Ways to make your forum a hit!
You can always have a forum but that doesn't mean that it's going to be a hit! If you want your forum to be a hit you might want to do some of these things before hand.
1. You might want to have staff selected from other sites before you open your board. It's ok if a guest comes by and finds the forum and registers - all that means is that your forum is inviting. Have you staff to start threads to make it more "welcoming" to guests with more chances to post in topics they like.
2. Keep your board open to suggestions! If the board not open to suggestions that what is a guest going to think? They don't have any suggestions? It's a forum for the people and should be built by the people over time. Do some of the suggestions but don't do too many at one time: It could cause members to get confused and get lost.
3. Have rules set up. Rules need to be set up to keep a forum orderly and get better rankings on search engines like google. Don't have your moderators be harsh about telling a member to follow the rules. Don't tell them that they'll get banned after they do something because this could intimate guests to not want to register because of a wrong move they might make.
4. Too many forums are a bad thing. If you have too many forums it could be intimating to guests. Not knowing where ot post a thread or things like that. Keep it simple with general forums and than expand when you get more members.
5. Hacks and Codes should be added before you open if your going to plan on opening with them. Don't disable something because it's going to be a hack later on. Let members personalize their profiles and post bit. When you add the hack have an announcement saying that you have to buy this feature and that!
6. Affiliates are a great way to get members. Affiliate with boards while you still are building but ask them to only add it after you open. Don't just limit yourself to forums about the same thing your own as many members and guests like other things and would like to see friendly faces at other forums that are linked with you!
7. Contests, contests, contests! Do contests at all times. It gives members the chance to win features on the forum/website. If you don't run contests than your forum could be boring and would just be a place to talk with no perks once so ever! Have features that can only be accessed by winning a countest: Like an arcade - Limit it to a group called "Contest Winners" and have it a secondary group to all winners!
8. Skins and Graphics are a big helper. If you only have the default skin than it's not going to be any fun. Tons of other boards have that same skin and yours would be the same. Find a fun and interesting skin for free or even for money. Add a selection if possible. Also make sure that you have graphics to go with each skin to make it all fit together. If you can't make any graphics of your own create a team of graphic makers to do so! Avatars and Siggys are also a great way for members to communicate! Allow members to suggest avatars for their own and others use! It's a good idea to only allow a certain size avatar because bigger avatars can significate rank.
9. Add features constantly! If no features come than your forum becomes boring and unhappy! If you don't add a feature here and there members will be like: We've been here for months and nothing has come... I'm going to another forum! Graphics are great features to add too.
10. Smilies are a great way to express yourself in posts. What would happen if you have only the default ones? You can't express yourself at all! If you add collections of smilies every so often it'll give members more smilies to express themselfs!
11. BBcodes should be added if possible. They are a way to keep members away from things that they don't want to see.
12. Funding could always be a problem. If you don't have enough money your hit forum could go down the drain. So add features that are accessable to only people who donate. Give their postbit a little flare by adding contributer and giving them a bigger avatar or special forums to talk in!
13. If you love to have information in the profiles... So you add a lot of profile fields to acheve that info right? So now people don't visit the profiles and you want them in the post bit right? If your going to add a lot of fields only put what's important and add the others in a drop down. Or if you don't have multiple skins download that skin and keep uploading it again and again. Why you may ask am I saying this? This would be to make it so that the important information for a forum could work. Like if you have an RPG, and a forum (not a hack), you could add like instead of location and that stuff chose one of the uploaded skins and edit it to have the RPG stats. If you have multiple skins don't allow a choice just make them overload the users choice. Don't make the postbit strech the post. It's annoying.
Now I hope that all these tips will help you run your forum with efficiently and thoroughly!