Recently I have witnessed a growing rise in the amount of new forums. Quite a large proportion of those I have seen are targeted towards web design and graphics. Out of the forums I’ve had, quite often than not, the displeasure of visiting; fail within the first month.

I would like to take this time to explain why forums fail and what you as a forum owner can do to establish an active community. I have split this article into ten bullet points that outline the contributing factors to failure.

No goals/Aims

The first thing you need is create a goal. A website without a goal won’t succeed. Aims are short-term objectives; each week you should make new aims.

Wrong understanding of a business

Making money through a website shouldn’t be the primary objective of any business. Running a business isn’t about making money, let me make that clear. In order to run a successful business you must provide a product or service to the consumer that is of high quality and in demand. Making money from this is simply an outcome of the process.

Impatience

Probably the biggest downfall of a lot of forums. For some reason people seem to think success comes overnight, this isn’t the case. Creating an active community, quality product or service takes time and dedication. You have to put aside a great deal of time to concentrate on your website and don’t expect to see great returns for a long while yet.

Failure to establish a competitive advantage

Another big one. I’m basing this article around forums (as you may have noticed) but this can be said for any business. Recently several other design/graphic forums have been opened offering nothing new over existing communities. You need to establish a competitive advantage, whether it’s by offering more features, cheaper price, faster service etc. Without establishing an advantage over your competitors you won’t succeed.

Poor quality of product

If you have an amazing product it only takes a few people to make you successful, think freeipod.com. Innovative idea, mass-market product and they launched at the best possible time. They didn’t actually spend a great deal on advertising at first, infact it was purely from word of mouth that the site became so popular. Your business will only ever be as successful as your product or service. If you’re offering a poor product/service then this will be reflected in the amount of sales generated.

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