Looking For Some Tips on Starting a Forum

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by manudevil20, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. manudevil20

    manudevil20 New Member

    Hey everyone. So i am about to start my website. I am looking for some tips. It will be an automotive forum. I had a lot of questions though.

    1. How can i make my website rank high in the search engines through keywords in a forum?

    2. Can i actually make quite a bit of money just from banners and adsense and what else can i do to make money from the website?

    3. I dont know if anybody has ever started a forum before but how do i get people to join and participate at first? Nobodys going to want to join if there are no posts.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have a lot of questions so i just want to get a better understanding before i start.

    [Post title edited - Admin]
     
  2. Newbie Shield

    Newbie Shield Gold Member

    Hi Devil,

    I'm sure that Vishal will be around to help you on this one.

    First, it would be best if you have quite a bit of experience with a self-hosted traditional site or blog before you tackle a forum. You need to have a solid online marketing knowledge and know how to handle a community. It shouldn't be your first major project.

    Second, once the above is true, you need to read up on the best practices of running a forum. It's a difficult task. You need to know quite a bit about being an Admin. You'll need to know how to back it up, set up security, optimize it, and more.

    Yes, you can eventually make a fairly good income with sponsors and ads. But you have to know how to do that as well.

    You have to be an expert on the forum topic or hire an expert.

    There are a lot of forums out there. Why would a person spend their time on your forum rather than some place else? You'll have to figure out how to drive traffic and retain members.

    Like any other site or project, a forum takes a lot of research, planning, fine-tuning, and monitoring. You'd have to be very interested in the day-to-day duties.

    Good luck in any case,

    ~Newbie Shield~
     
  3. pcwork

    pcwork New Member

    Ask your friends to make posts first and you can also make some posts yourself
     
  4. manudevil20

    manudevil20 New Member

    Thanks for the tips. I am in a car club so we have hundereds of videos i can use on youtube to drive traffic to the forum. I was just going to purchase the vbulletin. It will probably be a lot easier.
     
  5. aplina

    aplina New Member

    you can also use myspace. try to get links form other forum. offer something different from other
     
  6. Newbie Shield

    Newbie Shield Gold Member

    Devil,

    The vids would be a tremendous help in driving traffic if they are good.

    vBulletin is the best choice of forum software in my opinion. It's not free by any means but it's well worth the cost. That's the one that everyone raves about and I believe the reputation. I'd suggest the "owned license" version.

    If you renew it for the next year within the first ten months of the annual license, it's only $40 a year to keep the license current. It's required to keep running the software.

    The initial cost is $180.

    The software is quick, loaded with features, and secure.

    Best of luck and let us know how it fares.

    ~Newbie Shield~
     
  7. Hattrrrick

    Hattrrrick New Member

    manudevil20: . How can i make my website rank high in the search engines through keywords in a forum?

    Getting your page ranked high is kind of tricky, but achievable. Google has a complicated algorithm for page ranking. One proven method to get your page ranked higher is to write articles in an already high ranked page and refer the readers to your page. Ezinearticles has a high google page rank. Try submitting articles about a automotive topic and point readers to your page in your signature.

    Good Luck
     
  8. Vishal P. Rao

    Vishal P. Rao Administrator Staff Member

    manudevil20: 1. How can i make my website rank high in the search engines through keywords in a forum?

    There is no magic trick for that. Once your forum has gained enough reputation through backlinks, it'll immediately start ranking for respective keywords. Google likes forums and blogs as they provide latest news and information. However, Yahoo! seems to dislike popular forums (at least this one). I hardly get any referrals from Yahoo! for this forum. My guess is that their bots can't keep up with much activity in the forums. My other new forum, which gets hardly updated gets referrals from Yahoo!

    manudevil20: 2. Can i actually make quite a bit of money just from banners and adsense and what else can i do to make money from the website?

    It depends on your niche and ad placements. Many forum software have restricted ad placements and hence it's difficult to monetize such forums. Even though people rave about VBulletin, I love minibb. It's not for absolute newbies who have absolutely no knowledge about coding but one still can set up a basic forum. If you have little knowledge about php and coding, you can work wonders with this software. The best features about minibb is the Forum Checker (the one you use to messages since you last visited the forum) and the moderation feature. The moderation feature is absolutely streamlined and no forum software has such a feature. It's a pleasure to moderate. Sure there are no bells and whistles unlike other forums but who needs them anyway? What you need is a resource friendly, fast loading and readily indexable forum.

    manudevil20: 3. I dont know if anybody has ever started a forum before but how do i get people to join and participate at first? Nobodys going to want to join if there are no posts.

    This is the most trickiest and difficult part. You have to organize your campaign in such way that promoting your forum and updating the forum go hand in hand without compromising on any one of them. This has go on till your forum gains sufficient momentum and can sustain itself.

    Like some suggested, you can rope in your friends or there are paid forum posters who can do the job for you. But then you simply can't hire any Tom, Dick and Harry. They have to have some knowledge about your subject and make worthwhile posts. In the end, it's the quality of the posts that count.

    It's tough, but if you make it through, you can have a Goose that lays Golden eggs.

    On second note, it's always advisable to build a site first and get sufficient traffic. You can then divert this traffic later on to your forum. Starting a forum from scratch can be extremely difficult and disheartening for a newcomer.
     

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