I run a Discourse community (https://evowners.com) focused around electric vehicles. My community started life as a phpbb3 forum focused specifically around one niche electric vehicle (Renault Twizy) and was originally called Twizy owners. After discovering Discourse I decided to migrate my forum over and all went well.
After I’d been using Discourse for a while I toyed with the idea of opening the community up to a more general EV audience for all vehicles, but always sensed backlash from my users whenever I suggested it. During this time another forum sprung up called Speak EV (https://www.speakev.com/) that was focused around all vehicles and it quickly grew into a huge community. I had missed the boat.
After a while I decided to broaden the subject matter of my community anyway, and re-branded it to EVOwners. However, it’s never quite worked and the community has remained strongly focused on the Renault Twizy to this day. So much so, that there is barely anything to do with the Twizy on Speak EV, anything Twizy related is on my forum.
I have experimented with adding more vehicle categories and encouraging discussion in these categories, but it feels like a lost cause at this point. How do I encourage more sign ups and discussion on my site? Does anyone have any ideas for growing a Discourse community when faced with such a large competitor?
TLDR; My forum was focused on one electric vehicle model but is now focused on all electric vehicle models. Another (non Discourse) forum beat me to it and has a huge audience. They are no doubt the number 1 EV focused forum in the world. They are number 1 on Google for ‘EV forum’ and my forum is the last entry on the first page. How do I compete?
Here is a Renault Twizy if anyone’s curious: