Now this is the story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down and Id like to take a minute just sit right there, Ill tell you how I became the admin of a forum called TechSupportForum.
While I have had experience running a few BBS' back in the day, none was for money. I switched over to websites kind of late in my opinion, it was not until around 1998 that I had my first website. My first websites were hobby sites. It wasn't until the middle of 2001 when one of the computer support websites that I visited decided to start charging for access to their website. While I had received help from the site, I also helped many others on the site. I just couldn't see why I should pay to help others. So I decided I would start my own.
I started off, believe it or not, with phpNuke around October 2001 and a domain name of ezdrivers.com. This was quickly found to be a mistake. The software was buggy and just didn't seem to fit. On January 18th 2002 I ended up registering TechSupportForum
.com. At that time I also switched to vBulletin, which at that time it was version 2.2.2. By May 23, 2002, I had 640 members, 791 threads and 3,269 posts. By February
04, 2003 we had a much better design 2,427 members, 4,309 threads and just over 28,000 posts. As you can see, results were fairly slow compared to many others who launched their forums.
I've tried to add some advertising along the way but never really made any money. Most months I didn't cover the expenses of running the site. But it was more fun for me running the site then for me to worry about making a living off of it. At the time I wouldn't have dreamt that possible anyway. Over the years, I've tried many things, and have made many mistakes. I got myself into a bit of debt through the site, ok, a good amount of debt. I learned that a good host is important. I had a bad database crash with one host who wouldn't help at all with trying recover any of the files nor the database, and I ended up having to use a backup on my computer that was six months old. The next host had connection problems for about a month refusing to believe anything was wrong with the server. After that I switch hosts again and found a really good host this time.
In September 2003 I setup Google Adsense. The first three days I didn't make a penny. Then the forth day I set it up I made $3.69. The rest of the month it was in that range. A few months later I started making in the xx.xx a day range. Today I manage to make enough to pay for all the sites resources, pay off the debt the site had got me into, and get improvements done to the site. While I'm not going to be the next Bill Gates, nor have I decided to quit my day job, The site is full filling most of the time.
Today the site has over 172,552 members, 178,524 threads and over 1,124,937 posts. Last month we had almost 1 million visitors. The site is still growing strong, and provides me with new challenges and learning experiences. My advice for anyone starting out, is to expect some challenges and difficulties. Just work your way through them, learn from them and try not to repeat them. If you keep through it, you can succeed.