Why You Should Use (Not Abuse) Forums to Increase Your Traffic

There are dozens of reasons why you should look up the forums that are related to your market and post to them often. Here are 3 to get you started.

1- Get to Know Your Market as both an Associate and An Expert

The research alone is a good enough reason to at least sign up to some forums and read. Just by reading posts in forums, you can hear what your market concerns are, straight from consumers. You'll be able to find what their pains are - look particularly for frequent questions that don't appear to have solutions.

For example, if you sell timeshares, and you join travel communities, you may often hear questions asking for the best times of year to visit a certain region or locale. With this information you could start a section at your site for every listing that tells the cheapest time to travel for that area, the best time of year for good weather, and other special bits of information a traveler might want.

When you're comfortable enough to begin posting, after watching the conversation for a few days, or perhaps even a week, you might find that new people have questions that you can help them with. By consistently becoming the go-to person, you increase your credibility as a knowledgeable expert, and people begin to trust your ability to provide information.

2- Increase Your Site's Visibility With More Targeted Links Back to Your Site

Many forums are run by hobbyists who aren't so much concerned with marking money from their visitors, as having an established community for discourse on certain issues. These forums will often allow you to leave a link to your site in every post. The ones that are open to public viewing for visitors are also frequently spidered by search engines.

If you set up your link correctly, you'll then have topical links back to your own forum. Even if the search engine spiders can't see these links at forums that can be viewed by registered users only, you will also find that once you become a part of the community, other members will click your link out of curiosity or because they're looking for something specific that you may have at your site.

Even forums that exist to gain more sales of their own products often allow you to post your link, especially if it isn't to a competing site. For example, internet marketing forums run by people who sell do-it-yourself SEO products may allow infopreneurs who sell a different type of product, such as an autoresponder service, to post their link freely.

The focus here, at all times, is to help other members, not just to promote your product. Your link is in your signature, so unless someone asks you a specific question, you get far better results from being helpful than you do by posting forum spam that gets deleted anyway.

3- Lurk, Listen and Learn

If you've been around forums at all, you already know that there are often 8 to ten times more people registered and not posting than there are people who actually visit and participate.

Reading without ever posting is commonly known as "lurking". I usually suggest that at least for the first week, you should monitor the community you wish to join in this way, just reading posts, and learning the personality of the forum you'd like to post in - this keeps you from committing any faux pas that might have you corrected by another member, or even worse, banned.

Sometimes you'll find a forum that is appropriate to read, but doesn't seem like the right place for commercial posting. Or you might find that you're there to learn and not to teach - or maybe you just don't have the time to post as you'd like to. You can still learn a lot by being a lurker.

When lurking in forums, your primary job is to listen (figuratively speaking) and learn. Again, pay attention to questions that come up repeatedly over the course of a month or so. Be on the look out for rumored product or technology developments. Find out who is the resident expert - maybe this is the key person for an interview you want to do, or an affiliate program you can join.

The most important thing you can learn from this exercise is what annoyances your market is experiencing. If you sell cat furniture, and you find out that a common complaint is availability in remote markets, maybe you can change your shipping policy to add international ordering and increase the scope of your business.

Anywhere you can fit a solution to a problem can bring you the sales you need. You may find out that you need to change your product, to enhance it, or perhaps to take out features your prospects just aren't interested in.

This is a good solution when you have the time to visit forums and post or read. As you become more busy, you'll find yourself at the forums less and less as a poster, so this isn't necessarily a permanent solution. However, if you follow these steps correctly, you'll soon have the traffic to foster more community relations at your own site as well.

Copyright 2005 Tinu AbayomiPaul

Tinu is a website promotion specialist who posts free information on a variety of traffic tips in her blog at http://www.freetraffictip.com.

In The News:


Candidates for Millburn Board of Ed participate in forums
NorthJersey.com
The seven candidates for three open seats on the Millburn Board of Education have participated in the first two candidates forums, sort of. Although it was presented as a "Meet the Candidates" event, the Millburn Special Education Parent Committee ...


Hollister Free Lance

Hesperia Chamber to host council, park district and school board forums
Victorville Daily Press
HESPERIA — The Hesperia Chamber of Commerce will be hosting three candidate forums over the next few weeks for City Council, Recreation & Park District and school board candidates. The forums kick off on Friday with a forum for Hesperia City Council ...
Chamber announces three all-candidate forumsRevelstoke Times Review
Election 2014: Woodburn and Mount Angel chambers to host candidate forumsHillsboro Tribune

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Staten Island Advance - SILive.com

In wake of forums, Grimm-Recchia battle still looks neck-and-neck (commentary)
Staten Island Advance - SILive.com
Michael Grimm and Democratic challenger Domenic M. Recchia Jr. went mano-a-mano for the first time this week, appearing at forums in Brooklyn and on Staten Island. The Brooklyn forum, at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center, a true head-to-head encounter, ...

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Two Howard forums raise fresh issues during campaign season
Baltimore Sun
With forum season in full swing, Howard County voters of all stripes have an opportunity to see candidates close to their communities or at debates tailored to their interests. With about a month to go until election day, there have so far been forums ...


Few show up as Sangamon County health forums begin
The State Journal-Register
RIVERTON — There was a sparse turnout Wednesday night at the first of five public forums on ways of improving the health of Sangamon County residents. A half-dozen people listened and asked a few questions about the data presented by officials from ...

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DesMoinesRegister.com

5 forums set for voters on Dallas County project
DesMoinesRegister.com
Five public forums have been planned this month for Dallas County residents to learn more about a proposal to build a new public safety complex and administration facility. The ballot for the Nov.4 general elections asks voters whether officials should ...


Help us quiz the candidates at our election forums
Corvallis Gazette Times (blog)
This prevents those "gotcha" questions ("Mr. McInally, is it true that you once shouted inappropriately at one of your cats?") that rarely add much insight in forums like these. If I like your question, I might ask it at one of the forums. And I hope ...

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Battle Creek Enquirer

Battle Creek, Marshall holding candidate forums
Battle Creek Enquirer
The Marshall Business Association and Area Economic Development Alliance will hold a candidate forum from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at Schuler's Restaurant, 115 S. Eagle St. State candidates in local Senate and House races will attend, along with ...


Clackamas Community College hosts informational bond forums at Oregon City ...
The Oregonian - OregonLive.com
Ballot Measure 3-447 would update and modernize equipment, labs and facilities so students are trained to meet current industry standards. Ballot Measure 3-447 has been developed to keep the current average annual tax rate the same. If the measure ...


Forums on outdoor recess scheduled for Thursday
Milford Daily News
The forums were scheduled in reaction to parent and teacher concerns voiced at the Sept. 18th School Committee meeting. At that time, the School Committee was told that morning outdoor recess had been moved indoors to comply with state regulations on ...

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