As part of the whole forum management guide/ponders I have written this small article of what you should try doing to get your site out there and surviving after you have found that niche market. This guide follows a guide on target market, you might want to read that first.
After you have found a stable and good market segment you might see other sites trying to steal that niche that you first found. They will try to improve your ideas and add a little extra just to get new users and this will certainly drive you crazy. First thing first, you will have to stop any links to your competition on your board, as they will try to infiltrate and pm users asking them to go to their website or put a link in their signatures. If they still persist make rules forcing them to have a link back and the link should be displayed everywhere on their site, this sometimes gets them frustrated and you will gain more out of it.
Surviving that first 1-2 years is pretty harsh, you will have to constantly introduce new features to the site and keeping it active with full of events. This small tip gives the users a feel that the site is very alive and dedicated to that niche market. Most of the time you can’t be always lucky to have dedicated users who will advertise for you, this means you have to seek for more users on your own. The first thing you will do is to put links everywhere that you can for free, even if the forum you are advertising on isn’t related to yours, this will still grab some users attention, but be careful where you post, sometimes it can bring spam users to. Another way to get new users and to keep old ones dedicated is to make a newsletter, in the newsletter you should add or release something new on the site so that they are interested in coming back each time you email them. Now to spice the newsletter up you have to have some sort of competition of some sort where you list only 2-3 users from the board as being the best, and there you could advertise there blogs or site (not the competition though). (Well you have to figure out on your own on how to do that). To grab more unregistered user you might want to add a signup to newsletter text field where users can just input their email address and you can include them in the email.
Sometimes it may feel that you can’t do it on your own, and you are right, you need good friends who are willing to help you make new features or manage the site while you create or find some new feature. Having a lot of friends will greatly help you to run your site, but you can’t give all of your friends modship but you could give them some sort of unique group power. I am saying this because if you get into an argument with friends they might decide to break your site down, so be careful on who you choose to help.
If you have a lot of money it will benefit you as you can spend a few $ on proper advertising through Google, Overture or direct advertising to specific forums.This type of advertising will surely get you a lot of users as people would know your forum, even though they don’t use it now but after a while if they want to get involved in the topic that your forum is based on they will just be reminded about your forum and if your domain is easy to remember you can bet that he/she would come back. Apart from advertising you can afford top high quality addons and skin that only a few forums or users can afford because of the price tag.
The main important thing that you have to think all the time is to stand out and be unique than others so that you can keep 1 step ahead of competition. You just got to be the dominant source so that others cannot overtake you.
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