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:

UL to host forums for sheriff, council, parish president
The Daily Advertiser
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, along with The League of Women Voters, will be hosting a series of forums in September, featuring candidates running for Lafayette Parish Sheriff, Lafayette City-Parish Council and Lafayette City-Parish President.

and more »


A Louisiana governor's forum will be broadcast live Wednesday night -- without ...
Louisiana Public Broadcasting will air its first live governor's race forum of the election season Wednesday night, but a presumed frontrunner in the race won't be there. U.S. Sen. David Vitter's campaign said he never agreed to participate in the ...
Dardenne Solos at Forum, Fires on VitterWRKF

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Springfield mayoral candidate Sal Circosta criticizes Mayor Domenic Sarno's ...
SPRINGFIELD – Mayoral candidate Salvatore "Sal" Circosta said it is a "pretty sad state of affairs" that Mayor Domenic J. Sarno recently said he is too busy to participate in a series of candidate forums, including three this week, but has time for a ...

and more »

Forums planned for at-large council candidates
Worcester Telegram
The Initiative for Engaged Citizenship said it will host a 2015 Worcester City Council At-Large Forum series in partnership with Worcester Common Ground, the Worcester branch of the NAACP, and a coalition of other nonprofit community organizations.

and more »

Upcoming election forums
Waterloo Record
28 — The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with 570 News, will host a candidate forum for the riding of Kitchener South-Hespeler: Monday, Sept. 28, 4-6 p.m., at the Waterloo Region Police Association, 1128 Rife Rd., ...

Channel News Asia

PAP, 5 Opposition parties to appear on televised political forums
Channel News Asia
The English- and Chinese-language forums will involve the representatives discussing questions submitted by the public and curated by Channel NewsAsia. In the English-language forum, the parties will be allotted time to state their positions, followed ...


Springfield mayoral candidate Johnnie Ray McKnight calls mayor's absence at ...
SPRINGFIELD – Mayoral candidate Johnnie Ray McKnight, in a prepared release, said that Mayor Domenic J. Sarno's decision to not participate in forums or debates before the Sept. 8 preliminary election is "disrespectful" to the voters and the community.

and more »


Chicago mayor tries to build support for harsh cuts at budget forums
Emanuel, along with his budget director and chief financial officer, will take suggestions from the public at the evening town hall meeting, followed by two more such forums on Wednesday and Thursday. Emanuel has not held a public budget meeting since ...
School protests hijack Chicago mayor's budget forumThe Fiscal Times
Chicago taxpayers sound off at Mayor Rahm Emanuel's public forum on city budgetWLS-TV

all 71 news articles »

Community forum at Okemos church set for Sept. 24
Lansing State Journal
OKEMOS – Faith Lutheran Church will host a community forum on issues of race, ethnicity and culture at 7 p.m. Sept. 24. “We have decided to hold a series of community forums to have an honest conversation about the reality of racism within us and ...

and more »

Two Valley forums this month to focus on teens' use of meth, heroin
Terre Haute Tribune Star
The second forum is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 10 at Gibault Children's Services, 6401 S. U.S. 41 in Terre Haute. Mary Beth Mullen, an addiction therapist at Hamilton Center, will discuss heroin use among young people, including the health risks ...

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