View Full Version : Building A Community

05-07-2003, 08:23 AM
Just a little question to everyone, how does a community get going? Even if there is superb content on the site, people won't post on the forum if there are no other posts will they? If I didn't know anyone here, and just found this site - the only thing I would do would be to read articles, as the forum isn't that busy at the moment.

So how do communities start off guys?


05-07-2003, 09:27 AM
Its very very hard.

One thing you can do is talk to yourself with multiple usernames.

05-07-2003, 10:43 AM
Thats probably what I will do when I get enough visitors for a forum.

Thanks Chris.

05-07-2003, 07:28 PM
You know, someone asked me quite recently what advice I would give to someone looking to start their own forum site. Here's the response I gave:

I'd tell them that, unless they already have a significant amount of traffic at their disposal (and sometimes even if they do), that they need to be prepared to treat the forum like a bad car. It'll need constant, intent monitoring to avoid stalling. You can't just turn the technical keys and cruise down the community freeway.

Running a successful forum is about patience above ALL else.
It's really a balancing act. You need to be the driving force early on (assuming you don't already have loads of traffic at your call to send to the forum from the get-go), but if you flood the board it'll give off a stench that'll severely discourage others from participating.

Keep the number of forums small, and the topics they are meant to encompass broad, to start. I began with three, none of which were what you would call a standard off-topic forum, either. You need to start off small and specialized, and expand as the need arises. Typical mistake: opening, say, a baseball board, and giving all 30 teams their own forum. Better approach: creating a forum for general baseball discussion, one for current events/recent games, and one for trade rumors and injuries.

Trying to do too much too fast, or lacking patience in any number of other ways, is death.

05-07-2003, 08:17 PM
Ya... one thing with these forums is I wish I could limit the number of topics... but I just couldn't see a way to get rid of any of them... I like things segregated.

05-07-2003, 08:19 PM
By the way... the site's been getting 500-800 page views per day.

05-07-2003, 08:30 PM
Impressive, given that its relatively new.

One thing I like about opening a new site after gaining a bit of experience is that it doesn't take even half as long to get at least a respectable stream of traffic going. For example, I can secure at least a few dozen hits each day just by linking to whatever new site I've launched through my signature on a few forums I frequent, or have frequented. It makes the whole site startup process so much easier if you've been around long enough to procure those sorts of things, one way or another.

05-07-2003, 09:10 PM
I'd also adviced you to have a look at the following 2 sites, which contains some really good articles on community building and management:

- communityanswers.com (http://communityanswers.com/archive.asp) (large collection of questions and answers on community building, promotion and management)

- WebCrossing.com Community Management Articles (http://webcrossing.com/WebX/Home/Resources/Articles) (some articles on community management)

05-08-2003, 04:46 AM
Originally posted by Yoda
Impressive, given that its relatively new.

Ya, I'd call less than a week old relatively new.

05-08-2003, 08:03 AM
Originally posted by Chris
By the way... the site's been getting 500-800 page views per day.

Very impressive, lot of uniques?

By the way, thanks everyone who has contributed to this topic.

05-08-2003, 04:49 PM
About 100 uniques a day...

So far today though we're at 900 page views. I've gotten some more MSN listings (the only engine we're currently in).

I have now maybe 20 Zeal listings, and 6 DMOZ.

05-09-2003, 08:19 AM
Sounds good that, I notice there are a few more members than yesterday as well...

I am surprised not many from Sitepoint have signed up, as you are well known there.

05-28-2003, 02:57 AM
I got here true SitePoint, more will once they realise the amount of info they can find here :)

05-28-2003, 04:28 AM
Yoda raised some good points.

Keep the number of forums small and only look to branch out to more unique forums when there is a NEED for it.

Talking to yourself might help, although to be honest if its that dead you need to do that it might not help too much, but its better than nothing.

Most important as Yoda says is to have a large base already. I launched my forums about 4 months after my content site was already getting a lot of visitors. Obviously from promoting it on the front page and speaking to some friends online who shared my interest people came sure enough.

Nowadays if you launch a pure forum site I would say chances are it'll fail. Now if you have a content site along side it, your results will be much more positive. Use the site to draw people into the forums, discuss the articles, have the writers post on the forum etc.

05-28-2003, 06:38 AM
Thanks for all the replies.

Have you got any ideas to grow the community on this site Chris? I'm sure a few (including me) would post under multiple usernames...

05-28-2003, 07:44 AM
Eh... I'm not full of ideas no. I'm hoping it'll just grow slowly.

My literature network forums took a year and a half to finally reach a critical mass of posts...

This one is already moving much faster.

05-28-2003, 08:13 AM
Yeah, this is moving quickly...

Was it content on your literature network that made posts?

05-28-2003, 08:19 AM
My content?

The problem with my literature site is most of my visitors are students that don't want to discuss things. So the forums grew very slowly. I've finally now got some regular posters though.

06-05-2003, 01:04 PM
I don't know much about building community...IMO one hot forums will pull all other forums upward. Like Sitepoint, in the beginning they have most of material in Kevin Yank's PHP book for free viewing, and that made php forum so hot, and it eventually pulled all other forums upward.

06-05-2003, 01:32 PM
Originally posted by johnn
I don't know much about building community...IMO one hot forums will pull all other forums upward. Like Sitepoint, in the beginning they have most of material in Kevin Yank's PHP book for free viewing, and that made php forum so hot, and it eventually pulled all other forums upward.

I don't know, SitePointForums have allways been active as far as I know. I'm sure the book has had a positive influence but it's not like the forums would be dead without it. ( I joined about 2 years ago )

06-06-2003, 09:23 AM
But how did it become active?

06-06-2003, 09:46 AM
It has a great content site along side it, I would say thats its biggest asset and thats what drew most people in.

06-07-2003, 01:59 PM
Suppose yeh, hopefully this site will be similar.

Personally I have found here more helpful than sitepoint. Sitepoint seem to go over the same topics again and again...

08-24-2003, 01:30 PM
When I started a forum site, I read the tips saying you could talk to yourself, but I never really felt like doing it. I think I would feel kinda stupid, plus even more embarassed if anyone caught on :D.

I think to start a forum takes lots of patience. It will grow slowly, and you will hit a milestone, like 1000 uniques or something :D.

I saw my forums double traffic from may to june, and that was pretty sweet. One member posted 250 posts in one day...I thought that was pretty funny.


09-25-2003, 04:44 PM
About 2 months ago, we rebuilt YoungEntrepreneur.com to include forums. Things have gone quite well, a little slow for my liking. (Members: 793, Threads: 269, Posts: 1,691) We had a big starting base.

I have experienced a couple times where members have made 40-50 posts a day. The biggest problem for YE is getting New Threads created, people are fine replying, but are scared to make new threads!

09-26-2003, 03:34 AM
LiveTronix: Your site looks awesome, in both design and content. Its just the site I have been looking for and I think it has real potential.

I will definitely be a regular reader and contributor to your forums!

09-26-2003, 08:22 PM
So long as you come here for your SE questions. ;)

09-28-2003, 10:08 AM
I started a forum in April for Camp Wyldewood and over the summer it did really well (obviosuly because its a summer camp). I've tried to keep people glued but as the school year moves on our traffic is steadily slowing. We've gone from 600-700 visitors/day to about 200. I've tried things like Forum games with prizes and stuff, but hasn't helped too much. Any other ideas for reviving a forum in the off-season?