7 Best Practices for Creating a Forum Website
When Wix Forums was launched a few months back, we knew it would be an important addition to our website builder. Decades after their inception, forums remain a vital aspect of online communities across themes, ages and interests. Creating a forum website is a terrific method for cultivating a conversation with people from all over the world. Moreover, an active forum can enhance a small business’ efforts at online branding and marketing.
What makes forums such a valuable part of your online presence? In one word: People. The ongoing contribution of content by forum members is what gives a forum its character. In this article, we’ll explore the most effective ways for keeping your forum’s membership growing and maintaining a dynamic and vivid online community.
How to Create an Excellent Forum Website
Define Your Focus: What’s the topic or theme that brings your community together? Who are the people you wish to have join your forum, and what are their shared interests? Whatever it is, this commonality will be the core of your online forum. Emphasize it with the type of discussions you start, the questions you raise and the visual material you upload.
Don’t Over-Thread: Creating multiple discussion threads with different focal points is great, but you should be careful not to set up too many of them. When too many threads are available, visitors (especially first-time visitors) get overwhelmed. Too many topics may also lead to a situation in which some threads have only very little conversation going on in them. It’s better to narrow down the options and keep a lively discussion going on.
Make It Beautiful: While forums thrive on words, that does not mean that looks are not important. Don’t neglect your forum’s appearance. Members will feel more at home on a forum designed for greatness. Wix Forums gives you lots of design features and customization options to beautify your forum. Use them!
Keep Members Engaged: One the biggest challenges that a forum admin faces is how to keep community members active and how to encourage them to participate in the discussion on a regular basis. One excellent method to keep them engaged is to send out email notifications that update all members on new posts, replies and likes. You can easily set up these notifications on the Wix Forum platform.
Be a Present Admin: As the forum’s administrator, remember that you have a responsibility to participate actively and contribute your own content to the community’s discussions. Don’t sit and stare at the screen with your hands crossed. Be pro-active, answer questions, start a conversation and encourage your community members to share their thoughts. Think about ways to get members engaged, like starting a poll or reviewing events that are relevant to your community.
Promote Your Forum Regularly: It’s always a good idea to promote your forum on outside platforms to attract new members. Use your personal or business social media channels to highlight specific threads, and get your most active members and moderators to do the same. Offer other forum admins an exchange of links (they promote yours, you promote theirs). If you run a newsletter, use it to keep your subscribers in the loop and invite them to visit the forum (and if you don’t have a newsletter yet, now’s the time to start one :) )
Stay Informed: As an admin, you need to show expertise and authority in your field. Knowledge is power, and your forum can benefit from it too. Keeping up to date on the latest news, cutting edge developments and even gossip will help you in adding high-quality content to your community and keep your members invested and interested in what you have to say. Turn your forum into a reliable source of information and your community will reward you with traffic.
Now moving on from theory to practice, here are several examples of excellent forum websites created with Wix. Watch and learn:
By The Wix Team