So you wanna be a forum host. What can the FORUM do for YOU?
Here is how:
1: As always, things work best when you are active. If you aren't active in the forum, your readers won't be either. I know it is a canned answer, but get in there are talk! Start asking questions, making polls and go ahead and make a challenge post if you wanna.
2: Not only do you need to be active, but you've got to let your community know it is there. They have no idea that you've added a forum unless you TELL them! I shoot readers to the forum at the end of posts with a comment or question. Check out the example HERE.
Another way to get readers involved is to encourage them with "homework" at the end of your post. If your post encourages a "call to action" at the end, you can direct them to the forum to share THEIR own blog posts -- THEIR comments -- THEIR photos. It is similar to the way you encourage comments, but a forum allows readers to "get lost" in more information and more networking once they are in the forum.
3: Help out the other hosts. I've put a list of the hosts HERE (and will continue to update it). When you are on your own blog, your hits don't count. So if you are going to go in the forum and comment, go on another one of the host's blogs and do your forum work in there. You are giving them hits and building the collective forum at the same time. It is a win for everybody.
4: Link to relevant posts. The forum is a great place to leave links, but only if they make sense. When a person starts to over-promote, it ruins the feel of a forum, but well placed, relevant links to your blog posts are perfect!
5: Tweet questions from the forum and pin polls. When you think you have a good post in the forum, draw people in by tweeting directly from the post. You will see the social media buttons just above the posting box in classic view.
6: Anything you would ask on facebook, ask it in your forum. Facebook is losing traction (for us bloggers!) as they start to monetize. Don't give up facebook, but consider using the forum in a similar manner to facebook to start conversations.
7: Think about keywords in your posts. Google spiders will start picking up on forum posts, so use specific names and proper nouns when speaking on a topic to pick up as many outside hits as possible. Once someone enters the forum on your site from Google, it is almost certain they'll want to see what the rest of the blog is about.
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