Image by Tricky
Last week I opened up for suggestions on this week's post (and if there's ever something you'd like to see, please let me know!). Mafalda at Sailorettes on Facebook said, “I think blogger/fashion networks as media to draw traffic may be interesting?”
It was great that Sailorette brought up this alternative traffic source– in Problogger's 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, Day 9 is “Join a Forum & Start Participating.” The purpose of this is to find where your potential readers are already gathering online— all while allowing you to build your profile online, drive traffic to your site, and learn more about your niche.
I started using forums after a post of mine went viral in the community, and I noticed a decent amount of traffic trickling in from certain forums. I originally set up accounts to see what post they were talking about (many forums have locked threads to non-members).
Types of Forums & Networks to Use:
- Blogging Communities. Sites like the Independent Fashion Bloggers or Problogger forums can connect you will like-minded individuals that you can not only build up blogging buddy relationships with, but find potential readers.
- Wardrobe-Site Forums. Places like Wardrobe Remix, Chictopia, and Lookbook, often haveforums– so when you're updating your Wardrobe Remix with your latest outfit, pop in to the forums and start joining in on the conversation!
- Fashion & Fashion-Niche Forums. You can google Fashion Forum, Beauty Forum, Vintage Clothing forum and find–what else, nothing but individually run forums where they're friendly, engaged, and want to talk about nothing more than fashion, beauty, & style. (And there's often a thread for good gossip, snark, and real life.)
Tips for Using Forums:
- Using forums is a bit like blogging itself. It takes time to build up your credibility in a forum. Many forum members are super welcoming and nice, but it doesn't mean you're going to have a huge surge of traffic unless your traffic is on the really low side.
- It can be time consuming to build up your participation in forums. Darren says that he spends 15-30 minutes a day reading all of his forums, scanning them for areas he can be useful and provide tips or answers. For some bloggers, 15-30 minutes a day could be better spent writing posts or leaving comments on blogs! Whether you use forums will depend on your own schedule.
- Leave your blog post in your signature; you can usually set this up as an option in your profile. If you can't (IFB doesn't have this option) then just leave a link to your blog once you've left a comment.
- BE USEFUL! Don't just go around spamming threads with links to your blog. Make your reputation in the forums match your reputation at your blog. Give people a reason to want to read your site.
- If you're feeling lost and uncertain, make friends with a seasoned forum goer. Write them a note, tell them you love the site but are feeling overwhelmed. See if they have any tips for getting engaged more quickly!
Early this year, when I began removing the unnecessary parts of blogging from my routine, forums were one of the first areas I cut (with the exception of IFB). For me, the time and energy put in to them each day wasn't worth the output as a blogging goal. (As a social site, they were wonderful and very addictive once I got in to them!)
Do you use forums as part of your blogging and networking routine? Do you find that they drive a little or a lot of traffic to your site? What tips or suggestions do you have for someone looking to venture out in to forums as a place to network and drive traffic to your site?