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Posting the right topics
#1
This post kind of ties in with the article of the Starting Content Article. Topics are a must for any forum, anyone who has ever been on a forum knows this. However, what topics should you create on your site?

When making topics, especially in the beginning of your site you MUST have the right topics. Most people tend to post generic topics that are on every other site "How are you today" "What did you eat" and common stuff. Though this is engaging, it doesn't offer a uniqueness, and provide content that people wish to post on. In this I'll be using Webmaster related websites as an example. Simply take what I say about the genre and apply it to your own specific genre/niche you're using for your website.

Post engaging topics that apply to your niche, that is both unique, and highly encourage conversations. Posting a topic titled "Favorite Forum Software" vs. "Most professional forum software" though both of them are engaging, one is more unique, and offers a higher encouragement of conversation. Now, you're not just posting about your favorite forum software, but which one you find more professional. This enables a deeper conversation, and room for professional discussions. You're now engaging in the community by going back and forth in conversations stating why you think Xenforo is more professional vs. IPB. Both are extremely professional, though each one is different, and those differences are what enables a deeper conversation. With just a change of a few words you're now looking at an average of 6 replies by 6 members, to 20 replies by 6 members. Those 20 replies can go a long way when you have only 10 topics. Your statistics will truly stand out versus someone who chooses the other path. That's 10 topics, 200 posts as opposed to 10 topics 60 posts. When looking at sites to join, which one are you more likely to join?

Knowing your audience, and posting what they want is another huge thing when creating a topic. Each webmaster website is completely different, and each one has a vast difference in audience. For example, We'll use Webmaster.College and WebGuruBB. Webmaster.College's audience is more of the professional (Not saying WGBB isn't) and more likely to not have as much small talk with every day things, whilst WebGuruBB is more laid back, fun, and friendly. On WC you're not as likely to get off topic, and joke around in a topic, whilst WebGuruBB you're more likely to as the members there go to get away, and relax/have fun. With this, Webmaster.College has to have a more open ended topic whilst WebGuruBB doesn't have to worry about that as much. They can make a topic that's "Favorite Forum Software" and get away with it, as members are more likely to engage in a conversation with one another reguardless of the style of topic, whilst Webmaster.College will be more inclined to simply state their favorite forum software and move on. Knowing your audience, what they want, their actions, etc. goes a long way, and knowing this will allow you to have the most activity with your topics.

Knowing when to post, as well as when to include your post in the topic is another huge thing. If you still chose to post a topic on Favorite Forum Software, you're more than likely want to wait until the conversation starts to die down and post a post on your favorite forum software, however, to help spike the conversation on the topic Most professional forum software, you'd get more engagement by posting your opinion in the topic. This can have a huge effect, as for the "Favorite Forum Software" people simply post their favorite. If you post yours in the OP (Original Post) once the topic dies down, it will remain dead. Whilst waiting until the topic dies down and posting your opinion will bump it back up, and hopefully increase the discussion. For the topic "Most professional forum software" adding the post will already have people agreeing with you, or disagreeing with you, allowing them to state why in the topic, and instantly increasing the engagement of the post.


Milking your topics. If at all possible to split your topics up into multiple parts, there isn't anything wrong with doing so. For example "Most professional forum software" can be split up into two topics. "Most professional FREE forum software" and "Most professional PAID forum software" This means you get twice as much bang for your buck. Now people are not just talking about what they think is the most popular, you've split it up into two groups, Paid, and Free, which opens up the conversation to double the amount. It also helps the community narrow down their choices. Some people may be stuck between MyBB and Xenforo, and in doing this you're allowing them to be able to talk about both! It is not wrong to milk your topics as long as they are not the same. In this case, they are completely different as they are discussing two totally different types for forum structures. Those who use free, and those who use paid.


I hope this helps everyone out with their forums, and allows you to better engage your audience. As always, if you found this helpful please rate it, and if you have any questions or concerns post it below Smile

Just an F.Y.I. incase anyone reads the part about WebGuruBB the wrong way, I'm in now way shape or form dissing them. I greatly enjoy the site, and go on there quite frequently. I was simply using them as an example as we're vastly different in the structure of our sits.
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#2
Awesome read!

I just have one question though, when do you think is the best time to start posting these topics? I'm working on a project that has just started, it has a bare-bones theme with only two users so it is still very much under-construction. But should I start posting threads now or wait until the site itself is in a more finished state?
#3
Gytix, post: 608, member: 39 Wrote:Awesome read!

I just have one question though, when do you think is the best time to start posting these topics? I'm working on a project that has just started, it has a bare-bones theme with only two users so it is still very much under-construction. But should I start posting threads now or wait until the site itself is in a more finished state?
I think adding a few of these topics now, and then periodically adding them as more members come in would be the best bet. This way you have engaging content when the site is first live, and then adding in more as those content begin to die down would keep your members active, as well as your site a whole. I hope this helped, if not, please let me know and I'll explain further Smile
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