How to Start a Private Forum Niche Site

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how to build a forum website business

This article will teach you how to start a private forum niche site.

Why Start a Private Forum Niche Site?

Communities are an immensely valuable thing on the internet – and they can bring in good money for the people whose websites play host to them. One great way to directly engage a niche community is to build a private forum niche site (message board).

How to Start a Private Forum Niche Site

How to Start a Private Forum Niche Site

  • Private Forums Can Become Passive Income Producers

The key with this idea is to take the slow and steady road.  The most successful communities have been nurtured with lots of attention by their founders before becoming passive income producers.

What is a private forum niche site?

Well, it can be called many things: 1) An Internet forum 2) Discussion Board 3) Online Community  4) Virtual Community 5) Message Board.  The main idea is that members can create and post discussions as well as read and respond to posts by other forum members. A forum can be focused on any NICHE or subject and you’ll do best to pick a niche that you have a passion for and an interest that lacks an already popular definitive forum for discussions

How to Start a Private Forum Niche Site

There are four steps to start a private forum niche site.  They are:

  1. Create your marketing plan for attracting visitors/subscribers
  2. Pick a domain & web host
  3. Select an application or forum script
  4. Create a Positive Community Culture

Step 1 – Create your marketing plan

The first step on how to start a private forum niche site is to create your marketing plan.  You need to know how you will be able to attract both visitors and subscribers to your forum.

You will likely need a mix of advertising including:

  • Pay Per Click Advertising
  • Promote in other similar niche forums
  • Social Media
  • “Seed” the forum with posts and threads (by yourself, invite a group, pay writers to post?
  • Any form of marketing that connects you with your niche audience (both online and offline marketing)

Step 2 – Pick a Domain Name & Hosting Plan

The next step to start a private forum niche site is to purchase a domain name and a web hosting plan.  The domain name is the name of the address your website will have (mynextbusinessidea.com is my domain name).

Each website must also be “Hosted” by a hosting company  who will load and store your website content (web pages, files, media) onto their server for access whenever someone types in your domain name on the internet.

    • Purchase Hosting with bluehost (who I recommend for beginners) and get a free domain name as well.

Use this tool to check and see if the domain name you want is available.



Step 3 Select a Forum Application or Forum Script

The most recommended forum applications / scripts for starting a private forum niche site are:

  1. phpBB
  2. vbulletin
  3. WordPress Theme with bbpress

Step 4 Create a Positive Community Culture

The last but hardest step in how to start a private forum niche site is creating a positive community.  The quality of the private forum is key to the success of your niche site.  You will need to figure out how you, your team, or a variety of people within your niche will consistently offer support, advice, and value on your forum.  Creating a positive community culture from the start will help spread the word about your forum.  Make sure that when your first forum member post that they receive an answer to a question IMMEDIATELY.  Some tips for creating a positive community culture include:

  • Invite members who post a lot and who are helpful to be moderators.  Grant them partial admin rights to specific topics.
  • Advertise among other blog sites within your niche and create an incentive for those websites to refer members to your forum.
  • Create a team of individuals motivated to help members solve problems.
how to start a private forum niche site - Fill the Chairs

how to start a private forum niche site – Fill the Chairs

Private Forum versus Public Forum Niche Site

You also have the choice to make the forum public (not just restricted to private members only). A public forum will obviously attract more wandering visitors, but that also makes the site susceptible to spam and poor quality control. With a members-only forum, you may struggle a bit harder to attract random visitors. At the same time, however, you have much better odds of fostering a tight-knit and active community of users.

So now that you have the four steps on how to start a private forum niche site…give it a try.  This business idea can be rewarding if you find a topic that you have a passion for helping others with and if you are committed to it long term.

how to build a forum website business

how to build a forum website business

How to Start a Private Forum Niche Site – Places to Start

Warrior Forum – An example of a leading Private Forum Niche Site in the internet marketing niche  (open/accessible to public to read, restricted for members to post)

The Chronicle of Higher Education Forum – An example of a forum in the education niche.

List of Notable Internet Forums – Some of the top forums with over 1 million posts

 Let us know if there is anything we can help you with.