Following Keith Taylor Websites November 2015, today I’ll focus on my forums.
My biggest forum is Please Help My Gout!, which I started in December 2006. It’s gone through many changes, including different forum software packages and different names. I’m currently rebranding my gout forum as part of GoutPal’s Gout Network. This reflects the current state of forums.
Generally speaking, forums are becoming much less popular. Some of this is the availability of high quality, affordable helpdesk services. Some is due to improvements in social networks. However, simple forums are still very effective at providing personal support. I like to run them as a hub for the network that includes:
- Helpdesk (currently Freshdesk, but Zoho is also interesting)
- Experiments with Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr etc
Increasingly, I’ve found that forums can be used in different ways to provide more personal support services. Thus, as well as the usual semi-structured discussions, I use forums for:
- Extended Personal Profiles with tracking
- Suggestion Box or Ideas Lab
- Personal Projects and Management Planning with progress monitoring
Other specialized uses are possible, depending on the forum subject(s).
Earlier this year, I decided that managing multiple forums is far easier using WordPress MultiSite. Around the same time, I had an idea about KeČaTa, which I’ll discuss in a separate post. This led me to developing Keith Taylor Network Sites, which is currently known as the KeČaTa Community. WordPress MultiSite saved me so much admin time, I’ve extended the community to include portfolio/knowledgebase websites, and eCommerce sites. Again, I’ll report progress on those in separate articles. For now, let me describe the full set of Keith Taylor Forums:
- Keith’s Community
- Embryonic forum that might discuss the development of the wider network, or might be abandoned. Low priority project.
- Web Hosting Forum
- Forum for all web business owners who want to improve their websites. Growing support for client sites, and as a platform to attract more hosting business. Medium priority project.
- Chimney Sweep Forum
- Attempt to salvage something from a displaced business. The business has gone, but as a generic site name, it might be usable. Low priority budget.
- Eating For Health
- To discuss diet related to health problems. Medium priority project.
- Your Show Entertainment Forums
- A project to discuss UK local entertainment for organisers, acts, and fans. Low priority project (subject to change)
- Help My Gout!
- The new home of my biggest forum. High priority project.
It’s a fact of website-building life that forums are a major tool for success. They provide a constant source of new content, which is user-focused by design. They provide traffic that is far less volatile most websites. When I couldn’t maintain fresh content after my accident, forums maintained traffic more constantly than other websites.
Most important of all is that my purpose is to help people solve their problems. Forums are currently the best way to identify the true nature of personal problems, and discuss how to find acceptable solutions. They provide an acceptable level of revenue, as part of a community that feeds advertising and commission channels.
If I was financially independent, I’d still love engaging with people in forums. Maybe this will evolve to encompass video channels in the near future. Whatever happens next, I love the way my forums support my philosophy of “doing what I enjoy, then finding ways to make enough money.”
Today is forum day. I’ll be back with some updates of what I’ve achieved today in Keith Taylor Forums.