Forums: A Great Way to Build Your Business

The Internet has changed a lot over the last several years. Once upon a time, it was all about forums and finding the best ones to hang out in. Today, it seems to be all about connecting on Facebook and Twitter. If you haven’t visited a forum in a while, it may surprise you to learn that they are still alive and doing well. What’s more — you may be overlooking a great way to build new business.

 

You might not know it, but forums are actually great for search engine optimization. If you can build a presence on a forum that is related to the items that you sell, you could actually get a big boost in recognition. One reason for this is that forums generally receive high search engine rankings because many established forums have been around for a really long time. Some of the most popular ones are even over 10 years old! The best part of being on a forum, however, is that members like to link into and out of their communities. Search engines love this kind of thing so much; they often reward forums with higher placement in the search rankings.

 

If you haven’t been on a forum in a while, it pays to do a little research before you join one. vBulletin is still considered the most popular forum software platform, so you might want to start with them first. Think about your product and the type of niche you have. You then want to do a Google search using keywords that describe your niche.  As an example, if you sell products for dog owners you might try dog owner + forum + vBulletin. You would then pick out the forums that are the best match for your niche or products and join those.

 

Keep in mind, that not every forum welcomes people who want to sell products. Read the guidelines carefully and even if they do allow you to pitch your product, you really don’t want to go in right away and start announcing that you are there to simply sell them something. Instead, work to establish yourself as an expert in your field and the “go-to” person for when someone has a question.

 

If the forum does have a “classified section” (and many do!), you still don’t want to just start listing your items there right away. This is considered bad form or spam and will not only get you thrown off the forum, but your name and bad reputation for spamming will most likely follow you to other forums too.

 

Finally, some forums have what are called sponsorship opportunities. When this is the case, you pay for the forum to provide you with leads. Once again, you don’t want to jump on this right away. For one thing, you want to check the forum out to see if the traffic and activity on forum make it worth sponsoring and if it is worth the cost. Second, as I said, this is a slow growing process. You do not want to start out mentioning links, products you sell, or your business until the other members get to know you. Once you have settled in, however, you may find it’s a great way to build up your business!

This guest post was contributed by Kat Simpson. Kat is a trusted eCommerce author, speaker, educator, and entrepreneur. Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is an eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, as well as a successful Amazon merchant. Currently Kat is the hosts the popular weekly eCommerce Podcast That Kat Radio and an active Facebook Group ThatKat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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