An internet forum is an online community of people where users can hold discussions and conversation on topics specific to that particular forum. Forum software is a CMS provider that allows webmasters, marketers and individuals to create free or paid forum websites easily. They provide their own themes, designs, tools and other forum features inbuilt with the packages. Forums are usually created by businesses and internet marketers as a discussion platform for their customers and potential users.
There are many forum platforms out there that allow users to create and host discussion websites. Some of the most popular ones have been described here.
Plush is the most polished, user-friendly forum experience ever, featuring real-time discussions, beautiful design, an integrated blog, member directory, private messaging, paid subscriptions and a world-class mobile experience.
Discourse is a free open source forum builder application that allows users to create community websites and host or embed them online.
Disciple is a community-building platform that allows users to build different cohorts of people focussed around specific topics.
Simple Machines is a free open source forum software package that allows anyone to create an online forum community within minutes.
Packback is an online knowledge-sharing forum where users can ask questions related to different fields and get answers for them from fellow users.
Amino Apps is a discussion forum and community where like-minded people meet and discuss things they like.
MyBB is simple yet powerful community builder software that can be used to create unlimited number of engaging and powerful forum websites.
Tapatalk is an online mobile home. In this software, you can interact...
phpBB is a free forum software and hosting platform that allows users to easily create a customized and unique forum website in minutes.
XenForo community forum software allows users to create fast and engaging forum websites easily.
Mighty Networks is an online community management software that intends to bring together people and businesses through content, courses, event, and community.
vBulletin is a popular community software used to create beautiful and user-friendly forum websites.
ProBoards is a message board service that is available for free and remotely hosted.
bbPress by WordPress is forum software that lets website owners embed a basic question-answer, community support and discussion platform to their websites.
Codementor is a solution that enables freelance programmers to help other developers, business owners, developers, in programming guidance.
Phorum is free, open-source PHP and MyQL based forum software that can easily integrate itself with any website or platform that meets its basic requirements.
MemberHub is an online community management tool to manage groups over the internet.
Flarum is a free forums software and CMS platform, suitable for personal discussions and business communities.
Vanilla Forums is community forum software for personal use, small businesses and enterprises.
Hivebrite is a community portal to connect, manage, and engage your members, be it they are your supporters, employees, or alumni.
CX Network is one of the most renowned names in the customer experience industry.
UBB Forum is a hosted, business-class forum application suitable for businesses of all sizes.
ZetaBoards is a forum hosting platform that enables you to build sustainable communities.
Muut is a community management tool embedded in websites. It creates forums...
VerticalScope is a community platform where people ask and answer doubts on various products.
FluxBB is a fast, user-friendly and reliable forum application for any website with PHP4 or higher.
Eminent clients say that after using too many website platforms, Brilliant Directories have helped businesses grow in unimaginable ways.
Memberium is a powerful plug-in feature that combines the goodness of WordPress with the robustness & technological progress of Infusionsoft.
Kunena is free, open-source community software for Joomla. It is easy to...
Nabble is a forum hosting platform. It provides embeddable applications that can...
Website Toolbox is an online platform that allows companies to create their own customized forums in just a few simple steps to interact more efficiently with their customers while also promoting their content for a broader audience.
Burning Board forum software is built on the best and the latest technologies to make it easier and fun for users to build up and run a successful community website.
NodeBB is a modern community platform designed to suit the needs of individuals, small businesses and enterprises.
IPS Community Suite
IPS (Invision Power) Community Suite is an online community platform that provides various apps and CMS for users to build solid forum and community websites on the web.
Honeycommb is a unique online application that helps consumers to realize their idea of the perfect social platform for their businesses.
esoTalk is free, open-source forum software for the development of lightweight and simple community websites.
Higher Logic Online Community is an online platform that offers companies of all scales customized solutions and strategies to utilize the resources effectively and grow their business.
Codoforum community software provides free forum CMS for website owners to integrate an easy, beautiful and fast community platform to their websites.
Tribe Community Platform is an online software solution designed to provide an interactive social experience to users for increased user engagement.
It is rightly said that communication can make or break your relationships, be it personal or professional. Effective communication draws the line between confusion and clarity. For businesses, this means not only boosting employee engagement but also interacting with your customers regularly. Now, this is where forum software platforms become a staple in stitching together the audience and every other stakeholder in your business. Your online community is your asset, and any forum software will help you build a thriving community, thus empowering your community.
Types of forum
In a forum environment, there’s content, and there are discussions, debates, questions, etc. A forum may be used as a discussion forum, the most common option. Here, you can let your customers start discussions with each other and enable them to solve several issues on their own, just from knowing the experiences of other fellow customers. A good addition to this standard discussion forum is the question and answer forum where you basically follow the Q&A pattern to answer customer queries. You can choose the user-generated content as the suggested answers or dive in yourself to answer a question as a member of the company, thereby promoting brand awareness. Both these are meant for the public open-to-all discussions. But what if you need to pass on an update to a particular employee or customer. Do you take the hassle of finding out the person’s email id and sending them an email? Gladly, you won’t if your forum software also has a private messaging feature.
Encourage communication and engagement
The boost to employee and customer engagement is undeniable for forum software tools, even in the age of social media. Forums facilitate discussions like no other platform. Shared experiences lead to a sense of belongingness, thus leading to the formation of an engaged community. People can head over to topics that interest them and choose to take part in discussions wherever they find their inputs to be suitable. More often than not, email conversations are impractical and delayed. Searching through emails for that one desired answer can easily be replaced with a forum software’s answer threads on that particular topic. Some platforms would also allow you to pin the essential points so that you can come at a later date and have issues in finding the answer. When you don’t have the opportunity to present your project query to your manager or colleague, you can turn to the forum in search of answers. In the FAQs there, there’s a high possibility that someone has already answered your question.
Driving collaboration with the forum software
Productivity and proficiency are the primary benefits of collaborative initiatives. When all the heads come together with their ideas, the best output ensues. Someone’s strength will complement your shortcomings while their troubles can be solved by you or yet another third person. Teamwork introduces an environment of healthy competition and high-spirited work. They bring out the best in the person, and the best tool that initiates it all is the forum software. Here, you can unleash your creativity, get feedback, and, together, deliver a successful project, possibly ahead of the deadline. A forum software, therefore, works both ways, in creating an internal knowledge base for your organization’s employees as well as an open-source knowledge base for the community of customers.
Finding the best forum software for your enterprise
Now that you know your enterprise needs a forum software. It is irrespective of your organization’s employee strength, its size and outreach, and the industry of your products and services. The forum software will depend on your planned community project requirements, and that includes finding out what exactly your customers and/or employees are interested in sharing. You can start with the likes of MyBB, SMF, phpBB, etc. and then once your organization starts expanding, you can shift to a more advanced community-building platform. Most of them would transfer all your data from your previous software so that you do not have to start afresh and leave behind all past discussions. You can also go for professional hosting with forum support if you want the forum to be a part of your contact channels on your web store.