One question I get asked a lot by other people across forums and blogs is how to covert guests who are viewing your forum for the first time into actual members who will post on your forum for a long time. This is a pretty difficult for me to answer because there are no sure fire ways to make people join a forum in general. However there are many different ways that can help. They are used by big forums and should be used by your next message community if you want a chance at success.
Call to action/welcome message
One thing I do not see a lot on forums is a welcome message to first time guests. If you are not doing this then you really are missing out on a lot of chances to tell people about your project. Some forums are not obvious about what they are for and who they want to help. If you want to help make it clearer to your visitors then a good idea is to have a welcome message or ‘call to action’ at the top of the forum. This can be in a box and have a title at the top along the lines of ‘what we do’ or something to that effect. Within that you should describe some of the following:
- What your forum is about and what topics it covers.
- Why people should join – you should use statistics to help.
- How your forum is different from the others and why it is needed.
This will simply help get people to grips with your forum and know what everything is for. It will hopefully make more people register if followed off by a button to click for a registration.
People want to know your forum is up to date and still ‘loved’ by the staff and it’s members. There is no better way to do this than making your forum aesthetically pleasing when people first open it up. Avoid clutter on your forums homepage and other pages in an attempt to make sure guests know exactly where everything is and to prevent confusion. Make your logo eye catching but simple and easy to remember. A nice, clean and modern design on your forum will help people want to join.
A custom skin will work best to create that unique brand and image you are going for. At least I would suggest you used a premium theme that is good for you.
One thing I have noticed from spending time online with other webmasters and trying to market to new people is that they do not like forums that have just opened and therefore do not have many posts. If this is the case you often find people avoiding joining the site because they feel like it will be closed within a few months due to the current lack of dedication from many forum webmaters as of late. Statistics only really grow with time in terms of overall post count and member count. However, there is a way to make your statistics look good for your forum and that is all about activity.
People care more about seeing a consistent amount of daily posts than they do about seeing a million posts but none made in the past week. Make it look like your forum is growing fast by ensuring daily topics and posts that are promising to a potential new member.
If you need to help improve your post count then you can always hire paid posters from services like Fiverr, or you can also ask your friends and family for a hand in getting discussions going.
Hopefully these tips have helped you in the aim of improving your chances of getting new members. If you have any other ideas then please be willing to comment and suggest them below. After all of these steps the rest is down to time and getting your name out to people interested. I wish you the best of luck.