E-Commerce Newbie

How to start an online business

 
 

Forums

 Forum websites generally fall into just two categories;

  1. An interactive way for a product manufacturer to solicit the assistance of their customers to better support the product.
  2. Niche Expert - You will find numerous forums run by experts in various Niche fields, Plumbing, Gaming, Health, Gardening, etc...

As #1 requires a product, & enough customers to support this type of interaction, I will concentrate on the 2nd Category "Niche Expert".

Before you jump to the next type of site because you don't consider yourself an expert, spend a little time thinking about your strengths.

  • In conversations do you offer advice?
  • Do you have experience in a service industry?
  • Do you have tips from the home?
  • What do you spend your spare time doing?

Any of the above can be used as a foundation for a forum.

There may already be forums in your area of expertise but rather than a negative, these can be used in a positive way by directing visitors to your site.

 In Traffic I will be explaining how to utilize the power of forums to get visitors to your site. For now i will just advise that you need to register at related forums & generate a signature in your profile that links back to your site. You may very well have found this site through my own signature in a forum.

If your still considering a forum site then you are in luck when it comes to building it!

Again if you followed my advice you have a hosting account with Cpanel & fantastico.

See previous page for accessing fantastico.

Once you have opened fantastico you will have 2 choices listed under Discussion Boards. PHPBB & SMF.

Both Forums install with fantastico so your choice of forum is more a personal one than a technical one, perform a Google Search on Forums.

 

 

 Look at the layouts, I would expect the forum script would be either PHPBB or SMF (Simple Machines)you can see which by looking at the page footer.

 Once you have decided on the script you are going to use for your Forum continue the installation as instructed. As with blogs i would suggest you install in a sub directory called Forum.

The building of your site may well have been easy but the hard part with a forum is generating the traffic, don't waste your time looking for advertisers just yet without traffic you are not going to be able to charge much for advertising.

Use Adsense & sign up for a few associated affiliate products, just post their banners & add affiliate links into your signature & forum answers.

See my section on Traffic for ideas on how to get people to your site.

Good Forums are Self Sustaining & Viral

The great thing about forums is the ever increasing amount of original & free keyword rich content. Once your site starts to get recognised & ranked by the search engines as relevant to the topic, your traffic will slowly build.

With increasing traffic comes increasing posts & answers to those posts. Think of the posts as long tailed keywords the more posts the more relevance the more search referrals, the more traffic...... Your Forum Grows Automatically!