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:

The Journal News | LoHud.com

State senator plans heroin forums, pitches drug plan
The Journal News | LoHud.com
Murphy, a Yorktown Republican elected to represent the 40th state senate district in November, is set to host a series of forums to pitch and receive feedback on his seven-point plan to tackle heroin abuse. The first of these events is 7 p.m. Thursday ...


City candidates to appear in forums before primaries
The League of Women Voters of the Stevens Point Area is holding forums Wednesday for all of the races that will have primary elections, said local coordinator Christine Neidlein. Both forums will take place in the Pinery Room at the Portage County ...

The Journal News | LoHud.com

East Ramapo community forums set Jan. 28 and Feb. 11
The Journal News | LoHud.com
Here's another East Ramapo-related community forum to add to the calendar: Wednesday (tomorrow) Jan. 28, 7 p.m. at the Spring Valley Hook & Ladder Firehouse, 7 West Furman Place, Spring Valley. The event will be held on the third floor of the firehouse.

and more »


Transit tax: Metro Vancouver Alliance plans forums to promote 'Yes' vote
"The question before us is, 'Do we want to fund increases and improvements in service?'" The forums are aimed at developing campaign strategies for the "Yes" campaign and will take place in the months leading up to the vote. The first forum takes place ...

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CRCSD Hosting Superintendent Forums
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- The process is now underway to find a new superintendent to lead the Cedar Rapids Community School District. The district will host a forum on Thursday to give parents and interested community members the chance to ...

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State Port Pilot

Boiling Sprig Lakes board may decide Tuesday whether to resume citizens forums
State Port Pilot
The fate of the citizens forum, which was reinstated a year ago after a four-year hiatus, then put on hold again in November, could be decided by Boiling Spring Lakes commissioners at their meeting next week. The board will convene at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday ...

Legislative forums set in Hancock County
Mason City Globe Gazette
Residents of Hancock County and surrounding areas will have an opportunity to visit with their area state legislators Friday, Feb. 6. Sen. Dennis Guth and Rep. Terry Baxter will offer legislative forums 8:30- 9:30 a.m. at the Garner library, 10-10:45 a ...

MCPO: Scams on the rise, free forums offered
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — With tax season approaching, the Marion County Prosecutor's Office is warning about scams. Deputy Prosecutor Cindy Oetjen will hold three free forums this week on fraud. The seminars are geared toward senior citizens, but Oetjen ...

Forums organized to discuss arts education
BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Arts Council is holding a series of community forums to discuss the future of arts education in the state. Council Education Program Manager Ben Doyle tells the Brattleboro Reformer (http://bit.ly/1bI41RH) the forum ...

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RCS forums demand your input
"What we've got here, is failure to communicate." — Strother Martin to Paul Newman in "Cool Hand Luke." That famous movie line could just as well apply to the lack of attendance at forums conducted by Richmond Community Schools board as it seeks input ...

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