Hope all is OK. In your absence, I've been busy working on the new Uechi site upgrade and participating in a number of very successful outside EA forums.... and trying to learn from these administrators.
Anyway, here is one administrator's formula for success, which he gave me permission to post:
. . . first of all.. the number of posts does not necessarily means one is a good admin or member .... just that one is either really fanatic or has lots of time to write (both for me... ).
Seriously... having a successful forum depends on a few things... and they are not necessarily 'scientific'.
1. Most importantly one must have a subject that is interesting to a large group of people. Without that, not many will visit and repeat visits will be non-existent. The xxxxx forums I am involved with (there are quite a few apart from ours) is 'popular' because there are some 400.000 people world wide who are entusiastic XXXX. THAT HELPS!
2. You must make it very 'personal'. people must 'know' you as the host and they must feel 'at home' and 'cared for'. That means giving them LOTS of attention. Which in turns means a big investment from the host's side, i.e. YOU ! It also means having people use 'real names' as much as possible.... personally I hate those forum where all participants only use silly nicknames and you have no clue who (or what) they are. But I guess I am old-fashioned
3. The forum must be 'friendly', i.e. no harsh words, no cynical remarks, no users going at each other's throat. (Especially in martial art forums with lots of testosterone) that is not always easy.
4. Last but not least, the forum must contain intersting discussions and people of course
I think those are my four main 'rules'. It works in the xxxx forums, it also works in quite a few other forums I run and ran...... so call it a proven concept
Hope this helps, Kind regards, .. . . . . .