Forums are web applications that facilitate discussions. They are also referred to as discussion boards and can be thought of as online bulletin boards, designed specifically for managing user-generated content. They are distinct from other modes of online communications including chat rooms, blog communities, news groups, and comments.
You can join a forum as a user, or you can host your own. You can use discussion boards express your opinion, seek advice, and converse with like-minded users. You can join forums devoted to politics, pets, technology, and shopping.
Once you've selected a forum to join, you can register for an account. For some forums, you may have to pay a subscription fee. You will select a unique username and password for your account.
Forum discussion topics are called threads. You can identify a thread based on the title of a posting. Certain forum users are designated as moderators who ensure that there is no irrelevant content posted. Moderators have the ability to lock threads to prevent further discussions. They can also edit and delete threads to prevent postings from violating terms of service.
In general, it is inexpensive to run your own forum. Your overall price will vary based on the number of registered users and daily posts. Most services cost about $20 per month. Cost can sometimes increase to hundreds and even thousands of dollars depending on the forum's posts and users. The cost will also depend on your host, as some companies will charge higher fees than others. As a host, you may choose to offer free or paid subscriptions to your forums.
Besides providing quality information, forums also act as powerful promotional tools. When you post on a forum, you can opt to include a signature. Like an e-mail signature, you can include your company information and contact details. If you run an online business, a forum can help you explore new markets. Through forums, you can network with other professionals and seek advice and consultations.
As a business, you can also start forums that are dedicated to your products. You may choose to provide technical support , or you may choose to facilitate discussions regarding your products.
How It Works
Forums provide environments for online discussions. You can access a forum like any other website through your browser. You can organize your forum by topics and subtopics, and you can have a forum that incorporates multiple themes and topics. You should designate at least one forum moderator to oversee discussions.
To run a forum, it is advisable to select a unique and appealing domain name. Once you choose a domain name, you should select a web host with the technical abilities to host a forum. Depending on your expertise, you may want a web host that provides advice and consistent technical support. You may also want a web hosting plan with preinstalled forum software. You may have some flexibility with the software and interface that you use for your forum. Be selective when you select software, and read reviews to make sure that you are selecting a user friendly and visually appealing interface. The more appealing your forum is, the more inclined people will be to visit and post. Your goal is to have many visitors who post frequently, so you will want to have a website that operates smoothly while ensuring a positive user experience.
ProBoards, Phpbbplanet, and Sun Microsystems are companies that provide tools to help you create forums.