Using forum posts to generate traffic to your web site gives you several advantages that other methods don’t. One of these, of course, is that it only costs you time, not money, and very little of that. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Below are 8 things you need to keep in mind when using forums as a traffic driving strategy.
1. Pick the right forum
Choosing the right forum(s) to participate in makes a big difference. Hopefully you’re already an active member of a forum or two. If not, hopefully you’re at least aware of some of the popular forums that cater to your niche. If that’s still not the case, Google “YOURNICHE forum
If there are multiple forums in your niche, you should focus on being active in just one forum at first. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin, and you want to be sure you become a prominent member of the community. That’s hard to do when you’re trying to post in half a dozen different forums. Once you’ve become established in one, then you can determine whether joining another would be best for you.
If you’re not already active in a forum and you have multiple forums to choose from, there are a couple points to consider. How large and active is the forum? You won’t get much traffic from a forum that has 30 members and the last post was six months ago. Do you like the look of the forum? I’ve chosen to participate in certain forums because I just like the way they’re designed. Does the forum allow signatures? Some forums don’t allow signatures, which will make it harder for you to get traffic (see the “Put a link in your signature” section below). And finally (and perhaps most importantly), do you like the community that has built up around the forum? You’re going to be spending a lot of time there, so make sure you like the kind of discussion that’s going on.
2. Choose your username carefully
Your username is your brand out there on the forum for everyone to see, so it needs to be chosen carefully. Ask yourself what message you want your username to send. Using your name as a username gives your interactions with others a more personal feel than if you just used the name of your blog or business. It’s important that you username fits in with your niche and the forum. For example, if you’re posting to a realty forum and the forum community you’re posting to has a very professional feel to it, you’ll obviously want to steer clear of usernames like “xfallenangel1987x.”
3. Put a link in your signature
Your signature is the couple lines of text that appear below each one of your forum posts. Putting a link to your blog or to a particularly good post is the backbone of any solid forum-based traffic strategy. This is how you’ll get the majority of traffic out of the forum.
A standard signature will include the name of your blog and maybe your blog’s tagline or what your blog is about. Linking to an especially informative or interesting post can also be a good strategy if you want to drive traffic to certain parts of your blog. Remember that you can also link to a newsletter signup page to help grow your list.
You can read more about putting a link in your signature in this previous Daily Blog Tips post.
4. Craft your profile carefully
Your profile is what people see when they click on your username, and it usually consists at least of your avatar, a short bio, and a link to your website. Most often, your avatar should be a picture of you. We like to know that we’re interacting with a real person, and a photo gives a face to the name and helps create a more personal interactive experience. If you prefer anonymity, then use anything you want as long as it fits in with 1) the feel of the forum, and 2) the image of your blog or business. Using the realty forum example again, you wouldn’t want your profile pic to be a funny animated .gif of a guy getting hit in his private parts with a baseball. Likewise, you wouldn’t want to use a serious, black and white photo of yourself if you’ve got a fun and colorful blog about funny YouTube videos.
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