Have you thought about creating interest in your site and traffic to it by creating a forum? Internet forums give users the opportunity to exchange information and opinions about specific interests or topics. They are usually password-protected, which means that users need to register with a username and password. They can be paid or free. In the forum a user can read existing posts and threads (“threads” mean the original message and all the replies to it). Users can also reply to threads or even start their own threads.

WordPress makes adding a forum to your site very easy with some great plugins. WordPress is also a great starting point
for a forum because of it’s built in comment system. As your website grows it will get commenters. If you reply to your
comments and people come back to discuss further it will begin to build a “community”. When you have a number of
active commenters, you can potentially transition to a forum much easier.

Some things to consider:

Forum Rules

If you’ve visited any forums, you can see there is a basic framework, and you can imagine that there must be certain
rules to help make the forum successful. It’s good to establish these rules in the beginning since it’s easier to impose rules
then than it is to change behavior later on. Here are a few rules to get you started; you will very likely come up with your own rules as you go along:

• rudeness and personal attacks should not be tolerated
• repeat posting to increase post count should be discouraged
• no discussion of illegal activities
• no posting of comments or photos
• stay on topic

As the moderator of the forum you have certain individual responsibilities. You are the spokesperson for the forum, and
you set the tone. If you choose to share the responsibility of moderating the forum with other people, they should abide by
the same rules.

Moderators have certain duties:

• visit the forum at least once each day
• keep posts clean
• move off-topic posts to the appropriate categories
• edit posts when necessary to conform to the forum’s
guidelines
• inform unruly members of the consequences of their
behavior
• lock or unlock posts as needed
Additionally, moderators lead by example with their own
behavior. They should preserve neutrality, authority, and
confidentiality. They should
• be respectful to all members and behave professionally
• be discrete regarding moderator activities and member
information
• use good judgment when deleting members’ posts
• resign from moderator duties if confidentiality is breached or the code of conduct is not followed It comes down to using common sense when you’re devising your own strategy for your community. In general, you want to be professional. You can have personality and be professional at the same time. Watch out for trolls and spammers and members abusing other members. Make sure everyone participates if possible. If you have moderators other than yourself, make sure they’re following your example.

Forum Software

You can’t run a forum without software. Once again, when you start researching, you will have an abundance of choices. If you are using WordPress you can use the following free plugin to create a forum on your site:

bbPress Forums

“This software is specifically for WordPress developers. If you simply hate your slow bulletin board or your server gets
hacked, then this software is certainly what you need. It boasts web standards, ease of use, ease of integration, and speed.
Using and administrating it is really easy, as it is quite clean and quick. The best thing about this one is that it is highly
customizable; and it gives due attention to users and puts them first.”

Additional Choice: SimplePress

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