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:


Business Insider

Facebook's Newest App Wants To Make Old-School Internet Forums Sexy Again
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Phandroid.com

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BurlingtonFreePress.com

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The community forums are part of a three-year planning effort underway by Efficiency Vermont, according to an announcement released Thursday. Jim Merriam, director of Efficiency Vermont, will attend all of the meetings, which are free and open to the ...


Albuquerque Journal

City spending $150000 on public forums on APD
Albuquerque Journal
“We're high on our budget as far as what we want to do” during the forums, Montaño said. He said if the city doesn't spend all the $150,000 on the upcoming meetings, it can use the remaining money on other efforts aimed at reforming the police department.


Albuquerque Journal

Police forums more constructive than yelling
Albuquerque Journal
Albuquerque Police Department officers listen to speakers during the first of 10 community meetings to gather ideas on reforming the department Tuesday at the Convention Center in Downtown Albuquerque. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal).

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Facebook built a forum platform for your smartphone inside the new Rooms app
The Next Web
In the 1990s and early 2000s I was the member of a couple car forums. First Honda forums and then a Subaru forum. I used these forums mostly for technical information. Where to buy used engines and transmission, the best gas for turbo-charged vehicles, ...


The Michigan Daily

Passion and substance drive RC Forums' campus missions
The Michigan Daily
Several of these types of groups meet weekly under the RC Forum umbrella, whether they're discussing social issues like Feminist and LGBT*QA Forums, or they're more focused on artistic expression like Poetry and Creative Writing Forums. RC Forums can ...


The Desert Sun

CV Link forums, bike ride announced
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CV Link forums, bike ride announced. CV Link forums, bike ride announcedCV Link forums, bike ride announced. News; 17 hours, 2 minutes ago · Local. Kenny Irwin's 'Robolights' back this year. Kenny Irwin's 'Robolights' back this yearThe eclectic Palm ...


TechnoBuffalo

Facebook's New Rooms App Brings Mobile Forums To Your Phone
TechnoBuffalo
Facebook's Creative Labs has a new iOS app called “Rooms,” which essentially allows users to create discussion rooms (mini forums) based on any topic they want. The app's site says you're able to “create a room for whatever you're into;” examples ...


Castanet.net

Shepherd draws line on election forums
The Daily Courier (subscription)
Organizers of the three forums have decided to simplify the discussion by featuring only the two perceived front-runners. The Daily Courier used the same approach three years ago when the newspaper hosted a public debate between Shepherd and Walter ...
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