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How To Launch a Community with a Forum. Tips and mistakes to avoid.
By Steve Shubitz

Every hour of every day, Webmasters launch Forums. Unfortunately, a significant number of launches make a number of mistakes which either guarantees failure or significantly reduces the chances of any success. Here are the most common mistakes to avoid and tips to insure success.

Define your goals and expectations before you start. Why are you launching? Fun, hobby, or make money? You are not starting a "board" or "Forum". You are launching a Community using a Forum.

Examine your competition before you start. Learn from your competition. This is 2004 so you are unlikely to be the first in a given space and frankly, many kinds of Communities in a given space are clearly saturated, so why even bother?

Launch with a small number of Forums. This is 2004 and you are unlikely to impress anyone with 7 forums that have few posts as opposed to 3 Forums. To many forums and the place looks like a ghost town with empty Forums.

Great Communities are normally the result of a single person at launch. That's you. Your passion, zeal, love, dedication, and hard work starts the ball rolling. Think long term as in multiple years.

Great Communities start with 1 or 2 great folks and not dozens. You need to tell your friends about your new Community so they can post. Start threads under two or more user names and talk to yourself so that others can join the conversation.

If you are in the ecommerce space such as a host, do you really want your potential clients (lurkers) to see an empty Forum? This will cost you sales as the perception of your service is tainted. Stick the puppy behind closed doors for clients only

Respectfully, the net already has far to many Communities in a given space, so most new Communities are destined to either fail or never advance to the next level. Today, you will need a "unique twist" to a given space.

A site which already has a huge amount of traffic will work if you then create a Community. Huge as in around 500K page views per month or more. A new site plus a new Community rarely if ever has a reasonable chance plus you tell your visitors that the place is already not very busy with a Forum with few posts. Create the site first, promote to reach large page views, and then glue the Community to the site.

The technology you use to run a new Community is a minor consideration. It has little if any barring on your relative success. Including dozens of skins and all the bells and whistles. Their must be at least 4 or more great scripts which are perfectly fine to launch. Some cost money and others are open source.

These tips and advice should give you a reasonable chance of success. Good luck with your Community.

This article is ©2004 by Perfection. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form is prohibited. Print this article.

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