On any internet forum, you’ll find that there are a majority of groups that members are sorted in. Each level has its own permissions, but the default group that makes up for most of your numbers is the registered member. I will be covering the different types of usergroups you may come across Continue reading
When you first start your first forum, the thought of becoming a webmaster can be a daunting task. Fortunately for you, most rookie webmasters make the same mistakes that can be fairly easily avoided when starting out. This article is a guide on how to avoid those classic mistakes that rookie webmasters always seem to make when starting a new forum, which are three things I normally seem to see Continue reading
YOU can be this guy – a rocktstar webmaster!
Starting a forum is easy. Running one, however, is not. There are several great articles here on Forum Promotion that touch upon the topic how to run a forum. But none talk about what it takes. The qualities and skills YOU must possess, to be a rock star webmaster. Here’s a small grocery list:
- A Good Eye
- Writing Skills
- Steal, don’t plagiarize
The list is by no means exhaustive. I’m sure that if some of the other more qualified members of Forum Promotion were to write this post, the list would go on throughout the page, but I digress. Let’s move on to a small description of each.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #1: Time
When you start a new forum, it is likely to take up a lot of your time, but time is one thing everyone seems to not have these days. Whenever we are confronted by an activity or task that requires a considerable amount of time, we usually put it off by making the excuse that we don’t have the time, and then miraculously, we get the time to burn a couple of hours on World of Warcraft. You NEVER have time for a task if you are not dedicated, and when you are running a forum, you need all the dedication you can get. You must take out time, perhaps watch a little less TV and spend a little less time playing games. But you need to give that forum time, if you are a responsible webmaster.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #2: Determination
Time, you say? Well, I have plenty of time to dedicate to my forum!
Good! Now that you have got one aspect of webmastering, let us move on to the other – determination! Determination is important not only for your role as a webmaster, but for any thing you want to do in life. The fact that you have enough time to run the forum to a large extent proves that you are dedicated, which, in turn to an extent says that you have determination, but determination goes far and beyond just that. You must have the determination to not lose hope when your forum is going through its darkest time – when it’s fading away, when the members are leaving one by one and the activity is going down. You must continue to keep posting, and promoting and do everything in your power to take your forum back to its glory days. But of course, after an extent your forum reaches a point of no return – for example someone running a forum on floppy disks (extremely hypothetical case) back in the 1990s might have had a good thing going, but now it’s virtually impossible to run one unless you are smart enough to spin the topic in such a way that it is still relevant.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #3: Passion
Now I can possibly not stress this enough, but passion is absolutely integral if you want to be a successful webmaster. This is by and far perhaps the most important factor you must account for when running a forum, because it’s your passion that directly feeds your determination and keeps you going. When you are in the early days, your forum won’t have a lot of activity and you are likely going to be spending most of your time promoting and writing new content, trying your best to culture an active and engaged community where you can make new friends and connections. It’s the passion that will keep you determined and going and eventually you will have this thing going where you will realize that you don’t have to keep posting anymore! The forum is self-sustaining. Great feeling, I know, one that is greatly augmented if you have that fire within you.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #4: Tech-savvy
I really should have chosen a different word, but I couldn’t think of something else so, yeah, tech-savvy. If you have attempted the brave task of actually starting a forum, it means that you already have some tech-savvy. By tech-savvy I don’t mean how to open your web browser and successfully navigate to a website. I mean working with MySQL databases, and having a basic knowledge of the programming language your forum is written in. The thing is, your forum is likely to run into a lot of issues, especially after it gets mature and you really want to start messing with the nuts and bolts of the forum so that you can you know give it a more custom feel. In English, installing and making plugins. And if you DO mess with it, you are likely to run into issues, which you’ll probably have to fix yourselves unless you have an active enough community that people are willing to volunteer. So like I said, this is not really necessary but it IS a nice perk.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #5: A Good Eye
By a good eye, I mean a good eye for design. This is another quality that is not very important, but it can give you a big advantage, because most forum softwares are not built with usability in mind. If you can get out of the pack and be one of those webmasters who modify the forum to be more usable and look better, you have a significant advantage over your competing webmasters. Not only must you focus on usability and functionality, but also on the aesthetics. Because after all, design can be defined as ‘beautiful solutions’. Most webmasters would advocate investing in a custom theme and spending a minimum amount of money etc. but I think that as long as it is beautiful, it doesn’t really matter, because if you follow this advice, you can cover the solution part of design as well. And not everyone really pays attention to the solution part. For a primer on usability, read The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman. It’s a good read.
Being a Rockstar Webmaster #6: Writing Skills
Another one of those optional skills, but again, I’ve only included it in the list because I feel it is important. You can think of a forum as a blog where you are not the only author and the two-way interaction is more significant than the interaction between comments and a blog, which automatically means that you must have good writing skills. I am going to repeat again that writing skills are not essential as long as you are able to think up though provoking topics, which directly leads me to…
…Being a Rockstar Webmaster #7: Steal, don’t plagiarize
Being a student of the IB Diploma, a high school curriculum that has us writing mini research papers in high school, the don’t plagiarize notion has been drilled into me since the very start. However, there is this quote by Picasso that I am sure everyone here knows about that I’ve been wondering about:
Good artists copy, great artists steal.
After an amount of time, you are going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel, and this is when Picasso’s golden words come into the picture. When the apples get over, and we are still hungry, we are going to steal. Go to a couple of your competitors. Search for the most popular or liked posts and then combine a couple of them to get ideas for threads. You have to make sure that you don’t plagiarize, i.e. copy everything verbatim, but make a thread similar to the one you found in the other forum with the content in your own words. Something I do when I run out of thread ideas is go to reddit and search for keywords related to the forum, for example bicycles or Pokemon etc. I usually find a few questions, and sometimes a link to an article. I then make a new thread on the forum based on the answers to the questions and my own independent research on the question. I’d like to stress again that please don’t plagiarize. It’s looked down upon and for a good reason too.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but just my opinion on what qualities and abilities a webmaster must have and develop in order to run a forum successfully. This article took an incredible amount of time and I hope it helped you!
Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Member Interview Series!
This week, we have decided to interview Reverie. This member has been a member of Forum Promotion since March of 2014.
Now on to the interview!
Hi Reverie, what can you tell us about yourself?
Well I’m 22 and I currently am in college to become a teacher. I love movies and video games and I enjoy just talking to friends.
How has your time here at FP been? What do you like about the community?
My time here at FP has been interesting! I joined the party kind of late but have known several members through past forums. I like how the community tries to be a helpful one!
What can you tell us about Atrium?
Atrium is my baby basically. This project has been something I’ve been beyond excited for and the growth has been astonishing! Atrium is a place to come together and talk to all sorts of people! We not only have a general community, but we have advertising and little services as well. We even have resources (Zetaboards Themes, Renders, Avatars, Sigs). Atrium is a well rounded place in my opinion and I love the atmosphere we have created!
Are there any other projects you are currently working on?
Nope, Atrium is my only project right now! I really don’t think I could afford time for another forum due to also having a busy life as well.
I see that your forum, Atrium, has a thriving community. What were the most effective methods you used to gain members and posts?
Honestly it’s all about contacting old friends, making new friends, and just combining new with old to create a diverse community. Word of mouth has been amazing, but we’ve also had great friends who have helped us along the way that we are more than grateful for.
What advice do you have for members here on ForumPromotion who are new to administrating forums?
Do not give up on a project. Try sticking with one project as long as possible. I feel that many new admins are not sure of themselves so they feel the need to create multiple forums, in this case most of the forums die and they all become wasted time. Put all your effort into one and you can expect some great results!
What are your thoughts on ZetaBoards? Have you ever considered switching hosts?’
Zetaboards is one of the best free forum software! It has many pros while there are a few cons it is an overall enjoyable experience. I’ve considered using other hosts in the past but haven’t done so yet!
What would you suggest to improve Forum Promotion? It could be anything.
My suggestion would be to enforce more community participation. I feel as though most of the posting around the general forum (not the post exchanges and etc) are by staff members. It would be nice to see more of a community atmosphere while also keeping up the advertising and other sections.
What are your thoughts on the Forum Promotion Blog? What kind of articles are you interested in reading? Any suggestions?
I’ve actually never read many forum blogs. I would love to see tips for other advertising forums and such, I know there was a topic that once had some good ones though most are dead now. Or a topic such as “How to create an atmosphere” or something along those lines would be nice.
Is there anything else you would like to talk about during this interview?
I would just like to say thank you for asking to interview me, I appreciate it! I hope I could help in any way.
And that wraps up this weeks interview! Thank you for reading this, we hope you will continue reading these every week that they are posted!
Feel free to comment below on the interview. Also, feel free to ask the person that got reviewed any questions you feel like!
Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Staff Member Interview Series!
This week, we have decided to interview Mr.Panos. This member is a staff member of Forum Promotion, and is part of the Administrative Team!
Now on to the interview!
What can you tell us about yourself? Who are you?
I am a 28 years old male from Athens, Greece whose name is Panos. I have studied Business Management and Organization and I am currently working at a multinational company. I have one sister who is studying Psychology. My parents do not work anymore and they travel all around the world. In my free time, I love hanging out with my friends and with my girlfriend. I am also interested in reading articles and reviews about Apple products. I think that I own more than 10 products from Apple.
What can you tell us about your experience in the Package Team?
I was first hired by Sshadow in June of 2013. I have completed more than 300 packages and I am very proud of myself. Creating content for other websites is a very demanding task which needs a lot of time. That’s why, I resigned in January of 2014. After some months, I noticed that the Package Team Leader (pandaa) wanted to hire one more Packager. I sent my application immediately and pandaa accepted me! In 28th of July, I got promoted to Package Team Leader! So my dream came true!
I would like to mention that the Package Team is my favourite one. All the PTMs are professionals and people seem to enjoy their posts. I became an Administrator, but I will never change my vote here: Group Wars – Number 5 !
Out of your past experiences being on the Package Team, what was your favorite period of being on the team?
I do not really think that I enjoyed a specific period. Every period had some good and bad stuff. I could say that my happiest moment was when I was hired by Sshadow. The first month as PTM was so fascinating! There used to be more than 7 PTMs and all of them were very friendly and sociable. In addition, discussing with Sshadow about various things was very interesting. Unfortunately, he is too busy now and he does not have time to spend on ForumPromotion anymore.
How do you feel about being made an administrator over FP?
Well, it is good to notice that my efforts have been recognized by the Administrators. Administrating ForumPromotion is not easy, but I will definitely try to do my best. I do not know what else to say. Obviously, I feel very lucky and honoured.
What services here would you suggest to new members seeking to better their forums or websites?
If new members are interested in improving their websites in general, they should definitely request a review. Jadster is an experienced Reviewer and his team can help them to make their websites far better! Of course, creating content is important. The Package Team will always be available for their requests. They can even request a package for free. Check this for more information! Finally, advertising in social networks is extremely helpful. Our Social Advertising can help you to increase your page views and your visitors. As you understand, we offer a wide variety of services and all of them can lead the webmasters to success!
What would be your suggestion to help improve the quality of Forum Promotion?
ForumPromotion usually attracts young people who want to advertise their websites. We should now focus on other teams of people too. For example, professional entrepreneurs who own big and successful projects. This can be achieved by posting more useful tutorials and articles, introducing new services and organizing more contests. Furthermore, we should try to increase the importance of our forum currency and encourage our members to post quality messages. Another good idea is a new theme. Everyone likes impressive and responsive design themes, right?
What would you suggest to the members of FP, who are struggling with their forums and websites, what they could do, in order to improve their experience with administrating?
Do not give up! Even if your websites do not have the results that you wanted, try to make them successful! My experience has shown that many webmasters choose to close their projects down because they do not create revenue. This is unacceptable. If someone’s aim is just to earn some bucks, (s)he will never earn a decent amount of money. Do something that you love.
Moreover, if they would like to gain experience, they could apply for staff positions in successful and demanding websites. Not to mention that reading tutorials for webmasters could be really helpful. Nowadays, there are many projects which concentrate on teaching new administrators. Google about them and you will find all the information you want. You could also participate in communities where there are plenty of advice. Our Promotion Directory is the right place to discover these communities.
Are you a staff member over any other forums? If you are, can you tell us about them?
No, I am not. I am very busy with my work and I cannot handle more responsibilities. My days-off for the summer have been used and I will go back to work soon.
If you had the chance, would you come to the United States of America to vacation?
Not really. I would like to go to China in order to discover their culture. I have heard that Greek and Chinese cultures are similar, so if I had the chance to visit a country, I would choose China. I would also like to travel to Australia. I have some friends who decided to go and work there and it would be fascinating if I could visit them.
Which Staff Member would you like to have interviewed next?
Nerdie! He is the Owner and you could ask him many questions!
Any extra comments you would like to add to this interview?
Thanks for interviewing me! If you have more questions about me, please send me a private message.
It was a joy doing this interview with Mr. Panos! I definitely learned abit from him just in this interview alone!
Beware Nerdie, you will be the next subject of the Weekly Staff Member Interview Series!
And that wraps up this weeks staff member interview! Thank you for reading this, we hope you will continue reading these every week that they are posted!
Feel free to comment below on the interview. Also, feel free to ask the person that got reviewed any questions you feel like!
This article was first posted on our blog on 11/02/2011. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.
This question has been on the lips of webmasters and forums owners all around the world. I often get direct messages on twitter asking how its done, but 140 characters is never enough!
All content here is learned from past experience. I’ve been a webmaster since the age of 9, ran 4 forums and been staff on 6. I’m helping everyone here by sharing my experiences!
So let’s begin. In this post, you’ll read about the following:-
- Kicking off your forum with the right attitude.
- How to effectively publicize your forum.
- Generating original posts and threads to get users involved.
- Effective forum group permissions (only for older forums).
1. Personality, perspective and motivation.
The one mistake I see when people begin a forum is in it for the cash. Forums won’t tend to make money from the get go. Guides you read elsewhere are written by people who have started a forum in a brand new niche, and people responded well to it.
Running a forum is much like growing a flower. It takes time, care and attention. Those looking for a quick solution to an empty wallet, I’m sorry but this guide isn’t for you.
When starting a forum, many people will have a massive drive to make it successful. You spend all of your free time making posts and promoting it, but many people lose this very quickly. Many have risen to the challenge and not many came out of it at the other side, and I’m no exception. I helped run the Discussion Bulletin Board, it had great potential and over 1000 active posts a week.
This guide will help you to make the most out of your forum and having the most fun from it in the process! Everybody can learn something new, so older webmasters will get tips from this too!
2. It’s all about appearance.
From now ( dot dot dot dot) to now. That’s all the time you have to make a first impression. I see so many people with great forums but have an awful theme. Many webmasters will have spent a lot of time on their forums, meaning they would have gotten used to it and don’t pay much attention to it.
New users? Not so much. If they load your page and see the default logo, MySQL errors all over the place and thousands of spam threads, say goodbye to a returning user!
After research I conducted personally (through a psychology project for college), ~60% of the people I asked judge the content of a website on it’s appearance. This means that your theme and in some cases your MODs* possess the crucial seconds you need to convince a user that your forum is worth going to.
* This is for people who have a shoutbox and Topic Notifications installed. Meaning that every new thread is shouted, so if you have spam your shoutbox is full of spam threads/shouts.
So how do you optimize your appearance for others? Well I’ll tell you!
- Custom Logo (Just request one on FP!)
- Custom Theme (More expensive but worth it)
- Uncommon but good MODs.
- Unique niche (so your threads aren’t common!)
The last point above links in to the next section, so if you’re confused now, don’t worry!
3. Content, content, content!
First off, I’ll define niche for those quote don’t know:
A focus within a particular area, which is either popular or unpopular. This works to an advantage, as you can tap into a resource already producing results, or begin a trend and get results from the start!
For those who have experience in administrating a forum, but not so much posting in it, this is for you. I’m tired of seeing people not posting on their own forum, yet paying extravagant amounts of money paying others to do it for them!
Generating content is the most strenuous part of running a forum. I’m not going to lie to you, it gets slightly boring when you have 200 threads but only 26 posts. It’s demotivating, but that’s where post exchanges come in! I’ll go into that later on though.
Creating original threads that don’t make you look like you’re copying every forum is hard work. I often look round forums whilst browsing FP (just out of curiosity, I’m a natural born geek and I love to spy on others progress and look at page sources when I find an interesting feature) and see that many have the same “Favourite song?”, “Favourite sport?” etc. You get the idea. Forums nowadays are filled with generic content, and it gets boring! People are always out looking for excitement and something new. So why not be the next Facebook? The next Youtube? The next Myspace? Well maybe not Myspace, but you get the picture.
Try and research before buying a domain. Your domain is the 1st protocol, the first thing a user will read before looking at your site. If you have reeetylsswr.co.cz it’s not going to look too attractive. Whereas is you look at a site such as Facebook.com; the name is genius and relates directly to the content. This is EXACTLY what you want to be achieving.
Whilst doing your research:
Make sure that you write down a variety of niches. You need to compare what’s available and what you can achieve greatly in. Nobody wants to come to a forum where the owner hasn’t got the first clue about what he’s writing about. It’s like going to a gaming forum and the owner being 95 and asking if the new Gameboy Colour has come out yet. Yes, for those wondering I still play pokémon on my GBC.
You need to then write down a list of preferred domain names. Try and make a header/box with preferable/necessary words for the domain, and base your ideas around those. I spent around 3 days researching just for my domain alone, and ended up running the financial side of the Discussion Bulletin Board. This is literally the extend people go to to make successful forums, so if you get it right from the start you’ll be fine!
Creating activity around the forum, and keeping it there!
This is most likely going to be the most read part of this article. I ran a poll a few weeks back and this was requested, so for those who wanted it, here goes!
Activity. The most bewildering factor when it comes to starting and running a forum. As I said in the introduction, I have around 3 – 4 direct messages on Twitter daily asking me how it’s done.
Webmasters the world over have written guides on how it’s done, but I assure you these are my tips and I’ve seen them in action.
First I’ll list an overview, and go into detail later on:
- Turn your cap backwards, relax!
- Everybody’s equal!
- Nobody likes spam, get nutritional!
Turn your cap backwards, relax!
Strict modding of forums is a major downside. Many people look for a place to hang back and relax. So why remove loads of posts or warn people constantly when they’re having fun?
Obviously warning/removing racial or hate content is the exception, but swearing isn’t exactly murder so don’t treat it like it is! Everybody needs to let off steam, so let them do it online where they’re comfortable and you’ll see the posts come rolling in. If you create what is essentially a Youth Center but online, you’ll become popular in no time at all. I used to be a GMOD (Global Moderator) on a popular hacking forum (won’t mention the name) and they allowed anything up to and leading to swearing in all manners. People were happy to post, argue and debate all over the board because they could act like themselves on the board as if they were talking in real life.
This has to be the most annoying part of any forum; the admin who thinks he’s superior to everybody else because he runs the site. People will often leave the site if they think their opinions are not valid, or that they are just posting to keep the staff happy and not because they truely want to.
When I ran my first forum, I took the attitude that it was an honour to have each member. In my opinion, every admin should take the same approach and should come to realize that a forum is nothing without its members. So if you come across as too arrogant, try loosening up and letting people have their say. Take all suggestions into consideration, because if 1 person wants something, I can guarantee more people will want it too.
Nobody likes spam, get nutritional!
This witty one liner made me laugh when I ripped it from my overly active mind.
People won’t want to come to a board covered in ads, the Admins hoarding 352094492 links in their sigs and posting 1 word answers to increase their post count. Generating discussion amongst members is the easiest way you can increase your post count and keep the members there! They will want to constantly keep checking their threads to see if new replies have been made, and then post again. It’s a cycle, but not one of the vicious kind.
To create such discussions, try and avoid religious or moral discussions. These will almost always turn in flame threads where members have arguments and turn out very badly. So badly that members reading the thread may consider you to be a slacking MOD and turn their back on the forum. So take the first point above into consideration, but keep a careful eye out.
4. Advanced administration – Forum Viewing Permissions
This is just a short section to give people a tip that not many new admins use. Allowing guests to read threads when the forum is new is important. They will want a reason to come back to your forum, and won’t want to if they feel like they’re being forced into doing something they may regret later on. I mean, as a user you never know who has your email address. Why give it out more than you should have to?
When you start to get regular activity (I’d say more than 20 active members, deny guests the right to read threads. Much like myself, they will most likely check out the forum stats before they leave. If they see that you have an active member base they’ll be tempted to see what all the fuss is about. This is the critical point where all the tips above come into play!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this lengthy guide, it’s taken me 4 days to write and I’ve stayed awake till 1am GMT tonight to finalize it!
If anybody has any questions, be they elaborations on points above or additional information, give me a PM or post below!
5 Reasons Why You Might Be Losing Members
Getting people to join your forum and become members can be one of the hardest things to do. Losing these members is probably the easiest thing you can do. There are many reasons a member might leave, but we’re going to cover the basics.
Here you’ll find the most common reasons for someone leaving and how to fix it.
Reason #1: Staff Stop Contributing
It’s pretty easy for a member to detect if an admin, or staff member is taking their forum seriously or not. I’ve left many forums just because the staff were showing no interest in contributing to the forum after a while. It’s not uncommon for a forum to go under in days just because the staff stopped contributing.
Fix: Post more often.
Now, you don’t have to post your ass off every day, but you need to contribute something each day. At least one staff member should make a few posts and to see if everything is running smoothing. Nothing is worse than seeing a staff member online not doing anything. So, just try to pick up your activity a bit.
Reason #2: The Rules Are Too Strict
Rules, rules, and more rules.
Face it, people hate to be confined by rules. While rules are definitely necessary, I think many forums go a bit to far. For example, I know a few forums that don’t allow cursing … which doesn’t make sense since it’s such a normal thing.
If you’re an admin who has a full page of rules that you’re constantly enforcing, then that might be the reason you’re losing members.
This internet is the craziest place to have ever existed. While you should keep your members feeling comfortable and safe. You don’t have to go warning everybody for cursing, and other random things. Just relax, reduce the amount of rules you have and get your panties out of a bunch.
Reason #3: Nothing New
After a while things begin to get boring. It’s pretty easy to get tired of looking at the same design everyday.
Fix: Mix things up
Every few months I feel it’s pretty important to work on creating a new feel on the board. Whether it be a new theme, a new logo, a new contest, or whatever. Changing and new things can have its benefits. One of these benefits is keeping the members interested.
Reason #4: A Bad Experience With Staff
It’s not uncommon for a member to leave a forum just from one bad experience they had with a staff member. I see members leaving forums all the time just because of “unfair” warnings and disputes with staff.
Fix: Talk to the staff, and the member
While we all would like to think that the people we chose to be staff are perfect, they’re not. Someone on your staff might be causing members to feel unfairly treated. If they are, then they should immediately be removed from their position. Part of being staff is helping members feel comfortable and to have a good time.
At the same time, a member might have taken a warning or response the wrong way. It’s quite hard to tell someones tone over the internet, so things can easily be confused. If you feel that the staff member was only doing their job, then talk to the member to try to clear things up. See how you can improve and listen to the member’s side of the story.
Reason #5: Sold Behind the Member’s Backs
You might have just bought the forum and the members weren’t even aware the forum was for sale. If a member doesn’t know anything about the new admin, or just feels betrayed by the sale, then obviously they’re going to leave.
Many forums have died just from being sold incorrectly.
Fix: Keep the members involved in the transfer
I think a lot of admins are scared of sharing details of a forum sale with their members, but it’s a normal thing for websites to be bought and sold. Members have dedicated their time toward your forum, so don’t stab them in the back by tossing them into new hands just for a wad of cash. Make the transaction of the forum as transparent as you can. The reason for the forum being sold, how much it was sold for, whom the new owner is, etc should be posted publicly for all members to see.
Also, once the new owner takes over I think the old owner should stick around for a few months as a friendly gesture to the community.
So those are the reasons why I think most members end up leaving a forum. Hopefully these fixes can help you get the members back, or prevent yourself from losing members in the future.
So, what are some reasons that you have left your forum in the past?