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:

District holds school funding forums today, May 8
U-T San Diego
The LCAP Community Forums are scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at King Middle School, 1290 Ivey Ranch Road; and 6 p.m. May 8 at Lincoln Middle School, 2000 California St. Parents, district faculty and staff members, and residents are encouraged to attend ...

The Editor's Desk: East Athens forums uniquely informative
Online Athens
During the meet-and-greet segment of Monday's candidate forum at East Friendship Baptist Church, Deacon Harry Sims — a long-serving Athens-Clarke County commissioner himself — said the church is engaged in a conscious effort to make itself a center ...

and more »

Fox Baltimore

Mayor Announces New Forums on Youth Violence
Fox Baltimore
The Mayor also introduced a separate forum, which will focus specifically on youth violence. Three teenagers have died in Baltimore in the past week. Raysharde Sinclair was fatally stabbed April 14th as he walked to a local gas station. Michael ...

and more »

WCVB Boston

Hillary Clinton Headlining Forums In Mass., Conn.
BOSTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton will be headlining forums in Boston and at the University of Connecticut as she considers another run for president in 2016. The Democratic former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady is set to give a keynote ...
Clinton forums in Conn., Mass.The Journal News / Lohud.com
Hillary Clinton talks equality, building stronger economy at SimmonsWCVB Boston

all 291 news articles »

Candidate forums scheduled
Bismarck Tribune
BISMARCK, N.D. --The League of Women Voters of Bismarck-Mandan, The Bismarck Tribune, and Dakota Media Access are holding candidate forums for five local June 10 elections. The forums: Mandan schools/parks. A forum for Mandan candidates will be ...

Talbot Economic Development hosts Monday forums
The Star Democrat
EASTON — Monday, April 28, the Talbot County Office of Economic Development is hosting economic forums in towns throughout the county. The forums offer an opporunity for business representatives to discuss how the development office may help retain ...

Upcoming local forums
Cherokee Tribune
A forum for the State House District 22 and Board of Commissioners District 1 and District 4 seats is planned for Monday. The forum is sponsored by the Cherokee County Republican Women and will take place in the historic Cherokee Courthouse in ...

and more »

Political forums kick off Saturday
Williston Daily Herald
Election season will kick into full gear Saturday when all the candidates running for local office will introduce themselves in the first of four planned political forums. Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, the first forum will primarily allow every ...

Neighborhood forums being held on middle school expansion
Mercer Island Reporter
The Mercer Island School District will host three neighborhood forums in the coming months regarding the Islander Middle School (IMS) expansion. Each forum will last from 7–9 p.m. in the IMS library. “The district is hard at work keeping the IMS ...

Next Parent Forums: Summer Planning, Parenting In Tough Times, Parenting In ...
The Newtown Bee
The Newtown Public Schools Recovery Project has slated its next parent forums, which will be held at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Middle Gate Elementary School, and Newtown Middle School. Each forum will be presented twice, once during the school ...

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