Originally Posted by neilward2
Can you give me any tips for creating a high traffic forum offering lot's of value to my members? And how to keep my members there using the forums once they are in?
I don't think you should try to make any members stay and use your forums once "they are in". Members come and go all the time, even more so on popular forums. The difference with a popular forum is that there's more traffic, which means that the amount of people who do come and go are 10x more.
It helps when the forum is a spin-off from a website or blog, like Steve's. That gives a more solid framework on which members can build upon, rather than just a bunch of empty boards that invite people to talk about different topics.
There really isn't any forum that comes pre-loaded with lots of value for its members. That's called a website, or a blog. Forum members share value between each other, which gets indexed, and to which visitors (potential members) get referred to through search engines.
Ask yourself if the world needs another forum about niche x
. It sounds like other companies have already established forums in this niche, so naturally search engines are referring new visitors there.