Forums can be a lot of fun. Plus, they can reward you in the end, if that is, you follow some of the tips I’ve outlined below. Forums can also be profitable, allowing you to put cash into your pocket. A lot of people are trying to start forums these days and sometimes they can be really successful. Follow the tips below to learn how to make your forum a successful one.
Don’t Rush It
Never rush a forum. It won’t become as successful as many that are out there today. Forums grow over time and need to grow slowly and steadily. Forum Promotion is one example. Quite a few years ago, Forum Promotion was just starting out, and wasn’t receiving as many posts or activity as it is today. And that’s common. Successful forums aren’t going to become successful right away, unless you are one of those people with a very rare/ unique idea. By looking through Forum Promotion’s News Archives, you can see how the site started out, and slowly became more and more active over time. Patience is key. Take your time and let the inspiration flow!
Limit Your Forums
Don’t start out with 30 forums on your board. Most forum administrators say they do this when I interview them because it allows users to post in various niche forums. When in reality, it shows that your forums have a lack of posting activity, and they usually won’t be as successful. Don’t add only 3 forums, either. This will make your forum look very vague, and will drive away potential members. If your forum becomes very successful, adding more forums is okay. It is an added area for your userbase to post in. Not everyone plays Xbox and not everyone owns a motorcycle. Slowly add your forums over time, and you’re likely to become more successful.
Reward Your Members
Have fun on your forum! Throw monthly giveaways, or other promotions that give your members that extra incentive. Be careful with this though because members may only join because of these promotions. You don’t want that, because over half of your userbase will be people that only login once a week to see if you’re giving away something for free.
Limit Your Ads
Nobody likes hundreds of ads in their face when they’re trying to browse a forum. This includes pop-up ads as well. It’s alright to have a couple of ads here and there but make sure that they’re relevant to the forum; not AdSense ads that honestly, don’t make sense half the time at all. You may want to provide a group that doesn’t see these ads, which brings me to the next topic.
Ads can be a pain to some users, and some may just pay you to stop seeing them! Another way premium memberships can be sold is to allow premium users to have their own giveaways, extra upgrades like PM space, banners under their username, and colored usernames. The more incentives you give, the more likely you are to sell. Don’t try selling your memberships for $5 a month when you first start out, or you’re not as likely to be successful. Throw a promotion that makes them only $1 a month, or $10 a year! These kinds of promotions will help drive more revenue to your site.
Spread Your Posts
Don’t post half of your posts in an off-topic forum. This is one of the worst ways to boost your post count. Spread out your posts, and don’t post them all at once. If a guest sees that half of your 3,000 posts are in an off-topic forum, it isn’t a good reflection on the reputation on your forum to them, thus making them less likely to join. Try to maintain around a 1 topic:6 post ratio. This will make your stats look more appealing.
Nobody likes it when you steal their posts. Don’t post other people’s content, or allow your users to do the same. Make sure you register with a site like Copyrighted.com to protect your website from copyright.
Lengthen Your Posts
Make sure that most of your posts aren’t numbers for a “Count to 100” thread, but make your post around a sentence or two. Don’t boost your post count simply by posting one-word posts, otherwise you’ll hurt your forums reputation.
Say No to Spam
Try to keep up with your posts and make sure that none of them contain any spam, or links to spam. Also, have your users let you know if your members are receiving spam via PM, then submit all of your spam logs to spam databases like StopForumSpam.
Listen to Your Users
What do your members like to do on your forum? Create a Feedback forum or email address, where users can give you the feedback to make your site more successful in the long run. Users can help you with your forum in so many ways, and some will even ask to help you out by working for you for free! Listen to what your members have to say and see their opinions and suggestions!
Purchase Reliable Hosting
Free hosts aren’t really the best. I recommend paid hosting, because they “own up” to their offers. Some free hosts offer unlimited space yet they only have around a 67% uptime. The basic phrase to keep in mind is “You get what you pay for.” There are a lot of great hosts out there, and I’ve experienced a few. Read a few reviews about a particular host before purchasing a service to see what their clients have to say. Also consider using a CDN such as CloudFlare, which can cache your website and improve page loading speed and performance.
Purchase a Domain
A great way to earn more traffic is to purchase a domain name. I find coupons through Google that are still active for GoDaddy, giving me a great deal. If you don’t have the money, try out a free domain name extension, such as a .tk domain. Search “Free TK Domain” and register one for free!
Submit your Forum to Search Engines
Make sure that you send your forum to search engines. Many hosts have a built-in tool to do this, and some even do it for you! Make sure that you know the difference between do-follow and no-follow backlinks, where no-follow will not help your SEO at all! Make sure that your forum was submitted, and after a while, you’ll see “Bots” crawling your website adding your content to their search indexes. After a few days, try searching your forum, and see where it lands in the search results rankings!
Promote Your Forum
This is my last tip and perhaps the most important part of this blog article. Make sure that you get the word out about your forum. Don’t spam forums or buy backlinks or you’ll hurt your forums reputation and SEO. Check with all of the forums that you plan to promote on, and read all of their guidelines and rules regarding advertising. Some forum administrators don’t allow advertising on their forum so make sure that you read all guidelines and rules at least twice through. Forum Promotion is a great site to promote your forum, allowing you to submit your forum to their directory for free and bump it every 48 hours! FP also offers services such as Posting Packages and Post Exchanges, which is a great way to build posts and gain activity on your forum. FP also offers forum reviews, which allows you to get detailed feedback on your forum; praise and compliments, as well as areas that may need some improvement. There are many promotion forums out there, and a lot of them will give you extra exposure. Many people forget this, and their forum ends up going nowhere because no one knows that the forum even exists!
I thank you for taking the time to read this article, and I hope that you’ve gained knowledge on promoting a successful forum. Good luck!