Most of you who are on promotion sites or webmaster sites, must have a site or had a site. That is sold, dead or closed, etc ... Anyway you probably are thinking of starting a new forum. Most of the time that will be about something you know alot of. Could be a sport forum, in that we could find football forum, hockey forum, etc ....
So lets say for example you are going to start a hockey forum, what should you do before releasing it ?
Answer: Look to other hockey forums or websites, see what they do of contest or what content they have an how they manage there website. You don't need to copy there ideas but see what they have and try to perfect some of it and add your own creations to it.
This guide is for people who have already selected a forum software, who are planning on releasing there forum. This guide is not for a website. Anyway before releasing a forum there are a few major things you need to do:
1. Make sure you got a unique special main banner on your site that goes well with your style. Style, banner and content are the 3 factors people judge you on whether they join or not. Or keep coming back as a guest.
2. Make sure you got all things covered. This means if you start a gaming forum you got a place where people can discuss Xbox, Wii, Nintendo, PSP, and so on ...
3. A good structure, example:
Category: Front Desk in it 3 forums
1. Introduction Forum
2. News, update forum where you post all the things going on on your site.
3. Feedback forum.
[offtopic(when starting a forum)]This is a classic one, most of forums should do it like that, its also good to keep that at the top as first category. Your second category should be the one where the main core of the forum is, the gaming forums. I say it again it is so important you got all things covered you can think, thats why its a good idea to also have a General Gaming forum where all things come that don't have a place on other forums on your board.[/offtopic]
4. A team. I haven't mentioned it before, but a good team is essential to get success. You don't need more then 3 people though, even 2 is great. You should just find someone who fills up your weakness of things. Like if you are good in management of your site on a software you now pretty well. But you are not good with making banners or logo's and coding, HTML, php, etc ... Then it is wise to find someone who can do what you cannot. That way only 2 people are needed at the beginning of a forum. No more unless you want to look silly with having your team being the bigger part of your user base.
5. Content! In need you heard it correct. Alot of people will tell you more content or they won't say it but they will get annoyed when watching your forum that will look dead or in complete.
Here are some tips for getting content:
A) Make a sticky topic in each forum with the guidelines. This means a brief description of the goal of the forum you are making the guidelines in and a link to the main rules that should be in News & Updates forum under "Front Desk."
B ) Release your site to a limited audience, let your friends or people you know a bit review your site and ask them to join and make some posts to start of your site in secret.
C) Pay for posts, this is yet an other way. There are some sites that offer you a good amount of post for some $. And nobody NEW will know about your site but the poster who does it.
D) Free posts, this is an effective way. There are some sites where there are people just like you with a forum in need of posts and they search for people to do a package with. Like 5 posts on his forum and he does 5 on yours each day. The possibilities are endless on how to customize the package.
We will go on with releasing your site to a limited audience. When you do that, try to release your site fully when you have made arond 150 posts spread over all your forums. So lets say you released your site on the 5th then fully release it on the 8th.
This doesn't belong to my guide but when starting a forum be prepared to have alot of time on your hands, trust people you hire, who are strangers to you. Trust is something you have to build on, I do trust someone very fast. I have given my partner cPanel access pretty soon. Because sometimes you just got to have faith in the actions you undertake. And of course make sure you and your team do all some work, then not just 1 person is doing all the heavy work.
I hope some is useful info.