EDU: How to Make Your Forum More Active

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Jackal
Valued Contributor
Joined: January 27th, 2007, 1:45 am

April 6th, 2007, 3:01 pm

A lot of people have forums and don't know where to start to make it more active, so let me share some tips with you to help.

How to Make An Active Forum

(1.) Optimize your forum

One of the most important things that a user can do is to optimize their forum to not only attract visitors, but also keep them as an active member of your community. Now what does optimizing your forum mean? Well it means several things, and not all of them will apply to all forums but I will go over several general guidelines to help you get started.

------A. Keep your forum focused on a few topics and not everything under the sun.
Too many people think that if they make their forum cover every topic imaginable that they will attract more visitors since they will inevitably be interested in at least one of those topics. It is a good strategy but it has a few flaws. What makes someone visit and then join a forum in the first place?
-----------1. Subject(s) that interest them and
-----------2. an Active Community
Making a forum that has 12 different categories and 7 forums in each one of those categories may sound like a good idea because while this certainly covers a broad array of subjects it also makes your forum look inactive which can/will turn people away. What I suggest is having a fairly small forum that focuses primarily on 1-3 subjects and then expand from there if the need from your users arises. Empty forums are an unattractive aspect of a forum and could make people click the back button of the browser instead of registering.

------B. Optimize the content of your forum.
Now that you hopefully have cleaned up your forum some, it is now time to optimize the remaining content in your forum. One important aspect of this is just to make sure you are using proper spelling and grammar. Nothing screams &quotstay away!" like a forum that has multiple spelling/grammar mistakes in the forum/category names and descriptions.

Ideally, you want your forum optimized as so that guests will feel compelled to register and post. One way to do this is to make a few forum that you may feel are the most attractive and make them registered users only, while another thought may just to allow guests to do anything and if they like the site enough they will join anyway. Either way may work, and I don't really suggest either way over the other, as it is something you may have to play around with.

------C. Actually have content for your forum.
You can't go and expect your forum to be active at all if you have forums that are made but are void of content. Aside from forum rules in each forum, you should make some posts about the subject. Make it appear that the forum is active and you are one step closer to making someone into a registered user. I would recommend going out and doing some research on whatever topics are out there and putting it in your own words in the forum. This helps attract people searching in google for a term that may be a bit &quotout there" but very related to your forum. Lots of content, both custom and referenced from another site is critical.

(2.) Attract Visitors

Ok, now that the easy part is out of the way, now you need to actually attract visitors. This is not an easy process but is extremely possible given time and dedication.

------A. Advertising
One of the most obvious ways to get people to your site is through the use of advertising.

-----------1. Paid Advertising
One of the methods of advertising is simply just to pay to have ads up on places where your people who may be interested in your forum visit. I may get into details about this later, but since you have a free forum here with is, I think it is safe to assume that most would not go this route. Not only that but I also think this only works with certain types of forums.

-----------2. "Free" Advertising
Ahh yes, free advertising, this costs nothing to you (except for your time) and can often times bring the best results. Free advertising includes:

a. Search Engine Optimization
b. Promoting via other forums
c. Subtle advertising of your forum
d. Other

-----------------a. Search Engine Optimization
Search engines rank pages for a lot of reasons, they have very complex algorithms to rank sites so that the best ones should be at the top and go down from there.
One the easiest ways to get ranking on google for certain keywords is to: get links to your forum, and optimize your forum (discussed previously). I won't get into details into this too much since it is very complex, but if you have a lot of sites that google thinks are good linking to you, then google will think that your site is good as well.

-----------------b. Promoting via other forums
A good example of this is our forum promotion board. This is an excellent way to promote your forum and to get your forum out there for others to see. Find a forum and make a post that will make other members want to join it! Some forums do not like advertising of other forums and you may get banned, but just be careful and you should do fine.

-----------------c. Subtle advertising of your forum
This is actually the same thing as above but instead of making it obvious that you are obvious, you just wait for the prime time to make a subtle post about your forum. Example:

User1: Hey guys, does anyone know where I can get some good strategies for *insert game title here*?

You: Yea, I know of this great site that I found a while ago. It is: *insert URL to your forum here*.


This gives you a chance to get your forum out there but also isn't so obvious that it is yours and if you do it right no one should even be suspicious.

-----------------d. Other
This section is talking about getting people to join your forum for something, such as a contest. If you are a clan, you could host contests for the game and offer prizes and that will make your forum a lot more active and well known.

(3.) Utilize Forum Features

------A. Forum Toolbar
This new feature is an incredible tool that can be used to expand your forum and increase forum activity. Some of the forum toolbar feature's are:

-RSS Reader: Automatically display standard RSS feeds in your toolbar
-Ticker: A ticker that displays your message in the toolbar
-News Ticker: A ticker that is preloaded with the content that you choose
-Message Box: Communicate with your users through the RSS message box
-Chat: Chat room for all your toolbar users
-Email Notifier: Notifies your users about new emails that they receive in their regular email accounts
-Weather: Lets your users view weather forecasts in the toolbar
-Privacy Button & Popup Blocker: Blocks annoying pop-ups and includes cookie cleaner, history cleaner, and cache cleaner
-Radio: Listen to predefined radio stations or make your own!
-HTML Component: Add your own components
-External Menu Component: Add a toolbar button with menu that gets its contents dynamically from your site

You can also add links to places of your choice as well!

Why should I use the toolbar if I already have a toolbar already installed in my browser?
This toolbar can be a very important tool that can be used to make a forum more active. One nice feature of this is to keep track of new posts, allowing you make fast replies to users on your board, which promotes user activity a lot! It also has a chat box, and a message box which you can use to send messages to users, the best part of it is that they don't even have to be on the forum to receive those messages!

It is in your best interest to try to promote the toolbar as much as possible since it &quotunifies" your forum users and helps make them more active.

------B. Domains & Attachment Uploading

Another excellent way to attract visitors is through buying a domain. Freeforums.org has an excellent forum naming system where your forum is just a subdomain on our system, making it a lot easier to remember and give out than some other hosts. Buying a domain name makes accessing your forum easier though, and can also make it seem &quotbetter" or more &quotprofessional" when compared to other forums that may be hosted with a free forum hoster.


The attachment mod can be used to allow your users quick and easy ways to upload pictures, small files, and more without going through the hassle of setting up an account somewhere else.


This is an ongoing process, so I will be adding things later on. If you have any suggestions for this, please PM me.
Thank you,
-Jackal
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User avatar
Im_High_Tech
Joined: June 2nd, 2007, 9:17 pm

June 18th, 2007, 9:00 pm

Yep, this is all true.... many forums do just list a bunch of crap that noone even wants to read... Even just reading the tittle of the topic is boring....
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deexdee
Joined: June 10th, 2007, 5:22 pm

June 20th, 2007, 4:21 pm

Very nice Jackal.

Thanks for the thread.
FFP Shows you the real way of promoting your FORUM!
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MJGB
Joined: June 3rd, 2007, 8:01 am

June 20th, 2007, 4:30 pm

deexdee wrote:Very nice Jackal.

Thanks for the thread.
:D Ye, thanks
Megan Fox < Evangeline Lilly ;)
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Victim
Joined: May 20th, 2007, 8:08 am

June 20th, 2007, 6:54 pm

Good work jackal. Thanks.
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Hamody
1
Joined: June 13th, 2007, 4:44 pm

June 26th, 2007, 2:30 pm

thanx alot &gt&gt&gtu help me really ??
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newtown
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 3:36 am

July 3rd, 2007, 3:38 am

This is a good guide.
It really will help everybody's forums.
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Victim wrote:Yer, my PC got scared, then i told him it was ok.. It was only a name for the forum, and he got so stressed.. He went downstairs, and started smoking..

Now i dont have a PC because he has cancer.
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pompeyrayuk
7
Joined: June 7th, 2007, 2:40 pm

July 8th, 2007, 12:33 pm

All bar two of the free upgrade deals are US only. Im in England.
Ray Belstone
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dj
4
Joined: July 19th, 2007, 1:48 pm

July 19th, 2007, 2:06 pm

hi i m new here.
i think i will get help here :):):)
i m not understanding that how to promot forum.
My Forum
life is nothing without internet
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Max
Joined: April 19th, 2007, 11:01 am

July 19th, 2007, 2:16 pm

what you do is, when its open &amp looking ok,
make a post telling us what its about (short description) in a few lines
and dont forget to add yout URL (domain name of it)
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thejflo
7
Joined: July 27th, 2007, 4:09 am

July 27th, 2007, 4:16 am

Hm, my forum follows all of these suggestions except for the different boards.

I currently have about 8 or 9:

Juicy Flawless Community chat room
- General Discussion
- Lucy Photos
- Media (Share downloads)
- Graphic (&amp Drawings) Artwork
- Battlestar Galactica
- Xena: Warrior Princess
- Off Topic
- Introduction Forum
- Questions/Concerns

Is it over kill? The problem is, I tend to be too stubborn to compromise these sort of things if I really like the way I created things, lol.
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Tnafbrat
Joined: August 24th, 2007, 12:42 pm

August 26th, 2007, 7:40 pm

:lol: I'm like you thejflo :lol:

Hi, I'm new as well. I've got my spot opened, and brought a few pals along, but I do have a number of boards :lol: It's a fun and interests spot 2 days old. The pals are taking charge of their particular areas of interests. I'm learning a lot through this. :o

Tnafbrat

www.tnafbratsbackyard.com
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Remy
Joined: July 2nd, 2007, 8:18 pm

August 27th, 2007, 4:24 pm

But do you have some links to put your forum on?
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Dan_Clk
Joined: August 12th, 2007, 1:22 pm

August 30th, 2007, 1:21 am

Thanks for the tips!
<a href="http://freeadvertising.freeforums.org/portal.php" target="_blank"><img src="http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u32/ ... button.png" border="0" alt="Click here to go to Free Advertising"></a>
Pm me for information about Free Advertising.
Or view our ad: http://forum.freeforums.org/viewtopic.php?t=29840

Please do not pm me for support.
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Veselyev
Joined: August 24th, 2007, 11:23 pm

August 30th, 2007, 6:36 am

Jackal wrote: -----------2. &quotFree&quot Advertising
Ahh yes, free advertising, this costs nothing to you (except for your time) and can often times bring the best results. Free advertising includes:

a. Search Engine Optimization
b. Promoting via other forums
c. Subtle advertising of your forum
d. Other



-----------------b. Promoting via other forums
A good example of this is our forum promotion board. This is an excellent way to promote your forum and to get your forum out there for others to see. Find a forum and make a post that will make other members want to join it! Some forums do not like advertising of other forums and you may get banned, but just be careful and you should do fine.


And registering on my advertising forum ( http://sitepromotion.freeforums.org ). It's tied with some my forum - so no probs - just register!
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Deimenried
Joined: August 8th, 2007, 9:22 am

September 3rd, 2007, 10:23 am

Very shameless advertising there... *sigh*
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<a href="http://www.victorylap.freeforums.org"><img src="http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/1387 ... ></img></a>
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Dantee Chaoz
Joined: September 11th, 2007, 2:54 am

September 11th, 2007, 3:00 am

I found just spamming the site name helped in online games like BOTS and GunBound i know it sounds cruel but everyone else does it
NEW SITE WITH SMF CHECK IT OUT YOULL HAVE TO REGISTER THOW!

http://darkchaos.freeweb7.com/index.php

AND IF YOU DONT LIKE WHERE ITS FROM...THEN GROW UP! I HAVE BEEN HERE AGES AND HAD MANY SITES HERE I HAVE GOT FRIENDS HERE!
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Shooter85
Joined: September 22nd, 2007, 8:34 pm

September 22nd, 2007, 8:47 pm

This is going to help me alot. Thanks
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emuxzone
Joined: August 14th, 2007, 5:53 pm

September 23rd, 2007, 6:36 pm

thank you for the advice
Regards,
-Ashley.S.
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Sandy
Joined: September 25th, 2007, 9:42 am

September 25th, 2007, 10:03 am

Jackal thank you so much I have had forums before and I have not been successful. Having some help like this sure will give me a little boost. I am still not quiet ready for members and one thing you said up top is one of my mistakes was having too many forums this time I told my self I was going to start of small and build as the needs get bigger.

sure mate talking to my self would seem strange but I really want to make a good go at it this time.
please join my new forum toplist
http://justforums.top-site-list.com/
please vote for Friends Around The Corner.Here http://www.forumtopsites.com
and here. http://top100.trollbusters.org

I'll vote for you Ill just need the link.
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MJGB
Joined: June 3rd, 2007, 8:01 am

September 25th, 2007, 4:25 pm

Welcome to the forums Sandy.

If you have any questions, we shall be happy to assist.

LINK TO GENERAL SUPPORT FORUM
Megan Fox < Evangeline Lilly ;)
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Sandy
Joined: September 25th, 2007, 9:42 am

September 25th, 2007, 10:26 pm

thanks for the welcome MJGB
please join my new forum toplist
http://justforums.top-site-list.com/
please vote for Friends Around The Corner.Here http://www.forumtopsites.com
and here. http://top100.trollbusters.org

I'll vote for you Ill just need the link.
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SA13
Joined: September 26th, 2007, 3:53 am

September 26th, 2007, 5:30 am

Nice. Thanks for that.
Join my site! GamerLegends.freeforums.org!
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Injeun
Joined: September 29th, 2007, 5:59 pm

September 29th, 2007, 6:18 pm

Hi,

Thanks for the advice about upping forum traffic. I used to belong to the Orlando Sentinel Forum which mostly covered news, current events, politics, etc. But thier software is badly broken. For instance, the letters c and d are filtered and posts don't stick. So I started a forum with FreeForums and am very pleased with it. I have eight members from the Orlando Sentinel forum and am looking for more members to enliven the discussions. If anyone is interested in argueing politics or talking about thier interests, then please come check my site out and join.

Thank you to FreeForums for this opportunity. Your forum software is flawless and fast.

Injeun

http://stateyourpoint.freeforums.org/portal.php
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Lufa
Joined: October 1st, 2007, 11:08 pm

October 4th, 2007, 8:27 am

so is the concept the bigger your fourm is the faster it will grow?
Art Gallery and games are up!
people want your work up on the galery?Want to play some games?
come to www.australiangodsofwar.au.tt
new games will be put in and new games and be put in by request!!!
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