We are here to professionally build a forum for you
We are here to professionally build a forum for you but it’s you who would make it successful.
A community is an engaging audience and is a wonderful way to increase your sales provided you use it in the right way. Right from spreading your customer loyalty to word of mouth, building up your business with an online web community can reap great results in the long run. You also have your choice to target a particular demography or age group or gender. Getting the right audience in is very essential. Patience and perseverance are definitely a key character that you need to keep on in your online world. You would get loyal followers only when you are more active and responding.
Another important part is the forum software you use. Search engines should be able to crawl your forum comments and various threads, thereby taking your active forum on top of the search engine ranking list. Keeping these in mind, we choose phpBB, which is a top quality free forum and available as an open source. Most small business forums use the same.
If you want to spend your money on something better, there is vBulletin. It does require a good fee to use the same, but it’s totally worth it. It depends on your budget as to which forum software you would want to consider.
You might have heard about BBpress, which is a WordPress plugin, thereby integrating your forum with your WordPress blog/website. bbPress is free and since it is used with WordPress, you generally get a lot of customization options for free. It’s small and light, so your existing web server would be able to take the initial load.
When you are done choosing your forum software, try out your choice to see how comfortable you feel with its options and administration sections.
These days, you can also get remotely hosted forums where you do not have to manage your server or install any software. Such forums are generally hosted under one forum software and distributed to Forum Admins in sections. Such forums usually would charge you some money or provide you with Ads and Banners from their end. Firstly, that’s a huge minus for your business because you wouldn’t want your forum visitors to get distracted from your discussions by some quirky ads hosted by the forum company. Secondly, you would never get full control and ownership of your forum. A search engine crawler can play better on your individual server.
Apart from all of the above, the hardest part is the initial phase. We would like to guide you with a few key points on how to make your forum successful.
Luring members into your forum and making them stick around is a key challenge. Once you have done that, members would automatically keep your forum flowing. Generating new threads and keeping active fresh content, you are ready to go with a good forum. Targeting a niche area to build a forum would be better, as chances are that the competition would be low on a particular niche. On the way, you could learn a few more lessons about building an active forum.
Do not start up with a lot of categories and sub-categories. Take the minimalistic approach and try maximum of 4 forums in the beginning. Too many forum topics can be confusing to a user and drive him away. Your initial threads should be conversation starters. Luring people into conversing would be your main objectives. Controversial questions posted work very well here. As you continue posting, your individual threads can be grouped into different categories, thus making way for a growing forum ahead. So, when you start your forum like this, your forum does not start empty.
Being active with multiple IDs and contributing more makes sense. Your audiences should get the feel that you are not alone. Initially, you might get bored when you feel like you are talking alone. This should not be felt by your audience. Their response should be motivated and if possible cultivated for more responses. Keep posting fresh content. The initial motto is ‘Fake it, till you Make it’.
Many of your friends might not be too busy and may also share the same passion as you. Try engaging them to achieve your targets. Their original profiles would help you a lot. Start conversations and ask them to get engaged as well. This works better if you can pull off people from other forums who have the same passion on your niche. A controversial thread linked to your forum on other forums might just be a spurt of traffic to you. Take a solid step by hiring some people who would create profiles and keep them active for a few months.
Unique content does not come for free. To keep a community running, you need search engines to rank your content and thread high. And, search engine crawlers would emphasize your thread, only when it has fresh and unique content that’s valuable to your readers. Making the forum look busier is the key. And, when you have some unique information, hire a writer to spin some good articles to be used as thread starters. A few tutorials on topics from your forum niche are a good way to go.
The more people know about your forum, the more you are likely to get visitors who would engage. Negative vibes often work as a good marketing strategy. Do not post something hateful or racist but a touching a thin nerve or a controversial topic can make enthusiasts flow into your forum, thereby criticizing your forum, and in turn developing an active community. You might need to play both roles on both sides here. On your forum launch, invite your family and friends for their opinion and they might just be more inclined to put their views forward.
Last but not the least, do not give up. Competition in the market is pretty high and the one who continues the fight is the clear winner. It might be that even after months of posting fresh content and controversial topics, you have just a few hundred members. And, that is where you have won half the race. A few active members just need some continued support from you. They will stick to your forum and you would not need fresh post injections from your end.