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Getting the First Few Members to Your Forum - General Discussion

I just created a website with vanilla forums - great software btw, I'm really happy with the results - and Vanilla seems to be 5x better than any other open-source software out there!

Now though I'm having some trouble attracting my first few members :silenced: people are quite hesitant to join it seems, which makes sense I suppose. I am usually hesitant myself too, especially in the past.

None of my 'real-life' friends use forums at all - so I'm pretty much alone on there as far as active members go. I was hoping to start a general discussion for someone in my position - what you guys tried in the past - what worked? - what didn't?


  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    From my experience, people are weary of joining a forum where they will be the first to join. You should create several accounts and pad the user list so that it does not appear to be so new.

    Figure out what your target audience is and create discussions based on that so that the forum does not look abandoned. The worse thing you can do is not have content.

    You need to pad your forum with lots of content and discussions. You can use the plugins MagpieRSS or Feed Discussions to automate this process.

    Start a page on facebook and add links to the forum or embed the forum into a facebook page. You will need an ssl certificate for this.

    Promote your page on Facebook or anywhere you can.

    It is not easy but if you are determined and patient with a twist of creativity, you can create a successful community.

  • LincLinc Detroit Admin

    You basically need 4-6 enthusiastic members + a year (or two) to start a forum. If you can't recruit them, I'd second @vrijvlinder 's advice: fabricate them. You can retire them as real folks show up.

  • Thanks for the help @Linc and @vrijvlinder

  • I'm a bit late to the discussion, however I think you should attach the forum to an interesting blog of some sort. Check out this article: https://www.1and1.com/digitalguide/online-marketing/search-engine-marketing/how-does-content-marketing-work/.

    I found it pretty useful in giving a basic overview of how to craft interesting content that attracts readers, from there you can channel the readers onto your forum in order to stimulate it. I hope this helps.

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