A forum is a great tool which can increase a hosting site’s link popularity and, more importantly, provides a value-adding community to visitors. The fact of the matter is that a forum has a number of additional benefits. Those benefits include:
- Intelligence: Allows you to get to know what’s really going on in the minds of your potential/existing customers by simply observing and interacting with forum posts.
- Providing visitors with a sense of security/reliability: Thanks to the existence of recent posts, visitors feel that the site is ‘alive and kicking.’
- Differentiation: A site with a winning forum, led by wise, open, and communicative moderators, and is home to constructive members, can provide an organization with a strategic differentiation and a competitive advantage.
- Increased traffic: Increased traffic comes from returning visitors who are replying to posts, as well as browsing new topics (in this sense, it is recommended to email all members recent posts as a reminder and an invitation).
- Improved search engine rankings: Search engines will notice both the increased internal link popularity and the members’ of the forum’s community writing about issues that are associated with themes that are directly and indirectly associated with your site’s targeted keywords.
Those who have been involved in launching a successful forum know that it’s not an easy task, even if you’ve already got a significant captive audience that is visiting your site, reading your newsletter, and so forth. Without mentioning the technical aspects of embedding a forum into a website, I shall explain the factors critical in the creation of a successful forum.
Once established and running, managing a forum is a very challenging and time-consuming task. Still, establishing one is even harder, and that’s where you need to concentrate on the three critical success factors: the forum’s leadership, initial traffic and initial momentum. All in all, a successful forum may be the single most dominant factor of your online success, so it’s definitely worth the effort!