11 Ways To Increase Forums Activities
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Getting people to post in your forum is probably the hardest thing to do. First, not all of your readers will post messages. In fact, only a small percentage will post regularly, and most will never post at all.Second, nobody want to be the first person to post a message. In fact, topic starters (people that start new topic of discussion) will be a small percentage of your posters; the rest will simply reply to topics that have been started.
In order to get the forum to a point where it is self-sustaining, you will have to do a lot of work. Here are some tips that you can use to get your forum rolling:
If nobody will start a post, start it yourself
Register yourself as several members (you with multiple identities) and talk to yourself. (Note that this will not work in forum with logged IP). This will create enough "seed" posts to get people to read and perhaps add replies of their own.
Find topics that interest people
If you get a mental block and cannot find anything interesting to talk to yourself about, then go to other web sites and see what people in those communities are talking about in their forums. You can also look at usenet newsgroups. Digest these ideas and regurgitate them using your various identities.
Advertise your forums relentlessly
Make sure your forum is accessible from every page of your site, particularly the index page. Make the link highly visible, or outright talk about it on the home page. Add a link to your web site and forum as part of your email, usenet and forum signature. Frequent other forums and mention your site and forum from time to time (be careful to comply to their rules and not to spam).
Use your forums to support your web site
You can ask your visitors "What do you think about this article?" (or tool, tutorial, etc.) and ask them to post their comments in the forums. Additionally, use it as part of your customer support program. For instance, I use our web site forums to support our free PHP scripts.
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