Starting a forum was the easy part – now you’ve got to do something much harder. Building traffic to your new forum. A forum with traffic makes money on autopilot, since the members post all of the content. However, building traffic to a new forum isn’t that easy. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to bring people in, and encouraging them to start posting on your new forum.
1. Announce On Current Website And Social Media Platforms
Those most likely to sign up for your forums are the ones who follow you loyally – the ones who have you added on social networks, and who return to your website regularly. This is why it works so well to have a decent amount of traffic before opening up a forum – if you have enough traffic to your website already, people will naturally come to your forum and you may not have to do any promotion at all. And believe me, that saves a lot of work. It’d also be a good idea to send out an email to those subscribed to your newsletter announcing the forum – as emails are more likely to be seen than tweets, for example.
2. Post On Related Websites/Forums
Forums are a great way to drive traffic to your website, and this works especially well with other forums. Why? If someone is posting a question in a forum and you answer it, they’ll more than likely ask future questions over on your forum. This is because they believe you will give them the answers they need – the answers the community on the other forum couldn’t provide.
There is a problem to this – most forums don’t allow linking to direct competitors, so you may have to go a bit broader. For example, if you had a forum about iPhones, you could go into a tech forum if you couldn’t find an iPhone related forum that allows links in signatures. Do not underestimate the power of forums for traffic – it’s very possible for you to pull in 100 or more visits a day just from posting on one forum a few times each day.
3. Advertise Your Forum To Family Or Friends
Let’s say you don’t have a website or a social media following. It’s just you and your forum. That’s ok, you’ve got friends and family, right? We all do. And if you’ve been good to them, chances are they’d be willing to check out your forum, and maybe even post a bit. Every post counts, right?
The more active your forum is when people visit it, the more likely they are to sign up. Without any active posters, new users are much more weary.
4. Create Initial Content
Be honest here. Would you join a forum that is absolutely barren – no threads, no members, no content? Probably not. As a forum member, it’s your job to add new content on a forum every single day. This means creating new threads, and replying to anyone that posts. You can not expect your members to create new threads, especially on a new forum where they are probably nervous enough about being in a small community. If nobody is posting, create additional accounts and talk to yourself through them. This however, should not be a long term strategy as eventually people will catch on, and you don’t want to look desperate.
5. Use A Service Like Postloop
Note: It seems that Postloop is no longer active.
One option you could use is to use a post exchange service like Postloop. Postloop works like this – you earn points by posting on other people’s forums. You can use these points to earn posts on your own forums. Before you can start doing all of this, you are tested on Postloops’ own forums for post quality and length – which is great, because it means that you are only getting high quality posters coming to your forum. Additionally, if you want to skip posting on other people’s forums, you can also buy points directly. I’ve used this service in the past, and it works great.
Remember, building traffic to a forum is not an easy job. However, when you get it off the ground, eventually you won’t need to spend any effort building traffic at all. Owning a successful forum can be one of the most rewarding experiences as a webmaster. By following these five tips, you’ll be able to start building traffic to your forum today.