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Starting with Paid or Free Software


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That depends on what kind of project it is. If it's a forum, I would start with a paid software to avoid both confusing my members later on and avoiding the mess of converting and migrating to a new platform.

"Even if everyone agrees, everyone can be wrong."

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Depends on the project and your budget. There is nothing wrong with starting off with free software really especially as MyBB is a great option for forums with its large choice of themes and plugins.

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15 hours ago, Jason said:

So if you are confident enough the project will surely hit a big mark then you will go with paid else if it is for fun then free and then paid?

Sure, that is a perfectly fine and reasonable approach. 🙂 

I am not confident that this forum will be popular enough to justify its costs, but I started with a paid forum software anyways because I know I will be able to offer a better user experience from the start if I go with a professional forum software instead of a free forum solution. And I hope that this improved user experience will help attract new registrations and increase user engagement, much more so than what could be possible using myBB or any other free forum software.

But ultimately, whether you should use a free or paid forum software is not that important. It's your websites content and community that's important and what'll drive user registrations and engagement.

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"Even if everyone agrees, everyone can be wrong."

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/3/2021 at 5:14 PM, Jason said:

One better thing is we don't need to convert from free to Paid and face conversion error if there is a need in future.

Yeah, I remember when I converted a rather large phpBB forum over to IPB a couple of years ago. What a mess that was.

"Even if everyone agrees, everyone can be wrong."

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I start with paid software but I will say there's nothing wrong with starting the free route and then migrating later. The fact that they have those migration tools are all the reason to start a forum now and then migrate when it gets enough posts for you to be satisfied.

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On 7/11/2021 at 7:33 PM, JennyorAlice said:

If the project fails, you're not out anything other than the time put into it.

This is true. But that also got me wondering if you are also more prone to close down the forum if it doesn't seem to succeed shortly after launch? I've seen many forums that start out and then just disappears when the admin lose interest because of low activity. That has at least got me as a member wary of joining new communities - especially forums using free software - because I don't want to "waste" my time on a forum that could potentially close down after a few months. 

Running an online community these days take effort and patience. Your community might not be successful until a year or two after launch - if it ever becomes successful. If you spend actual money on the forum software, you might stick around longer and see through the first tough period. 

On 7/12/2021 at 4:25 AM, TopSilver said:

The fact that they have those migration tools are all the reason to start a forum now and then migrate when it gets enough posts for you to be satisfied.

Yes, and if you decide to go with a free forum software for your community, make sure that the paid alternatives actually offer a good migration tool for your free software so that you can easily migrate everything later down the road. It's not enough that they have a migration tool, go and read the fine print on their tool and see what they can and can't migrate and convert from your free forum software. 

"Even if everyone agrees, everyone can be wrong."

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On 7/11/2021 at 6:33 PM, JennyorAlice said:

It's easier for some people to start off with free forum software.  If the project fails, you're not out anything other than the time put into it.

True, although you could just keep the software for a future project if that is something you want to go into. And if it really goes wrong and you don't want to create another project, you can sell it to someone.

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I always go with paid if I have the option too. Especially when it comes to forums, in order to compete in a market that's already dying it's easier to start off with a paid resource over everything else!

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On 7/18/2021 at 10:28 PM, Ash said:

And if it really goes wrong and you don't want to create another project, you can sell it to someone.

Just make sure that you are actually allowed to sell your license to someone else. I know some licenses can't really be transferred and some companies downright forbid you to sell a licence to a third party. For example, I think IPB has generally been less than happy with such license transfers. But I could be wrong...

On 7/19/2021 at 4:44 PM, Xyphien said:

I always go with paid if I have the option too. Especially when it comes to forums, in order to compete in a market that's already dying it's easier to start off with a paid resource over everything else!

Exactly! The forum niche is extremely tough and competitive these days, and paid forums are premium for a reason (more features and UI improvements, and so on) so why not start with the best possible experience for your users?

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"Even if everyone agrees, everyone can be wrong."

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I've always preferred free software for my projects. I'm retired due to health issues and currently on benefits, so my cashbox isn't exactly full. Running a forum is mmerely a hobby for me, anywa. I don't have plans to turn it into an investment or anything 

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  • 3 weeks later...

If I was new the the new game then I would start off with free to begine with to see how well or what the resuilts are going to be. If I love it and have some good joy from the resuilts and I wanted to go that next step higher with the funds that I have then I go forward to battle. 

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On 4/1/2021 at 3:56 PM, Simon said:

Sure, that is a perfectly fine and reasonable approach. 🙂 

I am not confident that this forum will be popular enough to justify its costs, but I started with a paid forum software anyways because I know I will be able to offer a better user experience from the start if I go with a professional forum software instead of a free forum solution. And I hope that this improved user experience will help attract new registrations and increase user engagement, much more so than what could be possible using myBB or any other free forum software.

But ultimately, whether you should use a free or paid forum software is not that important. It's your websites content and community that's important and what'll drive user registrations and engagement.

Yes. Paying is much more professional if you are serious with your idea/project. And content is alway king. Now if I could just attract some "content creators" I'd be sitting in high heaven. Because I prefer to be in the background. I am getting over that, but it has taken a long time.

Plus you really can't beat Invision. They are the best at what they do.

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On 7/23/2021 at 3:46 PM, Simon said:

Just make sure that you are actually allowed to sell your license to someone else. I know some licenses can't really be transferred and some companies downright forbid you to sell a licence to a third party. For example, I think IPB has generally been less than happy with such license transfers.

I did not know this. Interesting. One way around this for sure would be to form an LLC, make the "buyer" a member, make yourself a nonmember and voila transfer complete.

Nothing they could say legally.

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On 7/14/2021 at 12:36 PM, Simon said:

This is true. But that also got me wondering if you are also more prone to close down the forum if it doesn't seem to succeed shortly after launch?

 I've had my original one going since 2017/2018. I have 36 members total with 13 being my test accounts. But I keep paying that $45 per month!😆😆😆

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On 8/17/2021 at 9:25 AM, GenXXanon said:

 I've had my original one going since 2017/2018. I have 36 members total with 13 being my test accounts. But I keep paying that $45 per month!😆😆😆

Yep, no matter what you do, some forums never really seem to take off. I run a few communities and one that I've had since 2017 is just like that. So, I am planning on doing a complete rebranding with a new domain name, design and layout/features. Hopefully, that'll make it more popular. 

"Even if everyone agrees, everyone can be wrong."

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