Running a forum is a brilliant way to maximize your brand identity, build credit and increase sales. Any web community, if large enough and catering to a certain demographic, has the potential to bring in stable revenue, among other benefits. Though the advantages of having a product-centered forum are obvious, just a few entrepreneurs do build forums to support their companies.
Many reject the very idea of starting a forum because they think it’s a very time- and finance-consuming task.
Actually, it used to be a real challenge about a decade ago. But these days, with so many Do-It-Yourself website construction kits and in-browser website builders, anyone can design a complex forum without technical knowledge. These platforms liberate business owners from many headaches associated with website creation and let them concentrate on their business rather than shop around for a web hosting plan, template or plugin – everything they may need is gathered under the same roof.
Over the years, I’ve tested more than two dozens of DIY site builders, including both well established brands and narrowly specialized platforms. Most of these were extremely easy to use but lacked functionality, while others were literally crammed with a ton of unique features but had almost unusable interfaces. Fortunately, I also happened to work with site builders that hit the sweet spot of usability, flexibility and reliability. One of these was uCoz.
How to Create a Forum Website with uCoz
Though uCoz isn’t a specialized forum builder, it has a very powerful Forum Module. For those unfamiliar with uCoz, let me fill you in: it is a system of 22 modules which are various applications that can be activated and deactivated any time. These include Blog, E-shop, Site News, Web Polls, Mini Chat, Ad Board and many others. All these modules can be mixed as you wish.
Since today we’re talking about forums, the focus will be on uCoz Forum module.
What it takes to build a forum with uCoz:
- Sign up to uCoz. It’s free. No credit card data required.
- Confirm your registration and follow the wizard.
- Select a domain name (subdomain) and template. Don’t worry, these can be changed later any time.
- Activate required modules including Forum. Blog+Forum+Web Polls for instance.
Now that you have created an account, it’s yours to edit. In order to configure your Forum settings, click on the Forum module button. There’s a whole pack of properties you can adjust:
- Forum state (active, closed, read-only etc.).
- Unique forum icons and forum rules.
- Passwords settings.
- User group permissions.
- Number of posts per page.
- Maximum uploaded file size and so on.
All in all, it took me less than an hour to format a pretty complex forum.
But why not use a specialized forum building software? – you may wonder. The key benefit of versatile site builders is that they leave room for growth. As your business develops, you’ll want to add a blog or ad board, conduct various surveys or even add shopping cart capabilities to your forum. All this is possible with uCoz.