Forum Management Software

If you want to keep your customers, members, or readers engaged and informed, a forum is a great way to do it. The challenge is managing your forums and keeping them running smoothly. This can be especially difficult when you have multiple forums that need to be administered. If you want to save time and energy, consider using forum management software.

In this guide, we review the aspects of Forum Management Software, How do you manage a forum, forum event management software, and best community forum software.

Forum Management Software

Forums are a great tool for communication, but they can also be the source of some headaches. Forum software can help you manage your forums and ensure that everything is running smoothly. We’ve gathered the most popular forum management software here in one place to make it easy for you to find what you need.

Forum Production Software

Forum Production Software

Forums are a great way to engage with your customers, but managing the forum can be challenging. Forum Production Software allows you to manage and moderate your forums efficiently so that you can focus on providing better service for your customers.

Most forum management software comes with features like:

  • User management (register new users, edit their profile details etc.)
  • Moderation tools (delete inappropriate posts, remove users who violate terms of service)

Forum Administration Software

  • Forum Administration Software
  • Forum Moderation Software
  • Forum Management Software
  • Forum Statistics Software
  • Forum Shoutbox Software

Forum Documentation Software

If you are managing a forum and want to keep track of your users, you can use the forum management software. This software allows you to create forums and manage them from one central place. It also allows you to add all the necessary information about your users, such as their names, email addresses, locations and even phone numbers. You can also store other important information about each member in the database of this tool. If any user gets banned from using your site then all their details will be deleted from this database automatically by using this tool.

How do you manage a forum

Even if you have a private Facebook group and a hyper-engaging twitter feed, discussion forums have a leg up on social media in a few key areas. A forum keeps visitors on your site, allows you to control the settings and features, and most importantly, offers the ability to organize discussions into searchable threads.

With WordPress, it’s simple to set up a forum, but the real work comes in keeping it well-organized and engaging for users.

Tips for Managing a WordPress Forum

A forum can function in a few different ways. You can set it up for a membership site or subscription service where members are accessing a password protected area. You can also offer it publicly as a support center where support questions and discussions can be organized and monitored.

The most popular WordPress forum plugin is bbPress. Not only is this plugin completely free, but it integrates smoothly into just about any WordPress web design, especially if you’re using a compatible theme like Total. bbPress offers the ability for users to join the forum, create a profile and start adding comments, plus much more.

The following tips can help with the setup and ongoing management of your forum to get the best results.

1. Establish Community Guidelines

Clarity is king when it comes to creating a productive forum. In an obvious location on your forum, establish a set of guidelines for every person to follow. WordPress has a fantastic example of a comprehensive, yet clear, set of rules.

Your guidelines can include behavior expectations (such as disallowing posts about commercial products) or personal interaction guidelines (like condemning hassling or aggressive language).

Make sure to also establish guidelines on confidentiality and security as well. For example: remind users not to share any logins or confidential information in the open discussion, even if the forum is for members only. Once guidelines are established, you can monitor participant behavior and block those who do not follow the rules.

2. Engage Your Audience With Prompts

How do you entice people to start posting and interacting with others in your forum? You can start by leaving breadcrumbs – the flocking will naturally follow. Prompting your users with topics or questions that they are already interested in can ramp up forum engagement.

Here are a few ways to come up with prompts that will start conversations:

Once you have a few attention-grabbing prompts, post them in the forum and watch users flock in response.

3. Moderate Postings & Block Spam

To keep spam and inappropriate posts out of your forum, you’ll have to do some moderating. To mitigate unwanted user behavior, you can keep a record of users that have been causing any issues. If there are repeat offenders, don’t be afraid to take action: you can remind them of guidelines, mute them, or ban them if the problem persists.

When it comes to keeping conversations on-topic, you can sift through threads and move any off-topic conversations to another general thread to avoid it getting out of hand. If all else fails, you can lock a thread to move users onto a new subject. Another way to keep conversation productive is to blacklist any words you don’t want to see in the chats (swear words, offensive idioms, etc).

What about preventing spam? How do you stop robots (or humans) from flooding your threads with disruptive spam content? Here are just a few ideas:

Many of these features are offered by bbPress as plugins, so once you figure out how you want to tackle spam prevention, check if there’s a simple plugin that meets your needs.

4. Provide Great Search Features

A huge benefit of having a forum is that content threads are well-organized and easy to search. The key? On-site search. This feature allows users easy access to the topics they want to engage with. Don’t forget to test the search functionality to ensure results are matching up well with search terms.

You can really squeeze the juice out of this feature by using plugins that offer add-ons to improve or expand search functionality. For instance, SearchWP has an advanced search add-on feature that expands the default bbPress forum search functionality to give users more targeted results.

On top of making your user’s engagement easier, adding a search feature can give you access to valuable data on the keywords being searched. With Google Analytics, you can enable on-site search tracking to access an on-site search report that will pull keyword data from user searches. This valuable insight can be used to organize your forum and other marketing efforts around topics you know customers want addressed.

5. Protect & Secure User Data

Security is a critical component of any WordPress site. This is especially true when you have users setting up profiles or accounts on the site and submitting information in the forums. If your forum is password protected like with a subscription or membership site, users may be sharing even more information in the membership area with the assumption that it’s protected.

It’s important to understand that WordPress is not immune from hackers, so always follow WordPress security best practices: 24/7 security monitoring, having a secure hosting server, and ensuring your SSL certificate is properly configured. Chrome and other browsers will warn users before submitting a form if it’s not secure, and this will likely deter users from moving forward.

Privacy is also extremely important to your users, so following data privacy laws such as CCPA and GDPR are absolute musts. Best practices for data privacy include:

A lot of privacy features are built into the WordPress core, allowing for personal data exports or removals (you can find these under the “Tools” section in your WordPress dashboard).

You may need to adjust some data settings in a form plugin, such as Gravity Forms, to make sure all user data can be erased through these WordPress functions. All in all, if you create a safe space for your users, you will have much more success with engagement.

6. Add Community Enrichment Features

To create greater buy in and loyalty from users, make engaging with the forum as fun and rewarding as possible. You can create a real sense of community and belonging by making a few simple, yet powerful adjustments. First, you can add custom avatar support for personalization. Users will feel more ownership over their accounts when they get to personalize their profiles.

Another way to engage users is by setting up email notifications. When someone comments, likes, or interacts with a user, they will get an email prompting them to go to the forum to see the interaction.

You can also use gamification to engage your users. For example, you can encourage activity by implementing achievement-based badges. This is possible with the help of the free BadgeOS add-on for bbPress and BuddyPress. These badges could be earned based on the user’s amount of interaction, the quality of interaction, or the length of time a user has been a part of the forum. If a user sticks around long enough, they can proudly be known as a veteran user. With the free BadgeOS plugin, the site administrator can create different rank types and select a unique image design for every achievement level.

You can even use gamification to encourage good behavior. One way to do this is by rewarding users who exemplify good behavior with a promotion to “Group moderator.” Essentially, if a user is particularly helpful to other users and abides by all of the forum rules consistently, they get rewarded with responsibility, creating a greater sense of ownership and dedication. It also creates a desire from other users to achieve a similar status.

These community enrichment features serve as incentive for users to return to your forum, and the best part is that when done right, these features build upon each other.

forum event management software

Events are powerful drivers for organizations of all sizes and in all industries. Those in niche B2B fields can host conferences with elite keynote speakers and in-depth discussions about market trends. Small nonprofits can fundraise for 5K runs, galas, and other events to bring in valuable revenue.

A good event brings people together and ensures they leave with something valuable, whether that’s in-depth information or fun memories.

Putting together such an event isn’t easy. Even a small meeting with a few industry leaders requires planning related to food, meeting space, technology, guest list management, and lodging. You have to focus on the smallest details — like setting up creamer and napkins next to the coffee — or your attendees might grow frustrated with the experience.

This is where event management software comes in. With the right tools, you can attend to those small details and create an outstanding event for your guests and sponsors. You can also scale up your efforts for bigger events without burning out your planning team.

Event management software: An overview

Event management software is a highly specialized tool to guide event planners and teams through the nuances of putting together a quality experience. Event planning requires internal planning and external negotiations with different parties. Attendees, sponsors, and vendors are all involved, and they are managed by a team of employees and volunteers.

Instead of requiring teams to use multiple types of software to put on a successful event, some companies have developed targeted software to keep everything under one umbrella.

The following are a few common features of event software:

While every event is different, you’ll probably need your event management software to cover at least one of these functions. Some advanced teams need all four — and sometimes more.

Top event management software tools

You’ll find a number of event management software options as you upgrade your processes. Here are a few top picks prominent brands currently use, with unique features, pricing, and options to fit your specific event needs. 

Bizzabo offers registration and planning tools with a focus on the people who go to your events. This system enables you to create an event website that contains all of the relevant information your guests need. And you can communicate changes with your invitees — which is useful as you get closer to the event — and provide more details related to parking, VIP upgrades, and other perks.

Bizzabo also caters to organizations that need sponsors to fund their events. Event planners can prove the ROI to sponsors by reporting on attendance, engagement, and guest experiences. Planners can also offer sponsorship upgrades through the interface and share with guests any special offers from the sponsoring companies using push notifications.

Bizzabo has adapted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by offering virtual event planning and helping organizations create value for attendees even when planners are located across the country. Through their tools, attendees can break out into smaller sessions (which is essential for conferences) and then come back together as a whole group for a larger discussion. There are also speaker management tools to make sure each presenter is ready and able to address the virtual crowd.

Both organizations and professional venues use Cvent for event management. It’s ideal for large organizations that regularly put together events. There are check-in tools and work assignments that you can organize and assign to volunteers or staff and marketing options to increase buzz around your event.

One of Cvent’s most useful features is the dashboard. It provides clear data on spending and allows multiple stakeholders to request and approve budgets. For example, an executive can review the current proposed budget and approve it before the planners move forward. This makes reporting easy and keeps everyone on the same page.

This system also taps into analytics and marketing tools to provide event insights in the days following your program. You can send attendees surveys and track other metrics to find out what people thought was valuable and what you should consider doing again.

Jotform offers a variety of tools for event planners who want to make sure they have all of their event details in order — starting with the event signup process. Guests can easily RSVP and submit relevant information — whether they’re providing professional details for a B2B webinar or choosing between chicken or fish at a wedding — through customized event forms.

As your guest list grows, your team can put together events with dedicated event planning templates to help make a fundraiser, party, or conference a success. Jotform also offers event booking forms for vendors and performers who need to submit their information to a venue or event space. You can customize these templates to meet your needs.

Jotform offers discounts to nonprofits and educators, making it easier for you to plan your next gala or student showcase and ensure it’s a success.

Fonteva is one of the top options for B2B conferences and summits. Trade associations, professional societies, and organizations that connect industry leaders across the world use it to plan their events.

In fact, Fonteva has served 90 million users and customers to date. It’s used in more than 100 countries, which makes it easy to invite international guests and manage their registrations and payments.

This system enables brands to put together virtual or in-person events with an easy registration process. Planners can manage speakers (including their bios, slide decks, and takeaway resources) to ensure that presentations run smoothly and attendees have access to the information they need.

Fonteva is a Salesforce product, which means users familiar with that brand will be able to navigate and integrate the tool with ease.

Tripleseat boasts a user base of over 60,000 event sales managers and a 98.8 percent recommendation rate. The majority of its employees have hospitality experience, which enables them to help customers navigate challenges and improve their events.

This event management software tool is recommended for restaurants, hotels, and unique venues that frequently put on events of various sizes and styles. A large restaurant, for example, could have four or five different events each week — including live music experiences, weddings, birthday parties, and corporate dinners.

Tripleseat allows you to easily send banquet event orders, proposals, and contracts to your venue’s customers. You can also work with caterers, bartenders, entertainers, and photographers outside of your internal staff. Organized filing and e-signature capabilities ensure you can quickly finalize contracts.

Tripleseat also has a bookings calendar to manage different events. This is valuable if you host multiple events each day at different locations. For example, a hotel with several conference rooms might book a professional meetup in the morning followed by a wedding in the afternoon.

Benefits of a comprehensive event management app

The days of event planners flipping through thick binders or clicking through endless spreadsheets are coming to an end. Putting together a flawless fundraiser or valuable conference can be much less stressful if you use event management systems.

Instead of placing the burden on one planner, teams can collaborate to achieve their goals, and managers can delegate to staff virtually. Stakeholders and sponsors can learn more about the event without asking busy team members to provide reports. These factors all work together to improve the attendee experience and entice people to come to your next event.

best community forum software

Forums are an integral part of the internet, and not having one for your business would mean limiting growth.

It’s easy to say that online communities aren’t relevant anymore, but little do we know that forums if nurtured well, can be beneficial for a business. Just imagine how many times we turn to forums looking for solutions to a problem that shows how big of a thing it is.

Fortunately, there is a lot of fantastic software available that can help you build your online community and reap its benefits. I’ll be going through some of the best ones in this article; however, let’s first understand how having a forum helps your business.

Fresh content on autopilot

The reason I’ve kept this on the top is that I consider this as one of the most notable benefits. Having a forum for your business will automatically generate fresh content, without you having to write them yourself. Once your forum becomes more and more interactive with users contributing and adding new posts, it translates to a steady autopilot flow of new content.

Extra income opportunity

As they say, “Always diversify your income sources,” your forum will help you do just that. An online community can be easily monetized with various tactics such as –

Though it won’t fetch you a thousand dollars by tomorrow, but can surely in a few months if you put in the work continuously. An additional source of income is always great!

Improves customer service

Having a lot of customers for your business directly translates to a ton of on-going questions for your products or services. Not to mention the time it takes to attend every single one out there. While answering your customers’ questions is a great thing to do, it can quickly become time-consuming if the same questions are being asked again and again.

An online community helps you tackle that problem with ease. Instead of responding to those same questions, you can create posts revolving around them and direct your customers for a quick-fix.

Better search-engine presence

Search engines such as Google always prefer sources that answer the search query directly. That is the reason forums like Quora pops up almost every time you search for a specific problem. From weight loss to business-related doubts to whatnot, they have mastered the art of forum SEO.

Also, having a forum also means having fresh new content added regularly, which is another factor that search engines look for.

Discourse

Easy to install and use, Discourse is a promising software to build your forum around a robust framework. It is entirely open-source and has some great features, which include:

Discourse also offers a hosted solution and got three different plans with the entry-level one starting at $100/month. All of them come with a free 14-day trial, so you can test everything out. An alternative hosted solution would be A2 Hosting.

vBulletin

Probably the most popular forum software out there, vBulletin is used by some of the biggest companies, including NASA, Sony Pictures, and EA. They were great back when they were founded in 2000, but now they’re even better after the launch of their 5th version of the software.

It costs $249 and requires you to look after your hosting, maintenance, and upgrades. However, if you don’t want to handle that yourself, you can additionally purchase the vBulletin Cloud that’ll take care of all that. Another option would be to choose a SiteGround vBulletin hosting platform.

Flarum

Flarum came in pretty late in the market as compared to others, but it quickly made its name for the awesomeness they provide. Just like Discourse, this software to has infinite scrolling feature that lets you quickly skim through discussions without having to turn pages.

Apart from that, you get:

The best part is, you get all those features free. There is no price tag attached to this fantastic software — A2 offers Flarum hosting from as low as $3 per month.

Insided

Used by brands like Kaspersky, Coursera, and Streamlabs, Insided is a software that lets you build online communication along with a knowledge base. They have smart integration that allows you to combine forces of a forum, help-center, and AI-powered system that shows the most helpful content in front of your customers.

This software comes with three different plans with exciting features on each that can be tested for free using their 14-day trial. After that, you can request a quote from them to purchase any of their paid plans.

Slack

Slack is a bit different than the other ones on this list because it is a collaboration software that is more focused on you and your team. It is great for interacting with your team and assigning support-related tasks for helping out the customers on a deeper level.

Their paid plans start from $2.67/user and go up till $5/user. Besides, they have a lifelong 100% free plan with limited features.

Mobilize

With features like deep analytic insights and massive data set, Mobilize is a tough contender that can hardly be ignored. It is trusted by brands like Dermalogica, United Nations, and SalesForce. However, it is priced slightly at a higher price for $799/month with unlimited admins and up to 50 groups. There is also a 100% free plan that allows up to 5 admins, five groups, and 5,000 members.

BuddyPress

BuddyPress is a flexible plugin that lets you build a full-blown online community on WordPress. With the plugin, you can customize every little bit of the functions like profile fields, account settings, email settings, notifications, etc.

There is no cost attached to it, which means you can download and use it free. If you decide to use BuddyPress and expect good traffic, then you must consider premium hosting like Kinsta or others mentioned here for optimal performance.

MyBB

Last but not least; MyBB is yet another free and open-source software to build an impressive online community quickly. It is extendable with your choice of themes and various plugins to spice up the features even more. You should be able to set up a fully-functional forum with ease, but if you encounter any problems, there is a super-friendly community that’ll guide you through it.

Not to mention, they have some great features like:

The best part is they regularly roll out updates fixing any bugs and errors for a better experience.

Conclusion

The above-listed software is all fantastic and lives up to their claims. However, when it comes to choosing one, it boils down to your requirements and needs. Most of these have identical features, but there are also some that stand out. All you need to do is identify your requirements and pick the most suitable one from the above list.

If you decide to go for self-hosted, then check out some of the best cloud platforms for better performance and security.

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