Picking up the following two points that pleeker and richlowe made here [webmasterworld.com].
it's important to also say that having an unused, 'dead' message board is worse than not having one at all. We rarely advise clients with new web sites to add a message board; it won't get any posts and when the first set of visitors to the site see an empty message board, they can't help but think this is a web site where nothing is happening.
That's true about msg boards. That's why it's a good idea to post some things yourself and ask some friends and people you know to post as well. You havea to get people posting or it's just dead weight.
How do you start a message board? Do you build up a lot of traffic to your site the release it as a new function and hope for the best? Do you need your friends to help so you keep activity (even if it's just say the same 10 people posting)? How did WebmasterWorld start?
Does it have to be constantly monitored? Can you leave it for a day and then remove the dodgy material in one fail swoop? If not, what happens if all your moderators are in one country? You surly, can't stay up all night. Can you trust random people to moderate your forum? no offense intended. I know the moderators of this forum are excellent.
Mods! Quick come and have a look. Someone started a new thread instead of having several questions in one thread. 3 Cheers ... hip ... OK THATS ENOUGH. I'm guilty of it as well but I thought I'd make an extra effort to start a new thread instead of going off on a tangent.
Okay, I have just started out with building a community around a particular theme. Its almost fully functional now.
I think, theres something like a critical number of members to be registered, beyond which...the board/community can grow at a much better pace...considering the number of registrations and people posting regularly. probably that magic number could be 50 to 100 registered members.
Getting that initial 50 to 100 members could be quite a task ! after that...the word of mouth will take over to an extent..!
Regarding the content, Initially, mey be the admin himself/herself...got to be replying to the queries...to keep it active !
Any further suggestions could be very useful for me too !
Probably Brett could give us some very interesting and useful suggestions...!
1. Be comfortable with the topic 2. Pick the topics, have too few catagories. 3. Post daily 4. At first use a fake name (new account) and post questions - you don't want it to look like yer too lonely or else people will be cautious to post when nothing is there. 5. Do META hacks on the board to include title of thread if not included 6. Tell your friends about the board - get a few posts. 7. Moderate it well - No spam :) After a long while you can see if others are ready to become moderators dont jump the gun esp. when someone just asks.
The board is actually boards. I run a number of sites and I am looking into giving some a message board. I am beginning to see that starting a message board is a full time job. I might pass it over to someone else to moderate so my other tasks don't get neglected.
Marcia, It does sound like alot of working. Although, I will not be travelling for some time now. It will not be a SEO forum becuase anything website or seo based will probably be pointed here. I'll speak the Brett first when it's necessary.