January 21, 2018, 08:17:40 PM

Author Topic: How to build a forum community?  (Read 4403 times)

VideoGameRescue

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How to build a forum community?
« on: March 30, 2012, 04:20:01 AM »
How do you build a forum community from scratch? Say Jack didn't have the following from TSP... What steps would have to be done to get a forum primed?
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Josh

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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2012, 05:37:11 AM »
He said that he didn't build a forum community. He built a community and they asked for a forum.

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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2012, 07:45:18 AM »
That is correct. If you want a forum community you need traffic first. Nothing worse than a forum w/ like 3 posts in it. People will see it and they won't join.  You need to be pretty sure that on day one your going to have sign ups and community.
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Josh

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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2012, 02:22:58 PM »
yeah it looks bad enough when you have no one commenting... but an empty forum... yuck!

VideoGameRescue

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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012, 03:39:55 PM »
hm i see forums like this (just forums) and wonder how they get the traffic
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save our skills

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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 07:18:13 AM »
hm i see forums like this (just forums) and wonder how they get the traffic

This one derives traffic from the podcast "5 minutes with jack" which was established first

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VideoGameRescue

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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2012, 12:45:39 PM »
im aware of this and i think everyone is missing what I'm saying or want to explore. owe well thanks anyways lol
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Jesse2004

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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2012, 01:13:43 PM »
VideoGameRescue - I think the real answer is you need something to kickstart a forum.  For this forum, FMWJ podcast said there was a forum coming for a couple episodes, then Jack made a special introduction thread for the first fifty to join and pitched that on FMWJ, and then every episode afterwards he keeps mentioning it...  Then once enough folks are there, it can become self sustaining - even if folks don't listen to the podcasts they can get enough value to continue participation.

I've joined forums before - generally when I googled for an answer to a question I had and the answer was in a forum.  Soemtimes I joined just to get the answer, a couple times I joined and hung out for a while - enjoying reading the similar posts.

If you don't have an external podcast or blog or something to push an initial commmunity, I think you'd have to manually recruit true believer supporters who want to help you out to get it started. 

Best bet might just be to work on building a community via blog comments or somethign similar until there is enough critical mass that they are asking for a forum...
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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2012, 02:24:39 PM »
Some forums actually employ people to help them get started.  You can actually hire people to post in your forums just like you'd hire a copywriter.

Some people also use "shill" accounts to create fake posts and make the forum look more popular than it is. That way when someone visits they are more inclined to stick around because it looks like there is a lot of activity on the site. I worked at a dot.com company that actually used this technique.
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BillyS

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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2012, 03:46:57 PM »
I think I see what you're getting at. If I'm correct, then you want to start a forum around video games (for example). You want to gather people together to discuss Super Mario Bros without having to build a massive following at your blog first.

Am I close?

The thing with forums is that they need people there to keep them going. A forum I used to go to pretty regularly sort of peetered out so I don't go there very often anymore. I think you should build the forum as an aside to your blog, then invite people to the forum through the site. Other than having a built-in community asking for one, that's about all I can think of.

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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2012, 04:37:45 PM »
Having grown a forum a 40,000+ member community that does 4.5 million page views a month, I have some thoughts.

1. It needs content. You need to seed it somehow. As others have mentioned, this forum was seeded by the FMWJ podcast community. If you don't have a community, you need to create that content. In that case, it's like building a blog. I'd suggest starting off with a small number of boards that get at least one new post per day (not necessarily a new thread). If you don't have people contributing that amount, you need to do that job. Split off into more boards only when there is so much in a forum it's difficult to find things. This gives the impression the overall forum is a busy, active place, and people will want to join in, and come back frequently.

2. It takes time. If you get 20% growth a year, you're doing pretty well for organic growth. If you want faster results, you have to be more active and generate content that will draw people in.

3. Don't let dicks be moderators. Bad moderators will quickly ruin a community and chase all the growth away. They won't please everyone, but if your moderators are firm and fair, it works well. Avoid people who will abuse their privileges.

4. Make sure your site is fast. If it takes 2 seconds to load a page or post a comment people will leave in frustration, or post a lot less than they would otherwise.

5. Don't bother with ads until you have serious traffic. There's a cool vibe to an ad free place. If you have less than say, 100 people actively posting, putting ads will give the impression you're just in it for money, not to build a community. At some point you will be approached about advertising or members who want to donate to support the site. This is the point to start considering advertising, because you've built up enough value for your advertisers and for your users to not be bothered so much by ads.

6. Don't piss off your users with obnoxious ads. That goes without saying. They should be relevant.

7. I wouldn't recruit users. Most won't stick around and it's a waste of time. I'd focus on content. Constant new content is what will build your traffic.

8. Make your forum about your users, not about you. Jack has this nailed. He's all about serving his community and he's greatly rewarded for it.

9. You will eventually get some users who are very chatty. You should please these people. If they're messing up your serious topics, give them a place to be chatty. These people are like the "glue" people in real life, and they will bring in a lot of new users, engage those users, and build your community.

10. Be attentive. If spam doesn't disappear within "hours" it's a sign of a dead community.
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Re: How to build a forum community?
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2012, 12:00:47 AM »
Excellent post Mark. We should really have a way to vote these types of great posts to a sticky status... just a thought!
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