Additional tips

Good First impressions.

As stated on the home page, a Style which is nice and appealing can be a key successor point in a forum; however you need to make a good positive impression. Such as the activity of your Forum; is it active or not? You ideally want to show that you can keep old members, so you can [try] to promote them however possible, such as offering premium membership, etc. and this'll make it more noticeable, and relax the general atmosphere of the forum. If people see that old people remain it offers a bigger chance that you attract them, because the way they look at it; “Is it a nice place? Is it a place I see myself being at for a good amount of time?”

You also want to make sure the “Active Users List” doesn't overload too much, you don't want activity in the last 12 hours that will confuse people. Keep it to 5 minimum, 30 maximum, and that will determine whether a forum is active. Also, “Forum Junkies” can easily point out this, so be careful.

When first starting out I'd also recommend throwing in some competitions, such as Staff promotion, but for those of you who like to be the one in charge and the “Top Dog,” maybe make a competition for best poster and throw them in Premium Membership for a set time, such as 2 weeks, 1 Month, OR, if you're really generous 6 months. This will make a good first impression and also build up the “Trust status.”

Affiliate with other free forums based on the same subject.

As briefly stated above this can help attract members, you ideally want to get a good amount of affiliates and in turn advertise their sites for their troubles and also support their sites. However, don't go mad on doing this; keep it within the subject, you don't want to advertise your site on something like a Hosting site when it’s based around Sports.

As briefly stated above this can help attract members, you ideally want to get a good amount of affiliates and in turn advertise their sites for their troubles and also support their sites. However, don't go mad on doing this; keep it within the subject, you don't want to advertise your site on something like a Hosting site when it’s based around Sports.