Forum Marketing – Free Traffic If You Follow the Rules

Forum Marketing -It Works if You Do it Correctly

Everyone wants traffic to their Websites.  Without traffic, we don’t make any money.  But it can be hard to get people to come to your Website, and if you don’t have money for advertising, you’re going to have to look at ways to get free traffic.  That’s the best kind, anyway, since it allows you to save your money for something else.  You will have to pay for it with time and patience.  If you’re looking for a way to get free traffic, forum marketing is a longstanding method that still works, provided that you follow the rules.

forum_marketing_2One of the great things about the Web is the sheer numbers of forums related to just about any topic you can imagine.  This form of social network predates Facebook and still thrives today.  A forum is a membership site, which you can usually join for free, that allows you to exchange thoughts, questions and ideas with other people who are interested in the same topic. Forum marketing is simply a method of using such a Website to draw free traffic to your own site, and the method is a fairly simple one, though it does take some time to become effective.

How Forum Marketing Works

As forum marketing has been abused in the past, a lot of sites have changed their rules a bit, but it’s still possible to use this method to get some traffic.  It’s one of those “oldies but goodies” methods that still works, and it’s a recommended plan for anyone just starting out in affiliate marketing who has little cash to spend on other forms of promotion.  The basic idea in forum marketing is to find one or more forums that are related to the topic of your Website.  You’re going to join the site as a member, contribute come comments, and post a link to your site in your signature block that will appear in every comment you make.  That’s the short version of forum marketing, but there are a few things you need to know, so I’ll offer some more detail below.

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1. Find a suitable forum – The first thing you need to do is find a forum that’s related to your Website’s topic.  If you have a site about dog training, then you want to find a forum about that.  A quick way to search for that is to head to your favorite search engine and type in “dog training” followed by the word “forum.”  That will return a list of suitable sites.  I just did that search on Google and it returned 340 different sites in the results.  You can do this for just about any topic you can imagine, and you’d be surprised to see how many different forums are out there.

forum marketingOnce you’ve found a few forums that cover your topic, you’ll want to visit a few and see if they allow people to post links in their signature blocks.   Most of them do, and most forums will allow you to browse their posts but not contribute.  In that case, you can look over a few threads and see if anyone has a link in their signature block.  If so, make a note about the site name and move on.  The more suitable forums you find, the greater your potential for getting traffic from forum marketing.

2. Sign up –  In order to make use of forum marketing, you will have to join a few forums.  Go down your list and start signing up.  You might want to join 10-20 for starters.  They’re usually free to join and you’ll generally have to provide a username, password and email address, which you’ll have to verify.  Then you can sign in and start participating.  I recommend that you use only forums which are free.

3. Read the rules – Ten years ago, lots of marketers took advantage of forum marketing and joined forums and immediately started posting affiliate links in them.  This got out of hand, and most sites now have strict rules regarding links in signature blocks.  Many prohibit affiliate links completely and others won’t allow you to include a link in your signature block until you have posted in the forum a certain number of times.  It might be 10, or it might be 50.  Those are the rules, and you have to stick by them.  Since you have a list of forums already, it might help if you made a note of the requirements for each one.   If you find that you’ve joined a forum that doesn’t allow links in the signature block at all, just scratch that one off of your list and move on to the next one.

online_forum4. Start contributing – In order to get your post count up to the point where you can put a link in your signature block, you’re going to have to contribute to the forum.  Start reading through the threads and add some quality content.  You can do this by posting legitimate questions, answering other people’s questions, or commenting on topics of discussion.  Try to add something meaningful; a simple “Nice post.  Thanks.” isn’t going to do it. You want to be perceived as someone who is a helpful contributor to that group of people. Keep note of your post count.

5. Add your link – When you’ve reached the number of posts in a particular forum that will qualify you to put links in your signature block, go ahead and do it.  Be aware of the forum rules regarding what kind of links you can have.  If you’re simply trying to promote your site, use a link to the site itself along with some helpful anchor text that will persuade people to click on your link.  If you’re in doubt about what sort of links you can have, just look at the links that others on that particular site are using.

6. Keep going and be patient – Keep this up, and keep posting and adding links to as many forums as possible.  Your link will appear in every post and in many forums, your link will remain active for years.  The more sites you use for this, the more links you’ll have coming back to your own site.  And yes, this does draw traffic, and it will draw traffic for years to come.

Forum Marketing Conclusion

I saw an article just yesterday that said forum marketing is dead.  It’s not dead; it’s alive and well.  It’s not as easy as it used to be, but forum marketing is still a great way to get relevant, targeted free traffic to your Website.
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