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Old 03-21-2012, 08:36 AM
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How to start a forum?

I need some ideas regarding starting a new forum.

1. Is it necessary to be a niche forum, or could it be a completely general forum where people can speak about anything?
2. Can it be started/maintained/grown by a single person?
3. How can you be promoted?
4. How do you build the content in the first weeks and months?
5. Once started, how can you bring on visitors?
6. Once you brought visitors, how do you convice them to become members?
7. How do you find/pay moderators?
8. How many crew members needed for a 10k uniques/day forum?
9. Should you start it directly with a paid board (vBulletin) or could you start it up with a free one (PHPBB) and then migrate it?
10. Is it possible to migrate everything from a free board to a paid board.
11. When should you start monetizing it (showing ads)? From the beginning or after you have settled your community?
12. When do you need to rent a dedicated server? Can you start with shared hosting?

Thanks a lot for the time.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:19 AM
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First thing to do is read the threads in this section of the forum, as there's probably one or more covering just about every question up there. That isn't a criticism, just a good way to get started. This place is fortunate to have a boatload of members who run their own forums, so you've got a good chance of finding some extraordinary direction on every topic you have listed. Good luck... it's a lotta work getting one started from scratch.
 
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:22 PM
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1. Is it necessary to be a niche forum, or could it be a completely general forum where people can speak about anything?

Niche forums are more quality based while general forums get you a lot of posts fast.

2. Can it be started/maintained/grown by a single person?

Depends on if you have the time to do it all yourself.

3. How can you be promoted?

Backlinks, affiliates, Google AdSense
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robjones View Post
First thing to do is read the threads in this section of the forum, as there's probably one or more covering just about every question up there. That isn't a criticism, just a good way to get started. This place is fortunate to have a boatload of members who run their own forums, so you've got a good chance of finding some extraordinary direction on every topic you have listed. Good luck... it's a lotta work getting one started from scratch.
Thanks robjones. Could you point out some specific threads?
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:46 AM
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Our own Snakeair has some thoughts about this topic on his blog. http://newbizshop.com/start-forum/ Check it out.
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Old 03-22-2012, 02:03 PM
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0. need a decent amount of money for advertising

i'm an admin of 4 vb forums
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by deohaivan View Post
0. need a decent amount of money for advertising
And when you say decent, you are speaking about what kind of figure? hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands?
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:37 AM
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And when you say decent, you are speaking about what kind of figure? hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands?
Without any specific topic that you are good at money wont help.

To advertise new forum really good you need budget of at lesat 2000-3000$ in my opinion.
 
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Juvani Marco View Post
Without any specific topic that you are good at money wont help.

To advertise new forum really good you need budget of at lesat 2000-3000$ in my opinion.
$2000-$3000 wouldn't really be a big fortune. But how would you persuade people to write, to add value through their comments.
Even if you advertise, people might click on an add, come and leave.
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infinity79 View Post
$2000-$3000 wouldn't really be a big fortune. But how would you persuade people to write, to add value through their comments.
Even if you advertise, people might click on an add, come and leave.
Once your forum get's really active and the registrations are coming in daily, think about applying for a http://buysellads.com/ account to sell ad space on your forum.

You can still use adsense but only high traffic, quality sites get accepted in buysellads. (I've seen a ton of forums listed on that site)
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:04 PM
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1. Is it necessary to be a niche forum, or could it be a completely general forum where people can speak about anything?

The larger it is, the harder it is to make it popular.

2. Can it be started/maintained/grown by a single person?

Yes.

3. How can you be promoted?

I don't need to be promoted, thank you ; now, if you are talking about the forum, you can start with your friends, people with similar interests on a Google group, advertising, paying for posts. You could also try banner exchange programs like this one, specially while you are starting.

4. How do you build the content in the first weeks and months?

Reread #3.

5. Once started, how can you bring on visitors?

Reread #3

6. Once you brought visitors, how do you convice them to become members?

Give them something challenging enough to motivate them to give their opinion, or something useful enough (like free promotion, free comments or free help) to motivate them to join.

7. How do you find/pay moderators?

Usually Internet forums will do. You can pay either an agreed amount of money or perhaps including their Adsense or other advertising network on your site, so they can earn from there.

8. How many crew members needed for a 10k uniques/day forum?

That's too hard to tell.

9. Should you start it directly with a paid board (vBulletin) or could you start it up with a free one (PHPBB) and then migrate it?

If your target forum software has an import tool, you can go for the latter.

10. Is it possible to migrate everything from a free board to a paid board.

It depends on the forum software. Vanilla does.

11. When should you start monetizing it (showing ads)? From the beginning or after you have settled your community?

From the beginning is OK, as long as you don't abuse.

12. When do you need to rent a dedicated server? Can you start with shared hosting?

Yes, you can start with shared hosting.
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:34 AM
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I'm an admin on a fairly big forum (in the 60k zone on alexa). So hopefully I can give you some insight.


1. Is it necessary to be a niche forum, or could it be a completely general forum where people can speak about anything?
Well if you have a niche forum I think people would have more of a reason to register on it. If you're going to have a broad range of topics make sure there is something unique, something defining that makes people want to register and share.
2. Can it be started/maintained/grown by a single person?
Of course at first it can be. I know the forum I am on was started by one guy back in 2003.
3. How can you be promoted?
If you have a niche try to write guest articles on blogs and link to your forum.
4. How do you build the content in the first weeks and months?
Make sure you have a clear set of rules, and sticky posts written for different forums and subforums.
5. Once started, how can you bring on visitors?
Make sure your site is search engine optimized so you can get people coming in from google. And like I said, try to write guest articles and things to get links to your site.
6. Once you brought visitors, how do you convice them to become members?
Make them realize what a great community you have. Make it clear where to register and try to have stickies that encourage registration.
7. How do you find/pay moderators?
The beauty of a forum is you really don't need to pay any of your staff. They do the work for free because they value the community. What I like is having a team of moderators. At first you'll be the admin/moderator/welcome wagon. After you find you need another moderator shoot one of your best members a PM asking if they'd like to be your head moderator. After that the two of you can select new moderators as the need increases.
8. How many crew members needed for a 10k uniques/day forum?
It really depends. It's something you'll get a feel for once you get things running.
9. Should you start it directly with a paid board (vBulletin) or could you start it up with a free one (PHPBB) and then migrate it?
Please just start with vBulletin.
10. Is it possible to migrate everything from a free board to a paid board.
I'm not really sure if this is possible. But like I said, just start with vBulletin. It's brilliant software and works quite well.
11. When should you start monetizing it (showing ads)? From the beginning or after you have settled your community?
I would place ads once you have a fairly strong userbase. But that's mostly just preference.
12. When do you need to rent a dedicated server? Can you start with shared hosting?
Start the cheapest way possible. There isn't a need to overpay for a ded server at the very start. But once things start getting slow because your shared server isn't powerful enough, it's time to upgrade.
Hope that helps, best of luck to you. If you ever have any questions about forums feel free to PM me. I can help with staff structure, forum structure, and rules. Hopefully you become a success :>
 
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:05 AM
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Tedel&ben.d.h thanks a lot to both of you for your time and the clearness you've explained.
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infinity79 View Post
Tedel&ben.d.h thanks a lot to both of you for your time and the clearness you've explained.
Anything to help a brother out. Like I said contact me if you ever need a hand.
 
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Old 03-31-2012, 04:36 PM
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Just find some active friendly members to get the Forum going and from there on its mostly auto-pilot.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:36 AM
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Four more things:
- Should I buy the vBulletin suite ($285) or vBulletin classic ($195) is enough? There's a $90 difference. What is offered more in the suite?
- After I buy the license, it's mine forever, or is there a periodical fee that I have to pay?
- The vBulletin plugins, themes, widgets are for free or I still have to invest some money on it?
- How much should a complete vBulletin installation cost in order to be compliant with a medium size board (100.000 uniques/month)?
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Old 04-02-2012, 04:31 AM
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I recommend the book by Patrick O’Keefe- Managing Online Forums.
It is THE book on starting & managing a successful online community.
 
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:42 AM
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seems hard to initiate a forum at one sight but later on steps goes on.Indeed money and active visitors are required at once to begin the step
 
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:53 AM
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Starting a forum is 10 years old idea. Keep in mind that Google is about 12 years old. In internet world 12 years is equal to 100 years of human life. It is possible to survive from forums, if you start of something else first. An example would be Craigslist forums. They had the Craigslist, they just added a forum to it. Of course this forum can peek up fast as the traffic is already there. Start a site, add a forum to it.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:19 AM
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Very important is to choose a topic for your forum that hasn't many other competitors, otherwise it will be difficult.
 
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