To run a stand alone forum or not


I have been pondering launching / running a forum for some time. The forum concept is for a broad sector and not to support my own product or software.

So I was hoping to get ad revenue plus other ideas down the track. I am an intermediate wordpress user and I am learning javascript. Most importantly I have a lot of experience in a non tech industry where there simply are not many forums. I use forums every day to find solutions and collaborate around technology and software I use.

  • I wonder how niche my market needs to be for success or does it not matter? For example could I run a forum on Frogs or would it need to be frogs of the americas ? I guess this is all subjective.
  • Will running a forum be a nightmare? Could I run it on my own? How much time ?
  • Provided I get traffic, can you make a return that matches the time put in?
  • Do I need other website content ?
  • What other questions should I be asking?

I guess I am just looking for warnings and tips! If you are a renowned sceptic please state as such !



Like you said, a lot of this is subjective. Not just that, but what works for one person might not work for another person. What works in one context might not work in another. So I’m not sure how much anybody can help you, since your mileage will definitely vary.

The best thing to do is just try something out and see what happens. I think I run my Discourse for like 10 dollars a month, so it’s not a huge lost investment if it doesn’t work out for you.

I will say that if you’re trying to get rich off ad revenue, you’re going to be disappointed.


Thanks Kevin. Appreciate the response.


Hi @HammerOz – I’m the opposite of a sceptic – I’m a community consultant – and I can help with some of your questions.

It very much does matter. If you want to succeed you need to research your potential audience, find a niche that doesn’t have strong existing competition (why would someone change their existing habit?), and build a strong community concept and value proposition. More reading on that here.

Not a nightmare at all. I run 2 communities – 1 as part of my full time job, and the other as a side project. To give you an idea of time, the side project takes ~10 hours per week max.

You can, but it’s often hard. Discourse costs very little to run though, so it’s feasible. More reading here.

Usually, yes. Unless you strike it lucky (which happens occasionally) you need to gain the trust and demonstrate credibility in your field. If you don’t have an existing reputation, creating brilliant content is the quickest and easiest way to do that.

Let’s play Jeopardy. Here are the answers.

Do some reading. If you have further questions, I’m happy to answer them. You’re also very welcome to join our FeverBee community if that would be valuable.


Thanks Hawk,

I hadn’t found your content yet through search. Looks good.

I will be in touch if I explore this.