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Are admin forums lazy, here is how to prevent it from failing
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Thanks for the article @cpvr
I'll do what I can to promote it
I think a lot of it has to do with admin forum owners who have no clue themselves. They've had one mildly successful forum and think they're experts. I've been running forums for quite a while a now and I wouldn't start an admin forum enough though I'm well versed I don't have the experience in difference niches.
Then you have the onslaught of n00b questions in new (and sometimes old) forums. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against newbies as you need them to grow the forum. It's that for someone at my level (intermediate - advanced) walking someone through setting up their first vBulletin install or adding a link to the navbar just gets plain monotonous and boring.
There seems to be a lack of really original content among most admin forums and it's been for quite a while. I remember a few of the vBulletin-centric boards ripping off each others articles a few years back.
Last but not least, a lot of admin boards lack a community feel this is mostly due to the members who come in ask a few questions, get answers, and leave. You're often left with a couple of 'old timers' but not enough to sustain a community atmosphere.
Just my .02.
I've seen a lot of admin forums with multiple threads on one subject. Such as "Who's your hosting provider?" "How long have you been with your hosting provider?" "What makes your hosting provider so good?", those type of threads could be very good is just one major thread, such as "Thoughts on your hosting provider, who is it?". I don't know why some admin forums tend to try to branch multiple threads off one subject, it really just makes the forum look bad in the long run. I'm not going to say that newbies coming in are bad, its the fact that some admin forums aren't focusing on the quality aspect of their community.
You are right though, the admin forums community is "at a lack" of unique and quality content and that's because of the non-experience owners coming in.
Really good stuff in this article. I am appalled with how unprepared many new admin forum owners are. It's the most difficult niche possible, since you're talking to people who own forums. You can't come with a lousy script and a bad design. You can't run a site with chit-chatty posts and idiotic content. You're running a forum for the people who are experienced with this, since not all members are clueless. Sure, it's easy to set up such a forum (at least in the beginning) since the niche it's actually pretty non-saturated if you allow me to say it. There are few big active communities and that's it. So it's not too hard to get noticed if you're serious about it, but you need to be VERY serious about it.
I have worked on my community for 4 months, invested an insane amount of money (more than many would be willing to push into it) and grow it slowly and steadily. And I have done this for 10 years, was a moderator in some serious forums, read a lot about the niche, wrote a book myself (even if it's a small e-book) etc. And still it's HARD to grow it and really make it in the niche. I have some money to invest, I have some experience and a good name online and still struggle to make it work. So, if you want to do it, prepare to invest a lot of money and effort. Otherwise, get another nice niche that's not as difficult as this one is.
Thank you so much for your input, Dojo. The thing that I see happening a lot is, people want to create an Admin forum, to see if they can do it, but its a really hard niche to tap, especially with so many sites in the niche. I also agree, that people shouldn't get involved with an Admin forum, well starting one, without the proper knowledge of running an online community - because they can't teach the users, or supply them with advice, on how to succeed with running an online community.
And really, it sucks when there's bad "admin forums" in the community that don't have quality content, because it puts a strain on the other forums that actually try to push quality content to others. And if they don't have money to invest into their product, its going to be pretty hard to get established.
*I added a slider image and promoted it to the front page*
Also if anyone with better graphic skills them me (should be most of you..lol) wants to give us a better slider, please attach a 500 x 250 pixel .jpg and we'll replace the OP image.
I think this happens because the owner really doesn't know what to talk about. They're desperately trying to come up with topics and the best they can do is branch off of similar topics. Sometimes that works, but if a thread can contain multiple sets of info like your examples without being excessive, then that's the way it should be done.
I agree. I personally know someone who started an admin forum, she also runs a general chat forum as well and it just seems like she doesn't have enough experience as a user to run an admin forum, when she can barely keep a general discussion forum afloat. 90% of the admin forums I see today leech off of each other's content and have no real originality at all and that's where the niche itself suffers. If you're going to start an admin forum, take note of a few things:
Know what you're doing, make sure you have enough admin experience to successfully run an admin forum.
Have unique content. Post unique threads that are exclusive to your forum and can't easily be found on the next admin forum.
Don't copy content from other admin forums. I've seen one admin forum literally copy another, word for word and the only difference was the site name and URL, and theme.
As CPVR said, try to stay away from services such as Postloop and Post Exchanges for your activity. Try to get in touch with other webmasters and forum admins and see if they'd like to join your forum the old fashion way. This will help with the quality of your content and posters in the long run.
I don't think it's necessarily anything unique to admin forums (or even forums for that matter). The same general reasoning can be applied to any website...
If your site does not offer anything unique that users *want*, it's going to be exponentially difficult for it to get any traction. If a site is *just* a forum ask yourself why would *you* join it when there are already more established/bigger/more active forums out there with the same topics.
Personally, I really was not too excited about starting a forum... I've only started one and it was really out of necessity (we needed a support venue for users of our tools/products) and was done so begrudgingly. So we had huge big pre-existing user base. Again... it was only because we *needed* to, not because we really wanted to.
Solve a problem for users... give them something they need. It applies to any site, not just forum.
Well it all depends on what niche you are setting your forum for Though, having unique content is good and all, you also have to worry about the looks. The content will attract viewers, and when they visit they need to be able to see things clearly. They will browse about, and when they find something interesting they will hit register. Or they might be there just to add members [you dont get that often though]
Depend. There're many aspects of being successful admin, forum.
Those cpvr mentioned is right but for me is still missing one of the most important thing. It's PR.
None will know your forum without it despite there're many good contents. Content can be easily ripped by other forums. No way you could protect it from ripped if run an open community. So basically I think the most important is how you make your forum popular.
Ofc Quality content still is top-condition, but not enough.
I still think the admin zone has the best content and the most amount of large sized forums. Great structure.
It is just a little slow for me.
The one thing I hate is all the garbage posts... Such as....
Count from x to y back to x
What did you eat today?
Bashing of today's popular topic
I personally don't think it is the design.... But rather the content and the people.
Hell, some of the best forums in their niche that I know of are stock vb, phpbb and IPB installs, some did not even change their header.
Would it help? Sure..... But it's not a requirement.
If people got rid of paid posting and post exchanges..... This would largely solve itself.
Post exchanges encourage garbage.... Especially since your content is based on you earning money, and not your genuine desire to help others.
Very good points in this article. I'm getting sick of seeing all these new admin forums, because they all seem exactly the same or worse. It's very rare that I see an owner of a admin forum think outside of the box.
Where is the creativity from admin forum owners?