The Art of Forum Making


Space Technology 5

Image via Wikipedia

Okay, not exactly an art, but it makes for a catchy title.

This tutorial has been created upon the request of Roddy15, a fellow blogger and administrator on my forum, Creativity Network – The Rebuild.

Let’s start with a simple Top 10 list of things you should know to kick this off!

Example forum view, from PhpBB.

Image via Wikipedia

1. Choosing a Provider: There’s all sorts of Forum Providers on the net. Some better than others. I personally use Forumotion.com, a French company that produces highly customizable forums, abounding with features, for your use. No money is required unless you would like to remove ads for everyone on your forum (you can remove them for your members without paying a fee), having a personalized domain name (which is hardly necessary with their plethora of extensions), or adding more space (in addition to the fairly apt 20MB provided for free). Yet let’s say you do not wish to purchase credits – you can always win a contest! Forumotion hosts frequent credit-winning contests for forums, and they aren’t too hard to win, I even managed to score third place at my first try.

2. Invite some Friends: Before marketing your forum try inviting some friends over to your forum. They’ll be able to give you feedback and add to your post count!

3. Make Your Revisions: Add all the forum categories you need, start out fairly frugal (with the main topics that center around your forum’s theme) then expand as you deem necessary.

4. Do it Right: If you want people to join your site, you’ll need to look like a pro. Sometimes this may be done by visiting your forum host’s help forum. There’s all sorts of help topics, and useful hints – even people willing to join and help you out! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Once this is done, I’d recommend creating a eye-catching homepage, with attractive (yet not overdone or with eye-straining colors like bright red or hot pink, go for easy-eye tones) graphics and a general idea of what your forum is about. Do the same to your forum!

5. Build Your Team: Get a group of people together. Graphics designers, programmers, and forum moderators. If you pick the right people, you certainly won’t regret it! Don’t be afraid to recruit your members if they’ve gained your trust and you’ve noticed they excel in a particular area that would prove useful.

Facebook logo

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Free twitter bar

Image via Wikipedia

6. Get the Word Out: Some forum providers give you pre-installed features to reach out to dozens of Social Networks in a few simple steps. If you don’t have that luxury, and have chosen a forum without this feature, you can always do it manually! Make updates about your site on Twitter, share it on Facebook, and ask your friends to do the same!

7. Be Active: It’s your forum, so post on it! If you interact with your members, it’ll create a much tighter-knit community.

8. Enforce the Rules: Don’t put up with stealing (like the all too common plagiarism and resulting copyright infringement), cursing, or obscene graphics and media. This could result in the deletion of your forum, and legal involvement.

9. Follow the Law: I cannot prove legal advice, as I am not in a position to do so. Yet I can express the importance of common sense. If you’re starting a forum, you need to keep in mind there’s a long list of rules and regulations to follow. Both from the forum provider and your country. The United States has online regulations such as COPPA which protect children, and require certain procedures. Do the research!

The hierarchical domain name system, organized...

Image via Wikipedia

10. Making your Domain Name: Let us suppose you have gained enough credits, or purchased them manually, to purchase a customizable domain name. DO NOT take a company’s name and use it as your domain name. Some names are universal in meaning, and able to be reused. Others like “MyLegoForum” or “LegoStuff” or anything involving the company name of “Lego” could result in an unwanted lawsuit. Once again, I cannot prove legal advice in these matters – be sure to consult reliable resources, even http://copyright.gov/ could help.

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About Zechariah Barrett

Greetings! Jambo! Hola ! 你好 ! Bonjour ! Hallo ! Привет ! Buongiorno ! こんにちは ! Thanks for checking out my profile. I'm Zechariah, an author, photographer, graphics designer, language learner, techie... I'll stop there for now. One more thing. I'm also a Christian. Depending on your life experience, that may mean different things to you. I want to assure you, however, that I don't subscribe to all the prevailing views. I don't subscribe to hate. I don't engage in party politics. I both care about a robust economy as well as the environment and social issues. I want to truly live my life by the Spirit of Christ, and that entails loving others and caring for this world. That's how I'm different. I'm not here to cast judgmental glances or make you feel like trash. My heart is to help others, and I hope that shows in all that I do. I also want to have a discussion. Not a debate, not an argument. I want to engage with my readers and viewers regardless of our differences, and then start a conversation. Let's make this world a better place. Together.

Posted on 01/21/2011, in All-Things-Reviews, Graphics Design, Informative, Post-A-Day {2011}, Technology, Tutorials & How To's, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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