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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    We've recently started a message board on a site and while we're getting tons of visitors every day, very few people have registered or post on the message board.

    The message board is attached to the shopping site and featured as a standard part of our menu with a nice graphic that links to the message board.

    I suspect that part of the problem is the size the board itself as it has many different forums covering a wide group of topics.

    I understand that people are obviously reluctant to post when they don't see crap for activity but would love to get it going.

    If anyone here has some tips they could share to help jumpstart discussions I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks for you input!

    ===============================
    PeePee merchants with PooPoo policies allow our earnings to be flushed down the crapper.

    Why give parasites unlimited cookie durations and credit for sales where they divert our users and overwrite our cookies. PP merchants directly support what many consider unfair trade practices and thievery!
    ===============================

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
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    Nunya, Business
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    Don't have a board but i would guess post yourself under different aliases so it seems active, jk. Prizes to the posters, then winners of the prizes will tell a friend and so on. I've seen some shopping sites who have dead forums that have been around awhile then you have boards like fatwallet where its a posting frenzy. Hard to get one started.

    "The successful man is the average man, focused."

  3. #3
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Yes, give incentives for postings. That will work!

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    It is not an easy thing to do. Still trying to get mine going more.
    I am lucky that I have a few regulars that I have become good friends with, they help keep it hopping and tell their friends.
    Having contests helps too.
    Right now we are having a Scavenger Hunt every day.
    It is very very time consuming. You can't just put it up. You have to keep an eye on things, you get lots of competitors coming in and spamming your boards. I keep banning them but they keep coming back.

    Connie Berg
    http://www.flamingoworld.com


  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador
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    Posting under various usernames is no joke...everyone does it when starting a new forum & there should be no shame
    You can also post a request for a post exchange...I've participated in several and we've helped each other out considerably. It also helps if you run more than one board, so you can get people to go over to help it get off the ground.
    The most important thing, IMO (depending on the board of course) is to make it fun...For example, for one of mine that uses vBulletin, I'm going to be implementing a bunch of hacks...hopefully the store hack where people can earn points & spend them to get various rights or decals, etc... You can also set it up so members will need to have a certain number of posts in order to access or post in other forums.

    Connie,
    how are your scavenger hunts going? I tried my first last month and wasn't impressed w/ the turn out. I may have made it too hard, or my prizes weren't adequate. I do have a better prize to offer next time, but not the motivation based on the results of the first... any suggestions?

    CarSites.us - Free promotion for your automotive-related sites!

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador flamingoworld's Avatar
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    The scavenger hunt is going well. It is also getting people to visit my merchants because they have to find the items at one of my stores. My traffic always goes up when I have contests! I always get a few new members too.

    Mainly it is a lot of fun, I really like the people on my forums and it is a great way to interact with them.

    We are going to do a secret santa exchange coming up soon too so we can exchange some gifts in time for the holidays.

    I like to make posts getting people to tell something about themselves too. People love to talk about themselves.

    I am lucky that my husband also does lots of posting on the forums, and people like to see us picking on each other.

    Connie Berg
    http://www.flamingoworld.com


  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador
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    Only have a few forums. create new ones as the demand grows.

    Instead of linking to your main forum page, link directly to the thread list in a particular forum.

    Turn off compulsory registration to begin with.

    Make it as easy as possible for new people to post a message (hack the board so you've got a stripped down message post system).

    Once you've got the content up & running turn on registration again.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador
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    Agreed on simplify the forums. Fewer forums and grow them as needed. The one thing that will grow any forum, better than cross-posting or fake posting that always smells fishy - have something to post about.

    It sounds simple, but it isn't. But people aren't just going to come by and post to say - hey look I have a dog.

    Topics where people have opinions, topics that matter to people, topics that people understand. Roll that all into one topic and you can get them going.

    I run 6 different decent sized forums and each has grown in spurts and grown when there was something to talk about. Cross posting always just feels like filler, I would stay away from that route.

    Once people come for the real posting, then they stick around to post - Hey I have a dog.

    Chet

  9. #9
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Some forums have the ability to provide a gateway to usenet. It's a nice way to make your board appear active and provide related content for the search engines.

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador
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    I've decided to seek out some local groups (just because they will be easier to find and approach) and see if I can't get their group to use targeted sections of the board. I'm also going to run somes ad's locally in various papers and magazines to see if I can drive traffic as well.

    I'm not going to cut back on the forums just yet but will concentrate on getting a section or two going at a time. Thanks for all the advice!

    ===============================
    PeePee merchants with PooPoo policies allow our earnings to be flushed down the crapper.

    Why give parasites unlimited cookie durations and credit for sales where they divert our users and overwrite our cookies. PP merchants directly support what many consider unfair trade practices and thievery!
    ===============================

  11. #11
    Member
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    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    110
    When creating a forum, there are 3 milestones you need to have your sights set on

    1) 20 posts / day

    This is an acceptable minimum of activity, below which your forum won't really do much. If your established user base can't won't do this RIGHT NOW, fake it. Run whole conversations with yourself, get friends and family to post, and if you get a "real" post, answer it about 4 times, quickly, to encourage your real users to get involved. As "real" usage grows, drop your makeweight involvement

    2) 100 posts / day

    This is critical mass. At 100 / day, the forum should tick over and maintain or increase that level of traffic with minimum input from you, and minimum moderating effort from you. One or two natural leaders should begin to emerge, on post count and quality

    3) 200 posts / day

    This is where the userbase starts to request moderation from you! By now, you will have some "star" posters, and some problem children. Traffic levels are likely to attract driveby spammers, and self-promo types, pro forum tag teams and the like.

    At this point you need to increase your own input in terms of moderation, recruit mods from within the userbase, or engage the services of a professional 3rd party moderation outfit, of which I believe there is only currently 1, chatmoderators.com

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