Have you been to those forums where when it opens up you are blasted off your seat by the stunning colors? Sure you have. We all have. There has been a trend by new forums admins to put every modification they can find onto their forums. While mods and skins are not a bad thing, lets remember that most of your succesful forums dont have all this fancy smancy stuff.
What these forums have actually is called solid community content. The people that come to these forums dont come to them because they have a bright and colorful or even dark skin on their forums. They come to them because they are interested in what is being discussed on a daily basis.
Take for example Webhostingtalk.com or gamingforums.com whose communities come back day after day and post thousands of time per month. And all this for a forums that isnt beautiful per say. They have some serious content to read and look through on a daily basis. I have spent many hours on several different forums just browsing the various threads to learn what I could.
So why would you want to change the look of the forums to some hard to see purple or blue. This will not make you popular. While yes some people like the look of them and more than likely we all have at one time enjoyed these type of forums, it is true that you will not sustain a community of any size on your look.
People really want basic meat and potatoes content. So you are wondering how you determine what is a good look for your forums. Since there are tons of skins and mods and the ability to mod most of the code for a skin yourself what should you do. Well if you must re-skin use blues and whites as they tend to be more user friendly. And make sure the mods fit what the community wants. If a mod is going to affect the mood of the community than do not do it.
When developing TheNetCodes forums for our clients we stuck to this same formula. While it will not matter as much since our forums are dedicated to our customers. It might make a difference in your forums.
It is simple. If you want a successful community forums, dont over do it on the fun stuff as it will ultimately do you in. You need to remember content comes before the look of your forums. And once they are built start going out and marketing them through the online forums suchs as this one. This will create links and help you to develop an idea of how to set your forums up.
In conclusion it is a good idea to make a forums with the idea of your end users in mind. Not what you might consider cool or nice looking. Try to be practical and spend your time advertising instead of wondering why your forums are sitting idle. Remember Quality first.
Kevin Grames is the CEO of TheNetCode Hosting. Born in Toledo, Ohio in the 1960's he made his way to internet hosting several years ago via his experiences with web hosts at that time. You can visit his site at http://www.thenetcode.com