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This was an excellent thread to read and one I'll save for future reference. My questions pertain to expectations. What is realistic in the first 6 months or year? Shared personal experiences appreciated.
We have one competitor that is a large older board with loyal userbase and although we're pleased with new registrations [700+ in first 4 months], fostering and encouraging them to post is another story. Suggestions?
The question, "how many members in a year is a good number" is one that's really impossible to answer. A niche forum on, say, Civil War autographs might never grow beyond a few hundred members. Others add that many daily.
I'd look at other measures of success:
- Is conversation self-sustaining, or do you have to keep starting topics, bumping old ones, etc., to avoid a dead-looking forum?
- Are posts, thread starts, and daily new members trending up, down, or flat?
Generally, if your numbers are trending up and you can pretty much stand back and moderate, the community has hit critical mass. Faster growth can be achieved by outside promotion and adding viral features.
As far as adding content posts yourself, I wouldn't obsess about the SEO but I would be sure these pages have appropriate titles.
I have 231 over 12 months although for the last 3 months I've been getting 30-40 new members a month, although getting them to post is another thing!
Faster growth can be achieved by outside promotion and adding viral features.
Recommendations? We run vBSeo.
What are the most effective other things that can be done to drive traffic?
......although getting them to post is another thing!
I dont think there's any "secret"...at least I dont know of any.
Trying to get some feedback there as well :)