The main point of building digital communities is to provide an online venue for like-minded individuals to congregate and share their thoughts with a wider audience. There is an efficient exchange of information and ideas on a forum website that is difficult to replicate anywhere else on the web. For one, forums feature a more streamlined collection of topics usually surrounding a central umbrella topic.

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It’s hard to pass up on the marketing opportunities that running your own forum web site presents. If you’re in the process of building a brand or developing a product, getting on a forum helps you keep your ears on the ground, identify the challenges of the target market that will consume what you’re about to offer. Forum websites are not just for marketing, however. You can build one simply because you want to be part of a community and build a network of people who think the same way as you.

Getting started

The first step on how to make a forum website is to select a web host or site builder that will house your forum. These days, you don’t need to have web development or design knowledge to create a forum website. You can leave all the technical work to a website building platform like Strikingly and focus on creating the content itself. Use a forum website template to build the site and add the content that you want your target audience to see. With Strikingly’s built-in app store, learn how to create a forum website out of your existing site by embedding the Disqus forum or a similar third-party app.

Set up a few rules

Depending on the type of web site forums you want to manage, you need to set some ground rules that you want your visitors to follow. Rules exist to help you keep the conversations organized and the community welcoming and inclusive. Disputes and misunderstandings are bound to come up at some point and you need a good foundation for settling conflicts before they get out of hand. You can add a section on the forum website for these guidelines and make them prominent for everyone to see.

Add interesting topics

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Lots of people may enjoy participating in conversations but they may find it too much of an effort to start one in web site forums. Get the ball rolling on yours by seeding a few topics that you think might interest your target audience. Add some interesting questions through your forum website builder to encourage people to come in and discuss. Brainstorm a few topics related to your niche and take note of topics from other websites forums that may pique your community’s interest.

Provide informative content

Your forum website should add value to your visitors’ lives. It should offer information that will be helpful to their pursuits. For instance, if you’re building a forum on internet marketing, you might want to touch on topics such as creating business plans or digital marketing solutions. Talk about new trends in the area or share best practices that people can go and apply to their own line of work. These are the types of information that your users will appreciate finding in website forums.

Connect with new members

Create a personalized experience in your website forum by actively welcoming new members into your community. Create a discussion board specifically for introductions and respond to new users when they enter the discussions. Encourage them by personally addressing their queries and take an active role in keeping conversations alive. Create strategies for recruiting new users through social media and content marketing to keep the forum going.