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.
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.