8 Tips for Starting and Maintaining a Successful Online Forum
Nothing promotes a business online better than staying in touch with prospects. The more interactive the continued contact, the more of a relationship that is built with a potential client.
This business principle of continued contact and business relationship building has given rise to the popularity of online business forums, and of course, "theme-related" online forums. Online forums quickly establish empathy, set forum owners up as "experts" in the eyes of visitors, and serve as a promotional vehicle for other products and services that forum owners seek to sell.
While online forums are popular and the perfect method of relationship building, starting a forum and maintaining one can be challenging, especially in the beginning when members can be "few" and "far between". The challenge for most new forum owners is to get beyond the initial start up phase and move onto a phase where the forum members themselves promote the forum simply by posting.
Although each forum is individual and personal, a few general guidelines should be followed or at least kept in mind when starting and maintaining an online forum. These are as follows:
1. Take care when choosing the type of forum and forum script or software that will be used. The forum should be easy to access, easy to use, and come with "visitor- friendly" features. All visitors should be made to feel welcomed and find the navigability of the forum, user friendly. Forum scripts and software, especially "free" varieties, may be overburdened with ads from the parent company and lead to a poor experience for visitors.
2. The forum should have a good number of interesting and focused topics. The content should reflect the interests of the target audience, and every care should be made to have well-written and informative content that is updated regularly. This not only helps attract new members, it keeps older members from losing interest and defecting to other forums.
3. The forum should be Search Engine friendly. High activity forums, like popular blogs, provide a great reason for Search Engines to visit them frequently as they are brimming with fresh content all the while. Dynamic urls, session ids, etc. used by most forum software can be very detrimental to the forum health from Search Engine point of view.
When selecting a forum software, check if they are Search Engine friendly. Open source software like phpbb, have mods (modifications) developed by third party sources, to enhance the forum in many ways.
Here's a great mod for phpbb to make it Search Engine friendly: http://www.able2know.com/forums/about15132.html
4. The forum needs to have a clear list of rules, a disclaimer, and most of all, good solid moderation. Visitors will quickly become frustrated with forums that have no clear guidelines, or feature rude, obnoxious, or overbearing members. Good manners are required as much online as offline.
5. Promotion, especially in the early days, will take considerable time and effort. Forums can be difficult to start (members generally are "shy" when there are only a few present), and the more posts that take place, the more individuals will join. This is a "snowball" effect of forums, so marketing must be done consistently, day in and day out, until the forum becomes more self-sustaining.
6. The owner of the forum should take an active interest in the forum and SHOW this interest by contributing regularly. Above all else, people join forums where they feel they will learn from the owner of the forum, and if the owner is never present, they quickly lose interest in the forum.
7. The forum should be targeted, yet diverse, encouraging older members to contribute, without making newer members feel uncomfortable. Cliques can form in forums, and this type of behavior should be discouraged by the owner and moderators. Every effort should be made to answer questions or comments by all members as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
8. As with all other Internet related ventures, care needs to be given as to hosting and maintenance of the forum. A forum that is always experiencing "downtime", will lose members quickly, and a forum that has many coding mistakes will quickly frustrate visitors. As with Web sites, "cheap" providers of hosting and maintenance are not always "better".
All in all, online forums can be a great way to generate income, develop a good reputation among clients, and provide entertainment and instruction for many individuals. Like with everything else, however, they take marketing savvy, and a great deal of time and attention to detail. The old saying, "You only reap what you sow" really applies to the world of online forums.
Vishal P. Rao is the owner of: http://www.work-at-home-forum.com/ An online community of people who work at home.
10 Commandments To Maximizing Your Time In Forum Participation
1) Gain an idea/keep in touch of what is happening in the Internet Marketing scene (strategies, product, news).
Get Traffic & Sales Using Discussion Forums
Message boards, discussion forums and newsgroups can all produce very profitable results for you and your business. Most of us already participate in one or more of these and the more you participate the bigger the benefits to you and your website will be.
The Demise of EZBoard
For years, EZBoard was a community that offered relatively cheap and easy to maintain forums for managers. Virtually anyone could register, design, and layout a site and invite their friends to participate. Indeed, some of the largest forums on the internet are built upon EZBoard. Unfortunately, a recent system-wide hacking attack has destroyed the company's reputation and sent many managers packing. Let's look at the venerable community and the fatal flaw that has toppled the company from its perch.
How To Maximize Your Profits With Forums
Forums are one of the most effective free internet marketing strategies if done correctly. Many people participate in online forums for different reasons. Especially in internet marketing forums, they use it for getting advice and answers to their questions.
Reward Your Forum Moderators
If you are a forum administrator and you have moderators on your site who are doing a stellar job, consider rewarding them for their assistance. No, I am not necessarily talking about financial compensation, but other recognizable forms of showing your gratefulness.
Forums: How DO You Get People to Post!?
Running a web forum is no easy task. If you own one, you know how labor-intensive it is. You spent hours perfecting your forum. You thought up dozens of categories and topics. You customized the interface, set user permissions, sent out welcome emails. Tons of members signed up and logged in. Time for the payoff, right? Wrong. People log in to your forum daily, yet no one posts. Why?
Intro to Health Forums
Health forums are great for gathering information, resources, advice, tips and tricks, business names/information, product reviews, expert advice and much more. Many forums have experts on health subjects that are monitoring the forums 24/7 and are very quick to reply to your post(question).
Whats The Deal With Discussion Lists? (Part Three)
Why Do People Start Writing Discussion Lists?
Internet Forums - Six Ways To Avoid Disaster
Internet Forums are highly popular, they cater for all tastes and deal with every topic imaginable. People visit Internet forums for a variety of reasons, the most common being the search for information or entertainment. The Internet forum is a safe environment if you behave sensibly but you can find yourself in dangerous territory if you ignore the following warnings.
Search for Business Partners Effortlessly
With the internet revolution ushering in new modes of communication everyday, building contacts is no longer an arduous, time consuming job. In fact, if you are looking for effective and easy ways to search for business partners, the internet provides a ready answer. Today we have a number of successful and friendly ebusiness platforms which allow us to build networks of contacts, search for business partners and establish business communications effortlessly.
Whats The Deal With Discussion Lists for Writers? (Part Two)
What Are the Advantages and/or Drawbacks of Subscribing to Discussion Lists?
The Benefits of Hiring Forum Posters
There are many business benefits to be realized by including a forum on your website. A forum is an area where individuals can converse on a regular basis about different topics and ideas as well as discuss your services and products. Of course, you can have different threads and decide more or less what topics are in your forum, but you will need to have people posting in your forum to keep interest and people returning.
Using Message Boards Properly
We all have our own reasons for joining message boards. Maybe its to meet some friends, or find some ideas for your business. Maybe you just needed a place to announce your party. Whatever the reason, are you using them properly?
Make Money From Forums
If you have a website about a topic you enjoy, you can make money from discussion forums. Talk, post links to your site, get traffic. Traffic means money, right? If not, try different affiliate programs or Google Adwords. The worst sites should get a couple cents per visitor. Now here's how to talk and make money.
Forums - Why You Might Want One And How To Get One...
Several people have asked me about setting up a forum on their website recently, so I thought it might be helpful to cover this topic for the benefit of all my readers.
Forum - A Free Way to Get Traffic
Forum is a gathering of people normally have a common interest on certain topic like investing, health etc. People in forum can share ideas, ask questions, socialize get help and give advice.
Using Online Marketing Forums to Jumpstart Your Home Business
One of the most wonderful things that I have discovered about the network-marketing world during the past few months are online forums. These forums offer so much to enrich both your online working life and your knowledge of this sometimes confusing, often frustrating world of home-based business, internet marketing.
Forums ? Should You Have Them On Your Website?
Forums have become a common feature in many websites. With good free scripts available, and paid scripts being relatively cheap, it seems that every new website has its own forum(s). But is it wise to add forums to your website?
3 Reasons Why PHP Message Boards Rock
If you are web designer, chances are you include forums on at least some of the sites you manage. If you haven't explored PHPBB2 you are missing out as this type of message board offers to designers a forum that is well supported, easy to manage, and above all else: free! Let's see why PHPBB2 is a hit with so many web designers.
Forums are a community where a group of webmasters can post a discussion on different topics, like running an online business, web promotion, marketing, web design, etc. You can post questions asking for advice and learn a great deal of knowledge from others who participate. You can also participate by answering questions that you are well versed on.
|home | site map | Add to Favorites|