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Building a forum up and gaining members

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by gorang, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. gorang

    gorang Elite Member

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    I have started a forum on the backend of a blog which gets a fair few visitors a day. I'm pushing the forum and seeding it with posts, but i'm still finding it hard to get members to stick around and contribute regularly.

    It is mostly people making one of two posts and then never coming back.

    Are there any good tips or help I can get to gain new members quickly and keep them contributing?
     
  2. hgear

    hgear Power Member

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    Good questions I just installed a forum on one of my high traffic blogs too...curious about this one
     
  3. gorang

    gorang Elite Member

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    I've made it really easy to register, i've been consistently seeding it with posts, I have links all over my blog pointing to it. Maybe i'll add a popup which directs users to it.

    Obviously, people are attracted to a forum where they find very useful posts. But I just don't think the forum is getting enough bulk exposure.
     
  4. Mises

    Mises Junior Member

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    The beginning is the hardest part- keep the forum looking active (even if that means you talk to yourself/make duplicate accounts or hire people to post) and make it easy to join/try to offer something unique. It is much like a snowball- once it gets going it gets easier to attract new people.

    I have 3 forums, one with ~125k posts, one with ~20k, and a new one with under a thousand. It can be work, but once they get going it is great- with my largest one I don't even have to do anything anymore on-site and get ~500 new posts and a few new members everyday.
     
  5. gorang

    gorang Elite Member

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    I'm also in the process of finding some experts in the same field and placing them as moderators who will contribute and are allowed to place links to their own blogs/aff links in sigs.
     
  6. gorang

    gorang Elite Member

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    What is your process in the beginning though? Maybe i'm missing something. Creating forum feels like i'm back in SEO school(metaphorically of course).
     
  7. Mises

    Mises Junior Member

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    In terms of content I try to make threads asking questions that people are searching for (I use Google keyword tool for all keyword research) and then answer said questions with other accounts. There are some great long-tail questions you will probably be able to find for your niche- yahoo answers is another good place to look for topics to post about.

    Hiring people at ~10 cents a post is a pretty cheap way to get posters too although some of them can be a hassle if they want to be paid after only 10 posts, etc.

    As for appealing to organic visitors, make sure you have a guest welcome message with the registration link in the message in a way that makes it stand out (button or bolded or something) at the top- that has helped a lot. For new forums I also don't require email activation- I don't know if it helps, but I like to make it easy for them to post. Instead I use revolving security questions to deter bots.

    A lot of it is about perseverance just like SEO but once you get a few active and loyal members things get a lot easier. Being approachable and friendly (but not a push-over) has helped in my experience too. After a while you can look for mature and respectful members within the community and promote them to staff, at which time your job becomes even easier.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions. I don't know what platform you are working with, but I use mybb and vb3.8, so I can answer software-specific things for those too.