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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador
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    I'm getting the google exposure I wanted for my community/sales site. People aren't registering.

    It's only been up for three months and I have around 40 "active" posters, most of which came in, asked a question, got their answer and then posted a "thank you", never to be seen again.

    Should I "relax, don't worry and have a homebrew" since it's so young?

    What are some methods you've used to get a community up and running?
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  2. #2
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I'm open to suggestions, too.

    I tried registering a few "users" and talking to myself as was suggested in the past, but no "real" members have signed up yet although Google has given my posts decent ranks. It's only been a couple of months for me too, am I just too impatient?

    When I looked at forum-admin forums, there were some people saying they got a gajillion members in a few weeks or less! Do you all think that's for real or are those people just BSing...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  3. #3
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    AS a fellow forum admin with a non existant member base, I can only guess that it is very important how we build our forums to make them topic based as opposed to subject based.

    I also feel you need a subject with huge interest and as to jumpstarting the forum I can't answer that (see: non existant member base above )

    When you find out please let me know

  4. #4
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dirk Gardner:
    I can only guess that it is very important how we build our forums to make them topic based as opposed to subject based. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE> When you say "Topic Based", do you mean "details" and when you say "subject based", do you mean "big picture"?
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  5. #5
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    Sorry for being so unclear. What I meant was presenting topics that promote discussion rather than news type topics that report an event or occurence and therefore do not promote debate or discussion.

    Hmm.. Thats still pretty shady... How about a topic that asks a question rather than one that announces something in a news feed type fashion.

    DPG

    Disclaimer: I have no claim to fame in this area and am yet to create a successful forum myself so treat my suggestions as such.

  6. #6
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    I gotcha. I think I need to brainstore some new questions. I posed some early on but everyone chipped in an answer and that was it.

    I think the key is newbies. They like to ask questions out the yin-yang.
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  7. #7
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    There are alwasy 2 issues when talking about growth.

    1. New memnerships: I would offer a free something to entice signing up. Something that is very relevant to your traffic. Newsletter written by expert, ebook, poem, short stories whatever targets your traffic.

    And since it's easier to bring back exsiting members than to find new ones:

    2. Be sure to send out emali broadcasts with new posts. Be sure to create interesting / eye catching titles for each thread. Be creative with posts you want to include in the broadcast. *hint*

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> New memnerships: I would offer a free something to entice signing up. Something that is very relevant to your traffic. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    This one had crossed my mind. Still, I was a bit surprised that *nobody* has signed up without the promise of a freebie, though!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  9. #9
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    Leader: I am sure you know that most of us are driven by freebies. Well, to be more specific, benefits. I am a health user, you bet I want that article on how to stay healthy. Better yet, if you know I am looking to lose weight, you bet I want that article on how I can lose a few pounds for the summer, epecially if it is written by a health professional. You get the drift Throw in some emotion to boot.

    People love features but they buy (in this case, sign up) for benefits.

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Be sure to send out emali broadcasts with new posts. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I would disagree with that whole heartedly, that would be a quick way to kill most forums.

    Few people post to say, "Yes, I agree", "Good Point" etc, at least when they first start out. Conflict will generate reaction and posts. Not to say you want fights, but without disagreements, it will be hard to motivate someone to become vested. The disagreement doesn't even need to come between members, but can just be with content etc.

    And that is what I strive for in my sites with forums, that the people participating feel they are not being marketed to, but that they are being included as part of the site itself. Once going, I try and incorporate as much of the posts etc as I can into the site itself.

    For some sites it has happened almost overnight, other sites a little bit longer. Some sites, still working on it.

    Not that there is one way to do anything.

    Chet

  11. #11
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    I've just had an interesting idea. Why don't we help each other out? Say we get a group of people together from this thread that are interested in Jump starting their respective forums and we work our way through each of our forums.

    This can be achieved by signing up to each others forums and then meeting at each forum at scheduled times and adding content to each one as a group.

    It would be a great way to get both your member base up a little and get some great feedback from each other about improving our sites at the same time.

    What do you say?

  12. #12
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    Maybe I should rephrase that.

    Be sure to send out an email broadcast with new posts on a monthly basis. Not every single new post.

  13. #13
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Wake up people. The only self sustaining path to a successful forum is "Shock & Awe". The forum owners only need a core group of steady posters stirring up controversy on the all the grey areas of a forum's subject to prosper. Take ABW's success as an example. Regardless of how much Haiko inwardly hates my out spoken nature and need of an attitude adjustment, He realizes WebMaster Mike bashers and Mikeisms are a core traffic element of ABW.

    Take out one of the core elements of ABW - affiliate industry controversy -and this place becomes a ghost town. I think most successful talk radio and shock TV shows revolve around controversy. Moderators may feel free to edit the content of this post to the detriment of ABW and those seeking the secret sauce of forums.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  14. #14
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    How many succesful forums have you got Mike?

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Jump starting a forum is not easy. Even sites with good traffic suffer from the multitude of forums already out there. A person only has so much time, right? How many forums can they support?

    I think it becomes a decision of whether or not to find extra time for a new forum, or abandon an old one and use its time for a new one.

    I've found the best way to get a community going is to create a few members that are interesting, and have them start posting back and forth about controversial topics. One post a day from each one is enough to show there's a regular "core" group there. Perhaps an intentional post of misinformation that most people know is incorrect. The misinformation will usually prompt someone who knows better to sign up and make the correction. Then, it's important for the core group to interact with the new member. Often the new member will tell others about the new forum.

    And there's always the pathetic approach, where someone has made a real mess of something, and has no idea how to fix it. That's usually good for a few new posters as well. People love the sense of satisfaction in helping someone else.

    I've also found the forum software you use makes a difference, people have their preferences and some just flat out don't like using particular forums. I'm getting ready to add a new forum on a site, and I've found that the audience I want to target seems to prefer vBulletin, so that's what I'm going to use...

    Andy

  16. #16
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by EcomCity.com:

    Regardless of how much Haiko inwardly hates my out spoken nature and need of an attitude adjustment, He realizes WebMaster Mike bashers and Mikeisms are a core traffic element of ABW <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You are so full of shit that you need a pipe shoved up your ass every night to vent all the excess

  17. #17
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    Thanks Andy!

    Great Info!

  18. #18
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    Ian, I still disagree. I do not think most people who signup for forums, expect to be emailed forum summaries. Make that an option, but be very careful, people are extremely touchy on email contact and I cannot see that it would payoff in the long run.

    Mike is just saying what I said, but taking credit for it on ABW, like always. I am sure he worked on a national technology task force back in 1972 that created the reply button.

    As for posting groups etc, you can smell that. That is like lying on the first date to the woman you are eventually going to marry. In true sitcom fashion, that will come back and bite you in the ass.

    And remember, not all sites should have forums or are going to have forums. Sometimes user reviews/comments can bring interaction to your site without strictly being forums. I have one site with dead forums, but highly active user reviews. Where I will add again - people who learn to use webmerge and the like, instead of learning the tools themselves, do nothing but paint themselves into a restrictive box.

    Chet

  19. #19
    The Eternal Optimist zimmy's Avatar
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    I started a forum in March to help give my site some stickyness.

    Here is where we are: 2881 posts and 128 members. I know that isn't extraordinary but it is steady. What I did (for what it's worth) is I had a contest right from the start. I offered a nice monetary reward for the best tip that goes with the theme of my site. That got a lot of people posting. I ran the contest for one month. During the contest I was fortunate to get 1 poster in particular who was really enthusiastic. I then invited this person to be a moderator. She invited lots of friends and they have all stayed.

    Anyone who shows interest and enthusiasm I ask to moderate. That gives them their own board to help promote. It has worked great.

    I also didn't start off with too many boards.



    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    The big shots are only the little shots who keep shooting.
    -Christopher Morley

  20. #20
    Newbie Affiliate Ian's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Chez Noir:
    Ian, I still disagree. I do not think most people who signup for forums, expect to be emailed forum summaries. Make that an option <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Then we will just have to agree to disagree. Well at least about the first point. Of course broadcasts should be part of an opt-in system of some sort. Just like most boards will let the user choose whether to email them when someone replies to their own posts.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Chet wrote: I am sure he worked on a national technology task force back in 1972 that created the reply button. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>



    Andy

  22. #22
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    Chez Noir,

    Thank you for your brilliant enlightening posts. I am still no closer to having an active forum but your advice is spot on.

    My biggest error when a built a country specific forum was to build it in the format of a web directory and break the country down regionally with national topics divided into a web style directory. As I can see now this does not promote discussion in any way nor does it target any specific contentous topics so its back to the drawing board with a complete site rebuild with debate being the driving factor.

    Any other advice you can offer would be highly appreciated and utilized.

    All the best,

    DPG

  23. #23
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    You nailed the other big point.

    Less forums = more discussion. Until you get things rolling, simplify the number of forums. Remember while registered users can click - view news posts (though many don't) - the only way for an unregisted user in most forums to see new posts is to wade through the forums.

    One post in 3 categories with another 20 empty categories looks like an empty forum. 3 posts in the only category looks like an active forum. People want to be a part of something other people are a part of.

    Once things are rolling, then you can start dicing up the forums.

    Look at WHT in the begining.
    http://web.archive.org/web/200007062...stingtalk.com/

    and now
    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/
    (with many categories having subforums).

    Chet

  24. #24
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    LOL, this thread is the type of discourse I'm looking for, though on MY site.
    Dr. Strangeweb, or how I learned how to stop worrying about SERPS and love the WOM.

  25. #25
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    I think this thread is extremely insightful and cant wait to use some of these ideas on Winning Profits Webmaster Board.

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