Let us take the second question from Ask me Anything which is
What are the few must things you tend to do when you start a new forum?
I have the question answered in bits and pieces into many posts and so you will see lots of links to my other posts. Let us now start.
1. I prefer vBulletin
The first thing I do for all my forums is - I use vBulletin See Why vBulletin here but one of the main reason for using vBulletin is - it has lot more to offer out of the box than any other forum scripts available.
2. Get On-Page SEO done
3. Redesign and branding
I don't like the default vBulletin template and so I get a designer to do the forum redesign and logo. I don't prefer changing a lot in forum templates to start with but just a fresh new look to the forum is even fine for me.
4. Make forum look active and maintained by Humans
After I am done with all the setup part I work on making more of a top level general forum and not niche sub-forums. As an example if I start a tech forum I will go for only one sub-forum as programming and not have every possible language as a sub forum. The aim is to make forum look active. As it grows I can move topics into different sub-forums. Remember no one likes to be active on forum with no posts.
I also make sure user's feel that it is maintained by Humans. You will always see my username as Shabbir and not like admin, administrator or things which does not sound human.
5. Work on Traffic and Activity
After I have a decent traffic level I prefer to have some competition because competition works well for forum.
You may have noticed that I am yet to mention forum monetization and I did not miss that but I don't put Adsense or any kind of ads before a forum reaches a certain traffic level, ideally 1k user's per day. This is true for any website because I believe when you have decent traffic it is better to start monetizing or else you may end up seeing zeros all along and will become a stat addict.
Share your views and feedback in comments below.