I know there are a lot of you who are have heard about the awesome power of having an online forum community. You have probably already been active in numerous forums and have begun to create a network of friends on these forums.
Next thing that goes through your mind is, “Why don’t I start a Forum of my own!” So you go ahead and begin to research on how to do it and realize that starting an online forum community is a lot harder than you thought!
Well, this article is about how to go about starting your own online forum in the easiest way possible. So lets here we go:
1. Establish Your Niche Topic for the Forum.
I have seen a lot of forums that I go to and they cover anything and everything in their forum. Now it is always good to have a “Chit Chat” or “Lounge” area of your forum to give members an opportunity to talk about anything. However, the success of your forum is to have a specific niche topic that will not only get your forum indexed by the search engines, but something that will attract your core audience.
This is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome even though it may seem the easiest thing to understand. Many novice forum webmasters see that they can add as many categories and sub-forums as they can in their overall website forum, and the main topic gets lost. In turn, when a visitor does happen to come the website, they are turned off by a ‘General’ forum.
2. Select the best Web Forum Script
There are so many forum scripts out there in which this is another huge major obstacle a novice webmaster comes across.
Your first tendency will be to use the forum script that the forum you are most active on uses right?
Now there is nothing wrong with this, but sometimes these forums scripts are so modified and ‘hacked’ as is sometimes referred to modified forum scripts that it will be hard for you to create one just like your favorite forum.
I would suggest to start off with a free forum script that has the feature to ‘migrate’ forum information to another forum script. For example. Start off with the free forum script phpBB. This is by far the most powerful free script available. Even most web hosts have it part of their package that you can install on a single click (we’ll talk more about web hosts later).
Once you have phpBB installed, this is by far the best forum script in which other ‘paid for’ forum scripts have what is called ‘migration tools’ for. These migration tools is a script or tool that can transfer all of your forum information.
So for example, you website is successful and you wish to ‘change your forum foundation script’ to a ‘paid script’ such as vBulletin. vBulletin has a migration tool for phpBB, the process would be seamless and you wouldn’t lose any forum information.
The worst thing for a forum community is to have a lot of activity on the forum and then the webmaster decided to change the forum platform because the free one they started out with just doesn’t have all the features of other forum communities. So the webmaster changes the forum script and loses the forum information. I guarantee this will KILL your community.
So starting off with a wise plan in the beginning to grow is a huge step.