FORUMS, GUESTBOOKS, COMMENTS
If all goes well, you now have a web site, are getting some traffic and are offering some products. How do you keep your visitor’s interest and create more interest for you sites? The answer is simple: fresh material. You can add fresh material by having a blog and posting regularly on it. You then need to tag and ping your posts for more attention.
Another feature on a blog that can get you fresh material and you don’t have to write a word is the comments’ feature. Before you get too excited about having your visitors post on your blog and you just have to sit back and relax as your site’s content is growing by the minute, let me burst your bubble. Most comments posted on blogs are just automatically done by spammers and are aimed at re-directing your traffic to their crappy pills or mature content sites and you get nothing out of it. There are features on your blogs you will need to activate (or have activated):
-On Word press blogs there is a free feature called Akismet you can activate that will filter most of the known spammers.
-There is also a feature on most blogs where a comment will not be posted until you review it and approve it.
Many successful internet marketers told me they just disabled the comment feature altogether on their blogs not to have to deal with the spammers and people just posting their links without any valuable comments. If you have a blog, I highly recommend you check it in the beginning to see if the comments are good and valuable or not for you.
Another use of forums is to post your valuable comments on other people’s forum. At the end of the comment, you are usually allowed to add your signature file which usually contains your name and web site address. This way, you get a link back…in theory. You have to know that many forums or blogs do not allow email address or URL postings.
On other sites, you may feel like you were able to post your web site address but they are actually what we call “no follow” links meaning that this will not be considered a link by the search engines and will not be a clickable link by the people visiting this blog or forum.
Forums are a very popular feature on the internet and if you have a c-panel, you can activate your forum for free. You can also do a web search for “forum software” and get a free one. They are usually easy to install (but not by me!). One of the most commonly used are the ones in the family of the php-bb.
Again, you will encounter spammers on forums that are only posting links to their bad web sites and not adding any value to your forum. Furthermore, there will be well-intended people who will post their comments which will either be false or misleading for your readers. In short, a forum that has a lot of traffic can be very rewarding and create a buzz around your web site and products but you will either need to be a moderator or name people moderators to control what is said or done on your forum.
Having a guestbook on your web site can be an interesting feature. Again, you have to beware of spammers.
A good trick I have heard about naming people moderators is to contact the persons that are most active on your forum and ask them if they are interested in becoming moderators. Most people will be flattered and will accept gladly…for free!
Another good way to create interest on your site and get a feel of what your customers want is to do a survey. People like to participate in surveys and just loooooove to give their opinion.
They then enjoy to see the results and this information is invaluable for you and may inspire you to create other good products you know your customers want.
Like I mentioned before, it is very wise to put your web site address on all your publications and business cards. Even if you have a short and cute web site name, the odds are good that people will have heard many web site addresses and will not remember yours.
This is the reason you need to write it everywhere. Whenever you meet a person at a seminar, offer you business card (do not shove it up their throat like I have seen done though) with your web site address on it.
If you have different businesses, you usually need more than one business card according to the crowd you will meet.
Furthermore, if you have a chance to do an interview (either television, newspaper, magazine, teleseminar or radio) always mention your web site address often.
There is also a cool script called Tell A Friend that you can have installed on your web sites. This way, if your visitors like your site and products, they send a link of your site to their trusting friends and you get a nice referral.
Beware of such software that scrape people’s address book and forwards them e-mails. This is as bad as spamming in my opinion…and many other people’s.
HERE IS YOUR CALL TO ACTION:
1) Consider opening a forum on your web site.
2) Since you already have a blog, visit it and see if you had activated the comment functions. If you have comments, review them and delete the ones that are not useful. Make sure you have the Akismet function activated on your blog.
3) Consider adding the Tell A Friend script on your web sites.
4) Check if your have enough business cards and if you web site address is on them.
See you on the next square!