Archive for December, 2010

Building A Community: Five Easy Steps

The first thing to know when building an active forum community is that it will not happen overnight. To get started the most important things you will need are:

  • Dedication
  • Skill
  • Patience

Lucky for you, the first steps in getting a forum started entail getting proper hosting and forum software. With Lefora you can skip these steps and use our free forum package.

Step One
To get started you need to decide on a particular topic for your forum. A general talk forum is very unlikely to work, as you need to be able to capture a niche group of people. Once you have decided upon your genre, stick to it…there’s nothing worse than seeing a forum going off topic before its started. The forum should have a good number of interesting and focused topics. The content should reflect the interests of the target audience, and every care should be made to have well-written and informative content that is updated regularly. This not only helps attract new members, it keeps older members from losing interest and defecting to other forums.

Step Two
The forum needs to have a clear list of rules, a disclaimer, and most of all, good solid moderation. Visitors will quickly become frustrated with forums that have no clear guidelines, or feature rude, obnoxious, or overbearing members. Good manners are required as much online as offline.

Step Three
So, now the crucial part: the setup. Jot down a few notes about what exactly you want to be discussed on your forum, then create around 3-4 forums. Do not go overboard and create hundreds of sections. If you do this, people will be distracted by the lack of posts and will leave. Once you have your few forums built up you can maybe look into adding additional forums.

Step Four
Promotion, especially in the early days, will take considerable time and effort. Forums can be difficult to start (members generally are shy when there are only a few present), and the more posts that take place, the more individuals will join. This is the snowball effect of forums, so marketing must be done consistently, day in and day out, until the forum becomes more self-sustaining. Getting visitors to your site, and making them stay is probably the hardest part. Many sites and forums offer paid posts. Use them as a last resort as they give undesired results, which leave your forum full of off topic posts and advertisements. A very effective way of getting people registered is to create around 10 accounts yourself and post under the different names. Obviously not telling people you are the admin otherwise they would think you’re insane!

Step Five
Remember, if you are not committed to your forum’s topic you will not attract people.  Just because you build it, doesn’t mean that they will come. The owner of the forum should take an active interest in the forum and SHOW this interest by contributing regularly. Above all else, people join forums where they feel they will learn from the owner of the forum, and if the owner is never present, they quickly lose interest in the forum. Finally, keep your forums active. There are many ways to do this; competitions, giveaways, constant new topics being posted, and unique content. Unique content is essential. Don’t take posts from other forums because you will not only be in trouble but it will also increase your risk of being banned from search engines.

Help Us Improve in 2011

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Happy Holidays,

-Lefora Team


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