online forums are popular online assets and websites in nigeria . If you want to learn how to build one from Nigeria ,read on. First
What Is An Online Forum?
An online forum is a website that basically brings people with similar interest together online in other to converse and connect with each other.
People have to usually register before they can join in the conversation. Conversations are usually called threads. A topic of discussion or question can be asked by anyone who is a member of the forum. Replies are made
There are hundreds of thousands of forum about anything you can think of. Forums have made it possible for people with diverse and obscure interest to find and connect with each other.
How To Choose A Topic For Your Forum
There are no clear cut rules in selecting a topic for your forum but there are general principles that will help you push you forum to success. You can start a niche on anything you want but there are things that can guide you in picking a winning topic.
Here are a few of them:
- Avoid Heavily Contested Niches
I see a lot of Nigerians who start forums that seem to look exactly like nairaland.com, in terms of the content and topics of discussion.
There is nothing really wrong with this, only that it is usually better to look for less competitive topics or niches to start a forum than just copying others.
If you start a forum that competes directly with www.NairaLand.com , I really doubt you will make it. If you have the money to promote and do many other things, maybe you can compete and beat Nairaland.com.
But I know many people will rather stick with Nairaland than fraternize on your forum, unless you have something very different to offer them.
2.Pick A Niche Or Topic You Can Easily Get Information On
It is good advice to stick to what you are passionate and interested in because in the first few months of the life of your forum, you will have to be updating and posting lots of information about the topic by yourself.
It is only after a critical mass of information is reached that people will naturally join in the discussion.
So pick a forum topic about stuff you can easily get information about, preferably, what you are passionate about.
How To Set Up Your Forum
I will be discussing the technical part of setting up a forum here. Here are what you need in setting up forum.
3.A Domain Name
A domain name is needed where the forum will be hosted. A domain name is the identity and location of your forum on the internet. It is what people will type into the browser in order to visit you forum.
You should remember branding and keywords when picking a domain. You can also add a forum to an already existing domain name, website or blog.
If you don’t really have money, you can buy a domain name at www.syskay.com . They provide a reseller service for a bigger hosting company in the US. You can pay them in Naira.
But the issue with their service is has limited hosting space and bandwidth.
So it is better to buy with FatCow . (It is affordable, reliable and you can pay with Nigerian issued debit cards)
It will cost you about $10 for one domain name for a year.
This is about N1500 to N2000 (depending on the exchange rate) for a year. You should renew it the next year to continue using the domain name.
You will need a Visa or MasterCard to make the purchase. To apply for a Visa or MasterCard, go to any bank, preferably Zenith Bank and ask for their for web surfer card. Different banks have different rates.
Hosting refers to the space you will need online to house (Host) your forum.
Syskay also provides hosting but I use FatCow to host my web sites. You can also use hostgator to host your websites and blogs. I recommend them because they are very reliable and have no qualms with hosting Nigerian websites or blogs.
Click here to see what hostgator has to offer you.
You will also need a Visa or MasterCard debit card for the transaction.
Hostgator provides 3 different hosting packages at different prices. I will advice you buy the baby hosting because of the unlimited domain names you can host on it. You can order for hosting for a year or up to 3 years. For confirmation, all they will need are scanned copies of an identity card and the debit card used for the order.
Click this link to find out more.
After getting your domain name and hosting, the next thing to do is install a forum software. There are so many free forum soft wares and other paid versions too.
www.Nairaland.com is powered with free and popular forum software called simple machines. You can download the software here at www.simplemachines.org. Many forums owned by Nigerians use this software but there are many other free forum softwares.
You can get a complete list of free and paid forum softwares at
You can also create forums using wordpress.(more on this later)
One Click Forum Software Install
This is done by the use of scripts.
Scripts are ready made programs or soft wares that some hosting company provides on their servers so that you can easily add to your hosting space.
The simple machine software and other soft wares can be installed on the hosting space with a single click of the mouse.
I will show you how.
How To Manage Your Forum
After setting up your forum, the next thing is to set up the different categories and boards you want to have on the forum.
For example, if your forum is about “pet dogs” you can have categories like
- German shepherds
- Bull dogs
Now depending on the software used.
How To Promote Your Forum
Setting up a forum does not guarantee success. It does not even guarantee that people will know about the forum. In other words, you need to promote your forum in order for it to succeed.
By promotion I mean, advertising and getting people to know about the forum and visit it.
This directly means traffic to your forum and money at the same time.
There are hundreds of ways of promoting your forum online and offline.
Here is a list of ways of promoting your forum.
Online ways of promoting your forum.
- Add it to the signature of your email messages
- Add to the url of your forum to the signature or related forum you join
- Share links to it on Facebook
- Start a page for it on facebook
- Tweet some posts made on the forum on facebook
- Post links to it on book marking websites like www.digg.com , www.stumbleUpon.com , www.reddit.com .
You can automate this process by visiting www.socialposter.com
- Submit to forum directories
- Make comments with your url on blogs of related topics
How To Promote Your Forum Offline
- Advertise on offline newspapers and magazines
- Advertise on flyers and posters
- Advertise on TV and radio programs
- Sponsor related events and get your name out there
- Advertise on facebook and Google adwords
Join other related forums, add that forum url to the signature. Make posts on the forum.My post on building free traffic talks more about it.
How to Get people Talking in your forum
After setting up your forum, the next thing to do is get people to join in and start talking. It is easier for people to join a forum but a bit difficult for them to start talking.
There are many different people who visit a forum.
There are active people asking questions and answering questions and there are other group of people who just visit, read the threads and leave.
How To Make Money On Your Forum
There are many ways to make money on your forum.You can use the different online business models make money with your forum.
- Google Adsense
Google Adsense is a program provided by Google that helps publishers place adverts around or within their published works and earn money in the process.
- Affiliate marketing
There many other things required in making forums and making money with them. I will discuss them more in details in subsequent posts.
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