Did you know that PhpBB is the most popular free forum software and downloaded 8,000 times a day?
That’s not far off 3 million times a year!
So why are they so popular?
Why you should start a forum
- They attract new members who are like minded with a common interest
- Users who normally have a problem and are looking for a solution
- Users who want to engage with other like minded, common interest group users
- They add unique content to your domain on a regular basis that increases search visitors therefore your traffic
- The quality of the content in forums is generally high because it solves problems
- Its a great way to add free user generated content written in different ways by different people
- Content is generally focused on the same topic so it builds a high authority domain covering all keywords
Why you shouldn’t start a forum
- Spam can get out of control in a forum if you do not setup your forum correctly the first time.
- Starting a forum can be very time consuming if you do not know how to setup, install and customize.
- Finding the right people to manage your forum can be a huge challenge if you’re not well connected.
- Once you start, you can’t just stop if you’re providing support for a product or service.
Whats the best forum software to start with?
Basically there’s two types of forum software to choose from, Free and Premium.
The most popular free software is phpBB.
The most popular premium forum software is vBulletin.
The pro’s of using phpBB are:
- Its free and fairly easy to install
- phpBB offers hundreds of free themes and mods to choose from
- The phpBB forum is regarded as one of the best in the industry
- If you need help and support setting up your phpBB forum, there’s lots of tutorials to choose from
The con’s of using phpBB forum software
- Can require a lot of coding and editing code if you want it fully customized
- There’s no premium support so you may wait days or weeks to work out how to solve a problem
- You’ll need to rely on their forum & self taught tutorials for help and support
Now lets take a look at the pro’s and con’s for vBulletin
Benefits of installing vBulletin forum software
- Once installed vBulletin is very easy to setup, configure and manage
- vBulletin is widely used so new members generally already know how to use the system
- Customizing vBulletin is far easier than customizing phpBB
- vBulletin offers premium support so you can solve problems faster and complete the setup steps
Reasons you may not want to choose vBulletin
- Its premium software therefore so you’ll need to fork out before you make a start
- You have to pay to upgrade after one year
- You also have to fully customize your forum and totally remove their branding.
If you have installed phpBB already, you can still upgrade to vBulletin by using the vBulletin importer tool to easily import existing phpBB content to vBulletin.
You can also import content from other forum systems.