Attract forum traffic through article writing

by Martin Reed on 12 September 2007 in Articles

Additional content will help develop your forum

You run a forum site, your site has a forum – but does it have anything else? Bulking up your website by adding new sections and publishing articles can create a more engaging user experience, help you attract new traffic and ultimately help your forum become successful.

The more you add, the more you attract

One of the biggest challenges you face when starting a new online community is attracting traffic. There are many basic steps you can take to make your site more attractive to the search engines but nothing will ever beat having high quality, unique content.

You should use every way possible of attracting traffic – one way of doing this is to add quality articles to your site, outside of your forum structure.

The benefits of adding more to your forum

Having an articles section on your website can add significant value to your community. If the articles are unique and of high quality, they will not only pick up search engine traffic but they are also likely to be linked to.

How many forum sites have you come across that offer anything else in addition to the actual forum itself? I would guess that over 95% of all the forums I come across offer only one thing: the forum.

By adding high quality articles to your site, you will attract more traffic and interest. Provide a link to a discussion thread on your forum at the bottom of each article and you will see people click through and very often register so they can leave a comment.

An example of using articles to benefit your forum

Let’s say you run a forum that allows expatriates to meet and discuss their experiences and new lives. The forum on its own will attract some search engine traffic, and you will be able to make your site more attractive to visitors by posting content on a regular basis.

Imagine if you add an article offering advice on how hard/easy it is to emigrate to certain countries. Imagine if you publish an article detailing the emotional roller coaster that those leaving their homes to set up a new life abroad have to ride. Imagine if you publish an article about those that fall in love with people from a different country and the difficulties and challenges such couples face.

Not only are these articles adding value to your current membership base, if they are unique and of high quality you will undoubtedly pick up search engine traffic based on the keywords you use and through other sites linking to your newly published content.

Including a call to action at the end of your articles (for example, by adding a link entitled ‘Discuss this article in our forum’) will undoubtedly help you maximise the benefits of your additional content.

How many other forums do you know of that have a separate articles section offering high quality, unique articles? Having more than just a forum on your website is yet another way you can differentiate your site from the competition and attract more traffic at the same time. With so many potential benefits, can you afford to ignore this rarely used but effective method of forum promotion?

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Hair Loss Cure September 13, 2007 at 6:47 am

I agree totally, articles help a lot in getting traffic to one’s site. If a site keeps putting up new articles every 2-3 days then it does make people visit the site. The articles should definitely that effective to attract traffic. They should be full of knowledge and should prove to be helpful to the community. I had started this article section on my site where I use to upload good articles which always had some knowledge in them and I did see an increase in the traffic to my site.

Smiley September 13, 2007 at 7:14 am

Interesting. If only I was a good writer and had something to write about !!

I do agree though that in this day & age you need to offer more than simply a forum.

Vyoma September 13, 2007 at 2:37 pm

Ah. This is where my dilemma begins. I have a blog established on the topic, and also a (spanking) new forum on the same topic.

My blog is now slowly picking up readership, one reader after another. The dilemma is, where should I post the articles that I create? My blog usually wins the upper hand because I do not want to loose momentum there. On the other hand, how do I also focus on the forum too?

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 14, 2007 at 12:03 am

Hair Loss Cure – It comes as no surprise to me that your articles section resulted in more traffic to your site. Even if you don’t have the time to publish a comprehensive articles section, just one or two new articles a month can add great value to your website.

Smiley – There are plenty of writers that you can hire for those articles if you do not feel capable or inclined to write them yourself. Try advertising on sites such as SitePoint or Performancing.com.

Vyoma – I think if you already have a blog, you already have somewhere to put your articles. The main focus for this article was using articles to attract traffic to a forum website.

The key to success for you depends on your goals – what is your priority? Your blog or your forum? Both require a huge amount of work – if you don’t have the time needed to get both fully established, perhaps you should drop one of them to ensure you keep the quality up for your chosen project.

Vyoma September 14, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Thanks Martin. I think that puts things in perspective. Blog is important for me, but I can think of dropping the forum yet. I guess, I will have to figure out others ways to fillup the forum. :)

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 15, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Vyoma – Are your blog and forum linked? If not, you could always post related blog articles into your forum.

The key is to keep creating content. It may be a little overwhelming to deal with the pressures of creating articles on your blog as well as content for your forum.

That’s not to say it can’t be done, though!

Smiley September 17, 2007 at 12:26 pm

I’ve added plenty to the site other than just forums now I think.

Blogs, music uploading, quizzes (members can create their own), members can create their own personal page, chat rooms, safety advice, a page with advice for new users to chat rooms (I guess that counts as a sort of article, huh??), an entertainment section with jokes (where members win Ģ5 e-voucher for sending in the month’s best joke), horoscopes etc etc.

I’ve noticed more visitors popping in and out of the chat room lately, a good sign I think.. now I need to spend more time in there myself greeting them and keeping them in.

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 17, 2007 at 2:59 pm

Smiley – It’s great just how much you have added to your site. So many people end up launching loads of small sites when they would be better off having them all run under the umbrella of a single domain.

Having other features and articles really helps give your community that little bit extra – it will attract more visitors and consequently more members.

Eric Martindale September 17, 2007 at 6:41 pm

I think this pretty much goes unsaid, with content being king and all that goodness. If you aren’t adding great content, you’re condemning your forum to a slow and painful death.

Smiley September 17, 2007 at 9:06 pm

Yes. That’s what I did originally if you remember, had different satellite sites as you call them.

Maybe you can shed more light onto this, though.

The reason I had different domains before is because I read that search engine rankings are decreased if you do not have consistency through-out the site.

That is, if your site has meta tags for all kinds of different things (such as if you had http://www.clothes.com has a domain name but your meta tags were “fire-engine tyres for sale, noddy doll bargain bucket, kfc fan club”), you’ll go down in the rankings, where-as if you’re consistent (such as same domain, http://www.clothes.com and tags “babies clothes, mens clothes, womens clothes), you’ll go up.. so mix & matching different things under one domain isn’t a good idea by that logic..

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 19, 2007 at 11:32 pm

Eric – I agree; and article writing is yet another great way of offering your visitors more delicious content!

Smiley – I have to admit that I pay little attention to the rumours and theories that do the rounds when it comes to what search engines think. All I care about is what my human visitors think.

At the end of the day, if you think a new site would be interesting to your current visitor base you should consider simply incorporating it into your current website.

By doing this you will not only be adding even more value to your existing site, but you will be focussing all your attention on one site rather than numerous others.

Smiley September 20, 2007 at 2:20 pm

Yes, good outlook. I put my visitors first now, rather than search engines like I did before.

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 23, 2007 at 4:05 pm

Smiley – That’s always the best course of action, in my opinion.

Adiadi December 31, 2007 at 8:11 am

I believe having high quality and unique content is the most important to ensure that your visitors will come back for more. This will of course help to improve on the traffic flowing to the forum.

Martin Reed - Blog Author January 2, 2008 at 8:55 pm

Adiadi – I completely agree; that’s why publishing articles can really help attract traffic and repeat visitors. A bored visitor will always be a lost visitor. You need to ensure you engage with every visitor to your site and encourage them to return time and time again – having fresh, quality content ensures this will always be the case.

article dude March 6, 2008 at 2:23 am

Also don’t forget the beauty of Article Marketing.
Write a good article and post it to as many Article Directories you can, they’ll allow you to have links back to your site via the resource box (up to three links on my site) and if it’s a good article it gets picked up by webmasters for publication on their sites = everyone wins.
Don’t worry about duplicate content, news sites don’t suffer any penalties, just make sure your article is well written and informative and it’ll generate traffic for years.
take care and keep up the good work :)

article dude March 7, 2008 at 12:17 am

I see some comments from people who think they are not good writers, they do not have to worry, it is only a matter of doing some research on what people are looking for, eg: “choosing web hosts” then reading everything about it for a day or two and then put all findings into a nice, coincise article. Do this twice a week and it’ll be enough, quality is way better than quantity.
hope I helped somehow, take care.
mark

Matt Keegan March 7, 2008 at 12:18 pm

I like the “let’s discuss this article in our forum” option as it does two things: allows people to add valuable content and it creates a decent internal link from the article to the forum.

Martin Reed - Blog Author March 15, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Article Dude – I don’t have any real experience in posting articles in article directories, although I wouldn’t be comfortable in sharing or duplicating too much of my content. Perhaps a post every week or couple of weeks would be advantageous, but the last thing you want to do it overdo it and end up publishing all your content in directories!

I think that a lot of people do underestimate their own skills. If they sat down and just wrote, I am pretty sure that after a few revisions they would have something worthy of publishing on their sites.

Matt – I completely agree. Not only are you offering good content, you are also encouraging readers to interact with a strong ‘call to action’.

Cinder April 6, 2008 at 7:48 am

I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner ^_^…I just made a main page for my forums…I’m going to start updating it with articles that should (hopefully) attract more traffic…thanks for the article, Martin ^_^

Martin Reed - Blog Author April 8, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Cinder – I strongly believe that articles can be of great benefit to a forum. Not only can they attract traffic, but they also add value to your website (just as long as the articles are original, and of a high quality). Make sure you keep us updated with how you get on.

dan May 9, 2008 at 11:36 pm

Total agreement. The communities that I ran and that were successful – as opposed to those that didn’t “work” – had strong section of articles…

Martin Reed - Blog Author May 12, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Dan – Articles are a great way of ensuring you continue to add fresh, quality content to your online community. Remember, not only do they attract visitors, they also attract the search engine crawlers.

Viral Inviter Review June 26, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Article Writing and marketing is key to the success of any platform of business whether it’s driving traffic to a blog, affiliate site or in this case a new found forum needing population… And the best thing is you can easily pump out 5 or so articles in the space of 1 -2 hours and submitting to ezine etc is free….

Gooooood Post..

Martin Reed - Blog Author June 26, 2008 at 11:27 pm

Viral – Submitting articles to sites such as ezine can be a good way of promoting your site; just make sure you keep some high quality, original content on your site, else you’ll have nothing unique for your visitors when they arrive!

Leonardo Medina November 14, 2008 at 2:19 am

I think article marketing itīs the best way of promoting a website and gain backlinks. Just make sure to write an article that has original content, and avoid some mistakes like too much hype, bragging and self-promotion.

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 17, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Leonardo – I agree; even when it comes to article marketing, you need to ensure you are offering something that is unique and of quality!

Ninah June 1, 2009 at 2:09 am

This is yet again another proof that content is always king. That kinda makes my job as an article writer harder. I always feel the pressure of coming up with good content.

Edward August 14, 2009 at 10:43 am

This is a great idea. One of the most successful forums I’ve seen really took off when they started asking members to write tutorials (it was a web design forum). What more could you ask for? An educated group, creating professional content AND generating discussion. Sign me up! :)

Rudiawan Lukman August 19, 2009 at 11:09 pm

I posted some articles to the article directories as suggested by article dude and two of my blogs got PR1 in about two months. I don’t know if it is related to the article marketing or not because each of my blog posts are keywords optimized as well. My question is how soon normally you guys see your SE Optimized blog get PR1 without the article marketing works?

And to Martin, thanks for giving your great idea! I really appreciate it!

best regards,

Rudi

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