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Psychology of forum participation

Discussion in 'General Internet Marketing' started by temi, May 1, 2007.

  1. temi

    temi Facilitator affiliate

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    I am still trying to figure out how to make some of our visitors register and participate, has any other forum owner worked out an ingenuous technique for converting visitors to registered members?
     
  2. Let the search engines index everything inside the forum so it can be found, but make some parts of the forum inaccessible unless you're a registered user (tutorials and stuff in example).
    Although that's a little bit drastical.
     
  3. Lorna

    Lorna Affiliate affiliate

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    I am trying to work this out myself! Also, trying to keep people participating!

    If you find the secret formula, please let me know!
     
  4. temi

    temi Facilitator affiliate

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    I will share the secret with you Lorna should I manage to crack it :)
     
  5. OldWelshGuy

    OldWelshGuy Affiliate affiliate

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    Take a look at popular forums and try to work out why.
    My advice is PASSION. ignite the passion of people and you will have a busy forum. Keep it clean, be strict on spam posts, send private emails to new members thanking them for joinging. By private I mean if they put a site in the link visit it and mention it in the email.

    Make them feel at home :)

    I do it with my rugby forum and it seems to be working ok. To bolster visits, email out now and again a quick email thanking them for being a member at the forum, and list a couple of good threads with links so they can visit from the email.

    My rugby forum past 1/3 of a million posts this morning :)
     
  6. temi

    temi Facilitator affiliate

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    I learnt two new tricks from your post... the one about passion and personalised greetings, I think I will try that, instead of automated welcome email I will try a more personal approach, thanks for that.
    You rugby forum is a runaway success, you will probably hit 1 million post this year.
    I am hopping we will achive 5,000 threads at this forums. I tends to look at the threads rather than the post count
     
  7. funkypilchard

    funkypilchard Affiliate affiliate

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    I would say these are my suggestions from an outside perspective.

    1. Keep it simple, main topics should be listed in simplistic terms then sub categories off each, this forum is very big and there are many different forums which is good to know, I think the trick is to try to index and condense subjects coherently, so anything to do with SEO whether it be Google pr, directories anything that comes primarily under that title should be under one roof... then programming, with things like beginners, php etc etc under another.

    2. Don't keep areas secret, let people follow the threads in entirety... let them read the whole story so that they become enticed and come back to see a response on a subject, eventually they may register and reply.

    3. Unfortunately forums at the top of google are going to do it for me as they are not specifically important enough at first glance to search through pages of the same thing so the ones at the top I will assume are the best (sorry if that sounds simplistic)

    4. Encourage a general discussion area like in here, it allows people to take a break from what they are doing elsewhere on the forum or even elsewhere on the net.

    5. Maybe have a header image that is changed daily or weekly or monthly relating to the forum... it gives a forum identity and gives the impression its fresh instead of the same old text all the time.

    6. The truth is that many people tend to register somewhere but will hardly ever post, it's a scary thing to some people, others will read but never consider posting a comment on a forum.

    7. This forums strength IMO and one that should be pushed is how helpful every one is. Push this fact with SEO, free advice for beginners, then once they are hooked and learn the tricks of the trade they may feel obliged to return the favour, stay and help others.
     
  8. OldWelshGuy

    OldWelshGuy Affiliate affiliate

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    My rugby forum has slipped, it is no longer #1 for 'rugby forum' :( #1 for loads of other phrases though.

    Temi, as an aside but on topic, consider renaming thrteads that are meaningless. I often do this as it helps the page rank.
     
  9. temi

    temi Facilitator affiliate

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    FP,
    Thanks for your contribution, I completely agree with you about keeping the looks fresh, I need to work on that. I remeber forums that I have not been to for 1 or more year, getting there and still finding the same looks and structure, though the forum was alive with discussion it seemed dead to me.
    I will have to look into how not to fall in that trap. Yes, we will be pushing out blogs help section, Melky is starting a very good tutorial tomorrow.
     
  10. temi

    temi Facilitator affiliate

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    Thanks for that suggestion, I try to do that all the time even completely annihilate forum that are meaningless as well.
    If you spot one that I missed please point my attention to it.
     
  11. funkypilchard

    funkypilchard Affiliate affiliate

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    The thing is to decide on what kind of images to use, they could be topical? issues of the week or somthing more specific??? I will have a think.

    Hre are the two other forums I found but to be honest they don't loko very enticing to me?

    WebHostingTalk Forums - Web Hosting Discussion

    Web Design Forums - Web design help and discussion. Web development advice and topics

    I typed in "web forums" on google but then I thin kI would be more likely to type in a specific subject like "install a blog" etc... maybe if you did a bit of research on the top ten forums on google, find the busiest threads with most posts and then targetted those key words for here.. then when people find this place first they will more likely to stay ;)
     
  12. funkypilchard

    funkypilchard Affiliate affiliate

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    that's a bit crafty I guess
     
  13. temi

    temi Facilitator affiliate

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    Its called keyword research. I think when your forum or site is very busy, you really do not have time to tart it up every week because it cost a lot of money and not that many forum online today is profitable.
     
  14. funkypilchard

    funkypilchard Affiliate affiliate

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    I see, maybe its better to let the existing forumers set the trend then in this case.
     
  15. OldWelshGuy

    OldWelshGuy Affiliate affiliate

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    Something I have done on my forum is to have multiple skins made. I have skins for each region in Wales, one for the Welsh national team, an accessible skin and one or two other skins. It means that fans of the scarlets rugby team can participate using the Scarlets skin with their logo on it, the Ospreys have their own etc. It makes it more personal.

    BUT it is a right PITA to keep upgraded :(

    Oh and My forum is not for profit LOL.
     
  16. funkypilchard

    funkypilchard Affiliate affiliate

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    Thats a nice twist.. individual skins for a forum.
     
  17. Stephanie

    Stephanie Affiliate affiliate

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    Skins, and psychology

    Wow, I am learning so much new terminology since joining this forum - it is brilliant (skins was another new one but makes perfect sense). I might try that later if we can persuade some other face to face business networks to set up 'areas' on bizface (that is one of our plans), so give them separate skins.

    When I teach online we can make postings compulsory (when we did not do this, the students did not bother to post). That is more difficult of course, although adding incentives, including new membership levels etc., as Temi does here, does seem to help.

    But I agree a lot of people find it hard to post, feel exposed (as it is rather permanent compared to face to face chat), and also need to feel they are gaining something for their time and bother, in the business world more than anywhere. I guess it will vary by forum but once people do start communicating then they do gain a sense of community (I can sense it here) - just wish I had some simple answers about how to get them going...
     
  18. temi

    temi Facilitator affiliate

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    I think a way of encouraging people who are worried about the potential embarrassment from making mistakes in their post can be encouraged to use pseudonyms as that will protect their identity.
    But my experience is that people are forgiving about types and other gaffes in forums as we all know that we are communicating in real time ... most people don't spell check or go through their posting just post directly to the forum.
    I think a sense of community gains momentum as a forum grows, you get some hardcore supporters who becomes the backbone of the forum...
     
  19. soEvo

    soEvo Affiliate affiliate

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    I would put it down to forum activity. I only joined this forum today (noticed it in my directory). So you, the webmaster has to get really involved, if you can relight a topic, do so. Paid posters could also be a good idea for this, just don't let the forum seem empty
     
  20. temi

    temi Facilitator affiliate

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    I am not sure about paid posters, I used it at webmasterserve.com it did not work well.
     

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