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How to Start a Forum

Forums are great for bringing like-minded people together to discuss a certain topic; there are many forums on the Internet that are dedicated to many different niches. It’s possible for you to start a forum and to run it on your own. If you have ever thought about starting a forum, here are some steps to get you started: Pick a Niche/Topic When starting a forum it’s best to choose a topic that you're knowledgeable in and interested in; a true passion for the niche is needed as you will be talking about it a lot for the years to come. Of course there will be other forums with the same niche but don't be discouraged! This is a good thing as it creates competition. Simply choose whatever niche you want without worrying about its popularity. Pick a Name and Purchase a Domain A domain is what you type into the address bar in your browser (Ex: A domain doesn’t need to be extremely catchy, but it must be memorable. Write down as many domain name choices that you can think of and ask some friends for suggestions. After you've compiled a decent list of possible domain choices, go to a domain registrar such as Namecheap and see if they are available. Out of the ones that are available, choose one and register it. Domains are inexpensive these days so there is no reason why you can’t purchase one. Choose Your Forum Software There are many different forum softwares available. It’s probably best to start with one that is free so you can get the basic understanding of how to run a forum, without risking a ton of investment, just in case you lose interest. The most popular free softwares are: The most popular paid softwares are: Take a peek at them all and see which one you think would be best for you. Once you have, bookmark it so you won't forget it. Most of the time they have a community for their software where there are loads of goodies such as themes, addons, plugins, and future updates.. It’s a good idea to keep checking up on those communities. Find a Host for Your Forum You need somewhere to install your forum software. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of web hosts on the internet to choose from, but I highly recommend that you go with a paid hosting service. However, if you absolutely need to, there are free web hosting services. I've been with Stable Host for the past two years, as they are a reliable and cheap web host. Their basic plan would be perfect for anyone starting a fresh forum. Once you've found the web host of your choice, you will need to install your forum software and point your domain to your host. (How to Install phpBB) Populate Your Forum After you've installed your forum software and have your domain setup, you can begin to populate the forum. You will need to create categories, forums, and sub-forums for people to post in. A simple organization of content should go something like this: Horror Talk (Category) - Movies (Forum) --Paranormal (Subforum) Try to keep related things together and try not to create too many categories; you can always add them later on if your community asks for them. You want your home page to be relatively short so people don't have to scroll a lot. Once you have your categories and forums setup, you need to begin posting topics by yourself. Don't be one of those people who advertise their forum with no content! You need to have something for people to respond to when they get to your forum. Advertise Send the link to your friends and family or whoever you think might be interested. If you can afford it, purchasing some advertisements on BuySellAds and PublicityClerks will help bring traffic to your new forum. The goal is to get people posting, and to keep the forum spreading. If you find people enjoying themselves on your forum, then ask them to invite their friends! Conclusion This is a basic guide on how to start a forum. Its easier to start a forum then you think, people are starting new forums every day! There’s no reason you can't be one of them!

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