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Thread: Can You Make Money from Starting a Forum?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    3rd Rock from the Sun
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    Default Can You Make Money from Starting a Forum?

    Are forums a good vehicle for monetizing the web? I am thinking to myself, would I gain anything if I were to start a travel forum and place a link to it from all my travel sites. The alarm bell ringing in my head is saying that I'd be wasting my time and energy, which can be better spent growing my static sites.

    The reasoning is, while forums are a good watering hole for like-minded people to come together and babble, its monetizing value is pretty low compared to static content sites. Even high-traffic forums don't monetize as well as content sites. You have to be super high traffic to see the money. Is that true? What's your opinion?

  2. #2

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    Having owned a forum I can say that you are correct. They are notorious hard to promote, you need active members to keep contributing to the forum or else it will die out fast, the spam can be intolerable at times and the monetary value is never that good.
    If you want to create a forum just to make money out of it then expect to wait for a long time, that is if at all the forum gets big.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    92

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    I think its a way to earn money but need to work hard and keep the forum active and new posts and new threads need to give. So these all make a forum most active and thus people come and hold their discussions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    130

    Default

    Yeah, forum is a way to earn money but you have to be interested and passionate about your forum.
    As we all know ,they are a few forums that able to sell products very well.And they combine a wealth of information with a few recommended vendors.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    14,746

    Default

    I earn some money from AdSense on this forum, but it's NOTHING compared to my other sites. As weblover stated it can be challenging to promote and it's often very difficult to get it going/active. There are even days now where I say "Why did I do this again?" lol But then I see so many of the great conversations and people I've met here and I'm glad I have it.

    But forums are a lot of work so make sure you know what you're getting into. Dealing with spam alone is a full time job (even with anti spam plugins, etc.)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    I think you have it right, Tim, your alarm bell serves you well.

    Stated in plain ROI terms (including time that could have been spent otherwise) it is not the best thing imo. Ironically, the better you do traffic wise, the more time you have to spend continuing doing the things that don't pay off, such as preventing spam and making sure people are behaving in a polite manner.

    I guess the reward comes more in the form of, as Lisa says, the joy you get from seeing other people connect around the topic of your site and from the occasional thankful post from people who appreciate and gained from the work you've done.

  7. #7

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    If you have the traffic on your website(s) and/or blog(s), then getting traffic to a forum may not be a problem. Making money on it would be a different story.

    Most forum softwares allow you to place ads in various places, but getting revenue from a forum can be tricky.

    On many forums that I see most place ads in the header, footer and after first post. They seem to be the popular spots for ad spaces on forums that I've visited.

    But first and foremost, you are going to need traffic.

    I hope this helps,
    Andy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    14,746

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DrewryMedia View Post
    Being that we're talking about starting forums Lisa, how do you feel about the forum software MyBB? I am considering installing it on my server, and wanted to know if you have any experience with it. Is VBulletin really worth the $ nowadays? Just asking, cause I'm trying to learn from you & others =)
    I've really only used two forum scripts: PHPBB and vBulletin so I can't really compare anything else. All I know is I have been a vBulletin customer since 2007 and I love the script. I think what you're essentially paying for is customization. What I'm able to do behind the scenes here with permissions is worth it alone. For example having the ability to allow/deny posting links, signatures, using the PM feature, reputation points, viewing certain forums based on number of posts, etc. is extremely powerful -- especially as the forum grows. I'm not sure some of the cheaper/free forum scripts allow customization at that level. So I think it's worth it. Then again I haven't used that many forum scripts.

  9. #9

    Default

    I'm a noob at webmastering but here is my take on it. I'm planning on running an Estore. SO I sat down and thought about other stores in my niche. I decided to create "Vallue add" services to give my site something to set it apart from the other sites.

    Forums was one thing I saw missing from other E-stores. My goal is to right reviews on certain products I sell, then link to a forum post to discuss the product.

    My hope is that by having this "value add" on my site I will drive more traffic which will hopefully equal more customers.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    48

    Default

    Yes we can earn money through forum.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    London
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Well you can but it is alot of work, depending on how you want to control spam/ twats will also depend on how much time and effort you spend daily plus you will have to keep adding content to show that your active so people are not put off. All in all alot of work.

    However have you considered rather then a stand alone forum, how about embedding one into one of your current sites. Of course you will still have to put the graft in but it will add the site you decide and could help increase traffic there, plus you can use back links to other sites in a static sticky forum. Also using back links in replies to users.

  12. #12

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    Forum can't give you much revenue as compared to sites. But it's really good to get more fame and exposure.

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