22 replies
I just had a mad thought about adding a forum to one of our authority sites. Can anyone who has some knowledge about forums let me know what I am getting myself into, and what the best software is the best one to use?

Thanks
#creating #forum
  • Profile picture of the author Sandra Martinez
    The only one of mine that took off, is a ning community.

    Easy to skin, good for seo, for mid size communities is around 200 bucks a year.

    you can add i as a subdomain of your site, so it inherits the seo qualities with time.

    if it is open to join you will have spammers registering on a daily basis, you will have to ban them as spam and they are gone.

    in my niche I also guard the energy of the place as everyone is very sensitive, so I get bitchy when the energy gets dirty. This makes the wording easier, in other niches you will have to find a way to say the same. If you manage to keep the energy the way you want it, people will flourish easier. I use garden or library as concepts, you find your own perfect place to learn and grow and make that image. Or not...

    we also have from time to time people registering for marketing purposes. I invite them to pay advertising in the main site and donĀ“t allow it in the community.

    Hope it helps,
    Sandra
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    • Profile picture of the author Joannec
      Hi there, I'm new to online marketing but am going through the same thought process. Can anyone recommend a company to talk to about setting up anonline forum please. I'm also interested in anyone that could recommend some good website designers.
      Thanks in advance.
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  • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
    The best software: vbulletin

    But you are going to open a can of worms if you want to get a forum going.

    A forum needs a lot of attention and carry. In the beginning that is really difficult.

    There are few posts and few visitors. You want lots of posts and lots of visitors.
    If you don't log in every few hours, you might find your new forum taken over by spammers.

    Once the forum is active and rolling it is easy: You can recruit volunteers as admins. The hard part is getting the first 1,000 active users.
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  • Profile picture of the author aseper
    I am also interested in this, so I'd love to keep an eye on this thread. Everyone seems to have a different opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kwin
    I use vbulletin and it is the best that I have found. There is a learning curve so you will have to invest some time, but it is well worth the time and money to use.
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  • Profile picture of the author PaulChester
    To offer a different perspective on vbulletin.

    Bear in mind that vbulletin is commercial software and the more recent versions haven't had the best of press. Last time I was on the vbulletin support forum there were a lot of people complaining about the latest versions, even worse a lot of people were complaining about their posts being deleted because they were "negative". It's a year or so since I was last on their forums so it may have improved but I'd check them out before you decide to invest.

    For my commercial site I chose "phorum". Only because it plays nicely with Drupal. It's not the best looking or most feature rich of forums. Personally I'd look at something like phpbb if you just want a standalone forum. Plenty of features, good support and free!

    Paul.
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    • Profile picture of the author Adam H
      I own a vbulletin related company, I would recommend vbulletin regardless of what some peoples opinions of it are but to be honest your best looking for what suits you.

      The major players you should be looking at is vbulletin, xenforo , IPB, myBB ( free)

      Decide what features you are looking for , what type of members you are encouraging to appeal to , what age range. All those types of details will allow you to pick the software to suit you best.

      Asking in a forum "what should i choose" is a really really bad idea because every person will have different experiences , good and bad which you will hear about and you will never get a dedicated answer of any kind of "neutral" party.

      Personally , I love vbulletin, Hate IPB , xenforo is new so i couldnt comment with out looking at it properly but its reported to be a good mix of IPB and vbulletin in terms of usage. MyBB i generally stay away from all free scripts but again thats my personal opinion.

      If you need any advise feel free to PM me, i dont mind giving my honest opinion based on your target audience or if i remember to come back to this thread ill post it here haha.

      Im off to bed now so happy deciding.
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      • Profile picture of the author howinfo
        That is exactly what we did, added a forum section to our already existing article directory. We are also using vbulletin and are very happy with the software. Running a forum will require some time end effort but if it is in the niche you like than that can be quite enjoyable experience. As you said that you are planning to add it to already existing authority site then you are not really starting form zero and you can get members joining in faster probably.
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  • Profile picture of the author Audrey Harvey
    I've built a few forums using Simple Machines Forum script. It's free, it's pretty flexible and easy to customise, and it will get you started without needing to spend any money. If your forum takes off and you want more bells and whistles, then you can invest in something like vbulletin if you like.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike McAleer
    vbulletin is good but There are many others to check out as well..

    I would advise you that it takes a lot of time to moderate..

    it is not just like you can put one up and let it moderate itself. You will have to delete spammy members who post ads in posts and those who are rude to others. You might have to consider the cost of hiring a moderator to do it for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author BurgerBoy
    You can find some information about forums here: Admin Zone Forums
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  • Profile picture of the author AnnaHamer
    Thanks all. To be honest I only wanted to do it for seo, page rank purposes and to compete with competitors. I am having second thoughts about it though, because it will add to my daily workload. Also, I am not sure that the site would benefit enough seo and page rank wise to benefit from the extra work.
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    • Profile picture of the author Adam H
      Originally Posted by AnnaHamer View Post

      Thanks all. To be honest I only wanted to do it for seo, page rank purposes and to compete with competitors. I am having second thoughts about it though, because it will add to my daily workload. Also, I am not sure that the site would benefit enough seo and page rank wise to benefit from the extra work.
      If thats your reasoning then dont do it, You would be more worth while focusing on your actually SEO efforts with the time you save of running a forum , there is no real benefit from an seo point of view with sticking a forum on the site, In fact i wish i hadnt got so many forums as it stops me from earning more revenue.
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  • Profile picture of the author Coby
    I used a plugin to add a forum to one of my niche sites recently. The plugin is called "mingle forum" and has other plug-ins that you can use with it to further customize the experience. I simply added it with a few clicks. You can view it here Coon Hounds Forum | CoonHounds.Info

    But if you aren't using WP, then I've heard vbulletin is pretty popular.

    Good Luck
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  • Profile picture of the author imfusa
    I agree with the ones who said vbulletin, this i can say is the most safest forum build, it is a little hard to configure but you can get it done. Also i want to say that all the great forums are on vbulletin (warriorforum, digitalpoint, sitepoint etc). You have many feature to combat spam. The best features that come in my mind are: recaptcha for threads and posts, and the feature that allows you to ban domain e-mails, so you can protect yourself from bots.
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  • Profile picture of the author PabloVTB
    VBulletin is a very good one indeed. There are free version that are also very robust out there, you might try them if you have a lower budget.
    I would suggest you to make your forum as updated as possible regarding social media trends
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  • Profile picture of the author ThelemaqueTip
    Did You know I wanted to know the answer to that question I'm glad you ask the question Anna
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    • Profile picture of the author AnnaHamer
      Originally Posted by ThelemaqueTip View Post

      Did You know I wanted to know the answer to that question I'm glad you ask the question Anna
      Yes I did, I am the psychic marketer. Oh if only I were...hehe
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  • Profile picture of the author AnnaHamer
    Many thanks to you all for taking the time out to answer my question. I am definitely going to check out these options sometime in the near future. For now going to concentrate our efforts getting to that golden number one spot for this particular niche. When we get there I want to expand the site with a forum or a member's area at the least.
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  • Profile picture of the author Microsys
    SMF is quite good. I use it on my forum without any mods. But yes, spam can be a problem. I am comtemplating installing some mods, but still not necessary for me
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  • Profile picture of the author masterjani
    If you opt for opensource then mybb is best among the others with lot of options
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  • Profile picture of the author David Allen
    I use the Simple Machines Forum script (SMF) on my support forums and find it stable and secure.

    As mentioned, it takes a lot of time to get started and once you get a few trusted users, promote them as moderators because they will actually do a lot of the work for you.

    Pros of using a forum:
    I am always in touch with my subscriber/client base.
    It eases support tickets because a lot of the time other users answer posts with fixes.
    Excellent way to promote new products and offers
    .
    Cons of using a forum:
    Time consuming keeping spam accounts at bay (use mods once you have them)
    Really hard starting with zero user but the more you have the more active the forum will become and therefore the more likely people are to join.

    David
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