Almost everyone, at one time or another, has visited a forum for information that is needed or to discuss a topic that was on their minds. Some people visit them just to talk to people and others stop in to impart newly acquired knowledge to the group of their choice. In the world of forums, there is a place for everyone and there are a huge number of people’s personal experiences on almost every topic in all of the various forums.
If you are thinking about running your own forum, I have some advice for you. First of all, it can be a hugely rewarding experience as you learn about everything discussed on the site, as well as all the information you can learn about the technical side. All that learning comes at a price and doing the job well has several aspects that are very challenging.
Security – One of the biggest problems for any website these days is security. There are millions of different threats out there and each one comes with its own challenges. If you are a forum webmaster, the security of your members is of utmost importance and this is an area that needs almost constant attention.
Spammers– Another issue that your site and your members can be plagued with is spammers. Companies design bots to look for specific key words and when they find them they try to attack the site or the accounts of the members with advertisements or other less friendly content. Spammers come in all shapes and sizes and if one gets through the security of your site, everyone with a registered account for your site becomes vulnerable.
Regular Maintenance and Technical Issues
Security protocols and spam guards aren’t the only maintenance required when it comes to keeping everything up-to-date. There are new technologies invented almost every day and the online landscape is changing almost constantly. If you are not keeping all of your site’s technology and code current, you are very likely to get swept under the rug by other similar forums.
There are two main categories for “content” when talking about a forum. The first is the content that comes from you as the webmaster, such as the thread categories, instructions, rules, etc., and the second is the information coming from your members. Both types need almost constant review to ensure that your forum is what you want it to be.
You will understand very quickly that without paying attention to Search Engine Optimization, nobody will come across your site. Without people, there is no forum; this is definitely an important problem. SEO is not very easy to implement so there is the learning curve associated with it that has landed SEO on this list.
Time seems like an obvious addition to a list like this because keeping up with all of the above-mentioned issues will take almost all of your time, if not more.
Even though there are a lot of challenges involved with running a forum website, it is still a lot of fun. All of the things that are learned while maintaining the site are very valuable and the interaction that you have with people online can be priceless. I would suggest giving it a try if you are interested in setting up a forum, maintaining it, keeping it up-to-date, and keeping the riffraff out. There is definitely a sense of accomplishment when what you have worked so hard to accomplish turns out well.