Start an online forum?

by Amazin
9 replies
just want to know how hard it is and time consuming it will be. I'm thinking of giving it a go on the topic I love.

I've been online forums since I was a teenager and I love it. Unfortunately there will be drama, trolls, stupid people who will make it worse.

It's like a garden that needs lot of attention and love in order to flourish.

Is there a magic number of members you need in order to start thinking about monitize it?
#forum #online #start
  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    One piece of advice....


    Start a mailing list first.


    Here is why...


    If a person goes to your "slowly growing" forum, and there aren't a bunch of people in there talking at any given time... it will be almost impossible to get it going.


    It sounds like you have some great motivations... As you can see , running a forum is not for everyone, but the words you describe, as to what it needs indicate that you might have the heart for it.


    However, if there are a ton of people on your list, who are all excited about the same subjects, and you send out emails to them for a month ahead of time, getting them ready, primed, and anticipating the opening of the forum... then, when you send out the grand opening email, they will all hit at once, within a couple of days, and, they will all make friends and acquaintances at once.


    When a person comes to your forum, and they see 100 excited people talking, it makes them want to jump in and participate.


    On the other hand...


    If a person comes to your forum and posts something, and no one responds for three days at a time... that doesn't work; it defeats the whole purpose of their wanting to be a part of an active community.


    Build the audience first, get them all on the same page, with the same subject interest, then send them all to your forum in one fail swoop... If there is excited activity, and (important) numerous people giving quick responses then you will grow fast.


    Instant gratification is addictive, being part of something that is bigger than you are is exciting... and being a part of an accepting, inviting, and active group...that's what people want.


    That's why it's important to come out with a big BANG... then the excitement can grow exponentially.


    Don't start it unless you have 500 hundred people ready to join on the same day, and they are all hyped to get in and participate.




    -JD


    Ps. Let monetizing be an afterthought... Focus on making a great "community" then monetizing opportunities will be there.


    Originally Posted by Amazin View Post


    I've been online forums since I was a teenager and I love it. Unfortunately there will be drama, trolls, stupid people who will make it worse.

    It's like a garden that needs lot of attention and love in order to flourish.

    If you have followed WF for awhile, then you can see, at this point in time, that running a forum isn't for everyone...


    Your choices of words here indicate that you are on the right track about what it requires though. You might just have the heart for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author shaunybb
    Hey there!


    Good idea but there is going to be a steep learning curve!


    A good friend of mine ran here forum but in the end it made her depressed


    so much to control, so much spam and very needy members!
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    • Profile picture of the author John Durham
      Originally Posted by shaunybb View Post


      ...and very needy members!

      Lots of needs to be met. Think about that.


      However, yes, one can be overwhelmed by it.
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  • Profile picture of the author shmol
    Start a blog/website in your niche and fill it gradually with great content.

    At the same time, promote it on social media, and try and develop a following--when those people come to your site--give the something really good in exchange for them opting in.

    Over time, as your site grows and you become more and more well known on social media--you will gain more and more exposure.

    This exposure will help when you start your forum as you can "announce" it on social media and while not everyone will come--chances are enough will to help you get a really good start.

    I totally agree with Mr Durham

    As I did this in the beginning of my IM journey always wanting the massive money before I even knew what I was doing.
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  • Profile picture of the author ContentGather
    Originally Posted by Amazin View Post

    Is there a magic number of members you need in order to start thinking about monitize it?
    Don't start a forum for money. Forums should be run out of a passion for the subject. They are not profitable ventures.

    I have run countless forums in the past....Ran a forum for forum owners called AdminFusion (long since sold off and moved on). I ran a highly successful website where people exchanged from posts (Postloop). I know the industry inside and out, and forums are not money-makers. Okay, so WF probably brings in a fair amount of cash, but it's definitely the exception.

    If you have a strong passion for the topic and want to run a forum, go for it. You can even make a little money with it. However, that money that you make will not be worth the time that you put in. The only thing that makes it worth your time is the enjoyment you get out of the forum and its members.
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    It's a tough nut to crack. I do not mean to sound like a debbie downer but almost everyone I know who has started one got distracted with the stagnant conditions and the lack of earnings.

    But of course there are many who have been very successful with it, obviously.

    Kind of like Blogging .i.e a few succeed but most fail miserably



    - Robert Andrew
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveFinch
    If I was you, I'd pay particular attention to Johns post.

    I ran a forum for UK expats living in France some time ago, and eventually ended up monetizing it by placing a donation button on it. It definately bought in some decent cash, but as you've already pointed out, members can get particularly needy and clicky.

    Give it a go, and see how it pans out. There's not a lot to lose.

    All the best
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  • Profile picture of the author absolutelee
    I second the mailing list advice. Much easier business model. You can learn about your market, then start the membership site.
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  • Profile picture of the author brettb
    Forums are great in that Google seems to rank them well, and they attract readers who are much more likely to buy related products (especially if you add in inline text links, HINT HINT!!!).

    On the downside, it's kind of hard to get a forum off the ground. And I've just shut mine down as it got besieged by hackers yet again and they consumed so many server resources my Hostgator account got temporarily shut down, hosing my WordPress blogs.
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