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Join a Forum and Start Participating [Day 9 - 31DBBB]

Your task today in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge is to join a forum that relates to the topic of your blog (or, if you’ve already joined one to spend 10-15 minutes participating in it).

One of the questions I always get new bloggers to ask when it comes to finding readers for their blog is ‘where are your potential readers already gathering online?‘ One of the places I encourage them to go looking for those potential readers is on forums on related topics to your blog.

Forums are fantastic places for bloggers to participate for a number of reasons:

1. Profile Building – put consistent time into a large forum on your topic and you can build a significant profile in your niche. I’ve seen it happen in my own photography forum numerous times where people have produced such value and shown off their expertise that they’ve actually developed fans among other forum users.

2. Driving Traffic – create value and become a useful resource in a forum and people will want to know more about who you are and what you do via your signature and or profile page. You’ll also sometimes have opportunity to share some relevant links to things you’ve written.

3. Understanding Your Niche – the hidden benefit of joining a forum that many don’t talk about is that for a new blogger a forum can actually be a fertile ground for gathering ideas and understanding the needs of potential blog readers. Go to any forum and you’ll begin to see the same questions being asked over and over again. The questions actually annoy some regular forum members but you as a blogger should be taking note of such questions and writing posts that answer them because they are usually signals of problems and needs that people have on those topics. I know if I’m ever in need of a topic to write about on my blogs that forums are one of the first places that I go looking for topics.

Spend some time today searching for forums in your niche. Once you find them, join up and start participating. The key is to spend time being as useful as possible to the forum. Your main activity should NOT be leaving links to your blog but answering questions, making connections and generally being as useful as you can to other members of the forum.

Here are two posts on building a blog with Forum Traffic that you Should Read:

I could say a lot more about building your blog up by participating in forums – but we’ve covered the topic a few times on ProBlogger previously. Check out these two posts:

Note: if you can’t find a forum on your exact topic look for them on related topics. If you can’t find any at all, perhaps it is a signal that you should start one at some point. Forums can actually be great additions to blogs.

Update: Day 9 – Promote Your Blog by Finding a Forum to Participate In – People are sharing and exploring this task together over at the forum… you could start there!

Want More?

This task is a sample of one of the tasks in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook – a downloadable resource designed to reinvigorate and revitalize blogs.

Join over 14,000 other bloggers and Get your Copy Today.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. elizof says:

    I just joined our 31Day forum and added a couple of responses… Honestly, I have joined quite a number of forums/sites online and must admit; A winnowing is in order. I am oversubscribed!
    As someone said above, how do people find the time? I say God bless them… I need to refocus and cut some of my social media networks out! Of course, our 31Day challange forum and just a couple more will remain on my must keep list…
    What the 31Day challenge is helping me do is to see the forest for the trees. Yes, I need to go from the infinite to the finite. = re-focus on blogging.
    Until tomorrow…

  2. Tommy says:

    I am a member of many forums relevant to my blogging topics, I just do not participate as I used to. I explain it more on my blog post 31DBBB Day 9: Join a Forum.

  3. Honey Singh says:

    yeah darren you are current their are lot of forums from where you can get huge amount of traffic.
    More over you can also earn money from freelancing from the forums
    for example:
    http://www.honeytechblog.com/ways-to-make-money-on-digitalpoint/

  4. madafan says:

    this is the right time for updating my profile on tripadvisor as I am blogging about travel. High time also to get more active on the forums as with the current crisis in Madagascar, people are asking questions
    If you want madafan to be under your radar on tripadvisor, check my profile on http://www.tripadvisor.com/members/SaveOurSmile

  5. Kat Rice says:

    Found a great forum for the 20-somethings.

    http://www.youngentrepreneur.com/

  6. I’m with Scary Mommy. I just need a few more hours. If we could only eliminate the need for sleep? Fanastic idea though, one I hadn’t gotten to yet. Thanks.

  7. How To Blog says:

    I’ve just joined the 31DBBB forum and it’s looking good!

    One forum that everyone should know about is the http://www.warriorforum.com

    This is very active, has over 120,000 members and most of the big names in Internet Marketing are members. Lurk around there for a while and you’ll see some amazing threads.

    Sarah

  8. Don Lafferty says:

    This works.

    In an effort to gather writers and editors for a potential piece of work, I promoted a hidden blog page out through my Yahoo groups for writers. Ostensibly I hit about 20K like-minded people.

    The response I received, and continue to receive, has been overwhelming.

    I wasn’t targeting these communities to sell anything, just providing them with something of value through my blog and, man, it was right on target.

  9. gabybali says:

    I just joined Bali Creative Community on Facebook. Still looking for travel forum..

  10. Kristin says:

    The bags I make appeal a lot to knitters, crocheters and crafters in general, as they work well to carry a project around. I happen to also be a knitter, and so was already a member of a niche forum.

    I’m quite active on http://ravelry.com, and if you are a knitter or crocheter, you need to check out this site. It has forums, and so much more! I’ve gotten great feedback from readers, built friendships, done trades with people I’ve never met, and even have a Meanbean fangroup on there.

    Ravelry has been a fabulous resource, and one that I will continue to use.
    http://mymeanbean.com/Blog

  11. Maddie Grant says:

    This does work great. My business partner and I created a forum for our niche (social media and associations) at http://www.yapstar.org and we learn more from it than anywhere else.

  12. Stephanie says:

    Who needs sleep anyway. I’m already a member of a lot of networks but I did find some entrepreneurship forums to join, that I hadn’t considered before.

    Now I just need to find time to participate in them.

    Stephanie
    http://www.bizziemommy.com

  13. Janet Green says:

    I have been active in a forum in my niche for five years and have been using it to promote my blog as well as offer value to others. For this challenge I decided to see what *other* forums might exist out there for my niche, and to my surprise found that there were several that have started up in the past couple of years. I picked one to join that seemed to have a different personality from the one I already frequent. I hope it will bring a new audience to my blog and raise my “personal brand” in the community.

  14. Claudia says:

    My blog being about books, reading and historical novels, it was quite straightforward for me to join sites like http://www.librarything.com and http://www.goodreads.com. As someone has pointed out, time is scarce so I cannot interact that much, but I have noticed a higher traffic after each post.

    Best,
    Claudia

  15. I’ve been doing all right with the assignments up to today, but am having some trouble with this one. I think I don’t quite “get” the idea of a forum – or, at least, it’s not intuitively obvious to me how the site I’d like to use (which claims to be a forum, as well as a social networking site) functions as such.

    I’m in real estate, so would like to use ActiveRain.com (AR), which is pretty popular among my TwitterPals. I’ve set up my account – slimly, linked to my two current blogs, and subscribed to a few AR blogs (very hard to find specific people). Not sure what to do next.

    I don’t really want to write yet another blog, because I’ve already got three (including the one on my main website).

    Guess I haven’t really found the “forum” part of this site!

  16. I joined the 32 Day blogger forum and I also signed up for Google alerts under a few catagories. I will get one email per day and it looks like there are some interesting topics.

    I also signed up for a Twitter account a few weeks ago but I am not seeing any action on that. I am trying to send daily tweets, but so far, no responses!

    I do believe I have a few more viewers than before this challenge began – so something must be working!

    Thanks again – sorry I commented twice today!

    Bridget

  17. Maria Palma says:

    I’ve been a part of many forums and groups online, but haven’t been really active on any lately (Twitter seems to take up a great deal of time!)

    One forum that has been around for quite awhile is the WarriorForum which is a great place for internet marketers.

  18. titan says:

    Forum really a good tools to me. So, we should try to use it greatly.

  19. JT says:

    Thanks for that lesson Darren. Should I first be an expert in my chosen niche before I enter any forum? I’m quite new at this, & this might take me a little to use forum participation effectively to my advantage. But will keep in mind all you points. thanks

  20. EXCELLENT reminder! And very important to read the second post you recommended:
    How to Use Forums to Drive Hundreds of Thousands of Readers to Your Blog
    so that you don’t come off as a bull in a china shop when you enter a forum, which I have been guilty of due to my excitement to let everyone know about my wonderful blog!

  21. Daniel says:

    I participate in forums regularly and depending on the topic we can see spikes of 5-7% on our overall traffic numbers just by including our signature. However, the information you provide must be useful to forum readers.

  22. enjoygame says:

    Thanks for that lesson Darren. Should I first be an expert in my chosen niche before I enter any forum? I’m quite new at this, & this might take me a little to use forum participation effectively to my advantage. But will keep in mind all you points. thanks http://www.ugg2u.net

  23. We noticed a lot of people say there are no forums in their niche and that forums can be a time waster.

    These are the methods we used that might be of help:

    Finding Forums Tips

    To find forums popular with people you want to reach a good place to start is alexa.com. With forums it is the amount of traffic that a forum gets that is important not the search engine position. You get a good indicator of the amount of activity on the forum.
    Just go to alexa type in “your main niche keyword”. Then go thru the sites receiving the most traffic and find the ones with forums. Alexa gives some other great information like the demographics and the type of keywords driving the most traffic to the forum. That way you can also be sure you picked the right forum to match your niche.

    When you join the forum find key players who post the most and extract the link they are promoting in their signature_link. You can use this to find what other forums they are using. To do this just go to google and type “inurl:forum + signature_link”. This will return other forums that may also be worth joining. Again you can enter these forums into alexa.com to see if they are getting the right traffic and if the demographics matches your niche.

    Forum Time Management

    We also noticed that people commented that forums take a lot of work and is a time sucker. The trick is to pick no more than 2 forums to frequent and set a time maybe on the weekend to visit the forum and get ideas for you own blog posts first. Make this a weekly habit. Only when it becomes a habit should you start commenting on the forum posts. In the mean time you can get ideas for your own blog posts. Some forums have RSS feeds which are useful to subscribe to with google reader to keep up.

    For us personally I think concentrating on the challenge forum is the most productive habit to develop for a start. It’s important not to get too overwhelmed and give up.

  24. Ark Lady says:

    I just can’t get that into the forum piece for my expertise…I charge for that and find many of the discussions waste time talking about really bizarre things.

    In contrast, I enjoy participating in some forums that are moderated but I don’t seem to stick.

    I find that some forums allow me to feed into my reader and I can keep abreast of ideas from forums there and pop in to read or comment more easily.

    Other than that I am just not likely to get out to the forums these days…just like I don’t always get to the blogs I read–I am an RSS Reader gal…

    Any hints on how to get that enthusiasm? Might be a good topic for the forum.

  25. Jack Scott says:

    I can say that this does work. I have been a member of the OSDev.org forums (mostly about low-level programming) for longer than I can remember. When I added a link to my blog in my signature, this, along with becoming a moderator, gave me a significant jump in traffic.

  26. Sam sall says:

    Hay
    i working on this now i joined 2 forums and i’m in the studying phase for those forum

  27. @Steven Ahmad – I hadn’t seen Digital Point before! Thanks for the tip!

  28. Lori says:

    This advice is great timing for me. I’ve just started seeing the benefit of this and now have a kick in the butt to keep going! I have a travel blog, so forums like http://www.TravelWriters.com are filled with individuals who are looking for answers about travel writing, which I do full time. It builds a thriving on-line community and can lead to many valuable connections.

  29. Alicia says:

    This was a fantastic experience for me. Thank you!

    http://experiencingeachmoment.blogspot.com/2009/04/31dbbb-day-9-forums.html

  30. Hi this is a good article and very usefull.Keep doing the good job.
    Thanks again.

  31. dawnaurora says:

    I am not usually a forum person because I get lost in reading everything, but now with the objective of connecting and giving valuable info I have a focus.

  32. wahoa! Now I am getting that how big bloggers are BIGG! :D

  33. Darren,

    I love your philosophy and constant reminder that the point is not simply to offer links to our blogs but to add value — the result is readers.. Thank you for the awesome tip. I found a great forum of writers I can connect with and look forward to adding value with my contributions and learning from them along the way.

    Maria

  34. Soulpowr says:

    Found one forum on NING ugh. Already on a Ning network may join some of those forums instead of signing up for yet another. Also still looking form something non-ning.

  35. Darran says:

    Prior to this challenge, I was already active on a forum and that is the WordPress support forums. I outlined what I liked and disliked there. Here’s the blogpost:

    http://limetouch.com/archives/31dbbb-day9-join-a-forum-and-start-participating/

  36. Clare Flynn says:

    This was the hardest for me as I am not a natural forum person. I spent ages trying to find a suitable forum for my makeitanmendit blog but then decided to put my other business (antconsulting.co.uk) hat on and go for a business startup forum. Again ages sorting through lots of chaff till I finally found one that looked OK and have posted a quite long post – we shall see!
    Somehow I don’t think this is going to be something I will be doing that often as the effort seemed disproportionate to the potential return – but I hope to be proved wrong! In any event I will probably have another go tomorrow using the forum I have signed up to.

  37. Suzanne says:

    such a good idea! And my favorite fashion blog (http://independentfashionbloggers.org/) has it’s very own Forum, that I was too chicken to join up in, until now!

    Thanks again!!

  38. Yeah, I noticed too that many of my site’s visitors come from forums that I used to participate in. Maybe if I became more active, I would start to see a lot more traffic. ;-P

  39. I’ve joined some neat forums through LinkedIn that I hope will be a place where I’ll meet like-minded people.

  40. Katie says:

    I can’t really find a forum for my niche, since its a bit hard to fit my blog into a category. I will however, look for forums that fit my demo.

  41. I joined a couple of forums a while back that are related to one of my blogs. I noticed that while I was really active, I was getting a lot more comments and traffic to the blog. I stopped visiting these forums as things got busier and busier for me. This is a great reason to start again!

  42. Hi,
    I’ve joined 2 forums today and participated in both so we shall see how that goes. I have also added this task into my daily routine although soon there will be no room left for writing. It’s quite a juggle isn’t it – writing with no readers or readers with no writing.
    Cheers, Chloe

  43. Gary Sanet says:

    Thats great but i wanna start a forum in my niche area… plz suggest me some ways to do that !!

  44. fazreen says:

    adding a forum to our blog also can drive traffic. Make that forum as bloggers gathering. Build community among us.

  45. Bloggers can get traffic through forums ,I have laready joined copule of forums and sharing my knoeledge.