Tag Archives: Members

ProBoards Review – Best Free Forum Host

ProBoards – Best Free Forum Host

What is ProBoards? ProBoards is one of the leading free forum hosts on the Web; they have over 2 million customers. Of all of the free forum hosts on the Web, ProBoards is, by far, the best free forum host! ProBoards is the best free forum host because of their customer service, easily customizable forum software and easy administration.

Customer Service

When you try a new software for the first time, majority of the time you have absolutely no idea what you are doing. You have a lot of questions and you want answers quickly. ProBoards Support, ProBoards’ Support Forum, is an amazing resource to get help with your forums. The customer service provided by both the members and staff team of ProBoards Support is both fast and accurate.

ProBoards administrators/creators tend to the support forums seven days a week excluding major holidays. Aside from the administration team, a select few members that were hand-picked for global moderation and support also tend to the support forum. Between the various staff team members and regular members who are knowledgeable about ProBoards form software, all of your questions can and will be answered.

Aside from general Proboards software related issues, the staff and members of the support forum help users with customizing their own ProBoards forums. A lot of the staff and members have created a variety of quality plugins, template modifications and themes that are all free to use. They will even help you with graphic designs if you need it.

Easy Customization

ProBoards forum software is fairly easy to customize, as opposed to many other types of forum software. If you do not have experience with HTML and CSS, ProBoards offers a theme generator directly through the admin control panel. Another option, for those who are inexperienced, is to browse the theme library and install themes directly to your ProBoards forum with a simple click of a button. There are hundreds of quality themes available. For those that are knowledgeable of HTML and CSS, the UI for editing your codes is very user-friendly and easy to use. When modifying templates, there are tons of short codes to help you on your way.

Template modifications, which change the way certain parts of your forum look, can be found on the ProBoards Support Forum. There is a relatively large database of template mods that users can choose from. You can change the way your info center looks as well as the information that is displayed there. You can change the layout of how your different boards are displayed, user profiles and mini profiles, and so much more. All of the template modifications come with written instructions to make it easier for the inexperienced to be able to add them to their forums. Both members and staff members of ProBoards support create template modifications that are free for forum owners to use.

Aside from themes and template modifications, you can also customize your forum with plugins. There are over a hundred different plugins available to forum owners and the amount increases daily. There are plugins for forum currency and a shop to purchase items with that forum currency, google analytics, posting templates, and a whole lot more. As with themes, plugins can be installed directly from the plugin library to your forum with a simple click of a button.

With the built in theme generator and/or vast quantity of quality themes, plugins, and template modifications available, ProBoards is very easy to customize. Other forum software, such as myBB, does not offer the same type of support or theme customization options as ProBoards does. In my experience, ProBoards is the easiest forum software to customize as I’ve used other software such as myBB, phpBB, vBulletin, and others.

Easy Administration

The admin control panel for ProBoards software is user-friendly and exceptionally easy to use. See the image below:

Each menu item at the top of the ACP will grant a drop down menu for easy navigation to administrative settings. With ProBoards, there are many settings that you can change and customize. You can have unlimited user groups and user ranks, you can create custom pages to give your forum a website feel, and you can upgrade your forum to ad free for reasonable prices based on page views. All forum customization and administration can be done through the admin control panel.

Aside from the easy, user-friendly UI, a lot of the admin options that you edit automatically save for you. This is a great feature if you forget to save your work as you will not lose all the work you have done. The only exception to this is when you are editing code directly.

All in all, in my opinion, ProBoards is the best free forum host on the web. If you have never created a free forum with ProBoards, I highly recommend that you do so; this way you can try out the many different features on your own. If you are not a fan of ProBoards, I recommend that you give it another try. With the release of V5 Hydra, options are limitless and I’m certain you will find that you like it a lot more than you did before.

Newbie Guide To Promotion Forums

Newbie Guide To Promotion Forums

It’s all good and well for experienced forum users to join new forums and know exactly what they are about. What about newbies to promotion forums though? Below I have written a short guide for newbies about certain aspects of a promotion forum.


1) Introduce Yourself – this will allow the community to point out good things for you to check out before you get properly started. It also gives you a chance to gauge how friendly people are going to be. It is also a good idea to remember at this point, that first impressions are often the lasting impression.

2) Services – what are they? Promotion forums will often offer ‘services’ to help your forum grow and make improvements. 9 times out of 10 these services can be paid for with virtual forum cash( earned via posting and other methods). Lots of forums offer the same services, so its always a good idea to look around for a little bit first and see if you can find any feedback on the services that the forum is offering.

3) Packages – this is one service that a forum can offer. This is when a user from the promotion forum will come over to your forum/blog and post on it for you after you request a specific package. This is almost always paid for via forum cash. So it effectively costs you nothing and helps you out! You should always check out the feedback section before requesting, as you are more likely to find out the true quality of the service.

4) Reviews – this is another service that a forum can offer. This is when a user from the promotion forum will come over to your forum/blog and review it for you after you request a specific review type. They might be reviewing anything from content to design to grammar. It depends what you as for. This is almost always paid for via forum cash. So it effectively costs you nothing and helps you out!

5)Ads – this is a varied service across promotion forums. They can offer banner ads, table ads, signature ads, bubble ads etc. each type has it’s own benefits and pitfalls. Before you request one it is best to read up on where you can advertise/where it’s going to be displayed and pick whichever one suits your requirements best. Some options will be more expensive than others, however, it is more likely that the more expensive it is, the more exposure you will get.

6) Participate – try your best to participate in the forum. It let’s people see that you are going to be sticking around and want to be part of a community. This is also the best way to build up your forum cash. It can be spent on services to help your forum or website. The more you contribute, the more you are likely to get out of the forum.

7) Freebies – keep your eyes open on promotion forums. There is always some kind of giveaway going on usually, or a free service week. This is the best time to take advantage of all the services as it will cost you nothing but hopefully benefit you a lot.

This is just a simple newbie guide to a promotion forum – there is a lot more to know but those are some of the basics.

Your Members Are Priority!

This article was first posted on our blog on 01/06/2011. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


The formula for a successful forum is complex. Getting the balance right is an art–too many categories, not enough advertising, too many guests, not enough members. All these things are very important, but I’m sure that everyone would agree with me when I say that your members are the key to your success. Keeping your members happy will mean that they have a higher chance of returning to your forum day after day. This, in turn, creates an active forum that produces revenue.

Their Wish is Your Command

Nearly all forums have a category that goes by a name such as”Community Suggestions.” Here users of your site can post suggestions regarding what they feel could be changed or added on the site. This category plays a major part in assuring the growth of your forum. If your members request something, then trying to fulfill their requests (within reason) should be your main objective.

Answer Properly

Suggestions are made to help you, not to criticize you; so reply to them in the right way. Try to refrain from being a pushover and just answering: “Ok, I will do that as soon as I can”. Try to discuss in a friendly tone with the members that have suggested this, find out what ideas they have and maybe a little on why they want a certain thing changed or added. Creating a discussion will get more of your members involved and more ideas may sprout.

The Big NO is a NO!

Don’t ever reply: “No, I don’t want this” or “I am not doing this”. It does happen that suggestions come in that are way out of proportion, or something is suggested that you are unable to do at the current time. It may just be the case that you really don’t want to do what has been suggested. It is in these cases you have to be careful on how you answer, explain why the suggestion cannot be implemented, maybe come with a compromise, just never turn your back and say no.

Don’t Be Too Quick

You may have replied to a topic, but that doesn’t mean that the members feel that the discussion is over. Don’t be too quick to archive a topic; leaving it open may bring you more feedback or suggestions. Leaving the topic open also gives a picture of you as an admin; it shows that you are not overly controlling and that you are open to change.

Your Reputation is on the Line

Remember that every time you post and every time you are dealing with a member or a member’s suggestion, your reputation is on the line. Treat every member fairly; don’t favor a certain member or push people down if they come up with suggestions that aren’t quite up to scratch. Be the nice, friendly, open and helpful person that your users want to see; and they will keep coming back, day after day.

Combining Small Communities

This article was first posted on our blog on 08/02/2011. For this reason, the information may be outdated and no longer reliable/correct.


Every forum owner dreams of his/her community having thousands of members and hundreds of thousands of posts. The reality is that the chance of this actually happening is slim. There are so many well established communities for every subject that you can possibly imagine. These communities have member counts well into the thousands, how are we small forum owners supposed to compete with this? The truth is that we really can’t, it often takes years of hard work, advertising, and commitment to achieve even a medium sized active user base.

I have a potential solution for this problem, however, results are never guaranteed. I used to co-own a gaming community with a friend of mine, and I tried my idea out and had quite a bit of success. The community started out with about fifteen members, I went to various forum directories; (InvisionFree, Proboards, FreeForums, etc.) looking for newly formed, small active gaming communities. I would then register on the boards and send a PM to the board administrator offering them the opportunity to merge their small community into ours. We had a professional theme, domain, and an active user base. In doing this I gained almost 150 active members.

So my advice to small forum owners is to go around, looking for other small ACTIVE communities with the same subject as your own. Get in touch with the administrator and try to work out a plan to combine your forums. In my opinion, it is the easiest way to get a community up and running.

There are a few things you need to watch out for. Firstly you want to make sure the person you are dealing with is mature and is able to work in a team. You don’t want to share admin rights with someone who is interested in only his/her own ideas. This would essentially cause you to lose your forum. Secondly, do not offer administrator priviliges to every forum owner with whom you ask to merge. If your community has forty members, and his/hers has six, is it really worth having another admin for six members? Offer them a moderator position or something similar to appease them.

When you ask someone to merge his/her community into yours, make sure that you have something to offer that person that will make it worth his/her while. A registered domain can be appealing, as can a professional site design. Nobody wants to give up what he/she has started only to get nothing in return.

5 Reasons Why You Might Be Losing Members

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.

Fix: Relax.

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.

Conclusion

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?

Tips On How to Revive a Dead Forum

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.

Three Simple Ways to Get More Members from Twitter

It seems a lot of admins fail to use social media to recruit members for their forum which is a shame; Twitter can be a great tool for getting people to visit your forum. From what I’ve seen, a lot of admins like to connect their forum’s RSS feed to their Twitter account and call it a day. But we all know that method isn’t really good for attracting visitors or even getting followers. So, what are some ways you can use Twitter to get more members and to build your forums social following?

Follow Your Members on Twitter
Generally, your members’ friends will have similar interests as they do. So, it makes sense to try to reach them first. A good place to start is by following the members that are currently on your forum, and reaching out to them through simple communication. Saying hello or sending a message about how you appreciate their activity, or even replying to their tweets is a great way to build a stronger relationship with them, and since they’ll be responding to you, most likely their friends will take a peek at your account and forum.

Help People
Depending on your niche, people are going to always need help with something. While you shouldn’t spend a bunch of time helping one person, answering people’s questions or directing them somewhere with an answer is a great way to get people to check out your profile and follow you.

Really, there’s not many forums out there with a strong social media account that is actually engaging people and helping them. So, by answering questions and helping people, you are already doing more than most communities out there. Even if they follow your account and don’t join your forum, you still have access to one more person that will probably actually click your tweets.

Promote a Landing Page on Twitter
While a bunch of us know what a forum is, there are still a huge amount of the population that doesn’t. So, while some people will know what do when they get to your forum, a lot of people won’t.

So to capture everyone you possibly can, I think it’s important to have a landing page you can link to, instead of just the main index that describes what your forum is about, how to join, and all that – just so you have an increased chance of capturing the people who are interested, but have no idea where to start on a forum. Plus, it prevents people from being overwhelmed by a bunch of content the first time they visit your site.

Conclusion
So, those are some simple ways to get some more members from your twitter efforts. If you do any of the above, then you’re better off than most of the communities that are starting today. Just remember: engage people, help them, and just keep your name out there for people to see. Not everyone is going to join, but having your name out there is extremely important. Aim to create a tight community on and off the forum, and don’t just spam Twitter like most admins do.

Anyway, what methods are you using to get more members off Twitter?