Thank you for the two interesting links.
I had not known about ESL forums until I accidently
discovered one more than a year ago while surfing the Net.
Having never run a business, I had no idea that it took a lot of
money to run an ESL site. As one visitor, here are my views:
(1) Is there some way to advertise this website so that more
people throughout the world know about it?
(2) I agree with the person in one of the links who said that
an ESL site should be "friendly." Visitors should feel that they are
genuinely welcomed and cherished.
(3) Personally, I have no problem with website ads. In fact,
some people might welcome them. For example, you could start a
classified ads section. Listings could include language schools,
grammar books, tutors, job opportunities, etc.
(4) The freemium idea sounds good. I understand that it works
for some newspapers, such as The Financial Times. The New York
Times is introducing it in 2011. If I really, really, really wanted a
reliable answer to some particular question, I might be willing to
pay a reasonable fee. (Of course, you would be deluged with
people needing answers to their homework!!!)
(5) Of course -- as someone said in the link -- the most important
thing is the website's reputation. (I think that a popular word
being used in the United States nowadays for reputation is
"brand.") The goal: Whenever anyone in the world wants
an informed answer (that is, an accurate answer), s/he will
automatically think: I shall go to usingenglish.com because
I know that it has a reputation for supplying informed answers.
(Of course, this may mean that only teachers accepted by
you will be allowed to answer visitors' questions.)