Online forums are a fun place to gain knowledge, interact with other people who are interested in similar things, find new clients and even meet new friends. While it seems that with Facebook and other social media sites taking over, forums have lost some of their appeal. The fact is, however, that they are still an excellent place to spend some time. Not only for social interaction, but also as a key type of marketing for your website.
There are forums out there for just about every topic you can imagine. As a freelance writer, I spend a lot of time on forums like the Warrior Forum, Digital Point, WAHM (Work at Home Mom) and others. I’ve found some great clients on these sites simply by making posts and responding to others, with a link to this site in my signature.
Isn’t it Just Spamming?
Many people look at forum marketing as a type of spam. If you’re going to the site and just posting for the backlink, it certainly can be. If you do it right, however, you’ll not only be helping people, but you’ll also get more people to visit your site through your signature link. There are many reasons that virtually everyone who is trying to build up a website or other online business should consider forum commenting a key part of their marketing efforts. The following are a few of the reasons that I’ve come up with.
Long Term Links
Once you make a post on the forums, it will get some quick attention today, but even after it falls off of the first few pages of the forums, the link is still out there. Many forums rank quite well in the search engines, so even months or years after a post, people can still find what you said and visit your site. When I look over my traffic statistics for this site, I am always surprised to see how much traffic I’m getting from old posts on forums.
Of course, people will only want to visit your site if you have already proven yourself knowledgeable, so make sure all your posts on any forums are of the highest quality possible. Always provide great information and don’t hold anything back!
In addition to having the backlinks out there for a long time, they are also coming from a related site in most cases. Google and the other search engines prefer links to be in a similar topic to the site you’re linking too. It is just one of many ways that Google tries to weed out spam links vs. quality links.
Another benefit is that you’re posting the link to people who are already interested in your niche. Everyone who sees the link is a potential customer. This means the traffic you get from these links will be much more targeted than if they come from an unrelated site.
Almost all online forums offer only no-follow links, which many people mistakenly think means they provide no SEO value. In truth, Google and other search engines want you to build links naturally, and that means you’ll have some links that are followed, and some that are no-follow. These forum links provide a good number of no-follow links, which can balance out your overall backlink profile.
One of the most important things about forum posting is that you will be spending time reading what other people who are interested in your niche are talking about. This makes it easy to learn a lot about the niche, so you can market more effectively. If, for example, you see multiple threads about a similar issue people are having, you can learn about the solution and consider making an informational product to try to sell on your site. There are many things you can learn about any niche, and online forums are a great way to do it.