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Last Post by Dani
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dani, administrator

i just posted a thread accidentally with a wrong name. i noticed that i couldnt change the title of this thread. please remove it or change the title of thread. i tried to remove my cp, couldnt do it. thanks

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That's a very general question, and that really depends on you.

I have a forum with about 300 members, and the forum hasn't yet come to a state that can grow alone.
But for instance I meat today a guy that made a forum with 250 members in 12 hours!

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There is not a fixed number for this. i have a forum with more than 300 members and 13000 posts, with a great postcount/member ratio and still i can't say it can go by itself. You need to work relentlessly to keep it active and nice.

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This site is still not yet self-sufficient for more than a couple of hours ... nearly 70,000 members strong, and I don't know where we'd be without a great team of devoted moderators to keep things active and running smoothly.

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Getting 500 members can take weeks, months, or years. With a good niche, the right promotion, and a good forum layout, I'd say it could take a few months if your lucky.

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well, the problem with me is i have my own handcoded forum though i have lot of members nobody is coming forward to post or participate. my site has been around since one year and i get lot of traffic. do you think switching to vbulletin would solve my problem and my community will grow grow better????

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Getting lots of traffic means nothing. Put yourself into the minds of your visitors. They come, they see an empty site where no one posts a lot. Why should they take the time to post when what they have to say won't be heard or they are unlikely to receive a reply?

The only advice I can give you is to POST POST POST yourself! I say this a real lot, but I might as well just repeat myself here, at the chance of being repetitive. Members are selfish. They only care that what they have to post gets seen and replied to. So the goal to turning an inactive forum into an active one is to make sure that you instantly reply to every thread or post that is made. One member at a time will see that THEIR own post has been answered right away, and so they'll come back. Don't worry right away about getting conversation going. That will come with time. At first, just focus on making sure that YOU personally answer every single post made within a short amount of time.

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he only advice I can give you is to POST POST POST yourself! I say this a real lot, but I might as well just repeat myself here, at the chance of being repetitive

At that part I would like to make a question. Is it good to post on every single thread in your forum? Isn't this image of the 'one man show' bad for you? I mean that if you start making threads and post replies to anyone else's threads is good for your forum?

I guess propably not. What is your opinion?

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Posting in every single thread is the only way to be successful when you're first starting out. With few people posting on a new site, you can't rely on other members to get the job done. Once your site grows and becomes entirely self-sustaining, then you'll find yourself focusing more and more on moderation issues that arise and less time posting, and when you get to that point, that's fine.

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I see. My forum has not so big activity as there are only about 300 members with 7500 posts, so I keep repling on every post, but I am really not sure if this is good. On the other hand leaving those threads and wait untill someone replies is bad too, and the worst would propably be to make several accounts and post from them (I have done it in the past, but I think it is redicoulous)

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Right now you should be replying to every post. This is fine. Once the site grows large enough, you'll have a dedicated team of regular members who will share this job with you.

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Good info ...

The only forum I own and I don't post that much is my Romanian MA forum. I have some very dedicated members who are also instructors, so I just keep the board running. When opening the forums I started all the threads (20-30 new threads each day) and replied a lot. Now, after some months, I don't have the highest post count anymore. I am not as good in MA as they are (am only a blue belt), so I just keep myself from posting too much since they do know how to handle the discussion.

But all my 5 forums I have aside that one have me as the highest posting member. I "own" a good percentage of the replies and 60-90 % of the topics. The forums are still small so I need to boost the replies with new topics constantly. But little by little new members join and they find that they do have what to talk about. Then, I can relax on the posting a bit and just read their replies and post when I truly have to.. There are days the topics are going without me, so I just look at them. When I feel a day is less active, then I can reply to some of the threads I ignored on the active days and reboost the posting.

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The answer to anyone who says - how many members should I have in 3 months? is not a number it is the fact that it depends on how many people are interested in your subject. For example this forum has over 70,000 members in a few years but if it was about a more specific subject for example PDAs then there would only be a fraction of the amount of members. So in conclusion you should just make sure that your forum has steady growth.

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That's not necessarily true. At first glance, you might think that a more general site has a larger pool of potential members. However, a lot of times, people are more inclined to join niche forums. For example, a hardcore PHP programmer might be a lot more inclined to join a PHP-geared niche forum than a general programming site or a general IT site with just one section devoted to PHP. I think it's more of a give 'n' take between a lot of one thing or a little of everything. In the end, it all balances out when you factor in everything about the community as a whole.

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I have one thing to add to what dani said. It's true that people will most likely join a forum they're interested in. But it also makes sense that niche website owners will initially have to do more work finding interested users. An owner of a non-niche forum could ask all his friends to post and they'd probably have some idea and relate to what they're posting about.

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Getting lots of traffic means nothing. Put yourself into the minds of your visitors. They come, they see an empty site where no one posts a lot. Why should they take the time to post when what they have to say won't be heard or they are unlikely to receive a reply?

The only advice I can give you is to POST POST POST yourself! I say this a real lot, but I might as well just repeat myself here, at the chance of being repetitive. Members are selfish. They only care that what they have to post gets seen and replied to. So the goal to turning an inactive forum into an active one is to make sure that you instantly reply to every thread or post that is made. One member at a time will see that THEIR own post has been answered right away, and so they'll come back. Don't worry right away about getting conversation going. That will come with time. At first, just focus on making sure that YOU personally answer every single post made within a short amount of time.

I have a question about the posting bit. What if they haven't posted anything that really warrants a reply? I mean what if they've posted a statement or an ad or something like that? I don't really know how to respond to statements.

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If you don't know how, then learn :) I promise, it's a lesson that will serve you well. If someone posts a statement or a non-question, reply with a comment of your own ... "That's interesting, but what about ..." ... Get conversation flowing. Think about how you would respond to a friend who just told you that statement. It will make you come off as much more approachable on the site. Additionally, people posting statements puts good factual info on the site instead of just questions, so it should be encouraged as much as possible. The only way to encourage it is to make people feel comfortable posting it ... and the only way to do that is to comment on it!

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The only advice I can give you is to POST POST POST yourself! I say this a real lot, but I might as well just repeat myself here, at the chance of being repetitive. Members are selfish. They only care that what they have to post gets seen and replied to. So the goal to turning an inactive forum into an active one is to make sure that you instantly reply to every thread or post that is made. One member at a time will see that THEIR own post has been answered right away, and so they'll come back. Don't worry right away about getting conversation going. That will come with time. At first, just focus on making sure that YOU personally answer every single post made within a short amount of time.

That is a very nice advise. I have been doing it for the last 5-6 months but still I am not getting posts from other users.

My question is "Should I provide/announce any incentives for users to post on the forums?"

Is it a good technique to make the user come again and again?
I started to give the usres Gmail invitations last year and it worked good for me.

Any other suggestion you people can would give to make the user come back regularly?

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I am not a fan of giving members prizes in exchange for posting. What ends up happening is your members only end up spending time on your site because they want what you're giving away for free, and they don't really care about the site at all. As soon as the well runs dry, or you can no longer afford to constantly supply members with free gifts everyday, they'll all quickly leave and you'll be back to square one.

Contests are a really good idea and can be used to improve the community aspects of the site. However, contests should encourage members to participate more and bond and encourage community - not give them a reason to be on your site during the here and now when they really don't care about it at all.

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I did a limerick contest. People submitted limericks about my site. The prize was a book signed by the author.

Contests should be for community bonding, not to make people come to the site. People who don't want to go to a site shouldn't be forced to visit just for a reward. Although prizes for things unrelated to how much someone posts can help existing members feel more connected to the site.

I am not a fan of giving members prizes in exchange for posting. What ends up happening is your members only end up spending time on your site because they want what you're giving away for free, and they don't really care about the site at all. As soon as the well runs dry, or you can no longer afford to constantly supply members with free gifts everyday, they'll all quickly leave and you'll be back to square one.

Contests are a really good idea and can be used to improve the community aspects of the site. However, contests should encourage members to participate more and bond and encourage community - not give them a reason to be on your site during the here and now when they really don't care about it at all.

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That's a very general question, and that really depends on you.

I have a forum with about 300 members, and the forum hasn't yet come to a state that can grow alone.
But for instance I meat today a guy that made a forum with 250 members in 12 hours!

the guy has probably an old website and he still had contacts with them and he just brought everyone from the old one to the new one =)

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I agree that it is easier to grow a forum when it is attached to an existing website with a good sized following ... although I have never been in that position myself.

I'm a strong advocate that a website can never truly be self sufficient. Comments?

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i have waited months and paid heaps of advertising and only have 16 members :(

Please don't be offended I am trying to be constructive. I took a look at your site. Your choice of topics isn't great, go for more general stuff. Secondly you need to change your writing style, I looked at your World Cup thread because it caught my eye (I like football). It didn't come across very welcoming or friendly and if it goes off topic don't worry. At the moment any post is good.

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Competitions are good as long as it's applicable to your site. Don't give away a free football if your site is about pets. Maybe a free hamster would be more appropriate :-)

Niche forums tend to be better. I am a very experienced Coldfusion Developer and I chip in on this site a bit, but if I want my questions answered I go to a dedicated Coldfusion forum. I like the Marketing and Promotions section on this site. I haven't come across too many of them.

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I'm a strong advocate that a website can never truly be self sufficient. Comments?

I guess it depends on how you define truly. If you mean, the owner/admin dies, and yet somehow 3 years later the forum is still humming along, then, yeah, no forum is that self-sustaining.

However, I've left my forum for writers unattended for a month while I did some contract work. The 3 moderators did OK on their own, new members did join, and the conversations kept going just fine.

Of course, I wouldn't leave the forum unattended forever. I felt like a month was very long.

And it does depend upon the forum. A lot. I have another forum that died even with me spending $500/week in Google ads, and posting like crazy, and doing post exchanges, etc. It wanted to die, and nothing I did could stop it.

-Tony

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