6 Tips to Get People to Join Your New Forum

A guest post by Tom Walker, editor and contributor to the CreativeCloud blog.

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Starting a new forum can be daunting, especially if you don't know where you're going to find the people you need to keep it active. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take that will go a long way toward turning your new posting ground into a vibrant and busy internet community. Read on for a few tips you can do that will encourage new people to join your forum.

1. Be Active In Your Own Forum
Nothing makes a forum seem dead quite like an owner who doesn't post. Make sure you start a topic at least once every day to make it clear that you are an active forum participant. Try to make at least one appearance in every thread on a new forum as long as it remains feasible to do so. This will let your budding community know that you are active and interested in what everyone is saying.

2. Stay Visible In Your Niche

If you have a forum about car parts, visit other forums and blogs about car parts and make a valuable contribution. Don't advertise your forum directly unless you are in an advertising section, but make yourself an active member of as many car part communities you can find.

Stick a short note about your forum in your posting signature with a link. If you are active and helpful wherever you go, you will find that many of the other people reading in these communities will be interested in checking yours out.

3. Encourage Forum Members To Help Your Community Grow

If the members you already have are happy with your community and find it helpful, they will probably be more than willing to encourage other people to join. Talk about trying to grow your forum in a sticky post and give community members simple ways to share your link with their friends.

Give your forum community an HTML link with text to copy and paste to make sharing a link simple. Use buttons that allow them to share a forum link with various social networks as well. If a forum member mentions sharing your forum somewhere, be sure to thank them.

4. Help Search Engines Find Your Forum

Many lists will tell you to submit your forum to search engines to get it listed, but sometimes this can actually slow you down. If you are actively promoting your forum with signature links in other blogs and communities, chances are major search engines already know it is there.

Help these search engines know where to list your forum by making sure most of the links pointing to your forum use the text people will be likely to use to look for what you provide. If your forum is about car parts, make sure your links say "car parts community" or something similar. Any time you write something for a blog or website include a note about your forum with a properly formatted link.

5. Make Sure Your New Forum Looks Good

No one wants to use a forum that is unreadable or painful to look at. Keep the interface clean and make sure the colors and skins you choose are nice looking and highly readable. If your forum members say something is making things hard to read, listen to them and change it. Customize everything, from the smiley options to member titles. Nice custom options will help your forum stay memorable.

6. Contests Can Be Useful

Run a few contests that will increase meaningful post counts. Host a contest requesting meaningful posts about a specific topic, and use the voting options that come with most forums to have the community vote on the winner. For prizes, you can give out anything from physical items to custom forum titles.

This is a guest post from Tom Walker, a blogger and designer based in the UK who works with a supplier of HP 363 inks and refills. He is the editor and a contributor to the CreativeCloud blog where he focusses mostly on his two passions: art and design.

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12 comments

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April 03, 2010 2:46 PM delete

"Don't advertise your forum directly unless you are in an advertising section..."
Thank you for making this one of your tips. One thing that I find kind of frustrating as a reader/participant is when posts are made only to promote one's own site, rather than to participate in the existing discussion.

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April 04, 2010 6:11 AM delete

hi sai i want to create a template like yours with ur permission.do u allow me to create a template like yours?
and one help,may i use pictures from ur website

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April 04, 2010 6:18 AM delete

You may use the Blogger Elegance template, but plz do not use any image from this blog. That may confuse many other bloggers...but of course you are free to customize the template with your own unique images/widgets.

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April 04, 2010 11:52 AM delete

ok i don't use any image from yours but pls allow me to design the template(widget& others) like yours

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April 04, 2010 12:16 PM delete

See I don't want to discourage people, but don't you want to be unique?
People don't give value to iron, because it's everywhere...so you'll never pick a piece of iron lying on ground. But if it's a piece of gold, then you'll certainly pocket it, cause it's rare and there isn't much gold on earth....hope you got my point!

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April 05, 2010 8:39 AM delete

Pay a few moderators to keep your forum clean and running.

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April 05, 2010 9:27 PM delete

Umm... I was wondering if you knew that your own forum is down. Is it supposed to be like that? Or is it just me (and my computer[s])?

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April 06, 2010 8:47 AM delete

Well thanks for metioning that, but actually there's some sql error in that forum, I will have to work on it or else I will switch to the other forum method too :)

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April 19, 2010 5:11 PM delete

Nice tips i will use it when my blog become popular :((

Jokes For Fun

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Anonymous
January 10, 2012 9:44 AM delete

CriticalPoint is a new venture that seeks to build a community for discussing stocks socially online. We are currently holding a competition on our "Discuss Stocks" page. In two weeks the top three posters will receive rights to write articles on our official blog that is growing every day in prominence. This is your chance to start small with us and become a respected writer! Register for an account with us and start writing meaningful posts and you will be rewarded!

criticalpoint . co

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October 05, 2012 7:20 PM delete

Hi

I also have a forum, called FavClubs, but there is no other forum like mine, so how do i participate in posts and discussions of other forums, if i couldn't find another forum that talks about night life (clubs), all over the world ?

Please tell me how to promote my forum.

Regards,
Favclubs.com

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January 24, 2013 12:47 AM delete

Thanks I got some great info out of this. I am starting a cell phone blog and forum at www.samsunggalaxyleaks.com, but i ended up getting myself banned on a forum already, even though I posted a a well written post about what I want to accomplish with my site (helping new android users) in their off-topic section.
Oh well, their loss! I even clicked their ppc ads and gave them some backlinks and syndication space.

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