So you have decided to start a forum because you either have a great idea for a niche forum or think you can run a forum better than the one forum that you visit almost daily. Where do you begin now that you are motivated to create and run a forum? Well you first need a good domain name if you don’t have one sitting on the back burner. The one place I always recommend people to buy domains at is Godaddy. FYI, they good for buying domains and stink as a web host. Don’t use them as a web host for your forum.
After you have either purchased your domain name or picked the parked domain that you been hanging onto for so long, you need a good web host. Forums as they grow will eat up a lot of server resources so if you plan on growing it large, you would need a VPS or a dedicated server. I’d suggest start with a good VPS server from HostGator. You could actually start with a shared Business plan from Hostgator but if you notice your forum loading slow or going down then you need to upgrade off shared web hosting. To make money off your forum you can sell banner ad spots, text links, sticky threads or slap up Adsense on it. Maybe create a premium membership on the forum with special features…etc
So by now you should have a domain and your web hosting account picked out, you need to decided on what forum software to choose from. There are many different types of forum software out there to use. vBulletin seems to be the most popular one but the price tag can tend to scare off people who don’t have a large amount of money to invest. I have found a website that has reviews on a lot of different type of forum software. Some are free and some are paid but it’s up to you on what forum software that you feel comfortable in using. Before you pick one, make sure you first search around google for themes for that one software. You can’t keep the default template because I think people with a default template are to cheap and not fully motivated in creating an exciting forum for people to mingle on.
Check out this link for forum software reviews: http://www.forum-software.org/forum-reviews
Be sure to ask on webmaster forums about what is the best forum software to use and please ask them why they said that software to get the pro’s and con’s of using it.
It’s not easy to create a forum with no members and grow it into a very large one that is very profitable. Don’t expect to create a forum and think in 6 months and it’ll make 5 figures a month. You the admin has to find ways to make money off your forum and how to constantly grow it along with stopping the spam bots and spammers from turning the forum into an ugly place on the internet to visit.
To Your Success