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Zantherus » 2009 » May

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Archive for May, 2009

Setting Goals = Success

May 9th, 2009

So your forum just opened and you’re bustling with the first few members that have discovered your forum. What next?

Many forum owners stumble across this question, and as a result, their forum stumbles too. Activity dwindles down, members stop logging on daily, and ultimately the administrator gives up.

Setting goals can help prevent this roadblock. It provides you with a solid direction as to where to go with your forum so you won’t be wondering “what’s next?” as your forum begins to fail. Here are a couple of ways to set effective goals that will propel your forum to success.

1) Be Realistic

Nothing can ruin a goal more than an unrealistic one. You can’t hope for 100,000 posts within the first month of opening. Aim small. 1,000 posts is certainly an achievable goal for a month. Then decide how you’re going to approach it. 1000 posts a month equates to a little more than 30 posts a day. Doesn’t sound too bad now does it? You can do it. You yourself can make 10 posts a day, members can make about 15 a day, and even exchanges could account for that other 5 posts. When you set realistic, achievable goals, it’s a lot more motivating. Why bother attempting to get 3,000 posts a day to achieve that 100,000 posts within a month? 30 posts a day is a lot easier to achieve.

2) Be specific

Once you’ve set the goal, elaborate on it. “1000 posts a month” is not a good goal. A better goal is “I will achieve 1000 posts a month by posting at least 5 times a day, with at least one good topic. Then I’ll keep advertising so I can get more members to help me achieve that goal.”¬† That way you have some sort of idea what to do so when you log on for the day, you know exactly what to do.

3) Push yourself

Don’t set a goal that’s too low. If your board is averaging 1,000 posts a month, don’t set a goal to get 1,100 posts the next month. Aim for something a little more, like 1,500 posts or even 2,000 posts if you want to aim a little higher. This doesn’t mean you should make it unrealistic though - you have to find that balance. Set the goal a little higher than your expectations but not completely unrealistic.

4) Write down your goal

A goal is useless if you can’t see it. Write it down. Put it in a place that you see often. If you hide that goal somewhere, you’ll forget about it. Make sure that you’re aware of that goal often so that you’ll be motivated to reach it.

5) Reward yourself!

In psychology, reinforcement increases the probability of the rewarded behavior to happen again. Treat yourself out, take a break, and in general do something special when you hit that goal. If you announced that goal to your members, have a signature or avatar made that commends the goal. But sometimes, even just the satisfaction of reaching that goal can be good enough. You can’t beat that.

Forums

8 Ways to Bring Up A Community’s Activity

May 7th, 2009

A member (I’ll call member A)¬† recently asked on another forum on how to bring up activity. Another member (member B) replied to make a bunch of new topics to stimulate conversation. When member A replied that he tried that and it doesn’t work, member B said that sorry, but chances are that the forum won’t come back to life. Well, that’s absolutely not true.

There’s many different ways to bring up activity without you having to create a bunch of new topics, which can frankly be quite boring and repetitive.

So I present to you 8 ways to bring up your community’s activity without you having to create a bunch of new topics.

  • Do post exchanges.
  • Have a contest with a cool prize.
  • Revamp your forum, if it’s been awhile since your last revamp.
  • Make a survey to learn about your members and their view on your community.
  • Change or re-start your advertising strategy.
  • Encourage inactive staff to post again.
  • Send out an e-mail to everyone.
  • or, just WAIT. Sometimes there’s an external factor that’s keeping members away, such as real life. Sometimes it’s affecting more than one member at a time. For example, at this point in time, Advanced Placement Exams are happening which could explain the hiccup in forum activity. Waiting it out could solve it all.

There you go. Thoughts?

Forums

Advertising Forums: Yay or Nay?

May 5th, 2009

Sometimes when a forum owner is jumping from forum to forum, they may stumble across a forum whose sole purpose is to advertise other forums. Sometimes these are met with skepticism, but other forum owners eagerly take this easy opportunity to get their name out.

But the real question is, do they work?

The answer: Maybe.

Would I recommend them? No. Not as a primary method of advertising.

Advertising is most effective when the audience is related to the subject you are advertising. You wouldn’t advertise McDonalds to a Weight Watchers group, would you? Advertising¬† your new line of healthy foods to the same Weight Watchers group would be more effective.

So what does the audience have to do with advertising forums? Think about it. You, a forum owner, are at an advertising forum with the intention of advertising your own forum. The other members of that advertising forum are probably there for the same reason. So when you get someone to click on your forum ad there, their intention (most likely) is just to find another place to advertise. If you see an influx of members who join with an ad signature for another forum or website, it’s likely that those members aren’t there to actually be there, but instead to post enough so their ad signature gets recognized.

In my experience, I have rarely seen a successful community that developed with solely advertising forums. If these members who come from advertising forums don’t see results from your forum, they’re gonna leave. That’s what happens with communities who attempt to get big through advertising heavily on these forums. They’ll get members, but not necessarily members who are there to truly contribute and create content.

So why do people join and use advertising forums almost religiously? My theory has to do with reinforcement. These forum owners are seeing results from these forums, no matter how “empty” they may be (joining and not posting, or posting spam), and therefore they stay on these advertising forums hoping they’ll get the same results. And when their forum fails and they make a new forum, they do the same thing again.

Unfortunately posting your ad on there and seeing results immediately really does seem too good to be true, because it really is. The traffic you’re getting isn’t really the traffic you want for your forum. The statistics at the bottom of your forum are simply not just numbers. I think that most forum owners would agree that 10 quality posts that are relevant to your forum’s theme are better than 20 posts that generally consist of “yea i agree” “no, not for me” and other “empty” posts.

As hypocritical as this is going to sound, the only good way to use advertising forums is to use it to find forums that are related to your forum topic to advertise at. Also, advertising forums have other services that could be helpful such as reviews or exchanges.

So if you’re gonna join an advertising forum, consider with a grain of salt. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s going to be effective.

Forums