Friday, October 08, 2004

Discussion boards

What is a discussion board?

Discussion boards are common place for your website visitors to discuss about the predefined topics. They are also known as bulleting boards. Every one can discuss their opinions/views on available topics/issues (commonly known as threads)
Most of you might have already used some kind of discussion groups like experts-exchange.com , google disussions etc
Eg.
1. Webmasterworld.com has a discussion board that covers all topics related to webmasters starting from webhosting to website submission and internet marketing.
2. BMSCEIAA discusses all alumni association related topics like scholarship sponsoring, meetings, future plans etc.
Administrator will have control over all posts/replies and hence can control almost all activities of the board from user registration to threads moderation.


Whats the use of it?
· Involve your website visitors in discussing about your favorite topics related to your website.
· Very good media to attract repeat customers.
· Value added service for your customers to express their views of issues/services/products related to your website.
· You can collect survey information from your discussion group members through polls.
· More hits to your website through discussion group as search engines index these topics.


How to install one?
You need to have some basic understanding of website control panels. Further instructions of installation available on the respective websites of the discussion boards.

What are the popular ones?
I am reviewing 2 major BBs
Phpbb – This is a open source discussion board developed using PHP and works with various databases including mysql, ms access, sql server, oracle etc. It works best with mysql database. This is one of the most widely used discussion board. Good for small to medium discussion boards. Since the code is open source it can be used for free, and you can change the layout according to your website template. I have installed phpbb discussion group on manvish and BMSCEIAA site.
Provided by http://www.phpbb.com
Various accessories for phpbb (like more admin options and hundreds of other useful goodies for phpbb) available at http://www.phpbbhacks.com

Vbulletin- This is another popular discussion board provided by http://www.vbulletin.com This is mostly used on high traffic sites. Its also famous for its powerful control panel for admin. This software costs around $165 and a demo version of the software is available on their site.

Comparision of phpbb vs vbulletin

Conclusion
Discussion group is an indispensable tool for any webadmin who wants to see more traffic and activities on his site.

Was this Useful...? Comment on the post.

5 comments:

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