So, let’s say you’ve just started a new forum. You’ve sorted out the theme, rules, sections and all that lovely stuff needed to kick start off the community. What is left to make it’s presence known? The members are yet to make their debut! The members are the very heart of any online forum, they keep it alive and running. You won’t get very far unless you have some active posters who constantly create fresh content by posting threads and replies. Perhaps you’re stuck on some ways to get some potential members to join your community?
This article is written to give you advice on ways to advertise your forum, in which some of them you may recognise. Though, if you come across any new ones, make sure you do them the right way and give them a try sometime!
We’ll be touching upon Signature Advertising, Affiliate and Post Exchanges, Posting Packages, and Advertising Space.
If you’re active on other forums, where you are posting frequently on those forums, signature advertising may be used effectively. Using an advertising image or simply a text link may be enough to bring in some new members. Just make sure the image isn’t too big, has a catchy slogan embedded on it and some vibrant colors to make it stand out from the rest. You can get a graphic designer to make one for you, if you don’t have the required skills. Also, wrap the url bbcode around your image, and add your forum link, so that it makes the image click-able. Keep one thing in mind though, make sure that the banner complies with the signature rules specific to that forum (if they exist), otherwise you may be in for a shock!
Also, if you are going to use text links, try to make links short as possible but to the point.
These can be very useful, if you come across active communities based on the same niche as yours. Small advertising images (known as affiliate buttons) which measure 88×31 pixels in size, are the standard size in this type of advertisement. You can request to exchange affiliates, by contacting the owners of those various forums or sites, and providing them the link to your own forum and the 88×331 image button. If the owner decides to accepts, they will have the button displayed on their forum. Though here is the thing you would need to know, you will have to return the favor and do the same for them. Animated buttons are an option too, But make sure they are simple and not too distracting.
Many promotion forums may have this system in place. The way this works generally is this:
- You will need to either start a thread, or read through an already existing exchange thread of another member.
- You’ll need some details though, the obvious one being whether you’re after posts or threads or even both.
- State a number (5/5 posts for example) and specify where you would like the posts to be made. The typical option being the main sections of your community.
- The other member will then do the posts on your forum, in which they will expect you do the same amount of posts on theirs.
This can be a good way of gaining new members and making your forum appear more active. The downside would be that the exchangers may not stay and be active on your forum, unless they genuinely want to contribute freely to it without participating in post exchanges. In this particular case, this would mean you just gained an active poster and a friend!
These are similar to post exchanges but with a number of differences. What are they? Lets get to the differences.
Posting Staff known as Packagers, complete posting package requests that are requested. In order to request one of those packages, your forum must meet certain requirements (such as needing 5,000 posts or more). The packages vary, and may contain a mix of both posts and threads. Depending on which one you would like or would benefit you more, you should choose wisely among the options. Most packages you will find, are commonly paid by forum currency, while there are other types of packages that may be priced according to real cash.
Some might say that posts and threads gained by using this method are not ‘genuine’ because they’re not created by free will, but rather because people are being paid to do such.
Buying Advertising Space
Most ‘big time’ forums may have empty box spaces, that are suitable for those seeking to advertise on those forums. You could potentially buy the space to promote your forum. Depending on how active the forum is, and the location, this could provide a lot of exposure for your advertisement. The most commonly used location would be at the very top of the forum. The reason? It is easily seen by a large majority of the members and guests. Real money usually is the payment option for use of this system, and your banner ad will generally be only be listed for a limited time before being replaced by another ad.
Word of Mouth
This could be considered one of the most powerful way to advertise your forum! Let your friends and know about your community! If they end up liking it, they will end up recommending the forum to their friends before you know it! This could potentially increase the number of potential members to your forum, and you may end up getting a goodly number of new users at your forum if you’re lucky. Use Social Media to further promote your forum, to reach out to a larger audience. Your friends and family can also chip in and advertise your forum too, if they are willing to help you out at the beginning.
There are more ways other than these, in which if you think about it, the possibilities are endless! Some may be more preferred over others, thats to be expected, but every little advertising idea helps! Advertising and gaining members is not an easy task, but don’t feel discouraged if things don’t work out.
Try to keep these tips in mind:
- Affiliate Exchanges: Supplies a small advertising button, to be used on other forums, but you will be required to return the favor. It will be listed in an ‘Affiliate’ designated section. It is also a good and effective way to reach out to members of a forum, although it’s only a small image that is used.
- Post Exchanges: A good way to start of your forum with new content, whilst other exchangers also benefit in the process. Posts and threads are commonly created on your forum, and the other party will expect you to do the same – Make sure you complete your side of the deal, or there will be problems! If they decide to stay, then that is a plus for you!
- Posting Packages: Packages are completed by staff on promotion forums. You are able to choose from a range of packages to suit your forum’s needs. Gaining extra members, posts and threads can give your forum that much needed boost to help keep it going.
- Buying Advertising Space: You can use your own banners to be displayed at active and much larger communities, which will attract many visitors! Buying ad space can be costly, But it can be well worth it! Make your banners appealing and simple to round up those guests and hopefully get them to join!
- Word of Mouth: Tell a friend about your forum! They will in turn tell their friends! This can be a great way to get your first few members, and who better than people you know personally? You can use sites such as Twitter or Facebook to your advantage to promote to a much larger audience.