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HOW TO

Your own message board - Why and how?
By: Developer Shed
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    2003-11-05

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    Your own message board - Why and how?
    by Suzanne Roman

    Have you ever wished you could attract more people to your site,
    sell more products and make a better income?

    With millions of web sites competing for people's attention
    it can be hard for potential customers to find you. Starting an
    online community may be just the answer you are looking for.
    There are many advantages to having your own forum including:

    1) Repeat visitors.

    Although it's great getting first time visitors, people who visit
    on a regular basis are more likely to buy from you because they
    know and trust you. A message board will bring people back to
    your site over and over. People come back to check for replies
    to their questions and to read new messages.

    2) Selling advertising space.

    A busy message board is a great place for advertisers to
    advertise. Most message boards are divided into specific
    topics which means targeted advertising. There are many ways
    you can use and sell advertising space. You can ask for bids
    at ebay, you can use an advertising agency to handle advertising
    for you, use Google Adsense, promote affiliate programs or your
    own products.

    3) People will bring their friends.

    There is nothing more effective then word of mouth advertising.
    If your online community is lively and interesting people will
    invite their friends along to join in the discussions too.

    Tips on starting your message board:

    - Your message board should focus on a specific topic (for
    example cats)
    - If it's a part of your web site, it should relate to the content of
    the site.
    - Divide your main forum into sub topics, for example "grooming
    your cat", "cat health" etc.
    - Start conversations yourself. Newcomers are more likely to
    reply to a thread then to start one of their own. Pretend you are
    hosting a party and it is your job to make people feel welcome.
    - In the beginning you may need to invite as many of your friends
    to post as you can to help you get things started.
    - Hold contests for the most constructive posts every month to
    encourage posting.
    - Allow people to have signatures with the URL of their web sites.
    A lot of people join discussions for the sake of promoting their
    own sites. As long as the advertising is subtle, let them.

    How to go about starting your own message board

    There are lots of excellent free message board scripts, with the
    most popular ones being:

    http://www.invisionboard.com/
    http://www.phpbb.com/
    http://www.yabbse.org/

    They come with instruction on how to install them on your server, or
    you can pay someone a small fee and have it installed for you.

    Try not to use remotely hosted free message boards as they can
    add their own advertising and you won't have complete control over
    your forum. It is well worth it to install one on your own server if you can.

    Starting your own community can be a rewarding and profitable
    experience so get started today!

    (c) Copyright 2003 Suzanne Roman

    About the author: Suzanne Roman runs http://www.mom101.com
    Offering resources for moms who work or want to work from home.
    Come and try the personality quiz to see what home business
    would suit you best or browse through the hundreds of articles
    about starting and running a home business.

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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