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Here's a great mod for phpbb to make it Search Engine friendly: http://www.able2know.com/forums/about15132.html
4. The forum needs to have a clear list of rules, a disclaimer, and most of all, good solid moderation. Visitors will quickly become frustrated with forums that have no clear guidelines, or feature rude, obnoxious, or overbearing members. Good manners are required as much online as offline.
5. Promotion, especially in early days, will take considerable time and effort. Forums can be difficult to start (members generally are "shy" when there are only a few present), and more posts that take place, more individuals will join. This is a "snowball" effect of forums, so marketing must be done consistently, day in and day out, until forum becomes more self-sustaining.
6. The owner of forum should take an active interest in forum and SHOW this interest by contributing regularly. Above all else, people join forums where they feel they will learn from owner of forum, and if owner is never present, they quickly lose interest in forum.
7. The forum should be targeted, yet diverse, encouraging older members to contribute, without making newer members feel uncomfortable. Cliques can form in forums, and this type of behavior should be discouraged by owner and moderators. Every effort should be made to answer questions or comments by all members as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
8. As with all other Internet related ventures, care needs to be given as to hosting and maintenance of forum. A forum that is always experiencing "downtime", will lose members quickly, and a forum that has many coding mistakes will quickly frustrate visitors. As with Web sites, "cheap" providers of hosting and maintenance are not always "better".
All in all, online forums can be a great way to generate income, develop a good reputation among clients, and provide entertainment and instruction for many individuals. Like with everything else, however, they take marketing savvy, and a great deal of time and attention to detail. The old saying, "You only reap what you sow" really applies to world of online forums.
Vishal P. Rao is the editor of http://www.home-based-business-opportunities.com - A website dedicated to opportunities, ideas and resources for starting a home based business. He is also the owner of the http://www.work-at-home-forum.com - an online community of folks who work at home.