How to Be a Great Host

by John Gladding

29 Reader Comments

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  1. Another approach to make your website scaleable, without any javascript involved, is to consequently use a relative size for your content.
    Just ensure, your website design does not rely on pixels: they are bad when it comes to zooming. You can instead define a base font-size (say specify font-size:small for the body element) and further on use relative font-size (eg. “font-size:smaller” or “font-size:120%” for all other elements.
    This, of course, also works for images: Just specify the width and height of your images using em and ex (eg. foo.png). If your source image is large enough, it still will be displayed in acceptable quality as todays browsers scale it good enough.

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  2. Really enjoyed John’s article. We’re just now making the move into forums and blogs ourselves at, starting with a couple of blogs. We had an interesting set of discussions internally and wound up pretty much agreeing with what a number of the readers here have pointed out—namely that great content will be what really drives usage to the site and that.

    We chose to go down the blog path first because we liked the idea of starting off each of the threads ourselves and keeping a little bit more control over the feedback. But reading John’s article makes me think that we might be able to encourage a freer level of communication with our users if we go the forum route.

    Thanks for a great read.

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  3. This article is right on. A couple of points to add:

    Creating an online community can succeed even in a small audience so long as you have good content that people can be passionate about.

    A great way to make your forum succeed is to not hide it away in the “forum” section, but figure out ways to blend it in with the rest of your content. If you can query a database there is no reason why the forum software has to be the only way to access its content. Weaving topics in with your content really makes your whole site come alive.

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  4. The largest forum spamming software has a default forum category to post to. These are General, Common, Business, and Adver. So to avoid a majority of software spamming your forums you can rename these forum categories or just not have them at all. Ive done this on a few forums and you can see the drastic reduction of spam.

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  5. Ive been running a forum for about a year now.  The main purpose of it was for me and my friends stay more in touch when we didnt see much of each other.  It was a big hit at first, but about 6 months in, it fizzled out.  Now it just sits there, with an occaisional post here and there.  A friend of mine, who writes a web comic suffered the same fate.  The forum was built for fans, who mostly consist of classmates, to dicuss snd speculate the comic, as well as talk about other interests.  His, just like mine, started out great, but died, even faster than mine.  Any suggestions on how to rejuvinate and keep our forums alive?

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  6. What are you donig?????

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  7. Great Article

    It can benefit greatly any support forums, where you want answers to your questions, but might be totally wrong for a “close friends”? forum where people mostly want to socialize.

    Getting a Forum up there can be quite hard, it takes times, good work


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  8. It’s really very valuable. I am in the process of creating forum on my website. Your’s instructions give me some better ideas; which I am definately looking forward to implement. The things on which I am working now are:
    *I want the installation to be fairly straight forward.  *Users should be able to subscribe to a forum and have the option of having all the messages posted to that forum sent to them as emails.                              *It would be nice if they could respond by email or click a link to respond.  These options make the forum look like an email list but with the ability to go to the website as well. *I want users to be able to post messages that will be visible for a long period of time, such as 1 year.
    Again thanks for yours instinctive, certainly easy and above all functional concept.





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  9. I loved the article a lot!

    This is the first time i thougt about, being a host in the net!

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