How do you keep your forum active?

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reptileguy
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How do you keep your forum active?

Post by reptileguy » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:52 am

The hardest question of all... how do you get new users?
I was browsing this 9 year old topic for ideas, when I realized that getting new users is not a question for me.

My forum has been quiet for two years. No one posted anything. The negligent admin (= me) didn't even bother to upgrade it. Nevertheless, every now and then someone signed up.
I got an email from someone who was unable to register, which was a wake-up call, because there was a whole bunch of registrations waiting for me to activate. My forum was dead and people still wanted to sign up.

How to get new users is not the hardest question.
Harder than 'the hardest question of all' is this one: how do you encourage new users to start posting? And even harder: how do you encourage them to stay active?

Oh, and I realize that abandoning your own forum may not be the most effective strategy ;)

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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:22 am

somebody has to make posts that are relevant and current and often for whatever subject your board is about.

somebody has to go out and promote it on other sites/boards with similar interests to get more people to sign up. nobody is going to post on a board that is dead.

unless you have somebody else in mind to do these things I guess it is left up to you. :D

I have to wonder if it is worth it since you have lost interest in it anyway.


robert

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reptileguy
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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by reptileguy » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:53 am

I haven't lost interest. Not at all.
The forum is up to date again, with a little help from you ;)
I'll give it another try. But it's ironic that my forum's Facebook page has more members and is more active than the forum itself.

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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by petras » Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:58 pm

For my forum I employed 7 people who were creating new topics and replied to them. In one month I had almost 100 registered real users, only 10-15 of them were active. But it was enough to grow for my project.
The most difficult is the start, you must have enough content for SEO and for users because when users come to forum they want to see fresh content (search engines like the same.)

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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by cally6008 » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:30 pm

Interesting petras. Out of curiosty, how much did you pay each person ?

My website is active in that I get people posting in the advert section but I want to try and get people posting in the chat areas as well. At the moment its just me posting as and when something interesting comes up but it just looks a bit boring, me talking to myself.

reptileguy, you may find that you have more active members on your forum, than on your facebook page. It's getting harder to reach people using posts on a page (blame FB for messing about).

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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by petras » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:31 pm

I paid $1 for 100 words. And I asked to create posts from 100 words to 500 words.

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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by KevC » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:34 pm

cally6008 wrote:At the moment its just me posting as and when something interesting comes up but it just looks a bit boring, me talking to myself.
Create 3-4 accounts and log in with each one at different times and reply to yourself. It looks like people are chatting and then encourages others to join in.
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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by reptileguy » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:38 pm

cally6008 wrote: reptileguy, you may find that you have more active members on your forum, than on your facebook page. It's getting harder to reach people using posts on a page (blame FB for messing about).
Do you mean active readers who never post? Yes, plenty of those, I see them in the site stats.
It may be harder to reach people using a forum, but forums are a lot easier to navigate than Facebook. It's hard to find old Facebook posts.

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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by reptileguy » Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:48 pm

As for creating multiple accounts or paying people to post: I would feel uncomfortable doing that. I don't want to deceive my members.

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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by KevC » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:11 pm

But it's about getting that initial momentum going. Once the board is self sustaining they'll never have realised.

Let's be honest, no one really joins board with one member. So you have to do something to get it going.
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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by reptileguy » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:24 pm

You're right.
And I'll be honest: I started my forum (15 years ago) with some fake accounts. But I don't want to do this now to revive the forum. There must be other ways to get it going again ;)

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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by KevC » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:59 pm

Reviving is a bit more tricky.

The existing users have probably largely drifted away (such is life) and may have said all that has to be said. I closed a board recently for just that reason. Most had moved on, wasn't a lot left to talk about and the vicious circle is that if you try and get some new discussions going there isn't anyone there to pick them up and get the chat running again.

If you, as the owner, are struggling to think of new things to talk about then the users probably are too.

Sometimes you just have to accept it's time to close it unless you basically treat it like a new board again and really got all out with a list of new topics in the hope you can revive it. Try trawling similar boards for ideas on new topics. Put a new style on to freshen it up a bit. If you membership is relatively low, put out a mailshot saying you're still there, new look, let's get it going again. See if that kick starts things.
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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by petras » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:14 pm

Moreover you should use controversial topics. For example "What is your opinion on vaccination?" Believe me, this will go viral. Of course, it depends on the niche your forum is. But I think every forum has viral topics

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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by reptileguy » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:45 pm

Thanks KevC.
Putting a new style on is a great idea. In 3.0.x I had my own custom style, which was gone after the upgrade to 3.1.3. So now is a good time to install something new and put out a mailshot.
I know a board like the one you describe: Everything has been discussed at length. New members are told to read old discussions instead of getting involved in new ones. Effectively, they are told to shut up. Then you know it's time to close the board.
But in my board there is a lot to discuss, including some controversial topics as petras suggests 8-)

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Re: How do you keep your forum active?

Post by reptileguy » Mon Mar 09, 2015 2:10 am

I modified the prosilver style and sent emails to almost all members (individual emails, no mass mail). The forum is slowly coming back to life. Only a handful of people are inclined to participate. But it's a start.

A couple of years ago I was following this blog: http://www.communityspark.com/ I'm glad it's still there, although it has been quiet in recent years. Lots of helpful ideas in there.

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