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Running a Forum With Professionals: Interview with Great Auto Help

A representative from Great Auto Help was kind enough to answer a few questions for us on how they successfully created a forum that answered users questions with professional help.

Give it a read and grab some helpful tidbits and be sure to give their site some love.

Without further introduction, here is the interview..

1. If you were in an elevator and had to describe the great auto help
forum to a stranger before reaching your floor, what would you say?

A great website to get free car repair help and advice from real auto mechanics.

2. Your forum is in an extremely competitive space, why do you think it
has resonated so much with people?

We have real dealer mechanics answering our auto repair questions, not just people describing what fixed a problem they have had on their own vehicle. Not all car problems are the same. Also, we concentrated on making the forum mobile friendly. Almost 60% of our traffic is from mobile devices.

3. The “Dropout Rate” (quitting while trying to build a site) is extremely high with new forums because it’s not easy to gain traction within a new community, how did you do it? And how long did it take to generate traction?

If you believe that you can offer people great information in a field that you are an expert in, then stick to it. There are too many website out there full of people who think they are experts, or pretend to be. Be patient. If you information is good, then “they will come”. It took our forum almost a year to gain traction. Content is king !

4. Now having many members, can you describe the moment when you
knew that the forum was going to be a success?

We knew our forum was going to be successful when we started getting 4 or 5 new registered users every day.

5. At what point in time does a forum administrator need to bring in (or appoint) moderators? Is that something new forum owners should worry about when launching?

Moderators are not needed in the beginning. After you start to see more and more registered users, then moderators are helpful. But, getting your user setting correct to keep out bots and people just trying to promote their site, your moderators will have an easy time keeping the site clean.

6. What sort of technical problems (if any) did you endure along the way that you didn’t expect?

Setting up the user setting correctly. It can be confusing and some bad things can still slip by. But keep trying new things and keep up with bots and spammers trying to get in and eventually all the setting will do their job. Also, setting up the forum to be mobile friendly for all different devices can be difficult. Google Mobile training has some great tips, rules and examples.

7. What advice (practical or conceptual) would you give to someone who
wanted to start their own forum?

Start a forum about what you know and love. Don’t try to fake it because it will show. Make it mobile friendly.

8. Final thoughts? Advice?

Stick to it. Believe in what you are doing. Don’t give. Give it time. BE PATIENT !

how to create a forum

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