Getting more traffic on your forum can be hard. But don't get discouraged yet! Here are some ways that you can increase traffic, or better yet, keep the people who are already going through your forum from closing out their window.
If you have been browsing the Internet for any period of time, you more than likely have visited a forum to ask a question, find information, or talk about a topic that interests you. This means that if you want your forum to be successful, you have to have a general topic area, or niche. Overall "general" forums do not do very well at first due to the fact that they have no guidelines. Human nature makes us feel like we have to follow rules, if none are provided, we are confused and don't know what to do. Setting the theme of your forum to that of your website is a great idea (and normally expected).
As stated earlier, people go to forums to get information. When people do start to ask questions, state problems, and post for advice, you should respond in a precise, short, and informative way. In addition, you should respond as quickly as possible. There is nothing worse than posting on a forum and checking back only to find that two people have read it, and no one cares enough to respond. The quicker you respond, the more likely the user will come back.
Do not have too many "sub" forums within your overall forum. Having fifteen "sub" forums within your forum with only a few posts in each does not make your forum appear active. Consolidate your forum and maybe group different topic areas together. A forum with three categories with many posts appears more impressive than a forum with twenty categories and only a few posts in each.
Offer incentives for posting in your forum; give them a trial product, offer a little free advertising, give them a link on the main page, allow them to post their website in the main forum, etc. It is amazing how the quantity and quality of posts increases after you offer even the slightest free incentive.
And what about for the new forums? Getting members can be a difficult task. In brief, start conversations in your forum with yourself. Create fifteen or twenty accounts (you probably will want the same password for all the accounts) and create threads with plenty of posts. You can let your "starter" accounts die out after you get actual members (you might even want to delete the threads, posts, and members just so no one can prove that your a schizophrenic). Another great way to get more action is to make your big site announcements through your forum. This means that people will have to browse your forum in order to know what's going on.
Overall, be precise, make the color scheme look good (no bright colors, people will be blinking to much to read), have a topic, do not have too many categories, and have conversations with yourself!
Jeffrey Abbott is a respected author and editor of eMoneyReport.com
Visit the site at http://www.emoneyreport.com and read reviews on programs that help you to make money from your own home. eMoneyReport offers a simple and easy format to find articles relating to all types of online business and website promotion.