6 Forum Management Essentials

If you are tasked with managing a forum, congratulations to you. If you find yourself weighed down by mundane management tasks, you are not alone. Let's examine some essentials to help you run an effective and vibrant message board community without the hassles of micromanagement.

1. Find a forum you like and stick with it. Yes, not everyone will be using vBulletin or one of the other wonderful PHP or ASP message board sites. If you like EZBoard or if you like making your own site up with PHP open source, then do it and stick with it. By now you know the pitfalls of the particular sites; can you really afford to regularly change to the latest and greatest technologies? Probably not, unless your site is already generating plenty of income through Google AdSense or similar types of PPC advertising. I am not saying to never update your site, rather weigh the costs of whether your site has to have a certain site or feel to be successful. Even ugly sites can prosper, witness Craig's List!

2. Find moderators who want to moderate. Not everyone who volunteers to moderate a particular forum on your message board is fit for the task. Some will sign up and then not moderate; better to go without a moderator then to have a "name in place." Keep your standards high and only the best will volunteer.

3. Envision long term. Unless you plan on rapidly growing your forum and then "flipping" it in a quick sale, you are better off looking at keeping your site for many years. Yes, in the land of the internet, everything changes so rapidly; still there are forums that can and do thrive the longer they are online, with proper management of course!

4. Reward your core constituency. Chances are your site is dominated by a small group of people who post regularly and are generally most helpful overall. Consider having a private forum viewable only to them on your site. Out of this group will likely come your moderators; run contests for this group only. Find advertisers to fund the prizes.

5. Ignore the squeeky, vocal minority. Yes, there will be the small amount of people -- usually less than 10% of your members -- whose demands on your time far exceed what is normal. They are the ones who want extensive hand holding and technical assistance...if they would only read previous threads or pay attention to announcements, your problems with them would be resolved. As much as it cuts against the grain for some administrators [heck, you are all about helping people, right?], you must cut them loose. You need not do it directly, but by not promptly answering their questions they will either figure things out themselves or move on.

6. Be well funded. Have a treasure chest or Paypal donation box on your site to welcome contributions. Run banner ads and join a successful PPC program. Find an advertising plan that works well for you. Seek grant money if your site is geared toward helping raise awareness about a particular health or social issue. You want to reap some monies from your site and you should pay yourself for your hard work.

Not all forums are meant to succeed on the internet, nor should they. The successful sites are well managed and positively impact members and guests far beyond the internet. If you have one of these sites, congratulations and good management to you!

Matt runs two successful forums which can be viewed at http://aviationemploymentboard.net/forum and http://corporateflyer.net/forum

In The News:

Democratic lawmakers hosting two public forums
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University of Central Florida

UCF Downtown Open Forums: March 17-18
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Learn more about UCF's plans to build a campus in downtown Orlando and ask questions about the project during two open forums the week after Spring Break. Faculty and staff are invited to an open forum from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, in ...

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Joliet candidate forums slated for March
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According to Unity CDC, the forum will give candidates an opportunity to express their views and will be broadcast on Joliet Community Television. Joining Unity CDC in sponsoring the forum are Second Chances Expungement and the Black Bar Association ...

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17 hottest forums posts: Is Robin Wright the MVP of 'House of Cards' third season?
Spacey, of couse, is great and with some of the major competition gone, he is certainly a threat to win. Irishmovielover4ever: Seriously some of the people on this forum are as blind to the worthiness of the show as the creators are to the show themselves.

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Georgia Execution Drug Pentobarbital Is Popular In Suicide Forums
While problems with Pentobarbital forced the postponement of an execution in Georgia, the lethal drug is a hot commodity in online forums for suicidal people. A simple search for “Pentobarbital” in the “alternative suicide methods” Google group yields ...

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Baltimore Sun

Baltimore County schools to host forums on magnet programs
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Laurie Trentler, PTA president for Cromwell Valley Elementary School, has been rallying parents to attend one of the magnet school forums being hosted by Baltimore County. Trentler, photographed at the Towson school in September, has been fighting to ...

Ripples from Pacific fisheries forums to be felt globally
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NOUMEA, New Caledonia (Press Release) — The future management of one of the world's most significant fisheries which spans more than 30 million square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean will be under review at back-to-back forums over the next week at ...

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Glendale News Press

City Council candidate forums scheduled
Glendale News Press
7 p.m. on Thursday at the Council Chambers inside City Hall, 613 E. Broadway. Hosted by League of Women Voters. A forum for candidates in the Glendale Unified school board race will follow at 8:15 p.m.; 7 p.m. on Monday at the Armenian Society of Los ...

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Fewer forums strike at commissioners' transparency
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The Charles County commissioners took a step backward last week in their goal to improve transparency in government when they decided to replace the board's monthly public forums with quarterly town hall meetings each year that will cycle through the ...

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