Anyone here run an online forum before?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Amazin, Dec 6, 2016.

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  1. Amazin

    Amazin UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    536 26
    just want to know how hard it is and time consuming it will be. I'm thinking of giving it a go on the topic I love.

    I've been online forums since I was a teenager and I love it. Unfortunately there will be drama, trolls, stupid people who will make it worse.

    It's like a garden that needs lot of attention and love in order to flourish.

    Is there a magic number of members you need in order to start thinking about monitize it?
     
    Posted: Dec 6, 2016 By: Amazin Member since: Mar 24, 2009
    #1
  2. MikeJ

    MikeJ UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,649 1,611
    I run one, but really just as a hobby. I used to try to monetize it, but can't be bothered now.

    Thanks to Twitter and Facebook, forums tend to struggle these days. The hard part is getting people to register. We used to have 3-400 users that would post at least once per month. We're probably down to less than 50 now. I can get people to chip in a few quid every now and then to cover the running costs, but generally just pay it myself.

    I'm fortunate that we bought the software licence when we had plenty of users and had the ability to raise money then. The software is ancient now, but generally still works.
     
    Posted: Dec 6, 2016 By: MikeJ Member since: Jan 15, 2008
    #2
  3. Richard Moore

    Richard Moore UKBF Regular Full Member

    164 56
    I would do it for fun, but not for profit. As MikeJ implied, forums have had their day somewhat. If you are in the right genre you might get some success, and even if you do it's going to be hard work to maintain.

    I'm a member of a really big Art forum, they've been going since about 2000 and have a massive membership. It's always quiet in the forums though. They have a reasonable number of lurkers, but participation is low - which suggest that if they started today they wouldn't get anywhere near the membership they have.

    The most successful forum I've seen (which is still going strong) is for a hobby forum which is a private forum. The main site has lots of videos that you can subscribe to for about £3 per month, and once you subscribe you get access to the private forums. The private forum works very well and has around 2,000 members, and since it's private you don't get the usual trolls, flamers and idiots in there. This one is more like a private club centred around a private forum. But it works incredibly effectively and earns a good amount.
     
    Posted: Dec 6, 2016 By: Richard Moore Member since: Nov 14, 2009
    #3
  4. Ian J

    Ian J Factoring Specialist Full Member - Verified Business

    5,274 1,511
    The biggest difficulty is getting a forum up and running as you need plenty of content to attract members but you won't get the content without the members so it's a bit of a vicious circle.

    A couple of people have already posted that "forums have had their day" but we're all here on a forum aren't we?
     
    Posted: Dec 6, 2016 By: Ian J Member since: Nov 6, 2004
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  5. columbo

    columbo UKBF Regular Free Member

    332 72
    Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky talks about the growth or otherwise of online forums / communities.

    V. interesting read.
     
    Posted: Dec 6, 2016 By: columbo Member since: Jan 27, 2013
    #5
  6. unientrepreneur

    unientrepreneur Guest

    0 0
    Hi Amazin,

    Starting a forum is a good idea and can be really fun! I own a startup which uses forums, and it is quite tricky to get people to participate especially when there aren't many topics at the start. You can give it a go, and some forum software has built in moderation tools to report to moderator. It is a tricky job to police a forum, especially when you have lots of posts, thats why its important to have clear guidelines and have trusted friends or employees who can report inappropriate posts to you so you can remove it.

    Good luck,
     
    Posted: Dec 9, 2016 By: unientrepreneur Member since: Jan 1, 1970
    #6
  7. IanG

    IanG UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    965 203
    I run a few, used to do 1000 online concurrently and they were monetised quite well but Facebook and Twitter have killed it. Was difficult but possible to get saturation years ago, these days I wouldn't even attempt it.
     
    Posted: Dec 10, 2016 By: IanG Member since: May 8, 2011
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  8. ryedale

    ryedale Contributor Full Member - Verified Business

    1,547 368
    Almost impossible now to get a new forum off the ground

    Like others, used to run busy forums years ago but it's incredibly difficult to get people off social media and onto a forum (even with forum apps like Tapatalk)

    It's a shame really, I vastly prefer forums over Twitter etc but that's the way it's gone
     
    Posted: Dec 10, 2016 By: ryedale Member since: Dec 17, 2013
    #8
  9. Amazin

    Amazin UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    536 26
    exactly, forum still have its own place but I agree with everyone else. Its harder now than ever considering there are so many social media sites out there even if they don't provide the best plateforms for online communities. Another problem is monetize it. its going to be an uphill struggle I reckon. Thanks for all the feedback guys, I don't think im going to pursue it now
     
    Posted: Dec 21, 2016 By: Amazin Member since: Mar 24, 2009
    #9
  10. Plumb Spares Direct

    Plumb Spares Direct UKBF Contributor Full Member - Verified Business

    40 4
    Forums aimed at the over 40's, maybe 50's are more likely to be successful
     
    Posted: Dec 24, 2016 By: Plumb Spares Direct Member since: Dec 19, 2016
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  11. profitxchange

    profitxchange UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,704 192
    I had a business forum for a few years - ran it as a hobby but it cold never compete with UKBF albeit I had a fair amount of free content. It was really aimed at developing on line business mentoring ( for free). I would suggest forums are past their sell by date now.
     
    Posted: Dec 24, 2016 By: profitxchange Member since: Apr 16, 2005
    #11
  12. StevePoster

    StevePoster UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    956 138
    Its not just having an online forum but first consider first the following:
    Consistent promotion to other forums
    Regular maintenance
    Active admin
    Regular visitors
    Regular thread opener
     
    Posted: Dec 27, 2016 By: StevePoster Member since: Nov 29, 2013
    #12
  13. Vectis

    Vectis UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    783 203

    Yes, but when you say 'we're all here', it made me look at the figures at the top of the page showing how many are currently using the forum:

    • Members: 11
    • Guests: 290
    • Robots: 103
    Ok, this might be a quiet time, but that's not many.
     
    Posted: Dec 27, 2016 By: Vectis Member since: Jun 10, 2012
    #13
  14. hortonas_tjh

    hortonas_tjh UKBF Contributor Free Member

    86 19
    I have just set up a forum on our website but it is more for support flexibility for clients who either use, or are interested in using xTuple ERP for their business or our business services. So now clients have the option of using phone, email, forums, live chat etc to get in touch with us.

    Obviously with the Christmas period means it will be quiet but come the New Year it will be interesting for me to see how things progress for us, especially at this stage.
     
    Posted: Dec 27, 2016 By: hortonas_tjh Member since: Oct 9, 2016
    #14
  15. columbo

    columbo UKBF Regular Free Member

    332 72
    If the forum does not take off, remove it from your site.

    Nothing worse on a company website than an abandoned forum!
     
    Posted: Dec 29, 2016 By: columbo Member since: Jan 27, 2013
    #15
  16. hortonas_tjh

    hortonas_tjh UKBF Contributor Free Member

    86 19
    Thanks for the advice @columbo

    Will see what happens. Best to give clients all options and see what works.
     
    Posted: Dec 30, 2016 By: hortonas_tjh Member since: Oct 9, 2016
    #16
  17. rf-harris

    rf-harris UKBF Contributor Free Member

    76 11
    It isn't a bad idea to start a forum and it is good that you are thinking of starting a forum on a topic in which you have interest. This will surely help you to interact better with your forum members. All the best :)
     
    Posted: Dec 30, 2016 By: rf-harris Member since: Apr 19, 2016
    #17
  18. webprojectuk

    webprojectuk UKBF Regular Free Member

    132 12
    It looks like most of you think along the same lines as me. I have run a fishing forum from 2002 to 2010. It was very successful but getting users to part with cash was much harder. Like many have already mentioned forums are no longer in fashion since the birth of social media. So from my point of view - I would not start a forum but focus my attention maybe on a facebook group..
     
    Posted: Dec 31, 2016 By: webprojectuk Member since: Jul 8, 2006
    #18
  19. The Wholesale Forums

    The Wholesale Forums UKBF Regular Full Member

    393 63
    We are doing still rather well as a forum site, and have attracting thousands of new registrations each month. The problem with some forums (sites also) is the content. Our forum is full of fresh and older content which is consistently updated, that keeps Google happy. With social media, everyone is aiming to move there, so working towards more a niche area, away from social is actually a really good starting point. (Do something different).
     
    Posted: Jan 3, 2017 By: The Wholesale Forums Member since: Aug 1, 2006
    #19
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