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Thread: To Forum or Not To Forum, That is the Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Chico, Ca.
    Posts
    56

    Smile To Forum or Not To Forum, That is the Question

    I was just thinking ouch that hurt! Seriously I was thinking about the use of forums in our own blogs. As you can tell from the SSWT forum, alot of people visit here and there is so much interaction in just one day.

    Would a forum on your site increase traffic? I think it might. Has anyone tried this? I would love to hear any and all thoughts.

    Look forward to the webinar today.(No I am not going to post about having webinars on our sites!)

    Take care and have a productive day all!

    Chris Norman

  2. #2

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    Forums take a lot of time and work. I would not recommend a forum unless you were really established and had a good following. That is just me though...

    I'm sure it would increase traffic if you had a ton of great content to offer and had the time to devote to a forum.
    ~Angie~

    Visit Newton's Travels, a couples & multi generational travel blog!

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  3. #3

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    Hi Chris,

    Forums are definitely great, but this being my 7th year running a forum I will tell you firsthand that it is A LOT of work. If you decide to consider it at all seriously, buy and read Managing Online Forums by Patrick O'Keefe (you can get it on Amazon).

    Blogs also allow you to have a community feel and an ongoing conversation through commenting. See my blog at ClickNewz.com for an example of this - there are active discussions going on there every day as well (and much easier to manage/moderate than a traditional forum setup).
    Lynn Terry
    Site Admin

    Join us on the Internet Marketing Blog at ClickNewz.com!

    New! Niche Success Blueprint "Start to Profit" Step-by-Step Training

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    516

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Norman View Post
    As you can tell from the SSWT forum, alot of people visit here and there is so much interaction in just one day.
    That's because Lynn is very well known, and has a huge following. Once you do have that following it's OK, but trying it just to get traffic wouldn't work: your forum would be a ghost town

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adriana View Post
    That's because Lynn is very well known, and has a huge following. Once you do have that following it's OK, but trying it just to get traffic wouldn't work: your forum would be a ghost town
    Which I can tell you from personal experience, turns me off as a buyer and reader. I see an forum that's not very busy, I click away.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Albany, New York
    Posts
    366

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adriana View Post
    Once you do have that following it's OK, but trying it just to get traffic wouldn't work: your forum would be a ghost town
    I disagree with that. While I think having a following is important, it's definitely not a prerequisite to having a successful forum. After all, many of the successful forums that are around today, didn't start out with huge followings. That being said, having a following is definitely an asset.

    However, I think the most important asset is having the ability to create a buzz around your forum. But that requires a certain degree of marketing competency. Not many people have that type of ability. Can it be acquired? Sure, but it takes time.

    I'm in the process of launching my new forum, Reviews-by-Customers.com in about two weeks. And I can tell you from first-hand experience, there's a tremendous amount of work involved in forum ownership. Trust me on this, Chris. You have no idea what's involved in running a forum - and my forum isn't even live yet!

    I started extensive research and preparation nearly a year ago - because there was so much to learn - not the least of which was the type of forum software I should use. I finally decided on VBulletin, because of its superior security features and user-friendly administrative console. However, it's not a decision I came to easily or overnight.

    Chris, I'm not telling you not to start your own forum. All I'm saying is, do your homework.

    David Jackson
    Last edited by David Jackson; October 15th, 2009 at 05:39 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Vancouver, Canada
    Posts
    49

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    I have a forum which I've been running for the past 5 years for Virtual Assistants and trust me when I say...IT's TONS OF WORK !!! LOL

    Saying that it has all been worth it and brought plenty of traffic my way. In a nutshell, I created my own target market of Virtual Assistants by having this forum. At the time I was unknown (with no following) and I started out with just a handful of friends who were excellent at networking, loved virtual assistance and were good at chatting up a storm. Five years later I have over 12,232 registered members who have made a total of 116,386 posts and over 18,000 topics. It’s benefitted me not only in traffic for advertising revenue but I now also have a huge following of loyal customers who believe and trust in me to lead them right in the VA world that I can market to as well.

    Again tons of work but definitely a good revenue stream for me in the end. It helps that I love participating at my niche market so most of the time it doesn’t feel like work to me if that makes sense but more like socializing with like-minded business entrepreneurs.

    If you are going to do a forum, know getting into it that it will take up an ample part of your life. But if you niche it right, it could be very profitable for you too which is the end reward for all your time put into it.

    And don’t worry about having a following to start with, I didn’t. One thing you will need however if you don’t have a strong following of people is a very niched forum that has a unique attraction to it be it free resources, content, downloads, special topics, etc. Be an inventor and come up with a new idea. Someone did a forum for Delica Vans that are imported from Japan that I belong to because we bought and imported one…very unique! See it here: http://www.delica.ca/ Also, look at your competitors online and consider if it wouldn’t be easier to become an affiliate for Lynn and push her forum instead of creating another Internet marketing forum.

    I like the idea of having interaction via a blog as it is a ton less maintenance and something to consider over a forum.
    Tawnya Sutherland, CIMBS
    Certified Internet Marketing and Business Strategist
    BECOME a Virtual Assistant or HIRE a VA
    at my Social Network for Virtual Assistants

  8. #8

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    I know I may be biased and I have never had a really busy forum, however;

    In the beginning, a forum/board should not have to be all that much work.
    Just install it and start posting about your subject. google etc. will find it very quickly and then you will start to get traffic.
    post on other related board with a link in your sig file to your board.
    put the link in your email sig file, etc.

    promote it just like you would any other website.

    As it grows, you then have to "hire" some moderators/admins to help you run your expanding forum "business" just like you would any other type of business.

    There are many people with very successful boards that never even make a single post or visit their own boards.

    A blog is mainly so that YOU can talk about whatever you want. It is not really designed to provide a place for discussion about things.
    Yes, I know it can be done, but a bulletin board/forum is designed for it.

    just my 6 cents worth ( obama inflation is coming ).

    robert

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Albany, New York
    Posts
    366

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    Quote Originally Posted by robert adams View Post
    In the beginning, a forum/board should not have to be all that much work.
    I beg to differ. If a forum has a lot of unique content, someone has to write all of that content. And on my forum, that someone is me. Writng pages and pages of content is not only time-consuming - IT'S A LOT OF WORK!

    That doesn't even include the amount of time it takes to respond to posts, delete or amend certain posts and answer new member questions about how to use the forum. And I haven't even mentioned the technical aspects of maintaining a forum.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It's a labor of love for me. But make no mistake about forum ownership - IT'S A LOT OF WORK!

    David Jackson

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Jackson View Post
    I beg to differ. If a forum has a lot of unique content, someone has to write all of that content. And on my forum, that someone is me. Writng pages and pages of content is not only time-consuming - IT'S A LOT OF WORK!

    That doesn't even include the amount of time it takes to respond to posts, delete or amend certain posts and answer new member questions about how to use the forum. And I haven't even mentioned the technical aspects of maintaining a forum.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It's a labor of love for me. But make no mistake about forum ownership - IT'S A LOT OF WORK!

    David Jackson
    I said at the the beginning.

    at the beginning, you don't have many members so there is not much work to moderate or admin a board.

    as for content, normally your members create the content after you give them some basic discussions to get them started.

    I know that some people will create many many forums and topics to try to make a board look like it is very busy to prospective members.

    I agree that a busy large board would be a lot of work, but like I said, that is when you start adding moderators and admins etc. to take some of the load off you.

    luck,
    robert

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