I thought I would post some tips on how to attract new members to your new website - and also post some things to avoid.
Things to do
In order for any website to succeed it needs to have good, original content. This is the single most important thing you can do. Every time you make an original post, you are making your website better. It doesn't matter if you have a cool skin. It doesn't matter if you have great hooks, modules and applications. What really matters is the original content you post on your site. Posting original content should be done daily - several times a day.
Be patient! Rome wasn't built in a day - and neither will your website. You have to be patient and dedicated to your site. In my experience, it takes weeks (and even months) for websites to get new members on a consistent basis. So you have to have a lot of patience, and while you're demonstrating this patience you need to continue to add content each and every day.
Another very important thing to remember is that you are the driving force behind your website. You created it, and you are its original member. You should be active, and actively adding original content every day. I can't stress this enough! If you show interest in your website, others are more likely to follow suit.
SEO. You absolutely want your site to be rich with good keywords etc. You want your site to be indexed by Google and Bing. This will drive traffic to your site. What's the best way to get stuff on your site indexed? By adding original content! Are we seeing a theme here?
Promote your original content! There's nothing more discouraging to a visitor than seeing an empty site. So do not promote your website! Instead, what you need to do is specifically promote the original content you've added to your site. For example, let's say you wrote a good article for your site - or perhaps you added some good downloadable content . . . this is what you want to promote. In other words, you want to direct people to what your site offers, so promote accordingly. Simply showing someone your site will not work! You have to nudge them in the right direction.
Use social media!! Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are great places to promote the original content you've added to your site. Reddit and StumbleUpon will also drive traffic to your site. So when you create your site, you should already have your social media accounts dedicated to your site set up as well.
Encourage interaction. When you promote your original content on social media (or wherever), you want to do so in such a way that it encourages people to actually respond to what you've promoted. A good trick is to ask questions when you promote something. For example, let's say you post a movie review on your site. When promoting your review, ask people what they thought about the movie.
Email your friends. People become your friends because you share many common interests. If your website interests you, there is a good chance that it will also interest your friends. So send them an email and ask them to join your site . . . but make sure you have lots of original content on your site before you email them.
Things to Avoid
Never promote an empty website. People are creatures of habit. If they see an empty website they will not stay - because there's nothing to look at! Worse, they will never return! So make sure you actually have something worth promoting! As I said earlier, you have to be patient.
Don't be complacent. When you create a website, it falls to you to begin filling your site with original content. If you don't know what kind of content to add to your site, this is a good indication that you should never have made the site to begin with. Don't expect others to rush to your site to fill up your forums. It doesn't work that way. You have to do it.
Don't be desperate. As I said earlier, it takes patience and dedication to run a successful website. You should be prepared to work hard, and yet you should also be prepared to not see the fruits of your hard work for weeks or months. It is extremely rare for a website (even if it has loads of original content) to get noticed right away.
Don't be stupid. People are not idiots, so don't try to "trick" them into joining your website. Don't dangle moderator positions in front of people, especially if there's nothing on your site to moderate. We all know that you're just doing this in a desperate attempt to get members. Simply put, anyone you blindly hire as a staff member using this "trick" are probably the most unreliable, untrustworthy, immature bottom-feeders on the internet.
Don't think that making a website is hard work. What I mean is this . . . . anyone can make a website. It isn't difficult. Creating forums, adding a skin, logo etc is child's play. The hard work comes after the website is made. If you are not willing to work hard by adding original content to your site, you're just wasting your time.
Don't make a website just for the sake of making a website. Before you make a website, find a topic you're passionate about. Find something that you will be excited to see day after day after day. Never make a website for other people . . . make it for yourself. If you love your website, and you do a good job adding original content to it, it stands a much better chance of getting noticed.
These are a few basic do's and don't for when you are trying to attract new members to your brand-new website. There are lots of other things you can do, and there are lots of other things to avoid, too.