Forums are best used for networking and building relationships. If you gain traffic from forum participation consider it icing on the cake. The relationships you develop from participating in forums can be far more valuable than any traffic you may receive.
There are thousands of forums. Find and choose a few good niche forums to participate in. To find a niche forum just use the search engine of your choice and search for “keyword + forum (online forum, Internet forum, chat, etc).” You could also use Big Boards to find some of the biggest and most trafficked online forums on the Internet.
Skellie of Skelliewag.org wrote a guest post at Problogger.net, “Build Your Blog With Forum Traffic.” The post is a great outline of the potential use of online forums and how to leverage that potential. Mohsin of Blogginbits.com in “How To Use Forums To Drive Traffic To Your Blog,” talks about different ways you can drive traffic to your blog using forums. But what makes a good forum? How do you choose which forum to participate in? The key to successfully using forums is knowing how to choose the right forum for you and your blog.
Here are a few characteristics to keep in mind when choosing a forum.
Membership Size: Bigger is not always better. Sometimes its better to be a big fish in a little pond. But, be careful with smaller forums. Smaller forums are often more intimate. Smaller, more intimate groups are usually more tight knit. With a smaller forum, it can be more difficult to become a respected member.
Active Member Participation: Members actively responding to other members is a good sign of a strong open community. If there are a lot of forum posts that have heavy viewership but few responses, this could be a sign of a closed clickish forum. But, it could also point to a need for more active members. That is a need that you could fill.
Forum Traffic: Traffic is important. But, just as with a forums membership size, heavier traffic does not always mean that it is a good forum. With Internet forums as with blogs and websites its the quality of traffic that matters. A low traffic forum may have a small yet really closely knit group that once you are a member of will bear great fruit.
A Positive Forum Community: I know of very few people that want to be involved with a negative community. You should steer clear of forums that have a negative atmosphere. Its up to you, but, do you really want negative traffic being focused back to your blog? A negative community is one that has a lot of flame wars or particularly brutal flame wars. A community where moderators participate in this type of abuse or do not step in to extinguish the flames are not communities that I want to participate.
An Open Forum Community. The fastest and easiest way to tell if a forum promotes an open atmosphere is to look for the “Introduce Yourself” topic area. If few current members respond to a new member announcing themselves then it may not be a very open community. Even more telling is if and how moderators respond to new member announcements. Pay attention to even the slightest negativity in this area. reading comments here can really help you gauge the forum’s atmosphere.
Topics Of Interest: Obviously, if the forum does not offer topics that you are interested in or topics that you are blogging about, it is probably not the forum for you. Don’t promote your blog there. I have seen it before. All you are doing is creating a bad name for yourself.
There are a lot of great online communities. Use these 6 characteristics to help determine which online forums are worth your time. One other thing you should keep in mind. You never know who is participating in these online forums, stepping out of line, breaking forum rules, spamming, participating in flame wars, can have far reaching affects. If you are not careful you could drive traffic AWAY from your blog instead of TO your blog. Many people use pseudonyms on forums, so you never know who may be there. Remember its all about networking. Bad karma begets bad karma. Participating in forums is always a good choice for your blog promotion strategy.
10 Ways To Increase Website Traffic With Forums
By James Pruitt
Ever since I started out online, forums have been my first source of traffic for almost every website that I have started up, and the results have been amazing. I have found that they are an all in one stopping place for everything that I need.
Some of the benefits you can get from forums include:
- loads of people interested in your niche
- 10 Ways To Increase Website Traffic With Forums
- content ideas for new blog posts
- research for industry trends
- links to other blogs that you can follow yourself
- authority within your niche built over time
- relationships with other business owners in your niche
1. Branding Yourself Vs. Promoting Yourself
On a very rare occasion, it is okay to throw in a link to your site (as long as the forum rules allow it) if it is highly relevant to the content in the post, but overall, you really want to just answer people’s questions, and rely on them finding your site through your signature file. This brands yourself in the minds of the readers as an authority to listen to.
2. Become a Leader
Establishing authority and becoming a leader within your niche will help you increases website traffic, but most people never seem to get it right. Check out this video on the Tony Robbins Blog about how leaders are servants. Apply this approach to your forum marketing and you will be rewarded for your efforts.
3. Research Your Niche
All the posts and categories in a forum are a great place to get keywords for your niche. keep a running list of the most frequently asked questions, and pay attention to the words and phrases people ask. if a thread gets more than 2 or 3 posts on it, you can probably get enough information to write an article on that topic.
4. Focus On Value Not Traffic
Provide more than you ask for in return. I often post 5-10 times a day in forums, and I am always trying to answer questions based on my own experiences. I focus on providing value, and I consistently get traffic from doing this.
5. Be Consistent
Just like anything else, you need to be consistent in your efforts. I set a daily goal for how many posts I want to leave in a forum. This way, I make sure that I am helping people, but I don’t waste all my time there (which is really easy to do).
6. Pay Attention To the Noise
There are a lot of really great forums out there, but sometimes forums get so much noise that they really won’t do you much good.
For example, within the IM niche, the Warrior Forum is one of the most well known forums around. However, there is so much noise going on there that it is hard to stand out and have your own voice heard.
Look for smaller forums, and don’t waste time on the forums that will drag you down. Your voice will be heard a lot easier on less popular forums, and you will increase website traffic through your signature file.
7. Save Your Posts
Some of my best articles and blog posts have come from answering a question in a forum. most of the time, when people ask questions in a forum, there are loads of other people looking for those same answers. I keep a running folder on my deskstop of posts that I have made in forums, and I refer back to them when trying come up with new blog posts or brainstorming guest posting ideas.
8. Use Your Signature Properly
I see alot of people trying to use their signature file for an affiliate link. This is bad form, and generally not allowed by most good forums. Instead, link to your blog. Also, don’t try to cram links in there. One or two links will do you more good than trying to fill it with links to a lot of different things.
9. Use Paid Forums
A lot of people don’t want to pay for a forum, but they miss the opportunity. This will do you absolutely no good with Google, because they cannot index your links on private pages. However, it does help you to get loads of highly targeted leads.
I have bought products and joined membership sites just for the purpose of getting access to the private forums that they offer. These are all targeted buyer leads, and if you are using that product yourself anyway, you can build your reputation pretty quickly by helping the new members as they get started.
Also, if you spend a lot of time helping these paying members, the forum owner will want to get to know you, which leads me to the final tip I want to share with you today.
10. Get to Know The Owner
The owners of forums are often also product owners. These people generally have a huge list of buyer prospects, and if you help them with their forum, they will notice, and they will want to help you as well.
I have gotten free products, and made quite a few friends with people who otherwise wouldn’t give me the time of day, simply because I spend time in their paid forums helping their members. I have gotten free coaching on how to improve my own marketing, and even gotten a few of them to promote my site to their proven list of buyers.
Finding a forum can take a bit of time, but in the long run, it is the best way to increase website traffic quickly, and build your reputation within your niche market.
Have you tried using forums for your business?
Share your experiences with forums, and how you use them to increase your traffic.
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