There comes a point in the life of most forums, where activity begins to die off and become dormant. You’ll notice that no-one visits, no-one wants to contribute by posting around and most of all, your morale dies a little inside. Many may give up should their forum go down this path, but you there reading this, are you not one of those people?
I’ve been in this position myself many times, helping revive dead and tired forums to their former selves. It’s a long and hard road, don’t get me wrong, but it sure is worth it. Let’s have a look at my top tips for reviving your dead forum.
Realize That You May Be At Fault
I’ve met and worked with many people who have asked me why their forum has gone downhill. I’ve been met with typical excuses like I didn’t have enough money to buy this feature or that there is not enough content. That’s all well and good, but the majority of the time I find it is the fault of the owner and not just the members.
To run your own forum, you don’t need bundles of cash, you just need bundles of dedication and taking the time to reflect upon what you did in the past. Could you do something better? Why did your forum get this way in the first place? Answering these kinds of questions builds up a realization of where you went wrong and things you want to avoid repeating this time around. If you didn’t post enough, post more! If you didn’t advertise enough, advertise more! Things like these are simple to do, yet are something I see many fail at.
Update and Redesign
Once you’ve had the chance to reflect, the next step is to take your forum to the next level. Make it different from what it was before. Generally when I’m tasked with helping out a dead/dying forum, I look for what the community was missing. Is it an active stream of content? Is it a bright and alluring design? Find what was missing before and change it.
Throw in a new style, add in some new features and make sure you promote these new features! It’s no use updating your forum when no-one knows about it, is it? Go hang around promotional sites, stick the link in your signature, make a promotional topic and keep it updated. You can even try post exchanges, link exchanges and so on. In my eyes, no form of promotion is a bad form of promotion. Hell, I’ve even had a few members stay on my forums after a post exchange!
Finishing Up, Adding Content and Getting Back in The Game
So hopefully by now you know what went wrong last time and you’ve made your forum much better than it was previously, right? Now, onto the final stages. As a forum owner, your members will look at the example you set and follow it. If you’re not posting, your members probably won’t. This is where a lot of people tend to do. I find a lot of admins who will only post content at the beginning of opening their site and when it’s dying off. The truth is though, is that you should always be posting and adding new content for your members to get stuck into replying to.
Now, once you’ve added some content, it’s time to get some members rolling in. As said in point two, you’ll need to promote. Your next task is to get the previous members back on your side. Send out a mass email telling people you’re back in the game. Tell them about your new style, the forums neat new features or if you have some money to spare, you can always start a contest!
These three simple tips are the backbone for me when I revive dead forums. I reflect on what went wrong in the first place, change what was bad and make it better and then get the word out there. It’s as simple as that.
All you’ve got to do now is keep adding content and keep promoting. Eventually, you’ll find your forum coming back to life.