Online forums have always served as a great place to find new ideas, opinions, and discussions. Long before blogs and social media sites were around, forums gave visitors a great platform to share valuable or interesting information with their peers.
You’d have passionate brand loyalists, tech troubleshooters, travel guides and so on in online forums, ready to lend a helping hand to newbies and pros alike. And because these places were actively under the authority of forum moderators, discussions were fluid and to the point; a far cry from today’s unfettered social media comments.
Though they are considered remnants of an earlier Internet age, forums played a fundamental role in the development of the Internet and continue to be valuable even in 2014.
If you own a forum, it can certainly be difficult to compete with social media and blogs and keep users engaged and interested. However, forums continue to play an active role in the online ecosystem and are actually one of the highest paying advertising channels online. So, to help you keep your forum buzzing and your visitors coming back, here are three tips for generating more activity on your forum.
Help People Solve Their Problems or Learn New Things
Bombarding people with ads and worthless content is a surefire way to chase your audience away from your forum and ensure that they never return. However, if you give people a platform that enables them to help each other out, then you are on the right path to maintaining high levels of user engagement.
It is said that no good deed goes unpunished, and that’s true with forums. The more you help out your user base, the more likely they will be to reciprocate that gesture.
Tone Down the Promotional Rhetoric
Sure, your forum is for product X, but that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for singing the praises of that product ad nausea. Forum users can see a sales pitch from a mile away, so it’s in your best interest to be honest and steer clear of explicit sales pitches.
For people who disagree with you, be respectful and counter argue with logic. This lends credibility to the discussion, making more people engage and talk about the pros and cons of the topic at hand.
Learn From Others
There are probably a lot of people in the forum world who have been in the game much longer than you and you should do your best to learn from them. Study their site, look at how they interact with users, and apply their successful practices to your site. It’s also a great idea to go to networking events and tradeshows where you can meet with your contemporaries, talk shop, and share ideas. ForumCon (use coupon code BLOGGINGTIPS to save 25%) , for example, happens to be a great starting point for people who want to manage their forum better and learn new ways to monetize from people who have made a living from their forums.
Forums, although viewed as an archaic Internet channel, are still one of the most informative and valuable types of sites online. They provide users with great relevant information and unparalleled networking opportunities, and should be treated as such. If you’re a forum owner who wants more traffic and more conversation happening on your site, take these tips into consideration and watch your site’s engagement levels increase dramatically.
Be sure to check out ForumCon and also list and of your favorite forums in the comments section below.