You will have to be the most active member on your forum. Members and followers follow by example. If you’re not active, they won’t be. This is especially important for new forums. If you expect your members to be more active than you, then you won’t get far with your forum. Every forum administrator I’ve talked to has to be actively participating on the forum to keep it at the activity level that it currently has.
2) You Realize That Running A Forum Is Very Time Consuming
If you’re the most active member, you’ll be spending quite a bit of time reading topics and replying to them. Your duty as an administrator are: creating topics, replying to topics, moderating the forum, dealing with member issues, thinking of new things to do, creating events & contests, managing the feedback and suggestions, motivating staff members, motivating yourself, and the list goes on and on.
Managing a forum is VERY time consuming, and the sooner you realize this, the sooner you will be able to realize whether you are capable of running a forum or not.
3) You Realize That A Custom Theme Won’t Make Your Forum Successful
Some forum owners believe that a custom theme is what every forum needs to be successful. That is completely wrong. Forums are successful regardless of what their forum looks like. The thing is, most successful forums create custom themes so that their community can be unique, but don’t ever confuse successful forums having custom themes with custom themes making successful forums.
4) You Realize How Much You Actually Need Followers
Many forum owners that talk to me about their failing forum are admins that do not have followers. They ask me why their forum is not active and the answer is that they do not have followers. It’s simple, without followers, your forum will not ever kick-off. You need followers to start-up your forum. Get some leadership lessons from a dancing guy and go out there and get yourself some followers.
5) You Realize That Holding Contests and Events is Much More Than Just Posting Something With a Good Prize
No matter how good your prize is, if you don’t properly advertise your contest/event you won’t get the results you want. You need to make sure your members know about it and that you keep rubbing it in their faces. Bulk email, advertise it in your signature, make your staff sig advertise as well, create a banner for it on your forum, email your friends and contacts, tell people on MSN, etc. You need to promote it as much as you actually plan it out. Without properly promoting this contest/event, it won’t be as big as you hope for it to be.
6) You Realize That Your Staff Members Will Not Be As Helpful As You Need Them To Be
“If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Your staff are not as motivated and dedicated as you are, for the most part, so never expect them to do as much work as you would do yourself. Your staff should be helping you, otherwise they are just inactive staff, but they won’t be as helpful as you will want them to be. Don’t ever expect too much from them.
7) You Realize That You Need To Create Real Relationships With Your Members
To create returning and active members on your forum, you need to create real relationships with your members. This may mean talking to them personally via PM or email, or you could talk with them on IM. I think it is always a good practice to start personal conversations with your members every once in a while. You won’t believe the lasting effects these small interactions can have on the member.
8) You Realize That Slapping A Theme and Adding Some Forums Won’t Get Members To Post
Don’t even know who believes in this… If you really think slapping a theme and adding a bunch of forums to discuss things will get members to post, you have to reevaluate if you are capable of running that forum. You need to be actively participating on your forum. You need to participate by replying to threads but also by administrating your forum. The best administrators are those who are able to quickly adapt to their forum’s needs.
9) You Realize That You Advertise On A Bunch of Forums And You Still Get No New Members
Advertising on promotion forums will maybe get you one or two new members every month. Do not ever depend on advertising forums or affiliations. You need to get your members to recommend your forum. You need your members to post a link to your forum in their signatures on other forums. You need to get others to advertise for you. If you can get a lot of your members to advertise your forum, then you will be able to get more members than you just posting a link on some random advertisement forum where only members who want to advertise post on to begin with.
That’s the problem with advertising forums: only people who want to advertise go there. There aren’t people that actually want to check out the forums advertised there.
10) You Realize That Running A Forum Is Not As Easy As You Initially Thought
If you ever thought it was easy, welcome to the real world of foruming. It’s not an easy world, and it’s not for everyone. Everyone has access to this great world, but only a few are able to do much with it. Are you one of those people?
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