Ever since blogging was catapluted onto the web there has been comparisons between blogs and forums. I believe that they cater to different needs of the web. Blog discussions are driven by the blogger(s) whilst forum discussions are driven by the members (although guided by forum admin). In the start forums struggle for activity due to lack of content and blogs struggle due to lack of comments.
There is a large % of people who have been more involved with blogs than forums and along the way people have forgot how much targeted traffic can be generated from the forum signature.
I’m sure you all know how forum signatures work. In lamen’s terms, a signature allows you to write something at the bottom of any post you make in the discussion community. Some people just write a slogan, others add a graphic and nearly everyone adds links to their favourite websites as well.
If you post regularly in the community then you will get clicks from time to time just because other members are interested in what site you might be linking to – namely, your blog. However the forum signature is very similar to comments to a blog with regards to driving good targeted traffic to your blog. The higher the quality of your posts in the community, the more encouraging it is for fellow members to drop by your blog and participate in discussions.
Dos & Donts
Unpopular and unpolite behaviour will get you labelled as a spammer in a community.
- Introduce yourself to the community – Giving a good impression of yourself to the community is a great way to make friends and contacts quickly in forums.
- Post high quality posts – Take part in the community as much as you can but try and make sure the quality of your posts remains high. Try and stay away from loads of ‘I agree’ type posts. You will hardly make a mark on the community if you dont contribute to discussions.
- Choose a popular community – I’ve posted in some quieter forums in the past however you need to remember that what your trying to do here is indirectly or directly promote your blog. So it makes sense to take part in communities that are really active in the topic your blog covers.
- Have fun – Dont post in the forums thinking ‘Oh i need to promote my blog’. Just enjoy yourself. After all, if the community covers the same topic as your blog you must be interested in it on some level.
- Spam – A bit of common sense. Dont go actively promoting your blog at every opportunity, particularly in your first few hundred posts. It will come across as spam and the forum owners wont be too happy.
- Fight – Try and stay out of heated discussions. Again, even more so when you are still new in the community. Who’s ever gonna back the new guy!
- Get on well with the forum owners/moderators – Linking to the forum, telling your blog readers, referring new members etc all goes a long way with the forum staff. They will be more likely to accomodate the odd reference to your blog in posts if you are showing them some link love.
If done right, bloggers can make a lot of great contacts and get some traffic along the way from participating in discussion forums that cover topics the same as your blog. By doing so you will also keep up to date with whats happening in your blog topic so thinking of what to blog about next will never be a problem.