How To Start Your Own Forum

Starting up a successful forum and choosing the right host can be tricky. Due to high failure rates on new forums you will need to consider a few things in order to boost your chances of gaining a healthy amount of participation. The best method is to start from the ground up. Start with a small niche community, work your way up to a huge thriving community full of topics.

Choosing a Web Hosting Provider For Your Forum

Picking a web host for your forum is actually pretty simple. To start out you will not want to invest a whole lot of money, because while you want to be optimistic, you also have to keep in mind that your forum could sink to the bottom of the internet like a stone in the ocean. Remember the policy we started with, start from the ground up. Keeping this in mind you should expect a small community to begin, so a shared hosting plan will give you the space you need, while also keeping the costs low. Of course, you always want to reliable provider that understands forum hosting.

Next it’s time to think about what you will use as forum software. Specific forum software is based more around personal preference. But there are three big ones that I like the most, vBulletin, XenForo, and phpBB. All there have different features that you may deem most appropriate for your forum. For example, XenForo has a “like” system a little bit like Facebook or Reddit, and also has a feature that rewards users with trophies for reaching certain milestones of participation. vBulletin allows for easy editing and a wide array of features that can help you customize your forum however you want, it is a little pricey however. phpBB is a good option if you are on a budget, it will give you what you need while keeping things simple for you in the long run. All of them are excellent options so I would definitely encourage users to try each one out to see which would fit their forum needs the best.

Attracting New Members To Your Forum

Remember, forums are like mini online communities. Think of a forum as a tightly knit group of friends, or a family, a somewhat dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless. In order to draw these “family” members together, you will need some sort of common ground, a niche. Think of a particular topic that you are fond of and other people would be interested in as well. It cannot be something too broad, while at the same time it cannot be something too specific either. Your goal is to draw the attention of a specific group of people with common interests.

Let’s say for example you want to create a forum about video games. Creating a forum simply about video games could be too broad because there are a lot of different types of video games out there. In order to create a more tightly knit community, you might want to centralize it to one genre of video game, that way everyone will be relate and have more to discuss because they will all share common ground.

So let’s say you decide to centralize your forum topic to first person shooters. There are many shooter games out there and your forum is a place for people to discuss all these different types of games. What is great about topics like video games is that you are able to engage in these activities online, so you could hold events which pertain to the subject, like Counter Strike night.

Forums that find ways to perform the communities favorite activities, or share hobbies together are the most successful, because it creates a thriving community of friends. Find ways to not only talk about your topic of interest, but participate with each other in your topic. Doing this correctly is what will attract more users to your forum and grow your online community, plus it will be a lot of fun for everyone.

It’s likely that if you are reading this you have already been apart of an online community where you feel close to the other people. So you probably already have an idea of what makes an online community close and fun for everyone. All you have to do is find a way to transfer that into a forum setting. So go out there and create a community of like minded individuals!

Michael Fritz, known simply by Fritz to many, is the content junkie and blogger at URLjet.com – the leader in performance forum hosting and WordPress hosting. Want 30 days of FREE WordPress hosting? Use code ’30 FREE’ at URLjet.com.