Getting Forum Subscribers

Getting forum subscribers is an important part of establishing an online community. A classic case of "chicken or the egg", getting forum subscribers is a lot harder when you have an empty forum, and a lot easier once you already have an established forum. Derek Croote offers 9 tips for getting forum subscribers.

Forums are great places to learn and exchange ideas, if there are enough members to do so. webmasters and administrators want their forum to buzz with activity and grow. Here is a list of nine ways to promote your forum.

1) Offer incentives. This may be the best way to increase membership and user activity. For example, offer a prize for the top three members that have the most posts when your forum reaches one hundred members.

2) Hold contests. There are numerous types of contests ranging from logo design to site of the month. Some contests should be held where members decide the outcome. Let them vote and get them involved.

3) Setup a referral program. For this to work, people have to get something in return. They want something. For x number of referrals give them forum currency or a gift certificate or a discount on a related product or service, etc…

4) Mention it in e-mails, other forums, articles and newsletters. Most e-mail programs offer an option to add a signature to outgoing messages. This is prime space for a couple of links, your name and the name of your business. In your signature on other forums an unobtrusive link can be added along with a short description. In articles, mentioning the forum in the actual meat of the article (only if it fits) or in the resource box at the end can increase link popularity and bring in targeted traffic. In newsletters add a section that talks about hot topics in the forum. Writing and distributing press releases also promotes your forum.

5) Discuss it! If you have articles on your site adding a “discuss it” link after each can increase member activity and gives content for your members to talk about in the forum.

6) Make it look good. Making the color scheme appeal to the visitor is crucial. Who wants to participate in a forum where the colors get on your nerves? Do not let potential members leave because the colors do not look good.

7) Condense your forum in its early stages. Cutting some of the more specific boards leads to more activity. A visitor is highly unlikely to join a forum when he/she sees five different boards with little to no posts. Once there is a sufficient amount of members, then create some of the more specific boards.

8) Keep it focused. Don’t let your board cover too broad of a topic, no one will join. There are already tons of popular forums that cover general topics, make your forum cover a unique and specific topic that people want to talk about. If there is not any need for a forum about your topic, do not have one.

9) Submit your forum to directories. There are often categories specifically listing forums. Make sure your site is on that list. To ensure that this happens, follow all of the directory’s submission guidelines.

There are many things to do to promote your young forum. Use some of the above examples and you will be on your way. Hopefully soon your forum will be buzzing with activity and full of members.

About The Author

Derek Croote is a SEO, web design and usability enthusiast. Derek is the webmaster of, a school lacrosse site. You can reach him at
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