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freeringo
12-29-2010, 09:53 AM
Building A Successful Online Forum or Community

Building a successful forum or online community can be one of the largest challenges, and most difficult things for an internet marketer to accomplish.* In the poker affiliate market, it is even more difficult due to the amount of established forums that are already successful.

When deciding to build a forum, you have several options of software to choose from. The most popular forum software's currently on the market are Vbulletin, PHPbb, YaBB, IVB and SMF.* I have ran communities and forums on all of these software platforms but one.

Many webmasters opinions will vary, but in my opinion, for operating a forum there is no better software out there than Vbulletin.* Most players who post in forums are already familiar with the interface because it is so prevalent on many of the largest forums in the industry.

Regardless of the forum software you choose, as an affiliate you must realize that launching an online forum will not be an immediate cash cow.* This is actually a very common misconception amongst many affiliates.* Sure, you are going to begin build a database, but you shouldn't expect to profit off these members for several months down the road.* If there is one golden rule you remember from this article remember this; players do not sign up at forums to click on your banners or links and make you money.* They sign up to become part a community where they can interact with other poker players.



The bolded part above is one of the fundamental mistakes poker affiliates make when trying to start or grow an online forum.

So how do you grow a forum or community within the online market? Below are a couple of pointers:

•Stand out and be different - if you're forum is the same as the other few hundred on the internet, what would really entice your traffic to sign up and post.* My suggestion would be to focus on some sort of niche in the affiliate market.
•Seed Content - Visitors are not going to just show up and post on their own free will.* As the admin of the forum you need to plant "seed content" that is either very interesting or even controversial.* Give your traffic and random web surfers a reason to sign up and post in your community.
•Rules & Moderation - If you are starting a forum, treat it like a full time job.* Bring on great moderators that can help create seed content, reply to posts, and welcome new guests.* Most importantly though, as you begin to grow you have to make sure that all spam is deleted in a timely fashion.* Even one spam post can give a terrible first impression and cause people to immediately exit the site.
•MOPFI - This is an old school sales principal, but it stands for Make Other People Feel Important.* If you are running the forums, practice MOPFI on your moderators as well as your members.* If you recognize your mods and members, you will be amazed at how quickly they will develop loyalty to your community.
•Start Small & Grow - Nothing is more of a turnoff than arriving at a new poker forum and seeing 50+ odd forums and flashing banners embedded in the forums.* Most of the time these forums either have never been posted in, or haven't been posted in for months.* Start small and keep all your members posts confined to a small area.* Motion creates emotion!* When members and visitors see activity in a few forums, they will be way more likely to get involved.* Having too many forums and categories is way to overwhelming for new members.* Keep it simple.
Another important aspect of running a forum is that someone has to take on the leadership role that has personality.* Whether it be you, a moderator, or you and a few moderators; somebody with a strong personality has to take on the position of leadership and direction in the community.* The leader or leaders need to be posting every single day.* They need to be practicing MOPFI and welcoming every new member.* The members also need to feel comfortable and non threatened by the forum leader.

As an affiliate, once you establish a leadership role with your members, this is where you can begin to truly start monetizing your forum.* Now, your forum members are not just clicking on random links and banners, they are playing in tournaments, joining leagues, and signing up through your sites links when you ask them to.

There are two other important points I want to bring up about building an online community.
1.Compelling Content Is King - Initially when starting a forum, you have to give people a reason to sign-up and post.* Between you and your moderators, make sure that the posts and content in your forum are not the same old boring hand histories.* Also make sure that the forum is always active.* If that means you and your mods have to have conversations between each other all day, then by all means do it.* Also don't be afraid to make a few dummy accounts just to keep the dialogue in threads going.
1.Forum Banner Blindness - There is a reason why online communities like Facebook and Myspace have a hard time making a profit.* And unfortunately it is the same in the affiliate market.* Monetizing poker affiliate forums is more difficult than most would think.* People do not visit online communities or social networks to click on banners or leave to another website!* They come to the community to be social, read threads, send PM's, and catch up with others in the community.
Think about this, when was the last time you clicked an ad at facebook, myspcace, or even your favorite forum?* Probably never.* Affiliates must realize that banners and text links are not the road to riches when running a forum.

In order to profit with an online community, you have to be willing to think outside the box a little bit, and leverage your relationship with your members.* Unless you are willing to form relationships with hundreds of forum members, you will make more money running an online portal that ranks well in the search engines.

Gauging the success of an online community can be difficult.* One easy way I have always realized success in online communities though is when I see members getting to personally know other members.* If your members are becoming friends, sharing PM's. or speaking offline, then you know you have created a community that has loads of potential for years to come.

eejit101
12-29-2010, 03:18 PM
holy crap. tl;dr!!!

BnLM5
01-03-2011, 10:06 AM
Gauging the success of an online community can be difficult.* One easy way I have always realized success in online communities though is when I see members getting to personally know other members.* If your members are becoming friends, sharing PM's. or speaking offline, then you know you have created a community that has loads of potential for years to come.

I agree with this! But that was a very long post ringo!

freeringo
01-07-2011, 09:46 AM
There are a few bullet points

Administrator
12-13-2011, 09:20 PM
That was a great post ringo! Lots of hard work to do a forum and need the right people to run it which is why we are still taking it slow :)

freeringo
12-14-2011, 01:30 PM
I have always been fond of moving at Hawaiians pace.