How to Leverage Online Forums For Blog Traffic

There’s a very good chance if you are a regular Internet user that you spend a fair amount of time at online forums. For the people reading this article who don’t know what a forum is, here’s a brief introduction.

Online forums or “community forums”, are dynamic websites that allow users to start discussions by posting new topics, which other members of the forum can reply to. Forums are available for any topic with a following from hobbies, to business, to gossip, entertainment – virtually anything!

While forums come in different sizes, from the brand new that resemble ghost towns because no one uses them (yet), to large uber-communities, with tens of thousands of new posts made every day.

I won’t go into more detail because forums, while being simple in concept, are complex in features, you really need to go check some out if you have never seen one. Forums bring together like minded people with a common interest. If you are a forum virgin I think you will quickly become addicted once you join one full of people who share your interests and passions.

HOW TO USE FORUMS TO PROMOTE YOUR BLOG

Let me start with how not to use forums to promote your blog. DON’T join a forum and make your first post something like this

Hey check out my blog, it’s great -

www.myblog.com
Blatant self promotion doesn’t go down well in forums, especially if you are a new member. Forum communities have rules for conduct and won’t tolerate bad behaviour. Often rules are available as “sticky” posts, which are at the top of each forum page, so read them if you are unsure of what is expected from members. Even if there are no specific rules, it’s never a good idea to start off your membership in a community by trying to sell or promote something. Would you start a new friendship by trying to get a person to buy from you? No you wouldn’t, so don’t try it in a forum either.

Credibility, as I’ve mentioned before, is important, and when using forums as a traffic tool for your blog, your credibility is important again. Forum communities often have what I like to call “elders”. These are members who have made thousands of posts and have a lot of respect in the forum. They may be moderators who have been members of the forum for many years. Elders have a lot of credibility since they have devoted so much time to the forums.

ADDING VALUE TO A FORUM

You don’t have to become an “elder” in a forum, although if you find a forum which has the perfect audience for your blog, becoming an “elder” it may be one of the best traffic strategies for you to aim for long term.

The important concept to grasp is — to actually get someone to click through from an entry you make in a forum to your blog you need to have credibility and add value. The more often you add value, the more credibility you gain.

Adding value to a forum is just like adding value to your blog. If you help people to solve problems, gain insights or make money, you add value to their life. How you eventually gain traffic is simple – you leave links to your blog in posts you make in forums.

Here’s how I do it

Step 1: Forum signature and photograph

Your forum signature is the most important tool for gaining traffic from forums. In your signature you leave a link to your blog and for most forums your signature can be automatically added to the end of every post you make. Once you set it up you’re done – every post you make to a forum is a little advertisement for your blog.

Make sure, if the forum rules permit it, that you set this up first. Some forums only allow you to have a signature after you have made a certain number of posts or restrict what content and style you can use in your signature. Be aware of signature policies before creating your signature.

You should also include an avatar/photograph in your profile which is displayed in every post you make. If you are into personal branding like I am, and you should be if you want more blog traffic, it’s important you start exposing your image and name in as many places as you can. Posts made to forums help increase exposure and public awareness of “you”.

Step 2: Add Value

Once you have the basic profile data set up you need to start adding value to the forum. This means you can’t be a lurker – just reading the forum isn’t going to get you traffic. You need to start making posts, demonstrate your knowledge, expertise and personality by helping people, interacting and making friends.

Step 3: Indirect Self Promotion

Once you have built up a little credibility you can start to subtly self promote your blog outside of your signature. It’s still not acceptable to spread links to your blog everywhere, but what I like to do is offer links to my blog pillar articles when one of them is relevant to a question or discussion in a forum. This is a great way to add value to a forum and send traffic to your blog – just remember you have to get the context spot on or you will appear to be self promoting.

SIGNATURE POWER

If you just focus on making 10 value adding posts to forums every day by the end of the year you will have over 3500 links pointing to your blog, sending a nice consistent trickle of traffic to your blog. The more credibility and respect you have in a forum the greater the potential for that trickle to become a stream or even a torrent of traffic.

Revealed – How to Take Your Business to the Next Level (Proven Ways to Expand Your Business Online)

This article is for coaches, consultants and self-employed professionals who would like to take their business to the next level by using the power of Internet Marketing.

You may be tired of having to go out every month to attend boring networking events that bring little results, doing cold calls or direct mailings, or paying expensive fees for print or TV advertising. You may also wish you could to automate your business more and make your income more “passive” – so you don’t have to work so hard, trading your time for money.

You have heard of the power of the Internet and would like to use it to bring hundreds of prospects to your web pages every month.

Here are a few tips how to start making it happen.

1. Build a web presence. This can be a full-blown website, or just one page designed to collect email addresses of potential customers (this type of page is called a squeeze page).

I know, this one sounds obvious, but according to some research, about 40% of businesses still don’t have a website.

2. Build a list. Experienced internet marketers will tell you that “money is in the list”, and it’s certainly true. We can say that a lot of money is in a TARGETED and RESPONSIVE list. To build a list, you will need an autoresponder software, a squeeze page, and a free gift to offer to people who come to your page to encourage them to subscribe.

3. Drive traffic to your page. One of the best methods is article marketing. I’m also a strong believer in the power of search engine optimization. Both of these methods if done right will allow you to bring traffic that is highly TARGETED, which means that these visitors will likely be interested in exactly the products and services that you offer. Finding people who already have a list of subscribers in related niches and asking them about possible joint venture deals is a good way to grow your list quickly.

4. Find out what your subscribers want – just ask them about it in your emails.

5. Provide your subscribers with what they want. Give them some things for free, but also sell them your products and services.

New Online Shopping Deals Through Reverse Bid Auctions

Consumers are always looking for a way to save money on the items they want or need. Most of the items purchased online are luxury items and not necessarily a necessity. People need these luxuries to entertain themselves and when they can find these goods at a fraction of the cost they’re quick to spring on them. For years people have turned to sites like Amazon and eBay to find the lowest prices on consumer electronics and other goods but things are changing as people consider the potential discounts available.

One of the primary differences between traditional auction sites like eBay and pay per bid auction sites is that buyers pay a fraction of the cost consistently. This rarely happens on major auction sites, where the final cost is often just under the retail value. Image the delight of buyers on bid auction sites that get a MacBook or new LCD television for under $100.00.

This goes to show why reverse auctions and other pay per bid auctions have grown steadily in popularity as more people discover the savings to be had beyond the traditional auction model.

In a traditional auction buyers are competing against one another to purchase an item from a seller. As they bid, the price increases until one person stands out willing to pay the highest bid. The auction finishes and the product goes to the highest bidder.

Reverse auctions work in much the same manner in that they have a seller that’s offering an item for sale. A number of buyers all bid competitively in order to win the item that’s being sold. That’s where the similarity ends however. In a reverse auction, bidders are placing bids in order to drive the price down. When the auction finishes, the item goes to the lowest bidder. Some auctions force you to drive the price to zero before you can win, others let you continue to bid down the price until the price just gets to be too tempting and someone scoops it up in a “buy it now” fever.

Reverse auctions and other bid auctions have matured into a billion dollar global business yet they tend to remain under the radar. The primary reason is because they’ve only become common to consumers in recent years. Previously, these types of reverse auctions were used by business to business networks and government agencies.

There’s a great deal of excitement for consumers now, and it’s helping that popularity climb as more people hear about. The tension and nail-biting excitement really gets people going and can cause the adrenaline to surge in the last minutes and seconds of an auction. In many reverse bid auctions the potential buyer has to make a decision quickly about buying an item as they reveal the price lest someone else scoops it up.

With many bid auctions, there’s a constant overhanging chance that the item could get scooped up by another bidder at any time. Gone are the days of the constant flow of bids and “outlasting” other bidders. A strong strategy is needed for buyers that want to take a great deal home without overpaying in the excitement of the auction.