Huntsville Web Design Tips for Online Forums
Forum websites play an important role in creating vibrant online communities. Developing online forums is a great way to attract a large number of people to your site. An active forum enhances a company’s marketing and promotional efforts.
Online forums can be a great addition to your website. In this blog post, you will learn some tips from Huntsville website design to create and maintain a fledgling online forum.
An ABC of Online Forum Design
An online forum is a platform that allows online users to connect with others. It serves as a place for users to get information and share their experiences and knowledge. Users create posts and replies to participate in an online forum.
The history of online forums goes back decades ago. In 1978, a dial-up Bulletin Board System (BBS) was created by Ward Christensen and Randy Suess. They wanted to get updates about their computer club without having to attend in person. It was the precursor of the modern online forums and also social media websites.
Today you can create online forums using one of the various platforms. Let’s take a look at some tips to create an online forum.
Step 1: Select a Web Host
You must select web hosting services for your online forum. It is important to select a hosting provider that offers fast servers and guaranteed uptime. This is important to ensure a positive experience for online users in interacting with each other on the forum.
Contact the hosting service provider and inform them about your vision for an online forum. Ask them if the services are scalable as the forum grows in popularity over time. You should get details about the cost of scaling up to meet demand.
Consider starting with the cheapest option. You can upgrade the hosting services as your forum becomes popular. A cheap shared hosting service is adequate at the start. But you may need to upgrade to a dedicated hosting plan when there is an uptick in the online forum members to handle large traffic.
Select 2: Select a Forum Platform
After you have selected a hosting provider, the next step is to choose a platform for the online forum. There are several different platforms you can choose from that we will briefly discuss here.
phpBB is a free open source BBS-type online forum platform. It has a large number of extensions and styles lists. You can find hundreds of styles and images for the online forum.
As the online forum platform is open source, you can hire a Huntsville web page designer to customize the forum for you. The Community Forum members assist in configuring and customizing the platform.
MyBB is another free and open-source online forum platform. The platform features a large number of themes and plugins. You can customize the forum from the admin panel.
bbPress is an online forum for WordPress websites. The online forum is developed by the developers of the WordPress platform. You can use the platform to easily create discussion forums, subscriptions, and other features.
Setting up the online forum using the platform is easy. You can integrate the forum into your existing website. In addition, you can also create multisite forums. With this platform, you can also allow members to create content for you.
Muut is a great solution for creating a robust online forum. You can customize the forum layout and colors. The platform allows you to create a private message feature as well.
You can select a free package at the start. If you are satisfied with the services, you can upgrade to the premium plan. The price of the premium package starts at just $16 per month. It boasts of features such as custom domain, advanced branding, and database.
The above are just some of the platforms for creating an online forum. If you already have a Joomla website, you can integrate the forum using the Kunena platform. No matter what platform you select, you must make sure that it has the following elements.
- Navigation menu
- Search bar
- Questions and Replies
- Sign up and Login buttons
- Widgets for latest posts, webinars, upcoming events, etc.
- Popular topics
An optional feature to make the online forum more interactive is video chat integration. This will greatly enhance the online user engagement and popularity of the online forum.
Tips to Maintain and Promote Online Forum
You have the responsibility as a forum administrator to encourage users to participate actively by contributing content. Here are some ways you can keep your online forum active and lively.
1. Promote Online Forum
A forum sitting pretty online will serve no purpose. You need to promote your forum to attract visitors. Consider advertising the online forum on relevant websites. You can create Google Adwords, Facebook, and Twitter platform to promote your online forum.
LinkedIn is also a great medium to spread the word about the online forum. You can also use your business email to inform recipients about the online forum.
2. Keep Them Engaged
Take proactive steps to keep the forum members engaged. Consider asking questions and replying to discussions. You can also create online polls or community events to keep members interested in actively contributing to the forum.
Email updates are also important to keep online members engaged. You can set up email notifications when members ask a question, reply, or like a post. Moreover, you can email a digest of weekly activities to forum members.
3. Create Rules
Make sure that you create rules for the online forum. All users must abide by the terms to participate in the forum. Some of the rules you can create for your forum include:
- No foul language or racial sluts
- No spam for promoting products
- No links to external companies or websites
- No obscene content
The rule aims to encourage respectful and constructive conversations. Online forums should not be a place for people to vent their negative emotions.
igwebs is an experienced Huntsville web design who can create and customize an online forum. Contact us today if you want to create an online forum for your existing or new website.
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