I have seen many administrators talk about forum post exchanges, so thought I would write an article discussing the advantages and disadvantages of using this approach to generate activity and content for your community.
What are forum post exchanges?
The basic premise of a forum post exchange is as follows: you post on someone’s forum and in return they post on yours.
For every post that you make on a participant’s forum, they will make the same number on yours. Therefore, the more active you are in their community, the more active they will be on yours.
Forum post exchanges are two way streets – you give in one direction, and receive in the other.
The advantages of forum post exchanges
There are many advantages to getting involved in forum post exchanges. You may find new communities of interest and you will increase the number of members and posts in your forum.
Perhaps most importantly of all, you will be networking and getting to know other forum administrators.
Additionally, as long as you keep posting in the forums of participants, you will be assured new members and posts over at your own community.
The disadvantages of forum post exchanges
Creating content and writing forum posts takes time. Why use this time adding value to someone else’s forum when you can be adding content to your own community?
There is no guarantee of quality when you are involved in forum post exchanges – you may be adding real value to a participant’s forum, but in return get single word or single line posts that do not improve your online community.
A forum post exchange will only generate content and members for as long as you keep posting in the forums of new and current participants. As soon as you stop, it is almost certain that those involved in the exchange will do the same.
My opinion of forum post exchanges
For the reasons I give above, I do not get involved in forum post exchanges. I do not see the point in spending time adding value to someone else’s online community to the detriment of your own.
There is no guarantee as to the quality of the content that participants will add to your site. Similarly, all the new content will end as soon as you cease your participation.
My advice? Steer clear of forum post exchanges. Spend the time instead creating fantastic and unique content for your own community – this will attract genuine, valuable members.