I currently have a home-made forum. That forum is hosted on LunarPages, and uses PHPBB version 2. The present forum has about 9000 registered users, but only a small fraction of those people actually use the forum each day.
The forum serves no value other than education, and a small amount of adsense revenue. I do not benefit from advertising exposure, for example, as I do not accept patients needing Suboxone (a treatment for opioid dependence). I am a 'recovering person', and that is what serves as motivation behind the site. What I'm hinting is that I do not have significant resources to invest in the site; my addiction cost me greatly and so my decisions for the site are significantly influenced by the need to pinch pennies.
With that in mind, I'm deciding whether to leave it 'as is', or to try to upgrade it, and perhaps increase adsense revenue. Upgrade would include transitioning to a modern version of phpbb, or changing to a different program. BUT-- the value of the site is the large number of discussions that are already there. The database would have to be moved, so that present content is not lost. This is paramount.
I would like the URL of pages to reflect page content. There is a 'permanlink' plugin for php that does this, but it does not work in version 2-- but I think it would really help with search traffic if the URL's were relevant.
Finally, I would be interested in someone else's thoughts on design. I find most forums to be 'cheesy', with too much scrolling artwork--- I would like a simple forum that looks more like a magazine or journal or newspaper, but that has a 'classy', clean look to it. I don't know if I can spend the money on design-- but I'm interested in seeing what such design work would cost. Finally, I have other web sites-- a blog at and a youtube channel, and other pages-- all currently linked to one website. I would be interested in hearing ideas to pull them all together, or at least combine the forum and blog. This is not NECESSARY, but if someone feels inspired, I'd be interested.
Thank you for your help!