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New Forum Community expectations

New Forum Community expectations



5:52 pm on May 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi all
Im starting a new forum community in a niche market under a well established URL [ecommerce website up for 5 years]. Im in the unique situation of somewhat side-stepping the usual struggle to generate members from scratch as this forum is a take-over of an old forum community that was very outdated but still had nearly 1000 registered users.

Im using vBulletin forum software w/VBseo and a very simple custom skin. Adding RSS feeds and social bookmarking widget tools. The forum is set to officially launch within a couple of weeks.

I basically have one competitor in my market. The stats that Ive found on this competitor are: average 8000 uniques/day; average 240K uniques/month.

Frankly, this competing site isnt very well done even though it does have enormous traffic and membership...basically due to no competition. It is rather clunky, basic, doesnt utilize social media or feeds, and from what Ive seen in their "announcements" threads is somewhat buggy w/lots of tech issues.

I would like to hear from seasoned experienced forum owners with larger boards on what to expect as far as growth projections, milestones in your own forum growth experience, etc. I realise everyones experence is different...Im just wanting to gather some general thoughts on growth trajectories, membership growth rates, etc based on other webmaster experiences.

Thanks in advance for any and all input.


3:54 pm on May 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

It's very hard to predict growth for a community in advance, though obviously your successful competitor gives you an order of magnitude to strive for years down the road.

Your growth rate will depend on two things:

1) How effectively you can drive traffic to the forum (via blogs, other forums, SEO, social media, viral features, etc.)

2) How effectively you can engage and retain new arrivals.

#1 will determine your growth rate, but all will be for naught if you ignore #2. Just as businesses are often accused of chasing new customers rather than focusing on their current customers, communities can spend too much time outside and not enough time inside.

Good luck, I wish I could provide a better estimate of __% growth per month or __ new members per day. The nature of the biz makes that impossible, though I am generally encouraged by your competitor's success.


4:08 pm on May 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks...what exactly do you mean by "viral features"?
[just so Im clear]

we've incorporated a blog, social media, and extensive SEO.

we dont have any problems engaging and retaining. this is predominently common sense I think.


10:32 pm on Aug 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Never underestimate the strength of a community by it's looks. Pretty sites are not what draw new members, awesome content is what brings enthusiastic posters.

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