How to promote a forum?

Harry P

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Feb 3, 2015
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Hi everyone, I just wanted to know if there are any special techniques for promoting my own forum or just the same as promoting websites or blogs like adding to directories, social networks marketing, banner ad, Google adwords..etc). Any comments?
 

Mike001

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Harry,

Managing a forum takes a lot of work and quite a few good people that are willing to dedicate time to the success of the forum. I have run many forums throughout the years and the biggest issues that I faced was having the right people to respond to the questions that arise on the forum in a timely manner. Knowledgeable people on the subjects of the forum are a must.

Promoting my forums was a combination of many things.

1. I normally had my forums connected to a site that was focused on the subject area of the forum.
2. Practiced good SEO for both the forum and the site to raise the ranking as quickly as possible. With the speed at which SEO requirements are updated and changed this becomes almost a full time job.
3. Promoted the forum both with paid advertising and through like sites.
4. Good Content - Keeping the content related to the forum subjects and making certain that the responses to the questions are relevant and accurate.
5. Find a subject area that is not saturated with competitive forums.
6. If you are in a competitive subject area, find something that makes your forum stand out. Something that you offer that is different from your competitors.
7. Keep the forum up to date and stay on top of the subject categories as they grow in popularity. This may mean that the first year you are adding and deleting categories as you find what your users are most interested in.
8. Listen to your members and be responsive to what they are looking for. They can actually help you achieve number 6 if you are not to hard headed to listen.
9. Stay on top of Spam - this is a constant battle on a good forum. The more popular you become the more you will become a target of hijacking and spam.

Most of all be patient - building a good forum takes time, energy and patience. It will not happen overnight. Many of the better forums on the web have been around for many years and it took them many years to grow to the level that they are at today.

It can be done, but it will take time and energy. If your looking to get rich quick, that is not the vehicle and in fact most forums are run by a group of people that are truly dedicated to the subject that they discuss. They are not in it to make a lot of money and most of them barely break even when all the costs are calculated. If you add in the time it takes to maintain them, they most likely lose money every month.

Good luck and keep us posted as to how it is going. I hope you do well and if there is anything I can help with just let me know.
 

whland

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Sep 16, 2012
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I started promoting mine through twitter and have gotten a few signups from there.

Though it takes lots of work.

In the beginning I'll admit I did create some fake member accounts on my forum and talked to myself.

Then a few years later I started getting actual members and could quit talking to myself. lol

I haven't tried adwords though once I get some money I may give that a try.

But for now I'm just promoting through twitter, youtube, Facebook and other related forums.

Chad
 

Rob Whisonant

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When starting a forum you need to hit critical mass extremely fast for the forum to survive. Nobody want's to visit a ghost forum that has few or know posts. Here is one way to get a forum rolling that will have a chance to survive.

Start an email list on the forums subject. Build trust with your subscribers. Once the email list is of a large size, announce the new forum and give incentives to start threads and reply. Something like the top 20 posters in the first month get blah blah blah.

While this is going on, also pay a number of posters to keep the forum active. These could become your future moderators.

Once some good activity starts on the forum, start sending it paid traffic.

Keep your fingers crossed. :)
 

wms

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Jul 7, 2012
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Great post Mike!
I agree and keep all your advice in your post above, just some things need to be clarified

7. Keep the forum up to date and stay on top of the subject categories as they grow in popularity. This may mean that the first year you are adding and deleting categories as you find what your users are most interested in.
Do this you can make more broken links after you removed links of categories, for any URL structure of some forums, it also could affect URL of threads, which is harmful for your search rankings.

Are you do a research forum names (or its popularity) before putting them on your forum? If no, we can face problems as said above.

I also agree with you that removing or adding forums depends on activities of users are really wise ideas and I did on forums

8. Listen to your members and be responsive to what they are looking for. They can actually help you achieve number 6 if you are not to hard headed to listen.
But how if some members recommend or suggested you wrong ideas so it can affect your forum if you change according to their ideas. :D

For example: some people on other forums said that this forum theme is complex and not good for them and suggested me change to traditional layouts of forums

while some liked it or even I had dozens of emails asked to buy this theme ( mean they thought it was good for them and they wanted to buy). so if you are me, you will change template or keeping it as current one? what will change your decision?

9. Stay on top of Spam - this is a constant battle on a good forum. The more popular you become the more you will become a target of hijacking and spam.
You are exact about this, spams on forums are really a big problem for all forums, happen on all good forum CMS's. Do you have any experience on stopping spammers and spam posts? Would you share some in details?
 

Carlos Tabora

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Jul 7, 2016
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One way to do a "proof of concept" to determine the viability of your forum idea is to launch a Facebook group first. Make it a public group where anyone can join. This may help you determine the interest level and network with other people that can help you launch your forum later. You'll need moderators, seed members and a source for content topics for your forum. What better place to start?
 

trustdnb

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Aug 21, 2013
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trustdnb
I like this idea but if possible, can you give more information about creating and growing a Facebook for increasing traffic for forum?
I created some Facebook groups but they failed in increasing members and how to grow FB groups.
 

BillEssley

WMS Marketplace Seller
Joined
Feb 19, 2013
Messages
195
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Start an email list on the forums subject. Build trust with your subscribers. Once the email list is of a large size, announce the new forum and give incentives to start threads and reply. Something like the top 20 posters in the first month get blah blah blah.
That's a good advice but if you could build a large size of subscribers then you could not want to build a forum from it, start offering products to your list can be more benefits than offer them to the forum. Also, paying for top posters just help them try to increase post count without helping more for forum.
While this is going on, also pay a number of posters to keep the forum active. These could become your future moderators.
I tried to find posters on freelancer sites but it didn't work or they could not provide what I wanted.
Once some good activity starts on the forum, start sending it paid traffic.
Would you recommend some paid traffic sources that work as well for forums?
I am going to build a new forum for a niche that I like and it's also my hobby to connect people in same ideas.
 

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