This topic has been covered several times but I do feel most articles are just junk ones. Either not really adding anything significant, or not covering the topic properly. With that in mind I decided to write this in-depth article on how to drive traffic to your blog using forums.
First and foremost, forums are always a good source of traffic to your blog because its highly-populated by nature. A lot of people lurk in forums, people want to engage in talks and debate and more importantly they know how to appreciate something good that’s done to them.
Due to the intrinsic nature of forums, a lot of bloggers abuse them badly. I’d like to be honest and would like to share I was one of those. During my early years, I was one of those morons who annoy the members by posting as much as I could without really adding anything of good value. If you feel guilty of doing this, then I highly suggest you read this post more and quit what you’re doing right now.
1. Pick Forums Carefully
It all starts by doing a small research and picking the forums that you would want to join in. Obviously it has to have some relation to your niche. In this niche, I am fortunate to have so many forums related to what I’m talking about.
This is the first step and this is a crucial step. Targeting the wrong demographics is a serious mistake so make sure you pay attention to that a lot.
2. Start By Building Your Identity
This may seem to be a basic one but I bet you a lot of people are doing this completely wrong. When you are just signing up, make sure to pick the appropriate name, a name that people could easily remember. In most forums, my screen name is Melvin and because of that they easily recognize me as a blogger who blogs at this site.
Do make sure to complete as much details as possible. You will be easily surprised on how a lot of forum members actually look at the profile of other members (voyeurism at work eh?). Make sure you add an avatar or a real pic. Lastly carve out a good signature. Do take note that the main goal of the signatures is to make other members engage, not and never for search rankings.
3. Help People Out
The main reason why forums exist is to help people out on certain topics. Yes we want to get traffic but our main goal always, should be helping people out. A lot of people in forums give good quality advice for free and do take note that it is costing them energy, time and other stuffs.
What I like to do is go to the “new posts” section of forums and then respond on those things. Since most of those are basic questions, there’s a good chance that you can help them out and start gaining good karma.
4. Explicit Promotion
I am guilty of this before. Never ever post anything that doesn’t add value and then explicitly put your link there. People don’t need half-baked information, what they need are quick-fix ones. A lot of bloggers make this mistake and not only it annoys the members, but it also does tune you and your blog out.
5. Its Ok to Argue, But not that much!
As I’ve said forums are a good place to debate and share insights. There’s a good chance that you would be encountering instances where someone would disagree with you and criticize you. It’s important to argue and stay competitive yet not have so much negativities. Too much hating will do no good and may even harm your reputation in the end.
We cannot please everyone but it’s good to side with the majority.
6. Write Precisely, Be Cool to them
Whenever you present your answers, make sure you tell it to them in an organized manner. Although forums really aren’t too strict with grammars, spelling and punctuation, do take note that any sentence your write, any help you provide reflects directly to you and the brand of your blog. We don’t want to sound like the most intelligent person but at least we want to look good.
Being cool is just all about helping so you could easily see if you’re being helpful by observing your reputation icon. People on forums aren’t too shabby on hitting the icon especially if they know you’re genuine interest is helping them out.
Like in your own blog, you build yourself first before you benefit. If you’re a newbie this may sound a bit overwhelming especially if we are about to combine it with other marketing tactics like commenting, guest posting and etc. What I’d like to do with this is set at least one day in one week where all I would do is build my expertise and credibility on those online forums. I highly suggest you to do the same so that you are highly focused on what you are doing.
By following all the rules I outlined above, you don’t only get to gain additional traffic, you are also presented to a large number of people as an expert. By being cool to them, following rules and just being like a genuine person, its a win-win situation for everyone.
How cool is that?