In July I built a site where one of the requirements was to include a forum. I have not done this before, but I have come across them and use them on a regular basis.
I have just added the functionality to this website. If you are one of my clients you can join this area, it is managed through a registration form. I receive the form and review it. If I recognise you as one of my clients I grant you access to the system.
There are three forums set up. One is a general forum, the other two are specific to satellite website owners from Home-Start and the NACCC’s Child Contact Centres. I have built a lot of websites for these two groups, and it seems to be a good idea to offer the opportunity for an online community to share ideas and have a place to test concepts. Being specific to a group is useful, because everyone in that group will have the same clients, the same services, and the same problems to deal with.
Do you need a forum?
If after you have tried this you think it is a great idea and you would like to have something similar on your own site let me know. It is not too difficult to set up and is based on using two plugins. It takes me about 2hrs to install, configure and test.
For those of you with a large group of supporters then it might be useful to have say a volunteers forum, or a members forum to privately discuss ideas.
In this particular case, I have made all three forums private. This means you can only see discussions if you are registered and logged in. Additionally anyone applying to register is moderated, so Joe Public cannot simply register and access the system