Everyone is searching for ways to promote and market their websites. I’m sure you are no exception. Simply building a website and placing it out there on the Internet doesn’t guarantee success in Internet marketing. In fact, by failing to publicize and market your website, it is almost certainly doomed to failure.
The old idea of “if you build it, they will come” might work for a movie script writer. It won’t likely work in the real world of modern online business. You need to find simple, low cost ways to market your website to potential clients and customers.
One proven technique that is well known and practiced by the Internet marketing pros is posting on Internet message boards and forums. By posting on the message forums, savvy marketing people gain visitors, establish themselves as experts in their field, and multiply their success many times over. You can too.
All you have to do, is start to think like a marketing professional. The Internet discussion boards, and even some of their other members, will do much of the marketing on your behalf.
Internet message and discussion forums are everywhere. Their many members discuss topics ranging from baseball to photography to crafts to search engine optimization. Whatever your business or hobby, there are numerous Internet message forums awaiting your membership.
To find a discussion forum that suits your interests, you can conduct a search on any of the major search engines like Google, Yahoo, or MSN Search. Simply enter the topic and the keywords message forums, discussion forums, or discussion boards. You will discover numerous choices just a click away.
As you surf to a message board, you will notice that each one is slightly different. They have unique memberships, resulting in varying atmospheres. Some are more business like. Others are given more to friendly discussion. Still others will have heated debates and arguments. Be sure to select the boards that make you feel comfortable as a poster.
Don’t go anywhere near a message board where you might be hesitant to post. That is not what you want to do. What you do want to do is become an active poster and participant. That is why careful message board selection is very important.
Once you have selected a board or boards to join, it’s time to sign up as an active member.
How to Become a Message Forum Member
To join most message boards, you will have to register as a member. The membership process usually requires you to provide a user name. You may use your real name, or if you prefer, you can create a fictional pen name, called a “handle”. You will be required to provide a valid e-mail address for communications.
Some forums require some additional personal information, to protect the message board, from those who might wish to destroy their online community. Your information is almost universally protected by a password.
Once you have that information in place, and had your membership approved and confirmed, you are almost ready to post. You are not quite ready yet, however. You still have a few things to do, in order to have your message board postings help market and promote your business and website.
In order to gain new visitor traffic, develop a solid reputation, and gain search engine optimization benefits, you must create what is known as a signature file, or “sig line”. What a signature file does is create a live link back to your website from the message forum itself. That link into your website is very important.
The signature file for your link should not simply be your website’s URL. If at all possible, avoid that type of signature as it doesn’t describe your business. It also provides less than the desired level of search engine optimization. Using your website title is better, but still is not what you want to use.
Use a your targeted keyword phrase as your signature. If you can use the keywords, right in the live link, that is the best possible signature. It provides a keyword inbound link to your website. Many message forums permit the use of additional descriptions, brief offers to visitors, phone numbers, and even physical and e-mail addresses. Take advantage of these free promotional vehicles.
By targeting your most important keyword phrases, you accomplish several important goals at one time. You successfully describe your business and possibly what your business can do for anyone clicking on the link. You also gain powerful keyword rich backlinks to your website, enhancing your incoming link totals.
Posting on Forums and Forum Etiquette
Armed with a message board membership and a signature file, you are now almost ready to begin posting on the forum.
Prior to posting, be certain to read a number of the discussions, referred to as “threads” on the board. They will give you an idea of the topics under discussion. They will also help you to know some of the various posters and the forum moderators. The moderators are the board peacekeepers and often the initiators of new topics. They will usually post responses in a large number of threads as well.
Their style of posts will give you a very good idea as to the tone of the board, whether formal or casual. They are also very good people to get to know. Their assistance will help you to better utilize the message forums many services for all members, as well as yourself.
When you post, you want to be polite. Ask good questions seeking any information that you require. There are no foolish questions. Everyone was a first time poster at some point, so don’t be shy. If you are able to answer other members’ questions, feel free to do so.
By providing good informative answers that seek to help others, you will develop a reputation as being an expert in your field. That will go far in enhancing your business reputation as well.
Don’t get involved in arguments. Arguments on discussion boards are called “flaming”. Often involving personal attacks, “flame wars” are something for you to avoid. You shouldn’t involve yourself in a flaming match, even if your post is attacked for no reason. Provide a polite and informative answer. The other members will recognize you as a person who keeps their head in most situations.
Avoid being drawn into heated discussions with those who set out to cause arguments and flame wars. These individuals are known as “trolls”. Avoid their discussions, and don’t debate with them. They thrive on attention. Don’t give it to them. They will soon leave your message board for other locales.
As you develop a reputation for providing informative and helpful postings, your opinions and posts will almost always be read by other members. Since the members of the message board are also interested in the same subjects as you, they are all potential clients and customers for your business. Their families, friends, and business associates are, by extension, also your potential customers.
By becoming well known to the board membership, your reputation and that of your business will grow. People usually prefer to do business with people whom they know. That would be you, if you have been writing good, thoughtful and informative posts. They will click on your signature line and check out your business, your products, and your services. Many will become customers and some will even recommend you to others as well.
Search Engine Optimization Benefits of Message Boards
Most message forums are search engine spider friendly. It is important to note, however, that not all message boards are crawled regularly by search engine robots; but most are. Make certain that you check the search engine friendliness of the board prior to joining.
The backlinks created by your signature file will be crawled by the spiders. Google often includes forum posts in your backlink count. Since Google only displays incoming links, with a PageRank 4 or higher, those are very good incoming links indeed. Posting on forums simply increases your number of incoming links.
By placing your website’s most important keyword phrase in your signature file, your keyword power in the search engine results pages (SERPs) is enhanced. The more keyword rich links you can create, that are pointing toward your site, the better.
As you post on a regular basis, and establish yourself as an expert in your industry, you will find a number of other members linking their site to yours. These natural links are a tremendous boost to both your site’s Google PageRank and to your search engine placements for your keywords.
The potential for additional natural incoming links, makes posting on a message boards a powerful technique, for increasing your backlink total. You will also find theme related website owners who will want to engage in traditional link swaps as well. These exchanged links are still helpful to your website. They are especially beneficial if they are from sites that are related to your own.
Seeking out a number of message boards, related to your area of business, is a powerful way to market your website.
Your marketing efforts will be greatly enhanced through your participation as an active contributor to your various discussion boards. Members of those forums will see you as an expert in your field, making it much more likely that they will become your customers and clients in the future.
Your search engine marketing will improve as well. The additional incoming links, resulting from your post signature line, will enhance your Google PageRank and your search engine results.
Keyword rich incoming links will raise your site higher in the search placements. You also have the potential to receive many natural incoming links, along with a number of themed link exchanges.
Join those Internet message boards today and start posting your way to success.