Newbie has questions of starting a forum...

Discussion in 'Web Design and Hosting' started by sue1234, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. sue1234

    sue1234 New Member

    Hi! I really would appreciate some honest answers and help. A quick background: Because of health reasons, I pretty much stay at home and online using health forums. After 4 years of this, it dawned on me that with the time and effort I use for that, I could be running my own forum that deals with our business. I've noticed there is a real need for a forum dealing with our area of business.

    My question is, I have no formal background in computers, other than using them for online stuff and quickbooks, etc. I looked up at the vBulletin site to see what all it takes to get a forum set up. I'll admit I got lost right away when they mentioned that "my server" would need to be able to handle a couple of things I am not familiar with.

    Soooo, could someone like me either be able to get through what it takes to set up a forum with, like vBulletin and their prompts? If it is too confusing for me personally to set up, could I hire a local "techie" to set up what I want and then me run it from home?

    I really appreciate some direction. If it's not possible, okay. It's just now that I cannot work outside the home, but still have a decent brain(nursing degree) and the time to put into this, I thought it could be my contribution to our business. It really is a dream of bringing this together for the social need aspect, and if I can contribute in any way to our family income eventually, I would feel useful.
  2. mountainmom5

    mountainmom5 Gold Member

    I don't know why you couldn't but I don't have any expertise in that area so hopefully someone will come along soon that knows much more about it than I do.

    Vishal ( the forum owner here) is a very nice person and may be able to give you some tips ...[​IMG]
  3. A8ch

    A8ch Gold Member

    sue1234: I have no formal background in computers, other than using them for online stuff and quickbooks, etc. I looked up at the vBulletin site to see what all it takes to get a forum set up. I'll admit I got lost right away when they mentioned that "my server" would need to be able to handle a couple of things I am not familiar with.
    Taking on the challenge of setting up a forum without any technical computer knowledge is quite an ambition. But if, as you say, you "still have a decent brain (nursing degree) and the time to put into this," you should start by reading up on the basics. You really need to have a clue about what you are attempting in order to make it happen.

    Here is a link to a site that addresses some of the fundamentals:

    Hope you find it useful.

    And if you need to consult an expert to clarify the finer points, I second MM5's recommendation. [​IMG]

  4. Vishal P. Rao

    Vishal P. Rao Administrator Staff Member

    I'm sorry I wanted to reply to this post but eventually got lost [​IMG]

    First of all, you need to have a good grasp of the strength of your market. How many visitors are you going to expect to your forum? Will the forum be used largely to share info about your business or you intend to create an aggressive community focussed around your business.

    vBulletin has way too many features and some learning curve too. It is usually preferred by large communities. If your market is not that large enough, then it may not make sense to invest money and time in VB. You would be better off with free forum software like phpbb, simple machines or even this (minibb).

    Even though you can hire someone to install vBulletin on your server, the administration part will have to be done by you or an experienced moderator. So if you are not going to do that, there'll be additional cost of hiring a forum moderator.

    If you still insist on installing vBulletin, they offer a free demo which you can check out. If you are unsure if your server meets the recommended requirements, you can download a simple test script, that you can upload to your server and run. It'll show information from each test and an overall pass/fail grade at the bottom. If you get an overall grade of pass then vBulletin will work on your server.
  5. sue1234

    sue1234 New Member

    I'll try and expand on what area I want to address!

    We are farmers that are switching the farming methods that are following the "green" movement. We are trying to be involved in local food production and we do market locally. When we have gone to national conventions(a few years ago) for this, it is great networking with other like-minded growers and consumers, but then when we all go back to our respective states, there is no way to keep up with ideas, questions, etc. This area is growing by leaps and bounds! Even in my state, we are getting alot of us food producers(usually small farms) that run into each other and love to visit and discuss what's going on.
    My point is, I'd like a to make a forum where people from all over can come and discuss each aspect of food production that they are wanting more info on or where they can offer more info on what works and doesn't work.
    It will not be a forum that has anything to do with our business specifically, just that we would discuss our growing practices with others.
    As you can see, I have big ideas, and just don't know how to implement it. We have an opportunity at a national convention to adverstise our forum, and from what I know, it will be a first. This would be a great way to let people know about the forum without putting out any cost for advertising.
    So, now that I have laid out my vision, any ideas?
  6. talfighel

    talfighel Silver Member

    if you take a look at it and think that it is a challange well worth it, then go for it.

    I think that you should get started and take it a step at a time.

    If others have done it and still are doing it, so can you.

    This forum was started with an IDEA and look at where it is today.

    I am pretty sure that Vishal started with nothing and no know how. He had an idea and he took steps to mastering getting this forum to where it is today.

    Go for it. You can do it. Take your time. You will get the ball rolling.

  7. Vishal P. Rao

    Vishal P. Rao Administrator Staff Member

    Wow! This really sounds interesting as farming is one of my passions too [​IMG]

    Based on your vision, I would suggest you get yourself vBulletin.

    I would like to address one important issue though. If you intend to start a forum ONLY website, it's going to be tough unless you do some heavy advertising. Because, to build that initial momentum, you really need to have lot of traffic initially. And nobody wants to drop by a forum in which the only person does the talking is the Admin. If you have some dedicated and passionate people with you who will frequent the forum regularly and contribute, then it's great.

    Else, I suggest you to build a website first, market it and when it starts getting enough traffic, start a forum within the website.
  8. sue1234

    sue1234 New Member

    Thank you all for your replies. I appreciate your honest thoughts! I will probably play with the vbulletin trial run and see how that goes.

    I can see where starting a informational website first would probably be a good idea. I will probably hire someone locally to get my website up, and then, if I get lost in the vbulletin area, rehire the person to get vbulletin going for me.

    I really appreciate all your encouragement and advice. I always say I wish I had majored in business in college, and now wish I had tacked on some computer science! Well, let me take that back--back in the 70s I DID major in computer science for about a year, working with FORTRAN and basic language, but that is all irrelevant now. And then, we had the dinosaur CPUs and had to type our programming language on cards to feed to the computer!

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