When it comes to opening a new forum you will find hundreds of tutorials on the web. A large portion of these will tell you to choose a niche which interests you. This is all good and well, but it doesn’t matter how much you love Australia, if you live in the US and have never been there then it is going to be hard to discuss Australia and post unique content about the place. It is important to have knowledge of the niche, not only be interested in it.
What sort of knowledge is the right knowledge though? If I want to open a forum about web design, isn’t it enough for me to know what a good design looks like? I could claim that because I have seen thousands of web designs I am a web design guru and for this reason I am well suited when it comes to opening a web design forum. Does this sound wrong to you? It happens every day! If you can write a 5 page essay which never repeats itself on a subject, then you may have enough knowledge on the niche to be able to run a forum about it. It isn’t just about past knowledge though. You need to be able to keep updating yourself and even see trends and changes before they actually occur. Otherwise, what makes you any different from any other forum of the same niche out there?
When it comes down to it, it is safe to say that knowledge and niche go hand in hand. When starting a forum for the first time you are better off going into something that you really know well to make the process as easy as possible. If you love soccer, create a forum about soccer. If you love comics, then make a forum about comics. As a new forum owner, avoid all niches related to administration, webmaster-related topics and programming. How are you meant to tell someone else how to run their forum when you have never run one yourself before?
If you have run forums before, the niche of admin may still not be suitable. People join admin forums to learn about forum and website administration so they can improve their own websites. Do you really have enough knowledge to help them do this? Have your past 3 forums that only reached 2000 posts each taught you how to make a forum really succeed? Everything is relative.