Online forums are a great way to create your own online community. When you add a forum to your website, you increase user engagement, which leads to more visitors. And the best part is, thanks to our website builder, you can be a forum maker, even if you have absolutely no technical skills. (Don’t believe us? Check out this guide, so you can see how easy it is to use!)
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Why you should make a forum
Here’s why almost every website with a thriving community has an online forum:
Online forums increase user engagement
Online forums are a great place to debate, ask questions, and give advice. This means that when you’re a forum maker, visitors spend a longer time on your website. This increased user engagement helps your website rank higher in search engines.
They increase visitor loyalty
When you build a strong online community, you make it such a pleasant experience to visit your website that your visitors will keep coming back again and again. Repeat visitors are great for your search engine ranking and look amazing to advertisers, if you want to monetize your website.
Forums increase the popularity of your website
An online forum is a great way to expand your website fast. If you use our website builder to create your blog, and you add a forum to your site, not only will you be able to make a gorgeous website in minutes, but you’ll increase your website’s popularity in record time, too!
Now that you know why you should consider making a forum, here’s how to be a great forum maker:
How to be a great forum maker
1. Choose a great website builder
A great website builder will be easy to use and have tons of templates for you to choose from, so you can customize your layout to suit your brand. It will also be affordable and help you create mobile-friendly websites without doing any extra work.
2. Design your forum
Before you become a forum maker, consider what kind of online community you want to create. Do you want to create a warm, helpful community, or do you want to inspire fiery debates? And what do you want your community to be passionate about? If you have a sports website, your visitors will naturally be passionate about sports, so ideally, you’d choose a sports-based theme from one of our hundreds of templates. If you want your community to be passionate about fashion and beauty, you’d choose one of our fashion-related themes instead. Whatever brings your online community together, choose a design that will resonate with them.
3. Decide on your threads
Which themes might your online community be interested in? Once you’ve figured out the main topic that your audience cares about (e.g. gaming, sports, or fashion), you can create discussion threads they’re likely to be interested in. For instance, under “gaming”, you can have threads related to specific games. You can also have threads related to news about games and how to do various tasks that gamers need to be able to do to have a fun gaming experience. If fashion is more your speed, you can have threads related to fashions for various seasons, and how to dress for each style type.
4. Lay down the law
Since you’re the forum maker, it’s up to you to decide what kind of behavior is appropriate in your online community. Do you want forum members to feel comfortable swearing, or would you prefer that they kept things G-rated? Do forum members have to cite their sources when they state facts? Can they use the forum to link to their own blog? Think carefully about the kinds of rules you want to set, and once you’ve decided, create a post which contains the rules (and the penalties for breaking them), and pin it somewhere prominent, so that forum members can always see it.
5. Punish rule-breakers
Rules don’t mean anything unless they’re enforced. Be sure to punish behavior that breaks the rules of your forum. This is where laying down the law comes in handy. Once you have a post that sets out the rules and the consequences for breaking them, you can punish rule-breakers without losing the respect of the other visitors to your website.
6. Get rid of spam
Spam can wreak havoc with your SEO if you don’t weed it out. You also need to weed out trolls, unwanted advertising, and off-topic discussions. It’s okay to let forum members stray a bit from the point, but try to keep them on topic, if you can. Not only does this make it more enjoyable for visitors, but discussions that contain a lot of the same repeated terms will also help your website skyrocket in search engine rankings.
7. Encourage participation
Encourage forum members to keep coming back by giving perks like badges or special tags to frequent contributors. This will encourage frequent contributors to keep contributing, and it will also encourage newer forum members to increase their participation, so they can get those special perks, too.
8. Promote your forum
To expand your online community, you’ll need to promote your forum. You can do this in newsletters, on your YouTube channel, or on your other social media. (For more ideas on how to promote your forum, check out our post on ten ways to promote your website free!)
And that’s it! Follow this guide and you’ll create a thriving online community that will boost your website’s SEO beyond your wildest dreams.