn to and interested in.  Of course, you would also technically have to define "success".  I mean I could have a discussion board with three members but it together we talked through a solution for world peace, wouldn't that be successful?Well, obviously I'm not being much help.:-)But, in all sincerity, purpose is the underlying factor.  Look at this board, its purpose is to basically provide an area for w3school.com tutorial users to interact with other programmers to share and discuss solutions.  It has a wonderful purpose that people find value in.  The hosting company I prefer, crystaltech.com, has a users forum that is very useful.  Again, a clear and directed purpose - serve their customers and online support tool that allows them to interact with other CT customers and with teh CT staff -all to solve problems/issues.So, find the niche of people that you want to cater to, and as long as you can reach them and they want to talk, then you would concevieably have a successful online forum.

Man, after reading one of your insightful posts the world always seems so much clearer. :).I agree completly. My problem is finding a niche I want to cater to that already doesn't have a dozen similar sites.
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Yeah. I think having a domain would be important, too. Just look at some of those Harry Potter sites. The ones with domains definitely do better in search engines, and get more users on the boards than the ones that use url redirection or a subdomain. I've been working on making the board more unique, too.I think I need to get a domain (1and1 hasn't sent me confirmation, yet, though), and exchange more links.

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Yeah. I think having a domain would be important, too. Just look at some of those Harry Potter sites. The ones with domains definitely do better in search engines, and get more users on the boards than the ones that use url redirection or a subdomain. I've been working on  making the board more unique, too.I think I need to get a domain (1and1 hasn't sent me confirmation, yet, though), and exchange more links.

Just a quick comment. When you exchange links don't just exchange with anyone. Google will favor you more if you only exchange links with sites that have similar content and topics as yours. Having links from obscure sites can actually hurt your ranking
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Google is not a mystery, Google is programmed by actual people. They hold many conferences where the developers go over changes they have made and what counts in search rankings these days. One thing they said, which seems a little silly to me, is that the underscore character (_) is treated as a normal letter, but the dash (-) is treated like whitespace. If you are setting up a page about anime forums, naming it anime-forum is apparently much better than naming it anime_forum, because the second one will only show up if they search for anime_forum, not "anime forum". It seems silly, but apparently that's what the Google devs were saying. It's not a mystery, it's just very complicated (and sometimes arbitrary).

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Unlike other search engines, it's not possible to skew the results. You can't find a perfect combination of code and words to jump you to the top of the list. There's so many things it checks, like links, it's not possible. That's why I never search with any site other than google.

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