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:

Sullivan, Begich to meet in 7 debates/forums in US Senate race
Alaska Dispatch
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan confirmed his general election debate schedule Tuesday, setting up seven matchups with incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich before Election Day. Sullivan has already appeared at one debate in ...

Help us quiz the candidates at our election forums
Corvallis Gazette Times (blog)
This prevents those "gotcha" questions ("Mr. McInally, is it true that you once shouted inappropriately at one of your cats?") that rarely add much insight in forums like these. If I like your question, I might ask it at one of the forums. And I hope ...

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Battle Creek Enquirer

Battle Creek, Marshall holding candidate forums
Battle Creek Enquirer
The Marshall Business Association and Area Economic Development Alliance will hold a candidate forum from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at Schuler's Restaurant, 115 S. Eagle St. State candidates in local Senate and House races will attend, along with ...

Fontana plans forums; Rialto holding meet, greet
San Bernardino County Sun
Thursday is a busy day for local candidates with Fontana holding city council and mayoral forums and Rialto organizing a meet-and-greet for city council, school board and a congressional candidate to discuss why they are running in the November election.

Forums giving voters look at Ravalli County candidates this week
And with the accelerated pace created by the trend to vote-by-mail, organizers of candidate forums have moved their events up to this week. Election season always generates a lot of interest in Ravalli County, and that's especially true this year, with ...

Visalia Times-Delta

Tulare Chamber of Commerce hosts candidates forum
Visalia Times-Delta
Natoli, who teaches history and writes a blog with a focus on local politics, said political forums are the place where constituents can get an up-close look at candidates. "That brings politics to a retail level," he said. The Tulare Chamber of ...
Lexington-Richland District Five to host school board candidate forumsColaDaily.com

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Cape students hosting candidate forums
CAPE ELIZABETH - Three gubernatorial candidates will visit Cape Elizabeth High School this fall to attend forums moderated by seniors in an advanced placement U.S. Government class. Last week, Gov. Paul LePage was the first candidate to visit the ...

and more »

Forums on outdoor recess scheduled for Thursday
Milford Daily News
The forums were scheduled in reaction to parent and teacher concerns voiced at the Sept. 18th School Committee meeting. At that time, the School Committee was told that morning outdoor recess had been moved indoors to comply with state regulations on ...

College of Law Dean Finalists to Visit Campus, Participate in Public Forums
Tennessee Today
Each forum will be recorded. Once all candidates have completed their visits, archived video of the presentations will be posted online. The goal is for the new dean to start work in July 2015. More information on the candidates and a schedule of their ...

Orlando Weekly

Mailbag: Election forums
Albany Democrat Herald
With its long history of conducting nonpartisan candidate forums, the League of Women Voters has taken very seriously its role of helping the American people understand their political choices. A candidate running for public office is applying for a ...
Local Candidate Forums Hosted By League Of Women VotersWJON News
League of Women Voters hosts candidate eventsMy Eastern Shore

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