Discussion: Starting and Maintaining a Forum

Oninuva

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Starting a forum is as simple as starting up your own "free site" by yourself or even as much as purchasing a license for software such as vBulletin. Each method is still considered starting a forum and a forum is nothing really more than a place for discussion. But what's the secret method for starting and maintaining a forum?

What do you consider a successful forum? What do you view as a "correct" method to starting a public forum and drive visitors whom eventually become members?

I personally have had much experience in this area but when thinking back, there wasn't really a set method in mind. I always believed that "content is king" but it's really not the case. Sure unique content can bring you so far but how do you get past that couple hundred or even a couple thousand views a day? What brings you past that?

Here's a couple situations

1. You have a very unique and niche oriented forum, you get a couple friends that are dedicated to discussions and you slowly gain more enthusiasts, you rack up a couple hundred posts almost daily but you don't really have too much growth. The content is very unique obviously as you're very niche oriented but you really only attract people that are interested in your certain subject.

Pros: Loyalty, Unique, Content, Good Discussions
Cons: Low Activity, Slow Growth, Low Revenue


2. Your forum is a very general subject, such as cars, sports, or gaming, which are all very very common and basic subjects. Your discussions are very general and on surface, membership is very hard to retain as there's hundreds or even thousands of websites out there just like yours, how do you retain your users? Content? What could you possibly offer that other websites do not? In the long term, sure if you start building a solid user base, more and more people would join and the growth would snowball. Nobody want's to join a forum with low activity so the more you grow, the faster you grow, and with such a general topic, visitors aren't hard to find.

Pros: Snowballing Growth, Generic Subject, Large Visitor Base, High potential revenue
Cons: Very difficult to start up, Lots of work to retain members, low loyalty, many competitors



Now if you look at analyze a couple aspects of a forum;

TheHelper: Offers mapping help for Warcraft III. That's the main point of interest for visitors, successful? I would think so. The community is also to a certain extent tight knit. Growth rate is not too high though.

Now if you look at larger forums (much larger) such as DigitalPoint or WebHostingTalk, they offer HUGE amounts of discussion but very little community, it's more of a channel of trade. The amount of growth is phenomenal as well as sustainable because of them being the largest, but what is their best aspect? Monetary Revenue, they generate huge amounts of revenue but you also lose out on the tight knit feeling some smaller forums have.

How do you gain the balance between community & revenue? What's your idea of starting a solid forum? Do you have a certain method you feel is the right way?
 
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  • The Helper The Helper:
    I was hoping you were going to say you wanted to be a cook and wished to open up a Food Truck there are so many opportunities for that here
  • The Helper The Helper:
    you can only open the bar if you sell food and a food truck in the parking lot counts
  • The Helper The Helper:
    here in houston
  • The Helper The Helper:
    most bars are struggling to build food prep and even some I know are doing there own food trucks
  • The Helper The Helper:
    but yeah man you should come to Houston there is so much more opportunity here than San Antonio. Just look at all the homeless people on the Riverwalk and downtown there you cannot even walk down the street without getting mobbed them
  • The Helper The Helper:
    check out this place apparently it is the best roommate site out there roommates.com lol
  • Varine Varine:
    The homeless people reminded me of New York
  • Varine Varine:
    I'll check it out, my lease expires in like a few months so I need to figure something out.
  • Varine Varine:
    I tried to open a food truck in Sandpoint a few years ago but the city said no, then like two years later they passed new laws to encourage it and gave them all fucking tax breaks and shit. And at that point I didn't have enough money to go buy one so I was way too late to the game once other cities realized they could just bring their existing truck there, or sell their brick and mortar.
  • Varine Varine:
    I do like food trucks though, they're way more fun than restaurants and usually I also get some of that tip money there.
  • Varine Varine:
    Restaurants are really hard if you don't have a back up source of income to fund them sometimes, in my experience most owners either got really really lucky, had existing money that allowed them to buy an already successful one, or they have family money to fall back on for loans. It's few and far between to see very inspiring success stories where the person actually got it through hard work and perseverance. I thought about opening one lots and I always just end up not thinking it'll work. I would much rather just find someone that has that money and go work for them
  • The Helper The Helper:
    i am not talking about opening a brick and mortar I am talking about food trucks though I have seen some brick and mortar mexican places open up during covid that are doing good because there food is awesome!
  • The Helper The Helper:
    Food trucks are killing out here because Bars cannot open unless they sell food and the governor ok'd the use of a food truck in front as serving food
  • The Helper The Helper:
    Just not enough food trucks
  • The Helper The Helper:
    a buddy of mine just opened up a food truck and he is killing it but he is a great cook and has awesome food right in the middle of the pandemic too food trucks are immune to pandemic because they are take out in Texas you will always be able to get take out or delivery
  • The Helper The Helper:
    He is in the different food facebook groups in houston and posts videos of him making his food
  • The Helper The Helper:
    he is killing it
  • jonas jonas:
    @Varine with the restaurants, there surely is a lot of luck and hard work but most restaurants fail because they suck. Flair isn't right, economics not well thought through, food is mediocre or sucks, location is bad, etc. If you're thinking about opening one, make sure you're looking at the stories of those that would be playing at your level, don't let your hopes be dragged down by all the subpar restaurants out there.
  • jonas jonas:
    I'm a bit worried about the future of data science, there's an influx of incompetent people hired by incompetent managers, that can't last. But I'm sure smart data scientists will always be useful and hireable. Same as smart security people.
  • jonas jonas:
    My sister in law worked in a vegan food truck, the owners were also making a killing, added several trucks and opened two restaurants over 5 years
  • Ghan Ghan:
    The CompTIA stuff is pretty much crap unfortunately. The places that ask for those low-level certs aren't likely places you want to work. For IT you really want a degree, but in the meantime you need to figure out some way to learn the skills. Cybersecurity is really hot right now so competition is fierce.
  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    I realized I don't have anything much to say, other than "Good luck!". Compared to other places, I'm just very lucky we didn't have a lot of surges of cases coming in.
  • The Helper The Helper:
    My daughter just got back from school at Georgetown TX, outside of Austin and said there were 100 cases in the last week but she also said nobody was wearing a mask anywhere so people mask up and stay safe!
    +2
  • thewrongvine thewrongvine:
    happy thanksgiving folks!
    +1

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