How many members did you have before your forum took off?

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ctodd72
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How many members did you have before your forum took off?

Post by ctodd72 »

As a general rule of thumb, how many members does it take to keep the conversation flowing?

My forum is for a targeted audience (personal trainers/fitness professionals) and getting people to talk is like pulling teeth. I only have 30 members so far (my site is 4 months old) and I have done everything that I can think of to get these people to interact. I guess I need a lot more people for the forum to really take off... :?:

Christina

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KevC
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Post by KevC »

Depends a bit whether they are posters or lurkers. Even with over 1000 registered on one of my forums you can look at the last page of the memberlist and see zero after zero on the post counts, then suddenly a 26 or something pops up. Some people like to talk more than others I guess.

Have you tried starting discussion topics? How about posting some kind of survey to ask what people think of the forum and how you could improve it? As it's a new forum, obviously you might have thought some sections would work and they haven't, maybe a little reorganisation is needed. Shuffle some bits about, make some new bits, kill some others off.
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ctodd72
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Post by ctodd72 »

Hi Kevin, thanks for your response. I have started discussion topics, posted a poll (only 2 people voted LOL -- I will try another one), and last night I cut out all forums that had zero posts so it will make the forum look more active.

That is a good idea -- I will post an area where people can provide feedback about the site. It's always hard for me to understand why people won't talk b/c that has never been a problem for me. (Just ask some of my ex- schoolteachers! :lol:) My husband suggested that when I respond to someone always respond with an open ended question so they are "forced" to talk back.

I do not mean for this to sound arrogant, but from a visual standpoint the forum looks fantastic so I know that is not the issue. Maybe I just have an inexperienced group of people who are not used to using forums. (?)

Christina

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Post by Analog2112 »

ctodd72 wrote: I do not mean for this to sound arrogant, but from a visual standpoint the forum looks fantastic so I know that is not the issue. Maybe I just have an inexperienced group of people who are not used to using forums. (?)

Christina


OMG - What a great quote!!! :D

But being serious, I hear you.. Getting people to speak up and post is soo hard.

Have you thought about adding some RSS feeds to your forums? Having dynamic content seems to get people to visit more often which might get people to post, especially if the subject matter of the RSS message can spark a post.

I don't know anything about personal trainers, but I'm sure if you spent a few mins on google you would find some feeds that you liked.

Just a thought..

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Post by ctodd72 »

Analog -- that is so odd... I was literally just looking for RSS feeds! :lol: Good idea! I am not terribly familiar with feeds (and I know this is a bit off topic from my original question) but can I post fitness and nutrition feeds from The New York Times for example? The members do not pay a subscription to my site, so do you think this would be okay? I don't want to do anything illegal or steal anyone's content.

Christina

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Post by Analog2112 »

I'm sure you could..

Most people that put out a RSS feed want as many people as possible to use it, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

I'd be more worried about the feed having content in it that would draw people off my site (that is what I'd be careful of).

-A

ctodd72 wrote: Analog -- that is so odd... I was literally just looking for RSS feeds! :lol: Good idea! I am not terribly familiar with feeds (and I know this is a bit off topic from my original question) but can I post fitness and nutrition feeds from The New York Times for example? The members do not pay a subscription to my site, so do you think this would be okay? I don't want to do anything illegal or steal anyone's content.

Christina

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Post by sempai »

I believe that member participation is more important than sheer number of members who do not participate. I'd rather have 30 active members who contribute good discussions than 1000 members who doesn't even post a topic.
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Post by kapengbarako »

sempai wrote: I believe that member participation is more important than sheer number of members who do not participate. I'd rather have 30 active members who contribute good discussions than 1000 members who doesn't even post a topic.


i agree with that. for my site with over 500 members, only 20 members are actively posting in the forums
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Post by onlinemoney »

sempai wrote: I believe that member participation is more important than sheer number of members who do not participate. I'd rather have 30 active members who contribute good discussions than 1000 members who doesn't even post a topic.


Depends on how you want to run your forum but these days you have to do serious campaign and offer some begining incentives if you want your forum to grow faster. Yes sometimes you can have 1000 people with no active participation but i must tell you that when dealing with a crowd, you would have to know that you are dealing with percentage at the same time.
If you have 500 members, the probability is that you would have between 30 to 50 participating daily and you have about 1000-1500 page views daily.
If you have 1000, you would have between 100-200 participating daily and about 1500-2500 page views daily.

Forum basically survives on number and participation, if you are interested on catching in some cash through forum, you would need to treat it as a business because your number and level of participation determines how your income would grow. You also need to be innovative with your members and try to be available all the time. I offer a lot of free incentives to members and created a pure international forum where you allow a kind of controled freedom. Human beings like to be free so you must create an atmosphere of freedom in your forum.

Create a kind of cool advertising strategy that you know would yield good results and then be ready to have patience. If you did not pay for paid sign up advertising and you have about 4-10 people registering daily as members even if they did not post anything and also about 2-10 visitors including members every 10 mins in your forum, then you are doing good and have very high prospects of growing. Some members who did not post initially would still come back later.
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Post by wicked1 »

Sometimes users forget about they even signed up for your board.. As bad as it sounds your site might not be the hottest thing in their bookmarks to them. So a good way to recover conversation and traffic I have experienced is to like mentioned above create a topic or poll that makes people interested in giving oppinions. Now your not done.. Now send a mass email to all your users using your admin panel.. This message will inlude a link to go right to the topic.. Believe it or not you will get a better response because people are lazy on their computer.. But if your message or link crosses their everyday computer routine such as checking email then they are more likely to click your link rather than digg you out of the bookmarks or favorites section of their browser. As well in the email include an incentive for them. Tell them to do what you ask and then let you know they participated under another area of your forum and you reward them with in your case a workout ebook or a free product that normally cost money on your site.. I think you get the idea.. Good luck..

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Post by nlcaldwell »

I was fortunate enough to have my forum take off right away; within two months I was seeing 200+ posts a day. But getting new users to speak up is extremely hard to do; it's a lot harder now than when the forum first started since a new user comes to the board and sees that everyone else already knows each other.

What I've found to work really well is to just create a very welcoming environment to new users. First, I've made the registration process very easy such that you only need to fill out your birthday, username, password, and e-mail to sign up. Then when they do sign up, I send an automated private message welcoming them to the board and pointing them in the direction of the Welcome forum. In the Welcome forum, I then have all sorts of guides and FAQs for new users to look over if they wish to.

Finally, I have a dedicated core group of about six users who act as Greeters. These people welcome every single new user by sending them a PM or replying to their "Hello" post in the Welcome forum. Since I've done that last step, I've seen a lot less zero posters. Before the Greeters group, only about a quarter of new users make at least one post. I've now seen that increase to about three quarters.

And as someone said, some people simply forget about the site. If someone hasn't activated their account, I send them an e-mail. And about once every three months, I send out a newsletter with new information on the site, a list of great topics to read, and a few articles by users on the site.
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Post by drathbun »

For me, it was about two years / 4K members.

Prior to that there was a core group of folks that was online every day, answering questions, starting discussions, and keeping the board going. Once we hit about 4K members the board took off. I have personally posted very infrequently over the past two years (this board is now 4 years old) but it has continued to grow, in fact the membership growth rate (even after I prune spam users <sigh>) has actually been increasing.

But I suspect that the subject matter has a lot to do with out this question would be answered. If you have a subject that is very specialized you might never see 4K members. If your existing membership is very vocal then you don't need that many.
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Big Damo
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Re: How many members did you have before your forum took off

Post by Big Damo »

ctodd72 wrote: As a general rule of thumb, how many members does it take to keep the conversation flowing?

My forum is for a targeted audience (personal trainers/fitness professionals) and getting people to talk is like pulling teeth. I only have 30 members so far (my site is 4 months old) and I have done everything that I can think of to get these people to interact. I guess I need a lot more people for the forum to really take off... :?:

Christina


Well I've got 33 members and getting people to talk is like pulling teeth YES I KNOW....

Its amazing how many people actually read the threads etc 'VIEWS' but no one writes anything....

I have taken off the email registration thing to make it easier for people to join,, all they need to do is register and then post..

I know what you are saying,,, I think its just a TIME thing from here on in.

I'd be interested to here what other forum owners which have 1000's of members have to to say...
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Post by Jim_UK »

It took members of my board quite a while before they were confident enough to post.
What got my lot going was the introduction of a new user called "Grumpy" who made some quite "grumpy" posts.
It took them quite a long time to catch on that Grumpy was really me. :twisted:

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Post by RoverRoad »

The thing that works best for me is to send out a monthly newsletter. That always seems to get a bunch of members to sign in at the same time so that they can interact with each other.

I've also had success with posting news articles. That usually gives people something to reply to.

And the third thing that worked for me was to keep one forum open for guests to be able to post in. There are a lot of people that don't want to register, they just want to ask a question and get it over with. Let them post anonymously and than when they read the reply, many times they will register.

Currently the two active boards that I have are only about 5 months old. I'm growing from scratch my self. I expect real activity when I hit 1000 members. Funny, but the board that only has 20 members has more repeat activity than the board with 300 members...
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