Where to Begin

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Where to Begin

Post by HelpingLegend on Sun Aug 21, 2011 2:00 am

Well, today's the day. You're going to be making a new forum for an idea you've had in your head for some time. Perhaps it's a crime-type role-play forum? Maybe even something that relates to an academy role-play, a general chat forum or a support forum. Whatever it is, you'll first have to choose the forum software before you can do much.

Consider the following:
What do you need from the software?

Software such as formation offers quick setup time, but Zetaboards allows you to put in HTML code and modifications, where Forumotion does not. If you're looking for something simple to test the waters with, it is highly recommended you use a Forumotion forum. For something more advanced, you'll want what is either a paid service (VBulletin) or a free, yet diverse service (Zeta).

How much coding do you know?
- If you know only very basic BB code for instance, you may need to brush up on your HTML skills before you can run and manage a Zeta forum. There may be codes that go wrong, variables that seem to go strange when an exception is made and more. The alternative is to hire a coder. In this case, it may be best to adjust yourself and enter the community of forum makers through Forumotion.

How much time do you have on your hands?
- If you're like me and only have the weekends free usually (The internet is blocked on weekdays!) then you'll want a forum that doesn't require too much management. A zeta forum can require a lot just to get it set up so if you wish to go this route, you'll want some staff members to set it up while you're away. If you have all the time in the world though, you can use any software you wish.


Your motivation is what?:
Before you can even start the forum, you'll need to find the forum software that is right for you. When you've done that, take a step back and think. Do you really want to be spending hours of your life managing a forum? Make sure the topic you choose for the forum is one that has interested you for months, preferably years. Heck, take a look and see if there are any other forums of the same type and even on the same board to see if you'd be better off just writing for one of those sites. If you're still really determined to get this up off the ground, then read on.


Don't think of it as Fool's Gold...
The software has been chosen. It's time for the site name. Choose something that's either generic and easy to remember, such as "Naruto RPG", or fancy such as "The Elite Ninja World". (Yeah I know, bad name, but still!) The name shouldn't be taken by someone else though, so check this first
Quick comment: Some services need your email before you can proceed with the forum creation. The suggestion is to make a hotmail account with a similar name to the site, in a new tab and to link it on when done.
Enter the rest of the information for your forum, choose a nice skin if applicable and so on. Just continue to the next step when you are sure about what you have done so far.


Starting Up
You've done it. You've made your first forum and tackled any obstacles. If for some reason, you haven't, then tell us on the support forum of this site or of the host's support forum. Someone will come and help you with your problem.
Now, the first steps are:

Plot/Story/Site Theme:
- A GTA RP forum? A Naruto RP? A Creative Writing Site? A Tech Support Forum? Hopefully you knew this when you entered the forum name.

Mechanics:
- How is the site going to work? Are your members going to get in-game / virtual money per post, are they going to create characters to role-play with or are they going to submit stories for competitions? Take a moment to think about this. Allow your creative juices to flow, as some of the most popular forums are the most original!

Categories and Forums:
- You'll need categories and forums to post in. Categories hold the forums. A category example may be "News" and in the category, you may have the "Local News", "Country News" and "World News". Don't make too many when the forum starts up though, or it may end up looking inactive for any potential members.

The Site Theme:
- While the site theme may not be your first priority, it may be nice to look around for some or request one for when your forum is starting to get popular and a lot of work has been put into it. It makes it more visually attractive, stands out more and encourages guests to sign up.

Advertising:
- Some sites where you can advertise:
RPG-Directory
ForumPromotion
Red Carpet and Rebellion
RP'ers Anonymous
Caution 2.0
- Be sure to have a nice advert already set up for each one of these so you can quickly put down the advert when you join or fulfil their requirements. the advert should be easily to read, be graphically pleasing and the coding in it should be double-checked so that it works on the forum software you are posting it on. For instance, Forumotion may prefer to use [center] tags as opposed to some other software.


What you do from here on is up to you. It all depends on your tastes, your forum host and what you want from your site! Remember, forums need a lot of advertising, support and dedication. If you aren't on to update it regularly or at least speak to your members, they may not stick around for long. It all depends on how good you are as an admin - just be a nice person and answer everyone's questions. If you are in doubt, come and speak to us here at Forum Helpers!

HelpingLegend
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