Friday, January 15, 2010

Build Your Own Online Forum Community

Build Your Own Online Forum Community

This isn’t one of the most obvious ways to make money online, which is precisely why it is something of an untapped market for generating an income from.

There are plenty of subjects you could tap into for building a worthwhile forum – all you need to do is choose one that you already have a good deal of knowledge in. Alternatively you could add one to a site you have now, which can be an excellent way of monetizing your existing traffic.

A forum or community is also an excellent way of providing more value for your visitors. They have a reason to return to your website because they know there will be regular fresh content on there. That same fact will also mean the search engine spiders will tend to visit your site more often too, which can eventually result in a higher ranking.

Want to know more? Read on!

Building a forum or community can take a bit of effort initially, but there are a lot of rewards to be had. It might also be a lot cheaper than you think, since there are plenty of providers who will let you have the software and hosting you’ll need completely free of charge. Have a good look round the internet to see which ones appeal to you the most before deciding.

That’s all very well, but how do you actually make money from this?
Well it does depend on the subject of the forum, but you can charge a fee for people to gain access to it if you provide them with decent information and there is something worth gaining for the money. Some news related sites charge a fee for access which encourages people to visit the site on a daily basis, but obviously your site might be on a completely different subject altogether.

You could also think about building a community or forum where basic membership is free, but in order to get access to premium features you would need to pay a small monthly fee. This strategy often gets a better take up rate as people get the chance to sample what the site is like before deciding whether or not to pay the extra money. A good example of this (albeit one on a large scale) is the Second Life virtual reality site, where membership is free but in order to take part on a larger scale and gain access to better features you need to pay the monthly amount stipulated.

You can see that it’s a good idea to do your homework before getting involved with anything like this, because you want to make sure your paid membership options are desirable enough to bring in the customers. If you end up giving your subscribers something they can get elsewhere at no cost whatsoever, then there is no reason for them to carry on subscribing with you. That’s a good point to bear in mind when you get started; if your subscriber drop out rate seems rather high, you might need to reconsider what you are offering.

Some people also offer membership only websites which have a members’ only forum as part of the overall package. These are usually based around a popular subject but go into it in more depth and offer unique content that can’t be found anywhere else.

For example, there is plenty of content out there about writing and selling e-books, but there is at least one person offering a members’ only site that goes into the whole process step by step, sharing their own success of writing and selling e-books in an in-depth fashion. This is the kind of format you want to aim for.

So if you have some ideas on creating a forum, community or members’ only site of your own, why not start making steps towards making them a reality? You might find those ideas hold a monthly income for you that you only need to start tapping into.


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