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Attracting Users to your Forum
Winterworks
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 640

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by Winterworks Winterworks is offline 01 Nov 2008
Rating: (1 vote - 5.00 average)

This guide will explain to you how to attract new users to your vBulletin forum (actually, it works on all forums, but it was made specifically for vBulletin)

#1) Always have a clean skin. Only have a dark, evil looking skin if you're running an 'underground' kind of forum. Like if you're doing warez and such. (which is I am completely against) If not, keep it a bright kind of style, with glossy icons and such (perhaps). This will not hurt the users eyes too much, and will allow them to find what they're looking for, easier.

#2) Never hide your sections from guests. By doing this, you'll loose so many people. They'll register, see your content, then just leave. It will take up much more bandwidth by closing the forums also (because of all the guests that will register then leave). Plus, search engines (Google, Yahoo...) will not be able to display any content if people search your site up.

#3) Only ever have a small amount of forums. When you get your forum, and only have a few members, don't add too many sections, or it will overwhelm your members. Plus, if you have sections without posts (if you have too many sections, then you most likely will not have many posts) then it makes your forum look more dead than it really is. Once you gain more members, that's the time to add new sections and categories.

#4) Don't have too many staff members. I've seen forums before, where over 80% of the active community, is staff members. This will kill your forum, as your staff get bored, and quit, plus no one will register because your site is too heavily moderated, and they'll feel weird all of the time.

#5) Always spend at least 10-20$ on advertising. That's a minimum. Go on other sites that are related to yours, and advertise your website there. But remember never to spam advertisements. That makes you look very immature, and a stupid little website that will do anything for a few members.

#6) Before advertising, make sure you have a bunch of posts, and a few members. When people see your advertisement, but see you have no posts or members, they will most definetely not join.

#7) Owners must not have over 30% of posts. Unless your board is new, or it's a company where the owner must post a lot. But never, ever have over 30% of posts, as it makes you look desperate for posts.

#8) Never go over board with modifications. No one likes a board with too many modifications to handle. Keep it down a little bit of modifications, not too many, not too little.

Last edited by Princeton; 03 Nov 2008 at 12:22..
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  #2  
Old 03 Nov 2008, 22:24
Winterworks's Avatar
Winterworks Winterworks is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Thanks for the reformatting and accepting, Princeton

And thanks whoever voted 5 stars, much appreciated.
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  #3  
Old 04 Nov 2008, 16:20
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TalkVirginia TalkVirginia is offline
 
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I'm finding it difficult coming up with things and ideas to post about. Also I have 2 RSS news feeds which post a few state related news messages every 12 hours. I see a lot of guests reading the news feeds but won't register and join the community. One of the things I did recently was make it so that they needed to have 2 posts in order to view or access links in posts across the site. According to Google Analytics my visitor count is going up but the time they spend on the site is going down.
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  #4  
Old 04 Nov 2008, 18:43
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cheat-master30 cheat-master30 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Winterworks View Post
This guide will explain to you how to attract new users to your vBulletin forum (actually, it works on all forums, but it was made specifically for vBulletin)

#1) Always have a clean skin. Only have a dark, evil looking skin if you're running an 'underground' kind of forum. Like if you're doing warez and such. (which is I am completely against) If not, keep it a bright kind of style, with glossy icons and such (perhaps). This will not hurt the users eyes too much, and will allow them to find what they're looking for, easier.
Okay, I'll be honest, I really like this guide so far, and it's a nice change to see an article somewhat management rather than coding related here. But good advice on the aspect of styles (is my style a clean style that works for people viewing?)


#2) Never hide your sections from guests. By doing this, you'll loose so many people. They'll register, see your content, then just leave. It will take up much more bandwidth by closing the forums also (because of all the guests that will register then leave). Plus, search engines (Google, Yahoo...) will not be able to display any content if people search your site up.
I second this, and it's one of my biggest annoyances with any forum I've seen. Plus, these damn private forums seem to be some sort of fad recently, despite their compete uselessness for SEO. Plus, you need to add that most people just won't even sign up if they don't know what they're joining to see.


#3) Only ever have a small amount of forums. When you get your forum, and only have a few members, don't add too many sections, or it will overwhelm your members. Plus, if you have sections without posts (if you have too many sections, then you most likely will not have many posts) then it makes your forum look more dead than it really is. Once you gain more members, that's the time to add new sections and categories.
Again, advice I've seen many times before and very much agree with. Perfect answer to give to 90% of forums asking for review here it seems, because most new admins seem to completely fail to grasp this point.


#4) Don't have too many staff members. I've seen forums before, where over 80% of the active community, is staff members. This will kill your forum, as your staff get bored, and quit, plus no one will register because your site is too heavily moderated, and they'll feel weird all of the time.
Agreed.


#5) Always spend at least 10-20$ on advertising. That's a minimum. Go on other sites that are related to yours, and advertise your website there. But remember never to spam advertisements. That makes you look very immature, and a stupid little website that will do anything for a few members.
Agreed with not spamming, I hate the forums that basically post recruitment ads on other people's sites, and hate even worse the ridiculous ones that spam PM people n other's websites. But I would disagree with needing to spend on advertising, I currently haven't spend anything on advertising and got a pretty darn popular forum with just free advertising.


#6) Before advertising, make sure you have a bunch of posts, and a few members. When people see your advertisement, but see you have no posts or members, they will most definetely not join.
Probably also before opening as well. Remember, as you pretty much imply here, content is king. No content = No members.


#7) Owners must not have over 30% of posts. Unless your board is new, or it's a company where the owner must post a lot. But never, ever have over 30% of posts, as it makes you look desperate for posts.
Again I'd disagree, but I don't really go on many forums other than my own.


#8) Never go over board with modifications. No one likes a board with too many modifications to handle. Keep it down a little bit of modifications, not too many, not too little.
Agreed. Add modifications that will be useful to your community, not just everything and the kitchen sink (*cough* Bashy's Place *cough* in a topic which completely ignored this for somewhat comic effect).
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  #5  
Old 04 Nov 2008, 21:07
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Winterworks Winterworks is offline
 
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Well, I guess you don't have to advertise. It just helps, to pay for advertising.

Thanks for the great comments I'm looking for more comments, and maybe I'll write more articles soon.
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  #6  
Old 04 Nov 2008, 22:10
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cheat-master30 cheat-master30 is offline
 
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Definitely keep writing articles, as articles are a very rare thing here at vBulletin.org, at least compared to modifications and styles.
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  #7  
Old 13 Nov 2008, 08:52
mnymaker mnymaker is offline
 
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Talking

Thanks for the article. It was just the type of information I was searching for as I am always trying to increase my membership.
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  #8  
Old 14 Nov 2008, 01:20
vip_inc200 vip_inc200 is offline
 
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Thanks for the article.
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  #9  
Old 15 Nov 2008, 15:27
mcyates mcyates is offline
 
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What type of free advertising are you talking about.

Mutual link exchanges?
Search engines?
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  #10  
Old 29 Aug 2009, 17:19
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RvG2 RvG2 is offline
 
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thank you for this very useful article.
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  #11  
Old 07 Sep 2010, 02:55
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narhot narhot is offline
 
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A good idea and more excellent nsaih deserves your Creator and I follow your posts and good
thank you my brother
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  #12  
Old 01 Oct 2010, 14:29
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as7apcool as7apcool is offline
 
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very useful article
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  #13  
Old 27 Nov 2010, 22:47
kootta kootta is offline
 
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thanks for that USEFUL POST
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Old 11 Sep 2013, 13:29
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crazyboy1661 crazyboy1661 is offline
 
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thanks so much.
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