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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

    
Dominating with your forum
wowy




msg:1561397
 5:44 pm on Jul 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

For those of you that dominate your "forum industry" what suggestions would you have to do just that? My forums are "webmaster related" and that area is pretty competitive. Just looking for ideas. Thanks

 

rcjordan




msg:1561398
 5:49 pm on Jul 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Decide on your "personality" and let it be known early on. Push-come-to-shove, it's really the collective character of the forum's major players that causes a community to gel.

wowy




msg:1561399
 6:00 pm on Jul 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Interesting suggestion. Could you explain a in a little more detail?

rogerd




msg:1561400
 10:29 pm on Jul 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't want to put words in RC's mouth, but let me take a stab at it, wowy. Forums definitely take on a personality, just like any group of people. Certainly, we've all walked into a party (or a beverage establishment) and found the people friendly and welcoming, while another similar setting might seem snobbish, rude, or standoffish.

This personality is a community personality, but it is disproportionately shaped by two groups. The first group is composed of the prominent members, i.e., those who post a lot or who have a strong reputation (based on their forum participation or external factors). Visitors are more likely to encounter these members and/or more likely to consider them representatives of the community. E.g., if you make your first post in a forum and a senior member with 10,000 posts flames you, it's more likely a characteristic of the community than if a guy on his second post does it.

The other group is the moderator staff (including admins, owners, etc.) - they define and maintain the tone of discussion, and try to make sure that newcomers feel welcome and comfortable. I've visited some forums where the moderators were quite obnoxious and would use their moderating ability to win heated arguments with members; needless to say, these forums tend to be market share losers when there's a better alternative.

Becoming the major forum in your market space doesn't happen overnight - it takes many thousands of decisions by thousands of individuals to visit, to post, to return, to post again, etc. You win the battle one member at a time.

wowy




msg:1561401
 10:44 pm on Jul 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ok, that makes since. I've experienced that in popular forums. My forums are, well I wouldn't go so far as to say established, but it's on it way. I know exactly what you mean rogerd. I guess my question should have been what would it take to get in front of your "ideal" potential member. I'm working on getting ranked, however the keyword phrases I'm after are extremely competitive. Maybe I'm looking for alternative methods of promotion.

rogerd




msg:1561402
 12:23 am on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Promoting your forum can be a challenge if search results are competitive. Nevertheless, as you develop a body of forum content you'll start to drive traffic for many, many less competitive phrases. You can also try to target some particular phrases with non-forum pages.

Word of mouth marketing will help; promote your forum by links from other sites, and perhaps (where appropriate and allowed) posting in other forums. Be sure you have an "email this page" link on every page. It's a slow process, but it will build if you work at it.

wowy




msg:1561403
 2:30 am on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

***You can also try to target some particular phrases with non-forum pages.***

Yes we already do this. The "main" site is a webmaster resources site with a dozen or more SEO and webmaster "tools".

***promote your forum by links from other sites, and perhaps (where appropriate and allowed) posting in other forums.***

We've been doing this as well

***Be sure you have an "email this page" link on every page.***

Good suggestion.

rogerd




msg:1561404
 2:01 pm on Jul 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

A forum is a lot like other kinds of businesses. Take a restaurant for example. It has to advertise to get people there for the first time, but if the customers don't like the food or the service is bad, they won't return. If they have a great experience, though, not only will they return but they'll tell their friends, too. If people really like it, soon they'll be booked to capacity and no paid advertising will be needed to keep busy.

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