Making money with online forums


Tired of Making Chump Change Online?

collaborationHighly specific online bulletinboards/messageboards aka ‘forums’ offers webmasters a ‘highly targeted’ way to generate revenue through site advertising.  In particular, specialist forums that focus on a narrow range of topics and finely tuned categories within those topics. Why do these types of forums stand to make more money than high traffic/high volume “general” forums?  It all boils down to capturing a small refined target market.  Advertisers, on average, pay less for ‘run of site’ or ‘general branding’ campaigns than for smaller, highly targeted campaigns that focus on specific demographics.  A company pushing “smiley icon” apps would probably want the widest audience possible and buy run of site ads.  However, a company that is pushing products to podiatrists would want to advertise only to podiatrists.

Some basic ideas on how to build, operate, and monetize “ultraniche” forums

1) Find an ultraniche

It’s not enough to focus on a niche, focus on a subniche within that niche.  As long as there is demonstrated heavy interest from advertisers, focus on subniches.  How do you measure advertiser interest?  Find how much interest they show via Adwords terms.  You can also check CJ and other affiliate networks to see how many advertisers are running campaigns on this ultraniche.

2) Find common questions regarding your niche

Go to wiki answers or Yahoo Answers and compile a list of common questions or frequent questions about your niche.  Analyze them.  Make a logic tree by extrapolating related questions.

3) Go to Google Keywords Selector to finetune your questions

Once you have a list of questions and related questions, go to Google Keywords Selector to find high traffic keywords you can massage into the questions

4) Post your questions and simulate a conversation

Post your questions and simulate a conversation using many differing “populator” accounts in your forums.  This appearance of activity helps your forum avoid The Empty Restaurant Effect The appearance of activity will prompt real users to register and participate.  Once you have enough real users participating, you can stop the population activities on your forum

5) Promote your forum using this initial promotions packages

These are packages and prices available from Webmasterlabor.Com

  • Submit your forum to 1000 directory sites
  • Social bookmark your forum using differing tag combinations focused on your ultraniche
  • Stumble your forum (there’s an easily overlooked trick to this)
  • Issue a press release specifically targeting your audience using trigger keywords/jargon they would react to
  • Find existing forums that GENERALLY touch on your niche (ie., the target forums cater a larger subset which includes your ultraniche target audience) and build links there/converse there
  • Article marketing–write a large series of articles that focus on issues your subniche cares about and inviting further conversation through the “About the Author” section.  The links in this section go to your forum.

6)  Some key tips to keep in mind

Running and populating a forum is a marathon not a sprint–hang in there and be patient.  However, keep promoting and populating.  Don’t just start and stop.  That will only lead to frustration.

Use VBSeo or some other forum SEO plugin.  If you’re using VBulletin for your forum, look into using VBSEO to make your forum thread urls and other forum features more SEO friendly.

Use forum populator accounts to direct conversations instead of just unloading the answers.

Find where your market hangs out online and participate/communicate there.

Photo Credits:  LuMaxArt

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