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This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >     
Starting a new forum. Looking for advice
gape




msg:3379793
 2:03 am on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hello. I have been interested in starting a vbulletin message board for a very long time and finally I have it online. It's about 3 days old now, but there haven't really been any registrations. I realize that I can't expect a full active message board after 3 days. I have ads running, I get about 100 people per day, but they all seem to click on the ad, look at the main page, then leave, and that is very frusturating as its money down the drain.

This bulletin board is a general "talk about anything" board, I have plenty of different sections for people to post in, and I even allow guests to post on some of the forums. But they just do not post for whatever reason. I'm mainly looking for advice on how to promote the website, and how to get people to actually post once they come.

I have got 3 friends who are posting with me, we are trying to get people to join and post, but obviously we are doing something wrong. I even set up an arcade, which you need to register to play, and still nothing. Any advice/suggestions?

 

menial




msg:3379804
 2:11 am on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think the main reason they don't post is that the forum is not specific enough. You need to attract users with something more specific than "anything"; otherwise you'll be competing with hundreds of established websites your guests have probably already been members of for years.

gape




msg:3379809
 2:20 am on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yea I do realize there are a ton for different forums out there, so why should they post on mine? I cannot solve that question. And I don't mean anything as in one forum section and they make any topic they want. There are quite a few different sectons. Or maybe I didn't understand you correctly?

I would think that a forum dedicated to only one thing would get even less sign ups then I am getting now. I don't really see the problem with multiple sections. It would make sense that the different sections would attract different types of people, right?

prtt75




msg:3379849
 3:38 am on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I found that offering an incentive to post in forums or offering free stuff are effective ways to increase number of subscribers. This is most helpful if you are just starting. There are many people who will post in forums because they are offered money for every meaningful topic they would post or when they refer other members. Also, work on the page rank of every pages of your forum. More people are encouraged to post their link to a site with high PR.

menial




msg:3379855
 3:55 am on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

People who post for money don't make useful posts. I would avoid that.

What I meant - you need to be truly interested in the forums. You need to be the expert. You need to be ready to provide a thousand of messages yourself (by posting using different usernames, for example); it's not that difficult if you love the subject.

But you cannot be the expert in everything, you know. Focus on something you like and have knowledge and you'll attract visitors who will be interested too.

Now it seems you can only get unrelated people get together.

gape




msg:3379857
 4:07 am on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I completly agree with you menial. I would not offer money to my members to post. I know that would not work. But that signing up under different usernames and posting idea is something I have thought about, but I am hesitant to do it. And I do understand what you are saying. I am not an expert at everything on my forums, but majority of the topics I know about. Your post was extremly helpful for me, and I will give your suggestions a try. Thanks a ton. And about page ranking, how exactly do you get it higher? And you are talking about google ranking yes? My site isn't even on google yet, but I have submitted it to be crawled.

gape




msg:3379860
 4:11 am on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I cannot find an edit button. I meant to include something else in my post. I am not trying to bash you or say your ideas are crap prtt75. Maybe that did work for you, I dont want to sound hostile towards you. And I was thinking about offering a prize to whoever got the most referals on my site, but of course it needs to be active for that to work properly.

dragsterboy




msg:3380204
 1:39 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

I recently saw a forum where the forum members collect pints for certain deals and exchanges that they do with other members. The best thing is that whenever you want you can convert the points to real cash. This could be food for thoughts for many forum owners.

Beagle




msg:3380261
 2:37 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yea I do realize there are a ton for different forums out there, so why should they post on mine? I cannot solve that question.

One way or another, that's exactly the question you need to answer. Start by looking at your own reasons for wanting to have a forum. What are you hoping to accomplish with it that you can make other people excited about and want to be part of?

It's usually better to start with a few sections and then divide/add as necessary, rather than starting off with a lot of sections that can end up just looking empty.

dragsterboy - I had a feeling there was an "o" missing in your first line - although the version without an "o" might be useful in some cases, too. ;)

[edited by: Beagle at 2:40 pm (utc) on June 27, 2007]

Kurgano




msg:3380517
 6:43 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

No offense but another site all about a general forum? /yawn

Right now there are probably tens of thousands of empty general forums out there, people just don't go to a secluded area to find meaningful conversation.

Get some original content going outside the forum that people will visit the site for and some just might hang around. Even a site about worms can be a hit, if done properly.

gape




msg:3380754
 12:48 am on Jun 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yea maybe i'm just wasting my time. Another 60 or so visitors today and not a single post. I thank you guys for your comments and advice.

Kurgano




msg:3380761
 1:20 am on Jun 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

your not wasting your time and 60 new visitors is a sign of that, try new things, add new content. Keep at it and you'll find an idea that works eventualy. If you quit, i guarantee you'll never find that idea.

Nobody said it was easy, or fast :)

gape




msg:3380763
 1:28 am on Jun 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well those 60 visitors were people who clicked on my ad, looked at the home page, then left. And I realize it isn't quick either. Just incredibly hard. I actually had this forum up quite a few months ago and had it up for much longer, and no posts still. What I need are promotion ideas that are free, but obviously everyone wants money for promoting. So that won't happen.

menial




msg:3380771
 1:39 am on Jun 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Work on your design. Don't use standard vbulletin templates - make the site design easy for the eyes, but original at the same time. Nobody wants to watch the same picture (standard vbulletin templates/design) all the time.

jtara




msg:3380927
 7:30 am on Jun 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yea I do realize there are a ton for different forums out there, so why should they post on mine? I cannot solve that question.

And you think that somebody else can?

As previously mentioned by others, there's little attraction to a forum on "anything".

The more specific (to a point), the more attraction. The fallacy in your thinking is the notion that a more-specific forum would attract even fewer users.

A bit of newspeak should put the problem in perspective:

Everything is nothing

Beagle




msg:3381457
 7:46 pm on Jun 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

OK, so 60 visitors clicked on your ad and evidently didn't find what they were looking for at your site (assuming they were actually looking for something and not just link-clicking to get off some site that's disabled the back button). What did the ad lead them to believe they'd find? Is it something you could provide?

If there's really no reason for people to post on your forum instead of a different one, and you don't plan to come up with a reason, then, yes, you're wasting your time. If you're willing to put some effort into making it a place people really want to come... as has been said, 60 visitors isn't nothing. But they need to find a reason to stay after they click on the ad; if you can give them one, you're not wasting your time.

hawkerz




msg:3381478
 8:14 pm on Jun 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

You already have potential users clicking on your ad - that's more than half the battle. Now you just have to serve them up with something they find attractive. Make that landing page something that will hook them into looking further in. Maybe put a note at the top saying specifically that the boards are new, and you're looking for support. Ask for help, be flexible, and offer some kind of incentive (A lot of people would like to be moderators, maybe you can appeal to people with specific knowledge in a certain area to be moderators of those parts of the board.)

gape




msg:3381544
 10:04 pm on Jun 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I do have a quickregister box that specifially states the forum is brand new, and the ad also states that. The moderator idea I have thought about, but someone can easily prune the entire board or forum section. I'm not really willing to let some random guy moderate, even if it is only one forum. But I suppose i'll give it a shot, I do have database backups and there ain't much to lose now haha. Maybe I will make a new landing page for the ads with something for them to read, right now it just links to the main page, which isn't to appealing. I really appreciate all these replys. You guys have been quite helpful. :)

deejay




msg:3381557
 10:11 pm on Jun 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

gape, the best advice I can give you is pick a topic and go with it - something you and your team are knowledgable/passionate about. You can build out to general from there perhaps, but starting from general... well that's just plain hard.

example:

I'm stepmother. That's not an easy role and I look to forums to for information and support. Why would I choose to post to your forum where I have no idea whether anyone else there has any interest or experience to offer?

I do database design, website design, general geeky stuff, etc. Why would I choose to post to your forum where I have no idea whether anyone else there has any interest or experience to offer?

I'm 37 years old. Why would I choose to post to your forum where I have no idea whether anyone there might be of an age with me?

I'm an aspiring beekeeper. Why would I choose to post to your forum where I have no idea whether anyone else there has any interest or experience to offer?

I'm 7 months pregnant. It's kinda wonderful and scary all at once. Why would I choose to post to your forum where I have no idea whether anyone else there has any interest or experience to offer?

I love cooking and I'm not bad at it. Why would I choose to post to your forum where I have no idea whether anyone else there has any interest or experience to offer?

I used to breed parrots and still like to keep up with that a bit. Why would I choose to post to your forum where I have no idea whether anyone else there has any interest or experience to offer?

These are all facets of me. These are all facets of me that I have held/currently do hold forum memberships because of (well, except for the age thing, but I threw that in there because, honestly, I don't really want to fall into a nest of 17 year olds, or of retirees).

I really believe that people when looking for a forum are looking for some kind of connection, be that emotional, social, interest-wise or expertise. Before they post. Not hoping to randomly find a connection after they post.

Best advice I can give you... pick a topic. Go with it.

If you pick the right one I might even end up joining.

Good luck

Beagle




msg:3382518
 9:16 pm on Jun 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

...the main page, which isn't to appealing.

Don't make a new landing page just for the ads - make an appealing main page for everyone.

Beagle




msg:3382945
 4:00 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I ran across an article at A List Apart called "Being a Great Host". It compares starting a successful forum to throwing a successful party, and I thought it had a lot of good points. I tried linking to it, but that must not be allowed. You should be able to do a search for the article on the site.

[edited by: Beagle at 4:06 pm (utc) on June 30, 2007]

I Will Make It




msg:3388685
 2:30 am on Jul 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Now, THAT was a great article!

I'm having a little bit of the same problem, but I actually have a (IMO) great site around my forum. It's a model airplane community with lots of functions. (See my profile for url)

It's been out for about a month or so, I have 6 members, where most of them came from ads. I had 83 clicks and 3-4 registered. Talk about a waste of money huh?

Anyway. None of them have done anything else than registered. They haven't even uploaded their plane-picture and plane-specs, which should be very easy - and quite fun actually...
Some of the members still haven't even activated their account from their welcome-email..

I don't know how to get the first few members to post an article or a forum-post or to just post SOMETHING, whatever they'd like, so that I could at least see some activity from the hard work, coding and making the community. But nothing! - Nada!

I wish I knew, but I have to agree with what others have said:
Try to make some more out of your site than just the forum, give people a few topic-choises, not a hundred. And keep in there, don't give up.

If you give up, the only alternative you have is failing...

igorberger




msg:3395601
 7:46 am on Jul 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wonder why no one mentioned SEO?
All boards and forums are SERP's traps.

Don't forget all the mods for your forum, before it grows weeds and it will be called RIP.

I Will Make It




msg:3395915
 3:51 pm on Jul 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wonder why no one mentioned SEO?
All boards and forums are SERP's traps.
Don't forget all the mods for your forum, before it grows weeds and it will be called RIP.

My native language isn't English.
Could you please explain what you mean about forums beeing
SERP's TRAPS? (I know what SERP is, I just wonder why they are traps?)

Regards,
IWMI

Editreason: spelling

[edited by: I_Will_Make_It at 3:53 pm (utc) on July 16, 2007]

Beagle




msg:3398029
 12:21 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

My guess would be that it's referring to the fact that it can be hard for forums to do well in the SERPS - So if you're interested in SEO, you should be sure to use any mods available in the forum program you're using that will make your pages search-engine friendly.

igorberger




msg:3398040
 12:44 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanx Beagle.

I did not want to hijack the thread.

Mindy




msg:3398269
 4:17 pm on Jul 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

People don't post in empty forums. It's as simple as that. If you have 100 visitors a day coming and they do not see an active community then they're not going to find what they came for - which is an active community.

You need to seed your forums with discussions. Even if you have to register a few aliases and chat to yourself. Better yet, get your friends to come join and use the boards for a couple of weeks.

The main thing is the place has to have content, look active and be very very welcoming when somebody finally does register and post - don't leave them unanswered.

rogerd




msg:3399003
 1:21 pm on Jul 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'll echo Mindy's comments - particularly in the early days of a forum, visible activity and quick replies a big factors. While post volume is low, put yourself on email notification for all new posts. First-time posters who get a quick reply will keep coming back.

igorberger




msg:3399030
 1:30 pm on Jul 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Make sure you are an authority on the forum's subject, then go around and Spam other forums to give yourself a anme...if you make it...your forum will grow roots..but if you do not then RIP.

Beagle




msg:3399119
 3:07 pm on Jul 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Make sure you are an authority on the forum's subject...

One more reason it's difficult to start a forum about everything. ;)

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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