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How to INSTANTLY Improve YOUR Forum

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Posted 22nd October 2013 at 09:24 PM by brettb


I'm Brett, the geek behind FindAForum.Net, the Internet's most comprehensive directory of discussion forums.

I manually review EVERY forum listed on FindAForum. Sheesh, I've looked at a lot of forums !

So based on the biggest and most successful forums in the index, I have this top tip for improving your own forum:

Make a NEW MEMBERS panel

One thing almost all the successful forums have in common is a panel for new members to see. It's usually at the top of the screen, below the menu bar/logo. It's only visible for unregistered members (i.e. those who have found the forum after searching for something on Google or Bing).

People searching for something about your forum's topics would make perfect new members of the forum itself!

So how do you entice them into registering?

Just include a huge welcome panel, telling them the benefits of registering. And put "free registration" in there a couple of times, just to make them aware that they don't have to pay to join.


Try this from Skyscraper city:

Welcome to the SkyscraperCity.

High there, and welcome to the world's biggest community on skyscrapers and everything in between. If you want to share the news, photo's and fun, please register to join. If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ.
Health forums tend to have quite good introductions - check out Thinner Times for another good example.

Elite Fitness has a particularly nice new members panel. It must have played a part in getting the forum to 375,000+ members.

How to build such a panel?

I'm pretty sure that the excellent vBulletin software has one built in. Virtually all vBulletin powered sites I've looked at have a welcome panel .

To add one on phpBB you're going to need to change the HTML in a template . If you can't do this yourself then why not get somebody to do it for you - look on oDesk for a programmer.

So remember if you're running a forum then it's essential to customise, customise, customise.

Small changes like this can make it much more likely for browsers to be converted into new forum members.

Got any more tips? Leave comments below.
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