While replying to a post, I thought that a garden is great to compare to a message forum. In this article I will compare a garden to a forum. It may be goofy to some but I think it makes sense and that's all that matter to me, lol.
Starting your garden (forum).
When considering starting a garden (forum), you want to find the space for it and decide how big you want it to be a first as you can always add to it later if you can get the space and afford the plants, materials and etc. Starting a garden also means you are going to need patents and you will need to spend a fair amount of time on it so that is can grow to its fullest.
Look for the best spots to grow your garden (see reviews on hosting, servers, etc.) and then start digging it up. Officially, your garden needs to be dug up, fertilized and planted before it will even be seen as a garden. In forums this is creating the categories, boards and sub-boards that you want. This would also be getting a theme and custom logo and establishing how your rules will be set, moderation will be done, etc. At first, your garden will be pretty bare but that's how it works for most people. A successful garden will take time to blossom.
So you have a garden (forum), what next?
So you garden is growing. The next thing you will want to do is maintain it. You will need to water it and add appropriate fertilization over time. You will need to make sure to remove all the weeds and keep the rodents and critters out of it. When some plants look bad and produce bad growth, you simply pick those and let them drop into the garden bed so they can act as a natural fertilizer because it may actually grow the plant into something better.
In forums, your forum is now public. You will need to keep active on it and post good content. Content is key! Post content that you want to see grow. Add a discussion to it and ask questions. Debating topics are also good to make guests desire to comment and therefore register so they can put their word or opinion in as well. Treat every post as a plant, nurture it and help it grow. Sing to it as it grows or keep posting in it with even better quality content so that it gets bigger and bigger. It doesn't matter how many plants you have in your garden when a few are producing much product, the same with forums, you may have very few topics but a lot of replies. Numbers help period. Its not what makes the numbers, its plain numbers. Weeding out the post ideas and features that are not working for your forum is also a good practice. Keep the bad users and spammers out so they don't destroy your new forum. Let topics not being replied to stay and fall down into the archive because they may be useful later and grow!
Keep it up or it will wither and die!
So your garden is growing quite well! Its giving you all sorts of veggies and fruit that you and all your friends can enjoy. You will feel good about yourself because you have grown something from scratch and it may be doing quite well, especially if it is your first time. The next thing you need to know to ensure that it grows to its fullest potential is that you must keep at it, keep taking the weeds out and pruning the bad parts. Keep keeping the critters and rodents out and sometimes trying to new things to keep your garden secure from them. You may also want to try to grow others things as well as add more stuff like decorations and scarecrows to keep the birds and stuff away.
To translate the above to a forum, its quite simple. Your forum is getting active and there is many discussions for you and your users to talk about. It will give you pride but make sure that you remain active. Many times people see a forum take off and just sit back and watch, this is bad. If staff members are inactive, people will follow the leader and that is not what a new forum needs. Keep add new features and security methods to keep everyone happy and safe from abuse and spam. Some features may not work, you can always remove them but there is nothing wrong with trying them out because they just might take off! As you get bigger, you will want to get more staff. An active staff team will help keep your forum active while showing spammers and abusers that staff are almost always present and will get them if they try to come in a destroy your growth.
Sometimes, its needs time.
Some gardens fail the first time especially if you do not have much experience with them. Myself, living in a farm country area all my life, I have been exposed to farming and what not for years but never hardly had a garden of my own. I thought since I have seen it in action, I could do it really good at first. It didn't work that way. I ran into all sorts of problems and had to start from scratch a few times, then I got better at what I did. I constantly learn more and more about it so that I know what to do when stuff comes up.
The same with forums, not all of them are successful. You may of seen other forums grow and thought, I could do this. But its a lot of hard work that you will need to dedicate yourself to. You may have to start over again once or even a few times. It happens to the best of us but that is no reason to give up. Overcome issues and rise above them. Pay attention to forums like ADX and other resources and learn from others experiences because it will help you along the way. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you enjoyed this article!
You may share this article on others sites as long as the author information (below) remains in tact and that you provide a public-viewed link to this article page with the article. This article helps you start and grow a forum as well as a garden, LOL. I hope you enjoy it!
By: Shawn J. Gossman (C) 2010
Admin Extra Administrator