Friday, June 10, 2011

Forum Essentials

If you manage a message board community, a key to your site's success is the lively banter between members. Without conversation, your site will quickly die off. You can't police your forum and respond to every post, but there are a few things you can do as an administrator to get things moving again.

Hold a contest. Yes, who doesn't like to win something, anything? You don't have to spend a lot of money and the prize can be as simple as a magazine subscription, free membership for one year to your site, or an electronic gift card for the lucky winner. Want to go big time? Find a merchant to sponsor a gift; in exchange for their donation give them free advertising on your site for an agreed period of time.

Update your icons. The same old, nondescript icons will certainly bring about the yawns. Spice things up by swapping out one set of icons for another. Holiday themed icons are a favorite.

Change your background or theme. Holiday themed backgrounds that promote a warm glow in the hearts of your members will retain your visitors like nothing else. Put away the stale, antiseptic backgrounds and put some holiday pizzazz into your forums.

Cyber Grab Bag. No, I haven't tried this one...yet! However, I do know of sites where members play "Secret Santa" with other members. This can be in the form of a surprise email, an electronic gift, or a donation to the recipient's favorite charity.

There are many other ways to get your site moving again. Use this festive time of the year to come up with a plan that is certain to spark interest in your site. If in doubt as to what to do next, ask your members...they'll know!

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