How to ask for help on support forums

Help others help you

Forums like the GoDaddy community (for GoDaddy customers) or Stack Exchange (for web developers) are a great source of help and education, usually from knowledgeable volunteers.

And that’s the key thing. These are unpaid volunteers taking time out of their day to help other people. If you want to get their help, you need to put some effort in of your own.

Here’s how to do it.

Follow these tips to effectively use support forums.

Here are some quick tips to enhance your chance of getting the information you seek from community support forums.

1. Search the forums first.

The forum is already chock full of helpful posts. You may find that the answer you seek is already available. Plus, this helps to avoid duplicate topic posts from mucking up the forums. Note: Don’t hijack an existing forum thread with your new request. Start a new thread, in the appropriate forum, using the tips in this tutorial.

2. Share information about your setup.

Be sure to note the platform (hosting, eCommerce software, email, etc.) and version you are using. This helps people determine whether or not they can help you; and it provides an important starting point for troubleshooting your problems.

3. Explain what you’ve tried so far.

Explain in detail what you would like to do. Include what you have done so far, and what the results have been. Also include any specific error messages you may have received. What were you doing or trying to do when you got stuck? The more info you can provide the better!

4. Summarize the problem in your post title.

Be as precise as possible with the title of your post so that folks that can help know at glance what the issue may be. This will also be helpful to other members who may run into the same issue down the road. A bunch of threads titled “help me please” are more likely to be ignored. Try this template for your titles:

  • Trying to (complete X task) on (name of tool/product), (what happens).
  • Error message (error code) on (name of tool/product)

Including these details in the subject line helps experts skim the forum and find the threads where they can provide the most help. The easier you make it for them to find your post, the more likely you are to get the help you need.

5. Hang out and help out.

These are community support forums. This means everyone has an opportunity to help other people out. Look for questions that you know the answer to, or know part of the answer to. Some of the best support threads are the result of many people contributing bits of knowledge, rather than one person answering all the questions.

Help others help you!

By following the above tips you’ll have the best chance of receiving the help you desire — while making it easy for those who are here willing to lend a helping hand.

Need help with your domain name, website, web hosting, or email? Looking for an opportunity to share your expertise? Check out the GoDaddy community


Also published on Medium.

Image by: pabak sarkar via Visual hunt / CC BY

Judith Kallos
Judith is an established Business Coach and WordPress Consultant who has run The IStudio® for more than two decades. She assists Netrepreneurs who want to create effective websites while tutoring them on the best practices that are necessary to their long-term prosperity. You can also find her extending a helping hand as a Community Founder and Trusted Advisor over on GoDaddy's Community Forums.