If you want to start your own web forum then you can do so very easily. Starting a web forum is very easy, but starting a successful web forum that will have a lot of busy posters and be able to make you money is a little bit harder too do. If you want to start your own forum, make it popular, and earn some revenue, then you need to do it properly.
Decide what niche you want your forum to be about. There are forums for everything imaginable. The more targeted your niche, then the easier it will be to expand growth on your forum.
Make sure your niche is something that you are passionate about, or at least have a strong interest in. Mesothelioma may be a high paying keyword but if you start a forum dealing with Mesothelioma Cancer; your forum will struggle to grow as you are not passionate about the topic.
Instead, choose a topic such as "Zoo Photography". Photography is a popular web niche, and with a targeted niche such as people who like to take photographs at Zoos, you will have a highly targeted niche that will pay more. Even though Mesothelioma tends to pay more per click then photography, you will make more with your Zoo Photographers web forum.
The reason you will make more is because you are passionate about animals, Zoos, and taking pictures. You will be able to produce new content for your forum easily. The more content the more traffic from Google Search Results, meaning more revenue.
If you are passionate about your hobby then you will probably have a few friends that are also interested in the same things. You can ask these friends to check out your new website. More then likely they will become active members as they have the same interests.
If you are looking to eventually make a lot of money with your web forum then you need a niche that will fit into the terms of Google Adsense. If you want to start a web forum with a niche that is not allowed on Adsense, such as an adult images forum, then you will struggle to make any money at all.
Make sure that the niche you choose is something you are passionate about, as well as Google Adsense friendly. You can not have half naked women on a forum and add Adsense ads.
Purchase an easy to use domain name. Use GoDaddy to purchase the domain. Never ever use Godaddy to host your forum, simply buy your name from GoDaddy. The reason to purchase your domain name from GoDaddy is that they easily allow you to modify the DNS names as well as transfer the domain name if you ever sell your forum.
Bulletin Board Software
There are many different options available for starting an internet forum. If you want a serious web forum that looks professional then you need to choose some serious software. There are many choices you have. The three forum software options you should consider are VBulletin, MyBB, and UltraBB.
Vbulletin is the most popular internet forum software around. Recently Vbulletin was sold to Internet Brands and many of their customers were upset with how things were handled. Regardless, Vbulletin is rapidly getting back to the top notch software it was when Jelsoft owned it.
The Vbulletin 4.0 forum software license will cost you $195.00. You can also choose the Vbulletin Suite software which will cost you $285.00. The Vbulletin Suite contains the Vbulletin forum software as well as an integrated Content Management System.
The number one choice in internet bulletin board software has been Vbulletin and it should remain that way for many years to come.
MyBB is an excellent alternative to Vbulletin. MyBB is feature packed, easy to install and maintain, had many free add-ons, and works amazing. The best part about MyBB is that they could easily sell this forum software for $100.00 or more. Fortunately, MyBB is open source. The cost of MyBB is free. There is NO paid upgrade. You get the full version of MyBB for free. MyBB has always been free and will continue to be free.
Even though MyBB is free, it works just like Vbulletin and other paid forums. Each forum software has its features and benefits, but when you consider that the MyBB forum software is free, it will amaze you. MyBB is a top notch forum software that deserves serious consideration for your future website.
UltraBB is an off shoot of WowBB. WowBB had a lot of potential but the owners refused to answer customers, perform upgrades, and left many web forum owners without any assistance. WowBB customer service SUCKS! Fortunately Data-1 Hosting purchased the rights to use WowBB code and make their own forum.
Data-1 provides hosting, so if you want to use Data-1 for your hosting you can. If you choose to use a different host for your UltraBB software, UltraBB will still install your software on your server for Free! The $99.00 you pay for the forum license includes free installation, regardless of what host you use.
Many forums will start on a shared server, as they increase into a Big-Board and upgrades are necessary, they usually will eventually end up on a dedicated server. If you are using UltraBB, when you need to upgrade to a dedicated server you can use Data1 hosting and they will transfer your board over for free. Who better to transfer a busy forum to a new server then Data1, the same people who created UltraBB.
UltaBB comes with a free 30 day trial. You do not need a credit card for the free trial. The 30 days will giv eyou enough time to decide if UltraBB will work for you.
Hosting is a very personal choice. In general, when a forum is first started, you will use a shared server. As your forum gets larger and the Alexa rank climbs, then you can look at moving to a dedicated server. There are countless options available for hosting. Here are three common options.
Although HostGator is cheap, and the uptime is almost 100 percent, I do recommend HostGator, but only for certain webmasters. HostGator has their servers set up differently from most web hosts. The way HostGators permissions, CHMODS, and other seemingly trivial things are set up makes you need to email HostGator and have them alter your settings manually. They are usually fast, and the hosting is reliable, but if you have never installed a forum or certain mods yourself and are following directions online, you may get confused.
Oxxus Hosting is very reliable. Customer service is excellent with Oxxus Hosting and they have a lot of different hosting options available. If you are confused by the various hosting options that Oxxus offers, simply email support and describe what type of forum software you will use. They will email you back and share the best options with you.
When you are ready to upgrade hosting options Oxxus will easily allow you to upgrade. The best thing is that Oxxus does not try and up sell you like GoDaddy does.
Data-1 Hosting, the owners of UltraBB, is an excellent choice to use regardless of the forum software you choose. If you use UltraBB then you should definitely use Data-1 Hosting. If you use MyBB or Vbulletin, then Data 1 hosting will still be able to accommodate your needs easily. With Data-1, when it comes time to upgrade to a dedicated server, they will transfer your forum over to the new server for free.
Dedicated hosting with Data-1 Hosting is very reasonable. Email Data-1 with your dedicated hosting needs and they will email you back with a very reasonable quote.
Themes and Customizations
Once your bulletin board software is installed on your server, you may want to do some customizations. With Vbulletin you can easily purchase a custom or semi custom theme to make your forum look sharp and fit with your forums niche.
When using UltraBB you can easily change the colors and icons associated with your forum.
Once you get your website looking the way you want too, it is now time to get busy posting new content on your web forum.
Before you have the forum software installed you need to decide if you want the forum to be on your index page or not. For example
Many people choose to have a portal, or CMS as the main page. At the top of the page you can make a large and easy to find link to the forum. You can use articles, recent posts, etc., to post on the index page. Many people who are using the Vbulletin suite like the new content management system and will post related articles on the index page to drive traffic to the forum.
Other people like the forum on the index page. If you type in your URL www.mynicheforum.com then your forum will appear. Many large forums have the index page the same as the forum. They feel that making it easy to find the forum will increase the number of page views you get from each visitor, regardless of if they become a member or not.
Make your forums visible to the public. We are looking to make money with our new forum. If a member has to register to read anything they will probable just click the back button and go back to Google. If you make the forums visible you will also get a lot more traffic from Google allowing you to not only grow you forum faster but also to earn more revenue from Google Adsense.
Search Engine Friendly URLS
Vbulletin and MyBB are the best options for search engine friendly URLS. Which would you rather see?
You want the forum postings to also show up in the URL. Not only does it look better but you will receive MUCH MORE TRAFFIC from Google.
UltraBB has a search engine friendly URL option but it does not show the topics title in the URL. For this reason Vbulletin and MyBB are by far the best option.
It is now time to integrate Google Adsense into your forums. Many so called experts will suggest you wait until you get a lot of content on your site before adding Google Adsense. Instead of waiting you want to add the Adsense ads right now. If a visitor comes to your new forum and there is very little to read, then you have a higher chance of getting that customer to click on an Ad, as there is nothing else for them too do. They can either click the "Back Button", register as a member, or click an ad. More than likely they will click and ad or the back button.
Content and Forums
Now that you have your forum software installed and everything set up properly you need to add various forums and content.
When adding forum topics to a new forum, many webmasters add way too many forums. Simply start off with a few. 4-5 at most. You can easily add more forums as your forum gets more active.
If you have 4 forums with 40 posts it will appear much busier to a visitor then if you have 15 forums with 40 posts.
Once you get your forums added, it is now time to talk to yourself. You are passionate about your topic and now it is time to show your interest and knowledge. You, as of right now, are the only member. Post a lot. Post questions about your niche and then answer them. Post interesting links. Post pictures you have took. Post, Post, Post.
Post Post Post
Once you have started posting, post more. You should start a lot of new topics and also reply to yourself. Yes you are talking to yourself, don't be ashamed or embarrassed, and just keep posting replies to yourself.
After you have posted a lot post even more. Post Post Post. You want to get each forum on your website heavily populated with new posts and replies to those posts. Keep posting more. It is easy to post a lot and talk to yourself as you are passionate about the topic you chose as the niche for your new forum.
Friends and Family
Once you have at least 100 total posts, let your friends and family know about your new web forum. If they have an interest in your niche they may register as a member and get active.
Remember when you kept posting and talking to yourself? Keep this up each and everyday. If ANYBODY registers and posts, ALWAYS reply to them. You want to keep posting no matter what. If someone register at your forum and posts, always reply to the post and then encourage the original poster to replay again by asking them a question.
Paid Forum Posting
After you have posted a lot yourself, and you have invited your friends and family, you now want to use a reputable forum posting company. There are many companies that will arrange for various writers to post on your forum. The forum posting company that I am familiar with and would recommend is www.PaidForumPosting.com
Paid postings are where you pay a company to send their writers to your web forum. The writers will register as a member and make posts. These writers will reply to topics as well as making new topics.
The packages start at $5.00 and go clear up to $525.00. They always have a special going and right now you can receive 12% off the cost of any package.
The $5 package will get you 10 posts. 7 replies and 3 new threads by one writer. The $525.00 package will get you 2,000 new posts by up to 16 writers.
The size of your budget will dictate the package you buy. The larger the package the better. If you go with the largest package you will have 2,000 new posts that will get indexed by Google and bring you in new members, as will as providing Adsense income.
Do not hire a forum posting company until you post at least 100 times yourself. Even after you hire a forum psosting company, you need to keep posting yourself, and posting a lot.
People do not want to sign up for a forum with no posts. If you post a lot and buy a large package from Paid Forum Post, you will have a lot of content which will encourage not only multiple page views per visitor, but also new members to sign up.
Growing Your Forum
You need to stay active on your forum. Continue to post daily and post a lot. Periodically buy a paid forum posting package. Even if you forum is very active you should purchase paid forum posts to keep the forum growing even faster.
CPM On Forums
You will hear people ridicule the use of Google Adsense on forums. They will state that their CPM is extremely low on their forums. This can be true. You may only make $3.00 per thousand page views as opposed to $10.00 per thousand page views on other types of websites. What these people fail to recognize is the average page views per visitor.
With an active forum with a lot of content, it is not uncommon to have the average page views per visitor to be extremely high. If your visitors are reading, posting topics, and replying in threads, they may view well over 50 pages without eve clicking on an ad. If they see an ad that catches their eye they will click an ad. If you have thread started about the benefits of a Digital SLR over a handheld digital camera the Google Adsense Ads will be targeted. If a person is looking to buy a camera they may click on one of the ads. Even though they clicked on an ad and you made money, the CPM will be low as that forum member may have viewed over 100 pages before they clicked on an ad.
Yes, the CPM on Adsense is much lower on a forum, but you also get many more page views then a regular website.
The Admin Zone
As a forum owner you are bound to have a lot of questions. You can go to the forums at www.TheAdminZone.com and talk with other forum owners and moderators. The Admin Zone is a huge forum that is for people who run forums. You can find a wealth of information here as well as a bunch of crap. Keep your mind open, keep posting, and you can start a forum that will make you a lot of money.