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Forum Moderators: rogerd
You could run a contests. Example, give the first 20 members that post 100 messages a prize. The prize could be money, software etc. But there are problems with this though, you will get some members that will spam your forum just to get the prize, but you may be able to sucker a few in and they will come back and post day after day.
It's also improtant that New Members feel Comfortable at the forum. One way to do this is by having a introduction area on your forum and make sure you or someone else welcomes them.
I think most visitors see there is not many members and they just leave but, I have to start somewhere.
You think wrong - it has nothing to do with quantity of members, it's all about quality and content. Would you rather spend time talking to 3 top quality professionals in your field, or 1,000 baboons?
You need to keep posting - 3 to 5 posts a day. Quality must be high (that's the critical point of failure for most forums that never were). Talk to yourself if neccessary (some people make up an alias) but keep starting great, topical threads.
Eventually, people will start to appear and will want to talk to you. If you have an interesting topic/thread they want to discuss, they won't care whether or not they're asking you a question, or 1,000 other people.
It's like starting a good conversation at a bus stop. Eventually a few of the passing pedestrians will come and join the debate. Sooner or later you're all having a party.
Does anyone have any good ideas on how to get people to join?
Allow guest posting initially, move it over to members only when things liven up a bit (you'll know when).
I suggest this discussion is taken over to the Community Forum (where Kodaks has pointed you to some excellent resources) as it'll be more suited there than in here....