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Getting Forum Members To Start More Threads

Discussion in 'Forums' started by Rainman, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. Rainman New Member

    Rainman

    Content is the lifeblood of any community. The one thing that will ensure the community remains active for long is the creation of new threads [consistently]. The availability of new discussions each day will get members to keep coming back and even guests who notice that their questions can be answered by the community may tempted to join, be a part of the community.

    Questions:

    #1. Is there any way to encourage forum members to start more new threads?
    #2. Is it true that for forum SEO new threads boast your rankings faster?

     
  2. Converse Active Member

    Converse

    Not effectively, other than separating off-topic posts into new threads. You can ask people to start new threads and that may help for a while, but people -- including myself -- find it easier to reply to ongoing threads.

    In one sense, yes. But only if they result in responses. Having a lot of threads with no responses is like making 50-100 word posts in a blog. If they are indexed at all, there isn't enough content for it to rank. Otherwise, the more closely a thread can remain on topic, the better it'll do.

     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
    Rainman likes this.
  3. Jill Original Member

    Jill

    Original

    I'm guilt of that too because it's so much easier to reply to a thread that's already been started than to think of a topic, a title, an an opening post for a new one. It is important to have new threads, however.

     
  4. toradrake Member

    toradrake

    Lord knows I am constantly racking my brain to think up new topics to post both here and in my own forum. It is very difficult when there is no one else doing it. For instance, all I have is three threads on my forum so far. All were written by me. So when people come in to my forum, they leave because there is no activity yet. I have been debating on creating accounts under different names and posting threads in my forum under those names to attract more members, but I feel like I am being deceptive in doing that.

    A lot of times, in forums such as this, I just find information out there and post a little about it and a link to the information. Although that is not the best method of creating threads... when its all you have, its all you have.

     
  5. ockham New Member

    ockham

    All I can think of, in the welcome message your forum may have, is to encourage new members to start threads. Also, if you're the owner of the website, make a couple threads in each forum, to give users an idea of what the place is meant to be like. Try not to be generic about it.

    If I come upon a gaming forum and see threads just named "Opinions on Minecraft?" "Opinions on League of Legends?" "Do you play DOTA2?" I'm going to leave pretty quickly. Put a little character in the threads. "Why do you suck at Minecraft?" "Which League team do you support?" "I just kicked butt in DOTA2!" A little more personal, a bit more humor. Gives less of a stuffy, more informal feel.

    There's also the matter of a poorly organized forum. If I have an idea for a thread but there are no relevant sections to post it in, I won't participate. Sure there's usually a "General Discussion" section, but that's just unsightly. You probably don't want 85% of all your threads in one section, while having others be barren. That's a sign of a badly organized forum.

    Then, of course, there's the matter of topic. If the topic of your forum is too narrow, nobody's gonna have an opinion.

     
    toradrake likes this.
  6. Converse Active Member

    Converse

    One thing to keep in mind there is that general or off-topic forums are often used by forum administrators as a gathering point, by which I mean that when a forum administrator sees a few threads on similar topics, he will probably consider whether or not to create a part of the forum for that topic and, if it doesn't fit the theme of the forum, he might create it as a subtopic within the off-topic category.

     
  7. toradrake Member

    toradrake

    Excellent suggestion. I have been trying to figure out how to do threads in my forum to attract more people to sign up. I like your suggestions and think I will apply them to the threads I create.

    In my forum, it is new and I am unsure as to what categories to create because it is a general topic forum. So when I created it I put only a category for General Topics with a description letting the viewers know that as time goes by I will create specific categories based on the threads that are available and move them to those categories. Would that also work, in your opinion?

     
  8. Aree Wongwanlee New Member

    Aree Wongwanlee

    Perhaps what can be done is to get an incentive for members to make new threads in sections which you want to promote. Incentives can come in various forms. One is giving recognition. Like, for example, you want to promote a section on SEO, then you run the promotion for, say, 30 days, and, at the outset, announce that members who create the most threads in that section, will get their avatar placed in, say, a Hall of Fame.

     
  9. Scorp Member

    Scorp

    I guess the forum has to become a place where one gets solutions, which would require at least a few active members who are knowledgeable and willing to share/help other members.

    I mean, when you have a problem with your wordpress.org site, where do you go? You probably go to the support forums. Sure, because they're in that exact niche. But if no one was helping on there, then sooner or later people would stop asking questions there and move on to other forums to ask their questions.

    So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, a forum must give value in order for people to go and ask questions/start new threads.

    Also, threads that are started not as a question but as a means of sharing something valuable, those can also be helpful SEO-wise, I believe...

     
  10. ockham New Member

    ockham

    I think that would work. I think it'd also be a good idea to try and think ahead about what kind of categories would eventually be needed. Off the top of my head I'm thinking TV shows, movies, music, video games, board games, sports, social gatherings, etc.

     
  11. toradrake Member

    toradrake

    Funny that you should say that because I was just looking at it yesterday and thinking of putting those actual categories. LOL

     
  12. simplecan New Member

    simplecan

    To be honest, as a forum user, it can be a bit intimidating for me to post new threads if I don't have a good understanding of what makes it interesting. I'm more likely to post a new thread after I've gained good footing in the environment and when I feel like people might find this relevant. On the other side, I've also posted threads that at first I thought would get no responses, and for a while they didn't, and then it just took a few people participating in it for them to grow bigger! Made me feel proud of myself :)

    I think threads should be encouraged more for that reason, the initial potential shyness. Maybe an extra little icon or reward/medal for being a thread creater...! If they feel like they can share their thoughts freely and ask questions or start debates, it should only be a matter of time before they become more invested.

     
  13. Scorp Member

    Scorp

    And there's another thing that I believe holds a lot of people back from creating threads.

    I'm sure you've all noticed sometimes when people ask questions - especially on those larger internet marketing forums - and then people come and comment stuff like:

    "What a stupid question" or "Everybody already knows the answer," or something like that.

    Or even worse, when people ask an honest question and they get attacked for it for alleged self-promotion, or whatever, people just come and troll them...

    I mean, sure a lot of times it is self-promotion, or it is an extremely noob question that you wonder if the original poster's joking or what, or has never heard of the phrase "Do a Google search for it."

    So that's one of the problems for people who start out on the more serious - particularly BlackHat - type of internet marketing forums. I mean, that may leave some people sort of "scarred" and scared to start threads over fear of being ridiculed or made fun of or looking dumb...

     
    simplecan and toradrake like this.
  14. KenBrace New Member

    KenBrace

    Not really. You don't want to ask members to do much of anything besides follow the rules because it makes them feel pushed. A forum is supposed to be free and open to discussion. Your members should feel at home while there. They shouldn't feel obligated to do anything in particular other than what they want to do.

    However I have found that as new members settle in and get used to the community they will start to create threads without you having to ask anything. As a forum member it is usually somewhat exciting to start your own thread and have people comment back and forth there. It's especially fun when your thread becomes a hit.

    I haven't had a problem with new threads on any of my forums.

    I'm not sure but I imagine it would. Every new thread on your forum is like a new video on your youtube channel. It's a another arm sticking out into the web that improves your reputation and brings in traffic.

     
  15. Alunny Member

    Alunny

    The best way to encourage people to make threads is to have people already doing it. If forums are empty, or only one/two/three people are posting there then people get scared of starting new topics. It's really annoying but true unfortunately. They're scared they will get it wrong or they shouldn't be posting there.

    If you get a small group of friends to work with you to create one topic a day that may work. Your best bet are people who are active in your topic or active on social sites like Reddit or news. Those are the people who may discover something they feel is "worth sharing". For example I run a creative forum and I would find people who are creating things every day to post something new. I would also look for people who perhaps get email alerts on events or seem to be in the loop with them. People who are not shy, people who will share and contribute.


    I would also reward users for new topics. Perhaps a points system or reputation points for them. Maybe they get cool new features when they post 5 new topics in a week (and for that week get them). Maybe their name goes rainbow or they get to have a special avatar. Maybe their posts get a really cool background? I did that one on my forum and it was a HUGE hit. They chose their image and it would become the background (but the text was still visible, I would usually edit the image and input the info so it wasn't the greatest system but it worked lol).

     
  16. KenBrace New Member

    KenBrace

    This is true enough.

    One thing you definitely don't want to do is start making strict requirements for where threads should go and how you should start them. Members will feel intimidated and will stick to replies only.

    You want there to be lots of new threads coming in so that it feels more natural, as a user, to start threads yourself.

     
    Alunny likes this.
  17. orocot New Member

    orocot

    I couldn't agree more, content is key when it comes to forums. The problem is that a lot of users just lurk around the forums and it's hard to get them to register let alone post. If and when a guest does become a member a lot of them will make a post on a thread that was of interest to them rather than starting a new thread of their own.

     
  18. danielle davidson New Member

    danielle davidson

    I'm the same way. Sometimes it's just hard to think of something new when no one else is posting. I am usually able to think of a new question because I can look at what other people ares saying . I think that if the mod starts to post stuff, then others will just follow.

     
  19. chinomoreno New Member

    chinomoreno

    Forum members can always post new topic, it is just that there are some new topics that doesn't really make any sense; so that's the time a forum lose its credibility, quality and reputation. When one worthless topic started on a forum it will attract more of it (spam), so I think maintenance is important too. And well active members, that's make a quality forum.
    IMO, there is more to forum than just a boost to ranking in SEO purpose.
    I can see forum as an online community for people who are willing to share their knowledge and learn in return.
    It is a fact that forum is a way to build links but we should keep in mind that links wouldn't be a quality if we ourselves do not add quality or value to the community. It should work both ways.

     
  20. Alunny Member

    Alunny

    One worthless post doesn't start a landslide of worthless posts. I have had a few uneducated members on my forum over the years who haven't been able to make much sense when posting but people still reply the same way.

    Now if you're talking about crappy dead end posts then yes that can happen if you let it get out of control. One of them is fine, but 3 or more isn't because it will start to look acceptable or like the norm.

     
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