Let’s talk about various ways to grow your authority site. First of all, we have a forum/community.
I’m a huge advocate of building a community on a website. It’s so important and effective right now. It can get you more pages for free, more money, and more fun interacting with your audience.
Why Add a Forum?
Adding a forum to your site is easy. But first, you need to know why it’s important to have one in your site.
- With a forum, you get a lot of user-generated content, especially when you have lots of posts and active users. Google loves this and you’ll have lots of indexed pages, more pages ranking in the results page, etc.
- A forum is a big quality and authority signal. It’s a great leverage in your site in terms of SEO, and it helps increase your profit potential and profit margin.
- A forum helps increase indexed pages and search traffic.
- A forum attracts more targeted visitors to funnel through your site, which in turn, makes more money.
- You get to interact and have fun with a real community, because your site is REAL. Your audience can even help you grow the community.
- Adding a forum to your site increases long-term growth potential.
- A forum could also increase the revenue multiple you could sell for. The more authoritative your site is and the more community elements in it, many investors will see the potential in growing it.
- Adding a forum to your site is more affordable especially if you’re already generating income from your site. One of the favorite software is vBulletin, which costs around $200. phpBB, on the other hand, is a free and open source forum software that you can use if you’re on a tight budget.
Where to Get Forum Software
Here’s a list of some highly recommended forum software, both free and premium:
- vBulletin (price starts at $200). Feature-rich and powerful premium forum software. It’s the top choice for many big websites. You can go for this software if your goal is to further expand your authority site.
- phpBB (free). Open source forum software that you can use to keep in touch with your audience or to power your entire site. It has an extensive database of user-created modifications and styles so you can customize your forum.
- Vanilla Forums (free). This open source forum/community software is available for free. It lets you create a customized forum that rewards users for positive participation, allows members to drive moderation, and automatically curates content.
- Invision Power Board or IP.Board (price starts at $30/month). One of the best and most powerful premium forum software for creating a highly engaging discussion forum in your site.
There are many other forum software out there, but these are the most popular online.
Tips to Grow a New Forum
Having a forum/community in your site is an excellent way to boost sales, customer loyalty, and word of mouth for your brand. But how can you go from having a completely empty forum to one that’s filled with interesting and engaging topics? It can be pretty tough and overwhelming early on when you first launch but there are some tricks you can do to get past the barren and lifeless ghost-town forum.
- Begin with just a few forum sections. A long page of forums or sub-forums with zero posts just looks so dead to new visitors, but it’s easy to branch out as your forum grows.
- Post on other relevant forums. It may sound uncool, but it depends on how you do it. Just remember to do it tactfully.
- Upload helpful, informative videos to your website’s YouTube channel and encourage forum members to join in the discussion in your video and description. This helps build trust and improves engagement.
- Use a keyword research tool (my personal favorite is Term Explorer) or Google Trends to help you get ideas for potentially hot topics that you can start in your new forum.
- You can also use forum posting services to kick-start your forum. It may sound shady, but it’s really hard to start a forum from zero! What’s more, hiring forum posters won’t cost you a lot. This will help you grow your user base and actually start getting real discussions going on in your forum.
- Build links to your forum with inbound marketing like guest posting on other real, relevant sites. You can grab the attention of your audience on these guest posts and get them to visit your forum. It can be tricky but it’s effective.
As you can see, adding a forum to your site shouldn’t be complicated. In fact, it should be a piece of cake, especially if you have the right tools and tricks up your sleeve. Hopefully, these will get you on the right track.