Back in the days before Web 2.0 and more importantly; user created content, the standard setup for any website was a bunch of static content pages and a community forum.
Now, towards the end of 2007 itís becoming pretty hard to find a content management system that doesnít come bundled with a means for your visitors to leave their thoughts and opinions (aka content) on your pages.
After some thought, I decided to remove the forums from one of my sites. Iíll be the first to admit, my forums werenít really that successful but it got me thinking; do we really need forums these days?
Obviously there are some sites that are based on forum software (such as our very own webmasterworld) and then we have the community portals etc, but apart from the obvious example - are they really needed like they once were?
Here are the deciding factors that prompted me to remove the forums from my site:
- I didnít really have the time to be an active member/admin of my own forum
- Forum members would discuss the same topics that were on the main site, rather than using the comment/feedback forms, potentially diluting my main siteís content. Once I removed the forums, the number of people commenting on the main siteís pages increased as did the pageís ranking.
- A largely empty/inactive forum gives a bad impression on the main site
- Adsense didnít convert as well as it did on the main site
- There are around 10,000,000 more active and more general forums than mine.
As you can tell, forums probably werenít right for my site in the first place but I also realised that things are changing fast and people are more willing to use comment boxes than sign up to commitment software like forums, and I think that for some websites thatís probably a good thing.
So next time you launch a new site and immediately upload the latest version of your favourite forum script just out of habit, just give a little thought to if itís really needed.
[edited by: Karma at 10:51 pm (utc) on Nov. 6, 2007]