Have you got something to say and want to talk about it with others? Then you may want to try starting a discussion forum about that topic. Here are a few steps to take in order to successfully create a forum.
- Decide on a topic. You probably already have an idea of what you want to discuss or you wouldn't be asking how to start a forum. Broader topics that have sub-topics are usually the best choices to use when starting a discussion forum. A broader topic will appeal to more people and will create better discussion.
- Find a forum that fits your needs. There are several free forum sites on the internet if you are looking for the most cost effective solution to starting a forum. Sites like EzBoard, ProBoards, and SuddenLaunch are all popular sites that offer both free and paid hosting for discussion forums. Before deciding on a forum, figure out your needs including storage space, extra features like private messaging, and how many visitors you are expecting. There is also several types of message board software available for purchase if you already have a website and hosting package.
- Organize your forum. After you have signed up for a forum, you need to decide how you want to organize the message boards. This is why broader topics come in handy. You will be able to set up an individual board for each sub-topic, a help board, and even an off-topic board if you wish. Organization of topics will be more appealing and less confusing for visitors.
- Figure out your FAQs. New forum members always have the same typical technical questions and concerns. Anticipate what these questions will be and put together an FAQ for the members. It will reduce your workload over time and put the visitors at ease. Rules for your forum should also be posted here with consequences and you should stick to those consequences if the need arises.
- Advertise your forum. Now that your forum is set up, you need someone to talk to. Tell friends and family about your site and ask them to pass along the information to others they know who might be interested. Get listed on search engines or try to get a link from websites connected to your topic. Word of mouth is generally the best route of advertising, so make sure you get the word out to people in a position to help you increase your numbers.
- Choose moderators and administrators you can trust. Having a support group to help you run the forum once it takes off is necessary for its survival. You won't be able to do everything yourself, so make sure you have a team who can take care of things when you aren't available.
You are now on your way to succeeding in the world of discussion forums!