I do not want to sound like I know it all...but here is my take on forums and associated things. I will speak to my forum because that is what I am most familiar with.
Because it is non-profit, the forum is run like a club. It is a closed forum with invited membership of friends. It also avoids a lot of issues by not being public.
I suppose one has to determine the rational for the forum's existance, and then build the forum membership accordingly. For me, it was solely a means to stay in touch with fishing friends and exchange info and ideas. Profit was not a factor....the idea of profit was actually something we avoided.
is the rational, then I suppose you want as many page views as possible to satisfy the sponsors. But if you are not for profit
then you strive for the most active and contributing membership. Lurkers and silent members do not help the forum in this scenario. You want the most informative and benificial page view ratio.
But, it could be set up as a profit based public forum (with paying sponsers)
To remain add free and have Proboards host it the cost runs:
$7/ month gets one 50,000 page views
$14/month gets one 100,000 page views
With approx. 100 members ACTIVE... we do not even approach the 50,000 page view mark. (maybe SpeyPages or The Hull Truth generate more monthly views ?).
From the number of posts seen here....i would doubt that we are approaching 50,000 page views a month. If so, the membership is not engaged or actively participating?? (lots of views...but no posts)
The ProBoards software allows all of the extras we all have come to use. PM's, photo posting, notifications, spell checking, etc. The software is intuitive and easily allows one to structure the forum and get it running. It appears as professional as any I have seen. Even for a "non-programming" guy like me...it was a 2-3 day setup time to get up and running. Pretty easy.
I know nothing about forum rights and migrating to another host. But...why not just start NEW? Is that a possibility for you?
Good luck in these difficult times of forum readership