14 Jan 2016
When you’re considering various online business ideas, launching a forum can seem like a good option. For one, after you get the forum up and running and create topics for discussion, the other users post all the content, not you! But is starting your very own forum a good idea to make money?
Should I Launch a Forum?
Although a forum can be a good idea, there are several significant challenges you should consider before creating one. First, be sure to avoid the pitfall made by many webmasters who devote the majority of their energy into designing and customizing an attractive theme or selecting the perfect forum script.
No matter how nice the site might look, without a critical mass of users their forum will go nowhere.
Most people looking to strike it big with a forum will not have the budget to run a real advertising campaign, so you absolutely must have some previously established community if you are to have success.
In most cases, a niche forum focused on a specific topic will have a better chance of attracting users than one about every topic under the sun. If you have already have a blog with many regular subscribers, a popular Youtube channel, an email list, or even an established presence in a Facebook, LinkedIn or Google group, you’ll have a much better chance than if you just try to build your forum from scratch.
You should ideally do a lot of work to build up a community of users who will contribute to your forum before choosing a forum script or buying your domain. If possible, try to get a few people who can serve as moderators or can at least have a small group of users who can participate in a pre-launch in order to get some discussions started.
What you absolutely want to avoid is to promote your forum and attract some people only to have them greeted by a ghost town when they hit your site. Make sure there is a good volume of active topics before launching because no one is going to want to be the first to post. Negative social proof is a killer on any site but with a forum, a lack of discussions is unacceptable and will quickly spell your demise.
Another factor working against you is the fact that discussions once served by forums are now occurring in other areas of the web, such as Facebook communities, Twitter, and sites like Quora. It has become much more difficult to lure users away from these platforms because they already spend so much of their time there.
But even taking all of that into account, creating an online forum is not a bad idea if you are able to do some research to decide on an appropriate niche, earn a following, and create something unique that isn’t already being served by other online fora.
If you’ve created your own forum online, how did it turn out? Do you recommend it?