If you are easily offended, then stop reading. If not, enjoy the article! Why your forum is failing! Lets think of your forum more as a resource, not as a forum. IF you ever plan to make your forum succeed, your traffic will NOT be from advertisements, your traffic will be from GOOGLE (and Bing, if anyone uses that). Your forum is not something where you should tell people to join it, it’s something that people should WANT to join. You need to imagine your forum from the point of view of a random visitor, not as a owner. YOU want your forum to succeed, THEY want something they can rely on for information. Therefore, instead of mindlessly begging randoms to join your forum, you need to offer something unique. No one wants to join your forum with 3 posts, 5 members and a countless number of empty forums. Your visitors would be more inclined to see forums where they’re all filled with SOME content and some members. This can mean you posting countless threads, either way, that works. Making accounts (around 5) and having discussions between accounts is also a good way to generate traffic. Another way to realise the agony of joining a pointless, inactive forum is to imagine yourself looking for a magazine in a news agency. You need a magazine to help you understand why your computer is not turning on (for example, don’t bite me…). Do you go to the news agency with 4 magazines, or do you go to the news agency down the road where it has magazines everywhere and a customer support helping people to find the product they’re looking for? Yes, that’s how painful joining an empty forum is. What’s even worse, it’s like giving your phone number to telemarketers. They will CONSTANTLY contact you to purchase their goods, which is the equivalent of being contacted by an empty forum about the contest where you can win $5 for posting 3,000 times. No, your visitors will not give up their time for you, it’s the other way around. Why your forum makes me hate the internet. Please, oh PLEASE don’t get me started on terribly designed websites. I’ve seen some atrocious designs where the colour palette is green and blue. I don’t mean to hate, but either your designer is colour blind, or their sense of taste is non-existing. This brings me to my next point for why your forum is failing. Would you like to walk into your room every day and cringe at the sight of it? NO. Forums that succeed MUST have regular active members that usually log on every day and discuss. So, imagine YOU are that active member that goes on every day. Would you like to cringe at the design of the forum, NO. Studies have shown that visitors spend a maximum of 3 seconds on websites before leaving. I don’t know if these studies are correct (maybe not), but I know for a fact that no one will not stay on a badly designed website for more than 3-4 seconds, unless you’re paying them. This is why your bounce rate on your google analytics statistics is over 50%! I’d also like to personally say, if a site ever makes me cringe to look at it, I will find you. The “PLEASE JOIN MY SITE!!11!! webmaster, and why everyone hates you. One thing that is as painful as a kick to the groin is noticing a webmaster begging people to join their website/forum. As I said above, a forum is a resource which should make your visitors inclined to join your forum, and even visit it continuously. You begging people to join is like a real estate agent begging you to purchase this house. Unless we can earn the 2 minutes it took to join your website, (or 30 seconds because the password we used was “password123″ since we couldn’t care less about getting hacked on your forum) no one will join it. People begging others to join their website is possibly the worst thing a webmaster can do. I’m a king webmaster, I can install MyBB, therefore, I am better than you. These types of webmasters don’t even deserve a segment in this article. They’re that annoying. I’d like to start off by saying, you may think your ‘baws’ now, but when you’re crying to other webmasters why your shitty general discussion forum is going no where, we’ll have the final laugh. These people are the people who post threads showcasing their forum where all they did was install a free forum software, stuck a free overused theme that is a style similar to their competitors (or 50 of them, since most people go for either A) Gaming forums B) General Discussion Forums or C) Webmaster forums). What even makes it worse is that they ask people to join their forum. Here’s the cherry on top. When that member receives comments and criticism on why NO ONE will join their forum about Call of Duty with the domain http://www.domainisrandomlylongwith123ontheend.randomdifficultsubdomain.com. They begin to rage and state that that user has no idea what they’re talking about, then end their comment with “YOU’RE SUCH A bleeping a**”. One statement to you: Just quit. Unrealistic beliefs, and why you should never have them. What grinds my gears is when a webmaster thinks that just because Forum A where free products are released is getting more members than they are. Mind you, Forum A is an established forum since 2006 (for example) based on a unique niche, wheres Forum B is about gaming established 3 days ago (another example). The webmaster makes assumptions and gives themselves unrealistic goals, which when not achieved (usually in 48 hours), they begin to cry and moan saying that life is unfair. Face it, your forum won’t likely take off in 6 months, so either stop your whining, or just quit. Why no one is joining your forum after it’s been online for 48 months. In my opinion, if your forum is a General Chat forum. Please stop reading as you will hate me at the end of this. A general discussion forum is terrible, will take you no where, and all in all, WILL waste you money AND time. No one wants to join a general discussion forum where so much effort has been put in, so why do you think they’ll join a general discussion forum that offers no content, nothing unique, no active members or ANYTHING. The only way I see a general discussion forum growing for 2-4 weeks is if you pay them. Oh yeah, did I mention that the largest forum(s) ARE general discussion forums.