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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Does anyone have any tips on how I can get people into my forums. While my site isn't a huge volume of visitors, I do get a few, but no one ever looks at my forums. I'm sure that its the vicious circle of 'forums are empty, so no one will post', but how does a site ever get out of this.

    Any tips would be much appreciated. My site is http://www.dvdlard.co.uk

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot Podge's Avatar
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    Why don't you ask a couple of friends to start it off with you? Nobody likes an empty forum.

    Sitepoint has about 4 articles on improving your forums.

    Here's one of them. http://www.webmasterbase.com/article.php3?aid=131&pid=0

    Hope this helps.
    Padraic Lavin

    Advertising Free Message Boards $5/mo
    Instant Setup. ForumCo.com

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Good guestion. I just started up forums which can be found at http://www.thestands.com and I will enjoy reading those articles about making forums more popular.

    Paul Goodman
    www.thestands.com- Talk Sports and surf our network of sites.
    paul@thestands.com

  4. #4
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    Building a community is more difficult than it seems... as that article (thanks for the link, BTW) says, building it doesn't mean they will come.

  5. #5
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    It takes a lot of work to build a successful community. The keys are to:
    • Make sure you have the traffic before you open the new community.
    • Start with a few forums. General Chat, Feedback, and maybe one On-Topic forum. As your audience grows you can add forums.
    • Promote your forums a lot.. Include it in your Newsletter, place a link on every page.
    • Get friends and relatives to "seed" the forums with relevant on topic conversation.
    • Direct people to your forums from the main site through "Related Topic" links.


    We employ all of the above here at SitePoint. Well except the seeding part because the forums are well seeded as it is.
    Wayne Luke
    ------------


  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot Podge's Avatar
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    Finally found all four articles on Sitepoint.
    They are well worth a read.

    http://www.promotionbase.com/subcats.php3?id=17

    Padraic Lavin

    Advertising Free Message Boards $5/mo
    Instant Setup. ForumCo.com

  7. #7
    SitePoint Zealot freejavahelp's Avatar
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    I think it really depends completely on your traffic.

    My site started getting over 1,000 hits a day in september, and as my traffic has been going up, so has the use of my forums. I started out in June only getting maybe 1 or 2 posts a month, now i get 1 every day or two.

    While my forums still don't get a lot of use, I have noticed that their use definitely goes up when the traffic goes up, so for you, maybe you should try to increase your traffic.

    Jim
    http://www.freejavahelp.com
    Making Java REALLY Easy
    Tutorials, Forums, and Articles

  8. #8
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Thanks for the advice guys, those articles were an interesting read. One thing I definately don't do is advertise the forums well enough on my site. I suspect that I probably opened them while my traffic was too low as well.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot Podge's Avatar
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    There is one other resource I think you might benefit from and thats

    http://www.gethighforums.com

    Its an online community dedicated to making successful online communities.

    Padraic Lavin

    Advertising Free Message Boards $5/mo
    Instant Setup. ForumCo.com

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    The newsletter Idea is a proven concept. The company I work for full time as a Java Developer uses a newsletter to gain customer support. You Need to create a community! This is done by inclusion also, you are not the FORUM OWNER, just be another person. Ask for people you don't know help, you will be surprised how other will help, and who they will bring along.
    Craig D. Parker
    http://www.fantasystats.com
    Free Fantasy Football Leagues

  11. #11
    SitePoint Member
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    Hey....I have a great idea to get people to post on your forum. Pay Them! Have a giveaway or free drawing from all the posters for the month.
    Win a FREE book that's not an Ebook
    http://www.wii-fm.com

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    Absolutely! Contests are a great way to attract posters...<cough>signatute</cough> - <cough>MovieForums</cough>



  13. #13
    @russellg RussellG's Avatar
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    You should get that cough checked out TWT

    With one of my old sites, I ran an ezboard. As soon as the site was up we had heaps of people coming to the forums, reason being the site was a niche group.

    You have to find a niche these days.
    russell.cz.cc - coming soon (I promise!)

  14. #14
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Only a suggestion but it works.

    MULTIPLE PERSONALITY

    Start posting under differnt names until you have few hundred posts. (assuming you have traffic)
    Looking for webhosting?
    Complete review of hosting services, including dedicated and Cobalt Raqs.
    http://www.webhostingvillage.com

  15. #15
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    Originally posted by VW
    Only a suggestion but it works.

    MULTIPLE PERSONALITY

    Start posting under differnt names until you have few hundred posts. (assuming you have traffic)
    LOL, I hope you weren't serious. Now that's someone *desperate*.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard
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    There are two steps to getting them into your forums..first making them come, which shouldn't be too difficult if you promote them etc. Second making them stay/register/post Thats the one I have been having trouble with...they won't register unless they feel the forums will be useful to them and they won't be useful until more people register. So for now me and the other admins/moderators have been posting loads to try and make the new people stay

  17. #17
    SitePoint Zealot JK_Bowman's Avatar
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    Here is an idea.. I just added this to my forums yesterday.

    Create a place where people can showcase their expertise and help others in the community at the same time by posting articles, editorials, and tutorials that they have written on a relevant subject. On my fourms I call it the "Member Spotlight" and I've dedicated a category to it.

    There are lots of people out there who would love to showcase their expertise on a paticular subject as a way to promote themselves and their own personal web site. And giving them a platform in your forums to do this not only builds community - but it (I hope) dramatically adds to the value of your forum content.

    I think it's also a great way to invite people to your forums. For example, I was over at promotionworld.com today and dropped in on their forum. I realized the moderator had a web site about promotion and I visited there. She had some good content on her site, so I sent an e-mail to her and invited her to post one of her articles in this new category on my site.

    Of course, I have no idea if she will visit. But I think that's a better way to attract someone than to say "please please O pretty please visit my fourms." hee hee

    Anyway - hopefully it will work. I have my fingers croXXed anyway. []
    Editor, J.K. Bowman
    Spider-Food.net

  18. #18
    SitePoint Zealot Lorina's Avatar
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    My advice is to make sure that you, as the moderator/administrator, actively take part in your forums. Always greet new guests, or at least make sure to post a reply to someone's first post so it's not left hanging. And having mulitple personalities can be fun sometimes! (Hey, I am a Gemini! I didn't have conversations with myself or anything, but sometimes it's fun to be devil's advocate without ruining your reputation.)

    And I agree -- people like sharing their opinions/expertise. I just started a new forum where people can review different dating sites, and they really seem to like it.

    I also actively promote the forums. I mention them in every newsletter, and when someone sends me a form mail, the "thank you" e-mail reminds them to check them out, too.



    [Edited by Lorina on 10-26-2000 at 02:09 PM]
    Cheese-N-Rice - A daily comic strip.

  19. #19
    Freelance Web Designer KeithMcL's Avatar
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    This one's for TWT,

    Chris, where do you get your prizes that you give away? Do you buy them yourself or is there a site that allows you to give a prize away for traffic to their site?

    I was hoping to have a prize to give away for people that signed up for my newsletter but couldn't afford to buy something like a DVD player or Digital Camera to give away.

    thanks,

  20. #20
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    The problem with the "member spotlight" idea (which is a great one, BTW!) is that you can run into trouble if you don't have enough posters, or enough new, quality posters who can fill the spot.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Addict
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    My message board site started because there was a group of people who met on another, not-so-reliable message board decided that we needed a better place to post. We went to an ezBoard first and now have a specific site set up with a UBB.

    Having the core group of four or five posters that get conversations started and keep them going is really the key. We're still a really small site (but then again, I do almost no promotion), but we've added a couple of dozen new posters who participate. I don't know that they would have had there not already been a good bit of conversation going.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Thanks for all the replies everyone. I've just started a forum competition and within a few days I went from no posts to 5 new posts from new members. So the competition idea is definately a good one.


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