So you want to start a forum but don’t know quite where to get started or what’s the best thing out there to use. Well, I’ll be talking about forum building & Managing from my own experience. I Don’t want anyone to think I’m the almighty god when it comes to forums but I have owned several Big communities, which portals as QW-Dev.net grab it.
1.) Forum Base Software – I personally use Vbulletin for every Forum I’ve ever created. I have used phpbb2, Invision, PHP nuke and others so please don’t think I’m just a VB lover cause it was the first thing i tried. But I find Vbulletin to be the most powerful of the group with its extensive features and add ons. (Of course, your welcome to use any software you like.) Especially since Vbulletin 3.7 Is about to step out of beta, The features it brings allows you to take your forum out of the norm and into the social Networking realm with its new members account options. That alone is a major plus over the rest.
2) SEO Modifications – Once you have your forum installed you should look to increase its visibility with SEO modification you can find free on Vbulletin.org and other Vbulletin forums. Here are the Best Modifications I recommend to do just that.
1.) Zoints SEO Version: 2.2.2 – I won’t be listing the features but just know this is a complete SEO mod that will give you all the tools you need for SEO purposes. For the FREE option, this is just as powerful as video’s $149 deal.
2.) Zoints Thread Tags – GREAT for SEO
3.) Adding H1 Tags to your Forum and Threads – This is very helpful to your forum as it will help your titles be easier to find come index time. Thanks to Joeychgo for the write up.
4.) How to Remove – Powered by vBulletin in the title tag – Pretty self-explanatory.
5.) vBSEO Google/Yahoo Sitemap Generator – The “vBSEO Google Sitemaps” plugin provides a solution that allows your forum to be indexed by the Google (and also Yahoo and Ask) search engines faster, more completely, more effectively, and with less bandwidth consumption.
Now once you have all that setup and configured you can go about creating your forums. You don’t want to show the board live at any time of this process as first impressions are very important and you don’t really need anyone seeing the construction take place.
Don’t add too many forums on the first week your up. You don’t want your forum looking empty and lonely. Try to pick the 6 – 10 most important topics your forum should have to make it complete and stop right there. I know you want to go crazy and get everything on there but it takes time to have a big full forum. Only try to create new forums when your forum has a need for it. If you don’t need it yet, it shouldn’t be on the forum. You don’t want to have a forum with 20 different topic forums and 1 or 2 post in all of em by you the Administrator. It will look ugly and dead and thats not the goal. The goal is to have a few forums but look full with the many posts you and a launch team (your buddies) will be putting up.
People don’t like to post on deal forums so try to keep it alive once your ready to go all out. Don’t forget to go through your setting and set it all up. Now that we have our forum all ready and good to go well get ready for the next phase which is promotions and traffic. That post will come tomorrow as we are doing Forum Week! Enjoy