How to Start a Forum in 2023

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How to Start a Forum in 2023

Should you start a forum in 2023?

This year might be the best time to create a forum. Social media is getting more and more concerning in terms of privacy. Lawmakers seem to be cracking down on it. As a result, people are looking for alternative communities to be social in.

Forums might be the best place for them to start.

In this guide, we’ll look at what you need to do to start a forum in 2023.


Before you Start a Forum, Choose the Right Niche

Most forum owners fail because they choose the wrong niche.

They choose what’s popular instead of a topic they know a lot about.

If I chose to start a forum around the gaming topic, it would fail because I’m not a gamer. So I created an admin forum, and it’s succeeding because I know a lot about forum administration.

Your forum niche should be your passion in life. That’s because you’ll always be interested in it and have something to talk about.


Decide on a Name, Domain, Host, and Software

Choose a good forum name that aligns with your niche.

I was lucky to get as my domain name. It directly explains my forum’s niche. It’s also keyword-rich, and it’ll be easier for me to target SEO keywords with that domain name.

Choose the best domain name related to your forum’s niche for the best results.

Choose a hosting service that is right for your forum. At first, shared hosting is going to be your best choice. It’ll always be a cheaper option. But as your forum grows, you’ll probably need to upgrade to a shared plus or VPS account. Try to have a game plan of earning some revenue to help you pay unless you think you’ll have enough money to cover it.

Be careful with free forum hosts. You never own your forum, and if you work hard to make it popular and the host shuts down, chances are you’ll lose your forum, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Choose the best forum software. Many great free options are available, including PhpBB, MyBB, and Simple Machines. There are a few great paid options available, too. These are XenForo, Invision Community, and vBulletin. Choose the best software that meets your needs rather than what is trending.


Start a Forum with Being Small in Mind

When you set up your forum, don’t go overboard with too many categories, sections, themes, and plugins.

Instead, start out small.

Have a few categories and sections so that you can focus on developing content in them. Have one main theme and only install the must-have plugins. Too many plugins can create security concerns for your forum and even take member attention away from your main forum feature.

Grow your forum as the community demands it to expand.

Many failed forums have way too many sections. These sections are challenging to keep updated with fresh daily content. Moreover, they make the whole forum look inactive at times.


Focus on Content at the Start

In the beginning, your focus should be entirely on content creation.

Fill the sections of your forum with new content daily. Give future members plenty of topics to reply to. But don’t worry about making too many new topics. A new forum needs to have as much content as possible.

When I launch a new forum, I’ll post about three to five new topics in each section daily.

I’ll also take this time to create the forum rules, other policies, and critical sticky topics.

I wouldn’t officially launch a forum until I created at least 100 new topics.


How to Get New Members

Post exchanges are the best way to get new members on your forum at the start.

This is where you partner with other forum owners to give each other posts. You will post on their forum, and they will post on your forum. Usually, there is an agreed amount of posts, like 10 or 20.

You should always post quality content, and if the partner doesn’t post quality content, I won’t do another exchange with them in the future. Post exchanges are two-way, and both forum owners should already understand that.

Do as many post exchanges as possible to get a few member accounts going and posts being replied to and created. The catch is that most post-exchange partners won’t remain active members after the exchange, but it still gets you some starter content and makes your forum appear more active.

You could also buy posts from posting services. Be careful with these. Sometimes the quality is very poor.

You can also promote your forum in various ways using the services on Forum Promotion. You need to be active on the forum to earn credits to gain access to these services. Please ensure you post quality content on the forum; otherwise, you might be seen as a cheater.


How to Keep a Forum Active

You need to keep posting new content as the forum owner.

Your content must be original, unique, and helpful to your community.

Look for your niche's most complicated questions and problems and try to solve them. Then, after you solve them, share the results on your forum so your community can see them. That’s one of the best ways to retain active community members.

You could also create an article section for your forum: Post industry-related news, listicles, and how-to articles around your niche topic. Learn and use the basics of search engine optimization for this feature, and it will help your forum rank better on search engine results.

Focus on turning members into loyal and active members. Give them freebies. Help them out. Befriend them. Be a fun forum owner. Don’t over-moderate. Focus on developing a community that will keep members active.


It’s Work to Start a Forum in 2023

I don’t want you to get the wrong impression.

While running a forum is easy, getting a new one off the ground isn’t as easy.

You will have to work to get your forum to be successful. In most cases, you’ll have to work hard. The internet is full of competition, and every single niche is oversaturated—all of them. As a result, forum success doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes it’ll take a while. It could even take a year or more. You need to understand that.

But if you work hard, keep trying, and do the right things for your community – you can be successful at starting a forum.

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