One free way you can get more traffic to your website is through the use of forums. Naturally you’ll want to visit forums related to whatever the main nature of your website is about. This can be as narrowed down as visiting forums dedicated to special interest groups, to as diverse as visiting ones that are “general” in nature and only vaguely related to your site to help promote not just the site but interest in the niche it fits into. Whatever the approach you choose, here are five simple tips to follow.
Sharpen your people skills – forums are all about people. Unlike working through impersonal mediums like ad/banner postings and online directories, promoting your presence through forums means you’ll be interacting with people on a constant basis. This means that your communication skills have to be pretty sharp to get your points across and make a favorable impression on people. This isn’t just a matter of proper grammar, but of proper attitude as well.
Know what people want – this is a key marketing focus that most people sadly forget. In their excitement over promoting what their site is about, they forget to see what the site can actually DO for the people visiting them. Instead of shooting off at the mouth about the tons of research and work you had to do to get your site and it’s products/subject up, you should focus on listening to the people on the forums, find out what they’re looking for and want, and THEN offer your website as a possible solution to their needs.
Research your topics – this is another mistake commonly made by people on forums. Before spouting off about a topic make sure that you know what you’re talking about. Starting a thread about a subject matter only to have a REAL expert punch holes in your erroneous facts makes you look like a fool, and can destroy your reputation especially if you take criticism negatively. Be sure to state facts only if you’ve studied them well, and if you’re venturing an opinion or theory be sure to mention that it’s a theory and don’t claim it as Gospel Truth or you’re asking to get shot down.
Avoid spamming and flaming – on the note of diplomacy, be sure to avoid two things on forums: spamming and flaming. Spamming is when you repetitively post about a certain topic. Granted you’re there to promote your website, but if you make several topics all related to it in an obvious bid to get people to notice you, odds are most of your threads will be locked for spamming. And no one likes spammers. No one. Not even their mothers. Flamers are even less liked, as a flamer is a person who, for no reason whatsoever other than perhaps a deep-seated insecurity and need for attention, insult and harass other people on the forums and make disparaging comments constantly. If you don’t have anything useful or polite to say, then keep quiet. If you’re a flamer and don’t like that policy then go shoot yourself before someone else wastes a bullet on you.
Try to get bumps and a sticky – lastly, be familiar with the forum terms bump and sticky. Stickies are rare – they are when a forum moderator likes a post so much that he or she permanently assigns it to the top of the topic lists along with the other stickies. People new to forums generally visit stickies first. If your topic is an especially helpful one, it MAY get stickied if the forum mods like it. Bumping, on the other hand, is simply having people post on your thread. Basically, forum threads with the most recent replies to them are “bumped” to the top of the lists on the forums where people can read them first. You should avoid “bumping” your own threads – let other people do it for you; this is where people skills come in.
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