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Starting Your Own Forum Online

May 16, 2008
Have you ever visited an online forum, one that is highly active with engaging members? One that you enjoyed because of the sense of community you experienced while there?

Have you ever visited an online forum where everyone seemed to be trying to get a one up on each other, where that sense of community didn't exist and everything seemed chaotic?

Have you ever thought of the possibility of running your own forum and now you think you're ready to step into the deep end?

Online forums today, are very popular and that is primarily due to the reason I describe below:

1. They are a new method of acquiring new members or clients
2. Excellent Advice
3. Excellent information or support
4. They are an excellent place to advertise your products and/or services.

But, you may have stopped to think about what it truly takes to get a forum up and running? Starting a forum is one thing, anyone can do it. However, on the other hand, to setup a successful forum, one that people enjoy and keep coming back to, where your members feel at home, a sense of community, that requires extensive planning, research, patience and more patience.

Ask anyone who is currently running a forum online if it is or is not a satisfying or profitable venture and they will inevitably say yes. Running your own community online can be very fulfilling and, if done correctly, very lucrative. However, executing your online forum can be a very difficult task to accomplish effectively. Most visitors to frequent 'just launched' forums, tend not to stay or engage or become members to what they may see as a quasi community without any consistency.

There are at least five basic reasons why people may seek out an online forum:

1. To seek advice or ask a question
2. To give advice or answer questions
3. To gain recognition or status or get support
4. To collaborate with forum members on project or to play games
5. To do business or acquire new clients (or subscribers/members)

If we consider that these are the primary reasons forums exist, then we can understand why no one stays - no one likes taking advice from themselves. While the vast majority of forums online continue to be free, there are more paid, private membership type forums coming online each day. So the big question is, how does one launch and establish a self sustaining and thriving online community?

Community vs. Forum

A forum is, pretty much, a community and starting a new community, whether off line or online, takes time to build up. But, while it may be true that a forum is a community, a community is not a forum.

As I mentioned before, people tend not to join empty and inactive forums. In fact, one of the primary factors in running a successful web-based community is activity. Since there are literally tons of forums on any given topic online today, people have plenty to choose from. Why would they choose to join a forum that's empty and/or inactive? The most logical action is for them to join an online community that they perceive to be successful. In most cases, people join forums that have a large membership base, are more active and have a greater number of interesting posts. Remember, people seek out forums because of their needs, they maybe searching for a specific resource, they want advice or they need support whether emotionally or otherwise.

The bottom line to it all is that, no matter the reason, a successful form requires human interaction and participation.
About the Author
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is an internet marketing advisor. If you would like more information on forums, then visit my site at: Free Affiliate Programs If you're interested in money making online, visit: Affiliate Website
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