Best Builders for Forum Websites that Wow
By Tim Brown
Whether you want to set up a website where you and your online buddies can compare gaming notes, or you need a place to share ideas and sound off on your products or service, a forum website is the way to go.
When you create a forum website, you are building your own community. This community will help you to promote brand awareness, attract search engines, build trust, and increase revenue. You might need a fully customizable site, one that is SEO-friendly, or one that has limited ads…or all three. Whatever your forum needs, you can find forum website builders with the features to help you reach your goals.
Adding a Forum to an Existing Site
Some web builders have the option to incorporate forums into your already established online project: Wix has a forum app available in the Wix App Market; for GoDaddy, you set it up through your account; and, Weebly offers an easy-to-use Forums Widget in the Page Builder tool.
During your research for builders that are going to walk you through how to make a forum website, you will want to make sure that they offer features such as appointing moderators, editing and deleting posts, assigning member ranks and titles, incorporating polls, supporting quotes, and adding images.
Paid Forum Builders
You will be happy to know that there are quite a few options out there for you. Paid forum builders like IP.Board, WoltLab Burning Board, and vBulletin will give you premium built-in applications and add-ons including photo albums, polls, calendars, mobile versions, social media incorporation, and recent activity trackers. All of these functions are designed to increase engagement and content sharing as well as drive new visitors to your site.
Free Forum Builders
That is not to say that you cannot accomplish those same goals by using a free forum website builder. You can; however, as with most free builders, there are potential pitfalls. Look out for them!
InVision, Power Board, Forumotion, and ProBoards are popular free builders to consider. They are all going to deliver a bulk of the features listed above. Many users prefer ProBoards because they have all of the features that you need coupled with fantastic customer support. ProBoards users have a major complaint, though. The downside is their use of ads. They have a ton of them. Someone has to pay for all of the bells and whistles; if it isn’t going to be you, it is going to be the advertisers at the expense of your visitors’ experience.To avoid that “free" cost, many shoppers opt for builders such as phpBB and MyBB.
An open-source builder, phpBB is extremely versatile. With it, you can run your complete online project or simply stay connected with a small group of people. Because of its popularity and open-source set up, there is a massive database of image packages, styles, and other customizable modifications for you to enjoy.
MyBB is a very clean and user-friendly discussion system builder. It is a forum established upon a strong MySQL and PHP foundation. As such, visitors enjoy its intuitiveness, which allows for ease of starting and replying to posts. Front-line moderators and back-end administrators also benefit from easy to use control features.
Final Word on Forums
So, which one is the right one for you? Well, that depends on your needs and your starting point. If you have big plans and money to spend, Vbulletin has the power, control, and features that you desire. Perhaps you are looking to build a site that will have a forum as a component, rather than the main focus. In that case, Weebly is a fantastic option for its ease of use, alone. Finally, if you need a free forum website builder, you can’t go wrong with either phpBB or MyBB.
Determine your needs, do some digging, and you will find the best builder for your forum website.
You will find even more valuable information about building a website with these small-business articles.