Forum, what would you do?

16 replies
Okay so I am starting up a forum and have never ventured into doing anything like this before. I have quite a bit of solid traffic and a good email base.

I have also looked into various forum software and think I am going to go with a free version and when it is successful migrate it over to one of the payed ones available.

My question is basically to anyone that has set up a successful forum in the past, what would you advise?

I have done a bit of research into setting one up etc but would like to get your feedback! Cheers everyone!
#forum
  • I used to run forums that were quite successful. It is a lot of work at first, so make sure you're willing to put in the hours. You'll have to do A LOT of posting to get the ball rolling.

    I used vBulletin for mine and was quite happy with it.

    Hope that helps a little.

    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author Kenster
    It's a lot of work. To be honest, having used many platforms, I have never found a free platform that compares to paid ones. It would take a lot for me not to go with Vbull these days as the platform.

    Like any community based property, be prepared to put in a lot of work up front to build and keep the community active.

    Best of luck
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Originally Posted by Kenster View Post

      It's a lot of work. To be honest, having used many platforms, I have never found a free platform that compares to paid ones.
      Right on . . . free platforms are free for a reason . . . paid platforms typically have additional features and in the case of VBulletin, you have the added bonus of the interface being very familiar to most people since it's so popular.

      Some downsides to starting with free and moving to paid . . . you will most likely spend a lot of time and effort making the move, you will lose some prospects because of it, your in-coming links may not work, and you will confuse some people (not a good thing.) Why not just start with VBulletin? The expense is minimal if you value your time at all.

      Good luck to you,

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author adrianmtl
    Have you looked at using Vanilla Forums? You can use the open source, and move to the hosted version/cloud version easily.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    my forum software of choice right now is Xenforo.the same people made this software as the ones who initially made vBulletin. As the others havesaid, you have to work really hard way to getting real people involved on the forum and this needs to take place over a period of weeks or months. You can't just not work on it for a week or two and then come back. You have to keep working consistently over a period of time.
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    It is okay to contact me! I have been developing software since 1999, creating many popular products like phpLD.
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    • Profile picture of the author palmer9999
      Originally Posted by dvduval View Post

      my forum software of choice right now is Xenforo.the same people made this software as the ones who initially made vBulletin. As the others havesaid, you have to work really hard way to getting real people involved on the forum and this needs to take place over a period of weeks or months. You can't just not work on it for a week or two and then come back. You have to keep working consistently over a period of time.
      Xenforo, yes I have actually heard quite a good bit of positive things from others using this! In terms of payed software I am probably going with them. I have a 9 - 5 job now where pretty much all I do is browse and update my sites, so I do have time to manage a forum. I am also quite passionate about the niche which I think is a must!
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      • Profile picture of the author dvduval
        Originally Posted by palmer9999 View Post

        Xenforo, yes I have actually heard quite a good bit of positive things from others using this! In terms of payed software I am probably going with them. I have a 9 - 5 job now where pretty much all I do is browse and update my sites, so I do have time to manage a forum. I am also quite passionate about the niche which I think is a must!
        it sounds to me like you are a good match for the task. I think it must start as a labor of love. I have a forum about to hit 1 million posts and it started so long ago! We made lots of money with the forum but I can't say that is the first thing I think about when I think about the forum.
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  • Profile picture of the author xpesos
    I started phpbb a couple of years ago, it was lot of headache, For adding social sharing buttons to posts, and making SEO'd thread titles

    And i had to do a lot of effort in bringing in new members, eventually i had to give up, so what i can advise you is to find a niche where people have a lot of problem and there are very few forums related to that only then your chances of success will be increased
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    • Profile picture of the author palmer9999
      Originally Posted by xpesos View Post

      I started phpbb a couple of years ago, it was lot of headache, For adding social sharing buttons to posts, and making SEO'd thread titles

      And i had to do a lot of effort in bringing in new members, eventually i had to give up, so what i can advise you is to find a niche where people have a lot of problem and there are very few forums related to that only then your chances of success will be increased
      Yes, I am quite passionate about the niche anyway. Also I am currently helping loads of people out on Facebook, basically just reposting to our fans they are answering the questions which I find get loads of attention!
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  • Profile picture of the author SergR5
    I started several forums, the most popular of which I grew from nothing to about 20k users before a marketing company approached me out of the blue with a buyout offer I could not refuse. I always used vBulletin. I would NOT go with anything else.

    In the beginning it was a lot.. and I mean ALOT of posting, maintenance, promotion, etc. I posted in all other related forums. I started tons of threads in my forum. It took me about a year to get to the 20k users. It was a lot of hard work and countless hours spent promoting it. Try to get ads, backlinks, etc on related sites. Do NOT try to monetize it off the get go. You will alienate people. I mean you can certainly place banners and ads on your forum, just don't email offers to people in the beginning.

    My site was an automotive site, and it was something I knew quite a bit about, so it was fun. If you can't enjoy the topic, it will be hard to put in the long hours.

    Having said all that, I would not do it again. Too much work.. :p
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    • Profile picture of the author dvduval
      Originally Posted by SergR5 View Post

      I started several forums, the most popular of which I grew from nothing to about 20k users before a marketing company approached me out of the blue with a buyout offer I could not refuse. I always used vBulletin. I would NOT go with anything else.

      In the beginning it was a lot.. and I mean ALOT of posting, maintenance, promotion, etc. I posted in all other related forums. I started tons of threads in my forum. It took me about a year to get to the 20k users. It was a lot of hard work and countless hours spent promoting it. Try to get ads, backlinks, etc on related sites. Do NOT try to monetize it off the get go. You will alienate people. I mean you can certainly place banners and ads on your forum, just don't email offers to people in the beginning.

      My site was an automotive site, and it was something I knew quite a bit about, so it was fun. If you can't enjoy the topic, it will be hard to put in the long hours.

      Having said all that, I would not do it again. Too much work.. :p
      assuming you did this a few years ago I want to caution that vbulletin is not the same company it was when you started your forum. it was bought out by Internet Brands and some of the developers left and started their own company. I do like some of the older versions of vbulletin but I think there are some problems both with the software and with the leadership of that company now.
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      • Profile picture of the author palmer9999
        Originally Posted by dvduval View Post

        assuming you did this a few years ago I want to caution that vbulletin is not the same company it was when you started your forum. it was bought out by Internet Brands and some of the developers left and started their own company. I do like some of the older versions of vbulletin but I think there are some problems both with the software and with the leadership of that company now.
        Yes I have seen on forums that a lot of people are not happy with the newest release.
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    • Profile picture of the author palmer9999
      Originally Posted by SergR5 View Post

      I started several forums, the most popular of which I grew from nothing to about 20k users before a marketing company approached me out of the blue with a buyout offer I could not refuse. I always used vBulletin. I would NOT go with anything else.

      In the beginning it was a lot.. and I mean ALOT of posting, maintenance, promotion, etc. I posted in all other related forums. I started tons of threads in my forum. It took me about a year to get to the 20k users. It was a lot of hard work and countless hours spent promoting it. Try to get ads, backlinks, etc on related sites. Do NOT try to monetize it off the get go. You will alienate people. I mean you can certainly place banners and ads on your forum, just don't email offers to people in the beginning.

      My site was an automotive site, and it was something I knew quite a bit about, so it was fun. If you can't enjoy the topic, it will be hard to put in the long hours.

      Having said all that, I would not do it again. Too much work.. :p
      Great advice! Yes I have heard forum's are a LOT of work, however I think that this niche if successful will be successful in other countries to and I can replicate what I have done etc.

      Good advice on the monetizing! Cheeers
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      Could Someone Be Watching You Right Now? Ever wonder who is looking at those camera feeds?
      Or looking for a cheap holiday? Surely you are :) Check out Last Minute Deals

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  • Profile picture of the author Samuel Adams
    Xenforo is an excellent forum software to use and very affordable with numerous features and compares to any other paid software. As for whether or not you should open a forum, that's up to you. Just understand how much time and effort it will take to build a forum community. This goes way beyond the time you need to actually install the software. Do you really have time in your schedule to manage a forum? Are you prepared for the possibility that not many people will post even if they join? These are just a few things to think about. But if you are committed to the idea, you should go for it.
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