Increasing Forum Participation

I’m interested in suggestions to help with increasing user participation (and sign ups).
Relatively newish forum and I’m trying to grow content (mainly me posting) and whilst we get some page views we very very rarely get any contributions or questions posted onto the forum from others. Posting does require log in.
I have read a couple of other posts aligned to this topic but as they were old, a few diverted away from this specific aspect and there may be new developments that might help I thought I’d create a new thread.
Be really appreciative to hear from the community of any initiatives that worked well for them and recommendations/suggestions.
Thanks in advance!


Hi @Checkout

What is the purpose of your forum?
What are your goals?

Those answers will help us, help you. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you! It’s all about cybersecurity. Supporting our website and the implementation of Cybersecurity Toolkits which are available FOC (we are a nonprofit) so Q & A.
We are also wanting to create communities for chat about cyber issues that relate specifically to different sectors and also more generally.
We are to an extent reliant on people needing help with implementation. This is it here: (I’ll be reworking the Work From Home category as we’ll be retiring that microsite soon).
Main objective is a safe place that anyone can come for un-bias support and information - whatever their level - somewhere they can talk with peers or experts about cybersecurity and get themselves safer as a result.


The competition is fierce, since content (and communities) today have more supply than demand. The user interested in your particular topic has a gazillion community platforms to choose from.

The formula for social media success is (developed by yours truly):

Substance X Emotions = Winning

You need to have content of high value for your potential participants, as well as trigger their emotions. When specifically talking about communities, often use the term gravity factor. It is much easier to attract a userbase, when there is something to pull them in: A brand, celebrity person, a sports club (my forum), a product (this forum)…

Do you have visitors on your website, so is this purely about activating them, or reaching out for the potential audience? If the lack of visitors is the issue, then try writing some kick ass content that could go viral. Post it on Hacker News and other similar places that targets the right niches. And trigger them.


Thanks ljpp this is great advice! We do have website visitors and the forum would generally be accessed via a link to relevant topic from there. So the primarily objective at the moment is to encourage them to join in and take an active role on the forum as opposed to just reading posts. I’d also want to draw in from other sources so the kick ass content also appeals!


I’d start with two questions:

  • What is in it for your audience? You need to give them a compelling reason to participate. Start by reading up on persuasion.
  • Why do you want more participation? What business goal is it going to help you meet?

Good questions! The link is very useful and I’ve gone through a few of the blogs there. In terms of the second question I guess participation is a form of measurement and perception that the forum is of value, particularly for those that may link through to it themselves and wonder whether they should join also. At the moment I cant tell if people visit, find what they want and leave or visit and decide its not worth joining in because there isnt much chat on there. The forum is a supporting function and therefore does have dependencies on people needing or wanting support of some form - but also knowing that they need it (which is often only understood after the event!). Thanks


There is something said out there on the lines of “if you want someone to appreciate you, and/or build a connection with someone, don’t do something for them, but ask them to do something for you”. People like to feel useful and helpful.

You say you are creating content. This is a good thing, and the content is probably good. But maybe (I don’t know, just an idea), you are indeed just creating good content that people consume. Ask more questions, ask people for their opinion, to share their experience, to give you feedback, and so on. In short, if you’re not doing it: ASK more.


Somewhat counter to your raison d’être, but I found that enabling registered users to post & reply by email increased engagement significantly (though we are still only talking maybe 10-20 people who will post anything with any regularity, from my 750 registered user base.

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Thank you Paul and Mevo! These are really useful suggestions - we had discounted the email option but will maybe revisit that one again.

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@gill, this is a great suggestion from @Mevo!

You might even consider extending your asking to industry personalities–experts, bloggers, influencers, cybersecurity “celebrities” :wink:–in terms of creating special guest content which they then link themselves in their follow spaces, thus introducing their fans to your content, too.

Even if the heavy hitters are not able to collaborate at this time, they can likely recommend someone else.

You could also consider asking some lower-tier industry contributors or those affiliated with specific areas of expertise to collaborate on some wiki-type posts for your forum community based on frequently asked questions or common conundrums.

:sweat_smile: With apologies to @ljpp, I’m gonna modify their proprietary formula just a bit to add the who’s who factor:

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