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:

Chamber hosts local candidate forums
Beatrice Daily Sun
Voters will have an opportunity to meet and question candidates in six local races starting Wednesday. The Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce will host the first of two candidate forums at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Beatrice Public Schools Administration ...

Candidates for YSU Provost face open forums this week
Now that Jim Tressel is President of Youngstown State University , the efforts begin this week to narrow down the field of candidates who want to lead and coordinate academic departments and programs at YSU. Open forums for the four finalists for the ...

and more »

Susan Redden: Challenger Evans says he'll keep planning forums, inviting Long
Joplin Globe
Whether or not he accepts, Jim Evans, Democratic candidate for Congress from Missouri's 7th District, said he's going to keep holding public forums and inviting Billy Long to join in. Evans, who is challenging the two-term Republican congressman, said ...

Shooting Star Foundation creates open forums of dialogue
University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily
The Shooting Star Foundation aims to raise awareness of the dangerous effects of party drugs and promote open discussion within the University community. lfshootingstarsmbronfin068 · Marshall Bronfin | The Cavalier Daily. The Shooting Star Foundation ...

Congressional forums come to QC
Quad City Times
... come to St. Ambrose University's Galvin Fine Arts Center to hear firsthand from the Iowans who want to represent us in the U.S. House and Senate. We're thrilled to announce the Quad-Cities first ever, back-to-back U.S. House and Senate candidate ...

In divisive Wake commissioners race, little consensus on which forums to attend
The State
RALEIGH --- The election is two months away, but contestants in the race for control of the Wake County Board of Commissioners already are making political choices as they decide whose candidate forums and debates to participate in. The four Republican ...

and more »

Greater Des Moines Partnership announces 6 candidate forums
The Greater Des Moines Partnership will host forums featuring at least six candidates for state and federal office starting next month. The Partnership, a community development group affiliated with 21 chambers of commerce in central Iowa, invited ...

Forums planned on police military surplus equipment
Chapel Hill News
CHAPEL HILL Orange County's law enforcement agencies are banding together to target local concerns about military equipment, training and policies through a series of public forums and September reports. Carrboro and Chapel Hill officials are ironing ...

and more »

Rural institute to hold forums across state
Lincoln Journal Star
The University of Nebraska's Rural Futures Institute will host a series of forums beginning in September. The forums will showcase success stories in Nebraska communities and share outcomes of projects funded by the Rural Futures Institute that are ...

and more »

Glen Rock school board plans two forums on field lights
The possible installation of lights at the Glen Rock High School football/all-purpose field will be the subject of two public forums to be scheduled in coming months. At the Monday, Aug. 25 Board of Education meeting, trustees asked colleagues ...

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