Exploiting your free phpBB forum, from A to Z

Forums are always fun. Who wouldnít want to be an Administrator on a forum with several thousands of members? This however is a lot harder than it might seem, and thatís why weíre giving you a few pointers on the most common mistakes with creating a free phpBB forum.

Categories/Forums

A very common mistake is that upon the creation of a free phpBB forum people try to think of all the forums that could be used, and that might be useful one day. This really isnít smart, because youíre going to start with a low number of members. If you have 30 different forums and only 10 members, the place is going to look deserted. You have to target big areas at the start to get the discussion going, the posts racing, and the threads flowing. If you notice a big interest in one specific thing, and you have a decent base for it on your free phpBB forum, you can create a dedicated forum for it. The forums we suggest starting with are: Announcements, Feedback, General chat, Spam/Testing. There is a lot of room to specify later, when you have a decent member base this way.

Create categories

Guest View

Not that common anymore, but some forums still have it. This is a disaster if you want people to join your forum, because 99% of the people will want to be able to get to know what the forum is about before actually joining. After all, what if the forum has nothing to offer? The registration would have been a waste of time. You could have eaten a twinky instead. A disaster, I tell you.

Initiative

Weíve also noticed on several forums that the people who created the free phpBB forum donít realize that itís their responsibility to make sure that the forum is active, and stays active. Start a few threads, have at least one sticky in each forum. Do anything to remove that god-awful zero, and to keep the Ďlast postí date fairly recent. No-one wants to join a dead or deserted forum, do they?

free phpBB forum Hosts

What a lot of people donít seem to realize is that the place where you Ďmadeí your forum matters - greatly! Free forum sites such as InvisionFree and ProBoards are widely used and easy to set up, but thereís a large number of crappy forums floating around on these. Due to conscious and unconscious links in your mind, people will remember those crappy forums when they see that you have your forum there. This lessons the chance of them visiting or signing up on your forum. Try out www.Forumotion.com that earns a great reputation in free phpBB forum, and will convince users to join and participate on your forum!

free phpBB forum

Staff

Another pointer for forum-administrators to-be, donít hire staff right away. Weíve all seen our share of posts offering administrator, supermod or moderator rights to the first X people to join. This is not just unneeded, itís also pretty stupid. By giving someone you donít know at all access to your forumsí vital functions, youíre asking to be screwed over by someone looking for a cheap laugh - the deleting of a forum - or something of the like. Wait until youíre absolutely sure that you canít handle the load of posts yourself anymore, and then choose an upstanding member of the community. This way, you get loyal and trustable staff members.

Rules and Stickies

And our final piece of advice on making a new forum will be this: Never, ever copy the rules off another forum. Same for the stickies. We know it can be a lot of work to write your own, clear set of stickies, and it can be very difficult to write a good set of rules. However, copying them directly off another forum - especially one you're advertising your own forum on - gives people the impression that you're just too damn lazy to write your own rules. This, of course, gives a negative impact on the things people think of your free phpBB forum, which in turn leads to less people joining.