Do you like hard work? Yeah, I don’t either. Do you like money on autopilot? Who doesn’t, right? A successful forum can give a lot money with little or no effort on your part, since the members generate most of your content. But how hard is it to start a forum? There are a few steps required to start a forum, but doing so can be an extremely rewarding experience.
Choosing A Forum Topic
If you want to start a successful forum, the planning phrase is key. If you’re building a forum on top of an existing website, it’s a good idea to have the topic of your forum similar to that of your website. This can ensure that regular visitors of your website will also be interested in your forum, and new forum visitors would be interested in the topic of your current website.
You’ll want to choose a forum topic of the right size. If you choose a topic too small, there won’t be enough people interested for it to thrive. If you choose a topic too broad, it’ll be very hard to get found and you may have to spend a lot of money to advertise it. And who wants to spend money?
Once you’ve chosen a topic for your forum, as well as having your website online, it’s time to choose software to run your forum.
Choosing Forum Software
Choosing forum software today is a lot easier than it used to be, simply because we have so many options. We also have the option to switch without losing a lot of our data. However, users hate changes this big, so it’s best to have your forum software set right from the beginning.
There are a lot of questions to ask when choosing forum software – should you get free or paid forum software? What forum software is the easiest to use? What forum software is the most stable? What about support?
These are all valid questions, and ones you should definitely ask yourself before deciding what software you’ll use. Just know, you get what you pay for. You may consider starting out on a free forum script such as SMF or PHPBB, but what if you want to upgrade later? As we already know, users hate change, so it may be better to go with a paid script (such as vBulletin or Xenforo) right from the get go.
Installing Your Forum Software
Most forum software is pretty easy to install – you upload the forum software to your web server, unzip it, then visit the installation directory in your web browser. Most forum scripts will have an installation file, which you can use to connect the software to your database and install your forum.
Afterwards, you can begin creating the content of your forum – the boards, categories, and theme. Most forum software makes this incredibly easy, so it’s not something to worry about. Then you have to worry about marketing and driving traffic to your forum, but that’s a whole different story which we will cover soon.
In the end, getting a forum online isn’t that challenging, and can offer huge amounts of money if it becomes successful. Although I’ve had many forums of mine fail, managing one was a great experience and I’d recommend you try it at least once.