Ok here we go.
www.ascifi.com

- site started as a smallish stargate forum, www.talkstargate.com running boardpower. I started with no website, no one else to help at all, just a bit of time.

How did i ever get it going?

1. I visited about 100 releavnt websites and asked the members to link to my new forum and join in if possible.
2. I set up a banner exchange and encouraged relevant sites to join
3. I offered a competition, a couple of DVDs
4. I gave moderator status to people relativly easily early on.
5. I did pay per click at goto.com - now to expensive for me though.
6. Posted a link to my site and news updates in newsgroups. Ensure it is within the newsgroups TOS to do this.
7. Signautres in emails etc...

Eventually, boardpower got worse and worse, with security problems etc and I bought VB and copied and pasted 2,500 posts over (don't ask!).

From then it took off. More sites started linking. I expanded the forums to other sci-fi shows. More people linked etc. Also the star hack aka Alien hack was most successful thing i ever did, people love getting there new aliens and most have names for them all!

MONEY:

Not so good. I started with Amazing media which was paying $0.50 CPM i think and got a few cheques from them. Used valueclick as well at bottom of page. Then moved to about.com which looked promising for about 1 week and now back at valueclick. My click through rate is abisimal.

Future plans. I am introducing community membership/sponsorship/donation very soon. The "asking" price will be $5 per month with benefits including:

i) custom template set (no ads)
ii) icon below username
iii) special forum
iv) listing on donators page
v) increased limits on things like pms, etc.

that sort of thing.

My hope is to get 50 people donating. That would be $250 per month and go along way to the $400 server. As well as that i am setting up webhsoting through my dedicated server starting at around $10 per month. It won't be the cheapest out there but my members will pay that extra few $ here a) because it supports the site and b) they know me.

All in all i think it will cover costs through this. Selling advertising on a forum basis also seems a possibility with genre sci-fi shops possible interest, i still think we need to be a bit bigger though until this can really take off. Average online is probably 20 at the moment but not activly increasing traffic because my server is dieing and need a new one so things like newsgroups/community bulletin are not installed which should hugely increase traffic.

There we go...