A forum is website where people with common interests interact and collaborate on an ongoing basis. Creating a successful forum to complement your WordPress.com blog isn’t easy. The time and energy commitments by the Admin at setup and time for ongoing management functions are signficant. Ongoing Admin visibilty in forum discussions is needed too. Ultimately, vibrant forums require a critical mass of active members with an abiding passion for a narrow range of subject(s) to thrive.
A discussion forum is hierarchical or tree-like in structure: a forum can contain a number of subforums, each of which may have several topics. Within a forum’s topic, each new discussion started is called a thread, and can be replied to by as many people as so wish.
Wikis are based on the idea that the crowd, collectively, has a greater sum of knowledge than just one individual. No one person owns or rules a wiki. The wiki model is one where all members are able to add and edit material to build a knowledge base is quite different than what Discussion boards and Blogs are structured to do. Read more > What’s a Wiki?
Three WordPress.com Forum Options
There is no forum that you can embed into a free hosted WordPress.com blog as there is no FTP access and we cannot install plugins. You have three options:
(1) Use the P2 theme which is a Twitter-like theme for groups on your current blog. Here’s a quick video tour of the best P2 features. Under the P2 theme Options, there is a check box that says “allow any WordPress.com member to post” so at minimum, the person does have to have a WordPress.com account.
(2) Create another blog use the P2 theme on it. Then add official users to that blog and/or post a follow blog widget. Create a custom menu on your main blog and include a custom link to the P2 blog in it. Here’s a link to a custom menu walkthrough.
(3) Register a forum on the internet and then create a custom menu in your blog and include a custom link to the forum in it.
ProBoards is the largest host of free forums on the Internet and the 2011 runaway winner for “Best Hosted Service”. the editors of Forum-Software.org, a popular product review website, began hosting the “Community Choice” Forum Awards in 2006 and have watched a steady increase in submissions and voter participation each year since. ProBoards has served a robust and reliable service, brimming with features, to an eclectic constituency that has steadily grown since it set up shop 12 years ago. As the most visited free forum service on the internet, ProBoards boasts activity levels matched only by major portals and web news outlets.
There are many free forum hosts with differing policies, features and terms of service. Be sure to read and compare them carefully before you make your free forum host selection.
- Have you ever set up and operated an online forum?
- Do you have a forum in conjunction with your blog? Or are you a member of a forum operated in conjunction with a blog?
- Have you considered creating an online forum to complement your blog?