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WEB/DIGITAL MJ:forum question

camski

Contributor
Jul 24, 2007
247
97
46
Noblesville, IN
MJ, You have done such a great job with this forum so I was wondering if you wouldnt mind answering a few questions for me. I have an idea for a forum that I think would draw a lot of interest but I dont know anything about web design or even how to really make money on the web. How do I go about finding someone to help me get it set up but still protect myself from them stealing my idea and doing it on their own? How do I compensate someone for doing the technical stuff I need done? How does one generate revenue from a forum that is used frequently? I am assuming advertising, but I dont know. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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MJ DeMarco

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Building a forum isn't that hard; this is my 2nd - what is difficult is getting traffic and users.

1) You really can't protect your idea. Your idea, once launched, becomes public. Anyone can copy it. You can get people to sign an NDA for those that will have sensitive information.

2) You can find people on various websites that can help in technical. Elance.com was mentioned here before and offers a great repositiory for finding contract help.

3) You can buy a board license and then buy skins for the board. There are "off-the-shelf" skins you can buy without needing to know much about web programming. Examples: ForumMonkeys.com and MinerSkinz.com.

4) Sign-up to TheAdminZone.com -- great forum for board administrators and literally overflowing with board information on how to run successfully.

5) Generating revenue from a board is done via advertising and sponsors. You can run AdSense via Google and earn $$ on Pay-Per-Click. If your board is receiving 100,000 page views a day and 500 people click, you'd earn $100/per day. (Estimates.) Sponsors pay monthly and can sponsor a forum section. For example, a publishing house might want to sponsor their own book section here.

You also can offer premium content. One of my favorite boards (LamboPower.com) has a "VIP Member" section that charges $15/mo for premium content and access. Their "premium content" is naked women, arcades, and a special discussion section for premium members.

Steps:
1) Buy domain name
2) Order hosting plan that can run the board software
3) Buy board software (I recommend vBulletin)
4) Install board software
5) Buy skin and modify to taste (I bought one and modified it myself).
6) promote
7) promote
8) promote
9) promote
10) promote
 

MJ DeMarco

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Peter2

Fastane Legend. RIP.
Aug 2, 2007
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Damn you beat me to it! TAZ is an awesome resource. :icon_super:
I guess I beat you by 10 seconds. :D TAZ has very good information.
 

MJ DeMarco

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This board cost me about $300; $150 board license, $30 skin, about $120 for hosting, semi-dedicated - paid in advance. Bought 3 months, got 9 mos free.
 
OP
OP
C

camski

Contributor
Jul 24, 2007
247
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Noblesville, IN
Follow up question regarding starting a forum. Besides adsense what other ways do any of you recommend for bring in revenue?
 

JScott

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Follow up question regarding starting a forum. Besides adsense what other ways do any of you recommend for bring in revenue?
Unless your forum is based around a product or service that you can sell, your best source of revenue will likely be advertising. That doesn't just mean adsense though...

Once you have a decent amount of traffic, advertisers will be coming to you, and you can negotiate deals with individual advertisers who want space on your site.

Additionally, like MJ has started doing, you can also add sponsors related to your forum topic.
 

AlwaysCurious

Contributor
Jan 16, 2008
274
56
26
GMT +1
You don´t necessarily have to buy forum software. Though vBulletin is a very mature product, it maybe good to look for free alternatives. There are lots of great products that are stable for business purposes and with excellent community support. You can find a comprehensive list with reviews, comments etc on http://www.opensourceCMS.com There you can try demos for all listed products be it forum software or more complex portals.
 

M-M

New Contributor
Aug 27, 2007
107
10
15
NC
Thanks for the TAZ link, I'm sure to devour that, as I am about to launch a site with a forum.
 

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aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
67
38
North Carolina
Building a forum isn't that hard; this is my 2nd - what is difficult is getting traffic and users.

1) You really can't protect your idea. Your idea, once launched, becomes public. Anyone can copy it. You can get people to sign an NDA for those that will have sensitive information.

2) You can find people on various websites that can help in technical. Elance.com was mentioned here before and offers a great repositiory for finding contract help.

3) You can buy a board license and then buy skins for the board. There are "off-the-shelf" skins you can buy without needing to know much about web programming. Examples: ForumMonkeys.com and MinerSkinz.com.

4) Sign-up to TheAdminZone.com -- great forum for board administrators and literally overflowing with board information on how to run successfully.

5) Generating revenue from a board is done via advertising and sponsors. You can run AdSense via Google and earn $$ on Pay-Per-Click. If your board is receiving 100,000 page views a day and 500 people click, you'd earn $100/per day. (Estimates.) Sponsors pay monthly and can sponsor a forum section. For example, a publishing house might want to sponsor their own book section here.

You also can offer premium content. One of my favorite boards (LamboPower.com) has a "VIP Member" section that charges $15/mo for premium content and access. Their "premium content" is naked women, arcades, and a special discussion section for premium members.

Steps:
1) Buy domain name
2) Order hosting plan that can run the board software
3) Buy board software (I recommend vBulletin)
4) Install board software
5) Buy skin and modify to taste (I bought one and modified it myself).
6) promote
7) promote
8) promote
9) promote
10) promote
Good info MJ!

You can do steps 1-2-4 and 5 all at www.aptohosting.com.

If you want to get started just call me at 1-866-404-9090 or email me at tom@aptohosting.com.

Thanks
Tom C.
www.aptohosting.com
 

Merkin Man

Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
364
25
48
44
Williamsville, NY
Good info MJ!

You can do steps 1-2-4 and 5 all at www.aptohosting.com.

If you want to get started just call me at 1-866-404-9090 or email me at tom@aptohosting.com.

Thanks
Tom C.
www.aptohosting.com
Sorry if this question is extremely novice, but is "buying" a domain name the same as "registering" a domain name?

I have come up with a couple of business ideas that would be mainly internet based. As of right now, the .com names I would want for them are available.

Websites are something that I am not real sharp on yet, however, these ideas that I have come up with are pretty solid and at least one of them I am considering running with.

Thanks.
 

Yankees338

Bronze Contributor
Jul 24, 2007
1,829
136
81
28
NJ/MD
Sorry if this question is extremely novice, but is "buying" a domain name the same as "registering" a domain name?

I have come up with a couple of business ideas that would be mainly internet based. As of right now, the .com names I would want for them are available.

Websites are something that I am not real sharp on yet, however, these ideas that I have come up with are pretty solid and at least one of them I am considering running with.

Thanks.
When you "register" a domain name, you're basically buying the rights to the "property" for a set period of time. Usually, you'll have the option of 1-5 years.

I'd suggest going forward with purchasing the domains ASAP. Some domain searches are "hacked", so there are people that scoop them up once they see that they've been searched. It happened to me before. I just picked up two domains tonight in addition to the one I already own. Even if I don't pursue the venture that relates to them, I definitely feel like they have some value in them because they contain solid keywords that could generate some good traffic.
 

Merkin Man

Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
364
25
48
44
Williamsville, NY
Yanks,

Thank you.

Is this something that I could accomplish with a company like the Fastlane's sponsor AptoHosting? Or is it something I would have to look elsewhere to do?
 

Yankees338

Bronze Contributor
Jul 24, 2007
1,829
136
81
28
NJ/MD
Yanks,

Thank you.

Is this something that I could accomplish with a company like the Fastlane's sponsor AptoHosting? Or is it something I would have to look elsewhere to do?
I would highly recommend Apto, especially if you're just getting started. He'll gladly help you out along the way. It may cost a few bucks more (about $5 more than GoDaddy for domain registrations, I believe), but it's worth it to avoid getting bombarded with advertisement. Additionally, you'll get top notch customer support.

Good luck! :)
Ryan
 

Merkin Man

Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
364
25
48
44
Williamsville, NY
Thanks, Ryan. I'd add rep speed to you but I have to spread some more out before I can!

I'm working on a post right now getting into a little more detail on the project I am considering running with. I don't hijack this thread anymore than I already have.

Thanks again!
 

Mr K

New Contributor
Jan 14, 2008
45
6
14
I'm a bit late coming to this, but I'll add a quick 2 cents. I've run my share of forums, including one (that was running under the studiowhiz.com name) that at it's height had over 1 mill visitors a month. (now it's just my blog)

I highly recommend godaddy.com as the place to purchase (register) your domain. I've been with so many over the years, none compare to the support & service of GoDaddy.com - and their prices are good. (turn off the newsletters & you don't get any advertising)

Others will say vBulletin for your forums, I would suggest Invision Power Board, I switched years ago from vB to IPB and it was the best move. They also have a service where they host the system for you - taking care of all those hassles. http://invisionpower.com/ if interested

As MJ pointed out the biggest issue is getting people to your forums. See people need content, but people provide that content, if you don't have content you don't have people & if you don't have people you don't have content. Less than 10% of your visitors will interact with your content and less than 2% will originate content (start threads - add images, etc). I'd suggest, unless you have 100 odd people you can pull in instantly, you set up forums along side your site. Your site will bring in traffic (content) and your forums can expand on the content allowing vistors to contribute to your site.
 

aptohosting

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 16, 2007
360
67
38
North Carolina
I would highly recommend Apto, especially if you're just getting started. He'll gladly help you out along the way. It may cost a few bucks more (about $5 more than GoDaddy for domain registrations, I believe), but it's worth it to avoid getting bombarded with advertisement. Additionally, you'll get top notch customer support.

Good luck! :)
Ryan

Ryan,

Thanks for the recommendation!!!!

Yes, we do charge $5 more per year than Go daddy. However with this price you will get 24/7/365 customer service, your parked domain page will be ad free, you will not be up sold on every service known to man. If you want to get started just contact me at 1-866-404-9090 and I will do all the work for you!


Thanks
Tom C.
www.aptohosting.com
 

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