When creating a new forum there are many things that you must consider. These can be things anywhere from the niche, the theme, your target audience or even the domain name. Of course there’s a few only a few things we consider upon creating a new forum. Many of these things are decided quite fast and can work out perfectly but from my experience in forum administration and watching other communities develop I have noticed 5 big mistakes that are becoming more and more common every day. Too Many Forums One of the biggest issues and most common things I see if new forum owners doing is creating way too many different forums. There are a lot of reasons behind this and from personal experience I can understand a lot of them. You may feel your forum needs branched out discussion or in a lot of cases you won’t even see yourself as having made a lot of forums. In reality though creating a large amount of forums will only lead to one thing and that is that many of these forums will not get enough posts in them and in return will make your community look far less active than it really is. By combining appropriate forums and taking out any that really are not needed it will make your job of populating the forums with content much easier and give new members the impression your forum is far more active. Once your forum is a few months old and you have a good group of active members it will let you see what forums are getting used and which aren’t. At this point you will know if you need to remove, merge or even split the current forums. Inactive Staff The next biggest mistake in creating a new forum is inactive staff members. This one is actually very simple, if you and other staff members do not create new topics daily as well as posting in others topics you will not establish an active community. New members love to see an admin or other staff members posting, it shows that they are there because they want to be and enjoy discussing different things amongst members and not just there because they want to own a forum and have an important title. I personally find this to be the most important thing during the first months of any forum. Too Many Staff Members This is a huge mistake I see in a lot of new forums these days and that is hiring far too many staff members. In reality if you’re creating a new forum and you plan to really dedicate yourself to it then up until you have at least a few hundred members and 5000+ posts you should be able to handle all staff duties yourself. I am not saying up until that point you should not hire anyone else but that is just an indicator of general staffing needs. Up until that point if you have more than 1 moderator and 1 other admin besides yourself then you are over staffed in my opinion. Depending on your niche and what your forum offers you may need more but if you’re at the kind of point I mentioned above and you have something like 5 moderators and 4 admins then you’re just going way overboard. There is no reason for that. Hire staff as you feel they’re needed, when things become too much for you to handle alone not just for the sake of doing so. Ugly Ads Now to be fair I will say that this has not been as common in my eyes lately but is definitely a big problem for new forums. This problem is displaying too many big ugly ads in the hope of earning some extra revenue. I, like any other admin loves gaining some extra revenue but you must think of your users. If you want to display a couple ads on your forum then you should go ahead and do so but first think long and hard about where they should be placed. You may notice a lot of your regular members will not mind if they enjoy they community but one of the most off putting things for someone visiting your forum for the first time will be seeing these giant banner ads all over the place. I guarantee you that over 50% of the time this will result in them closing the page in under 5 seconds. So do yourself and your users a favor and put some time and effort into creating specific areas for ads that do not get in the way of anything. Useless Plugins/Add-ons With every new forum regardless of the software you choose there are always a bunch of plugins/add-ons that you will want to install but before doing so really think about it. Think to yourself if it will benefit the community, if it has a real purpose or it is just something you think is “cool”. Remember that just because another big forum is using it does not mean you need to do the same. I see far too many new forums installing 20+ plugins/add-ons within the first hour and in reality only 2-3 of them are actually doing anything to benefit the community. In conclusion about the use of plugins/add-ons just keep in mind that these have been designed to improve your forum and if they aren’t going to do this then there is absolutely no reason to install them, they are only going to slow down your forum in the end. In conclusion, if you avoid these 5 common and very simple mistakes then your forum is going to have have a much better chance of succeeding in not just the beginning but in the future.