This article is about forum advertising alternatives which are different methods of earning a profit with a forum without having to sell or show advertising of any kind on the community. First, I want to start this article by saying that I didn’t make it to reflect negatively on forum owners who do choose to show advertisements as a way to earn a profit. Many forum owners show ads and many are successful in earning significant profits from it. If advertising is something you’d like to further research, you are encouraged to look deeper into it as there are many articles and blog posts about how you can successfully implement profit earning advertisement techniques on your forum and website. But you need to understand that advertising isn’t the only way that forum owners are successfully earning significant amounts of profit, there are many alternative that are found just as good when compared to advertising.

Forum Advertising Alternatives and Advertising
First of all, no matter if you decide to show advertising or not…in order to be successful with your money making methods, you are going to have to provide activity, content and a way for community members to connect with one and other. Advertising and alternative techniques are not ‘plug and play’ if you will. You can’t just implement them and then sit back and rake in the profits. Maybe 20 years ago, this would had been easier but nowadays, most website owners are trying to earn money thus giving you plenty of competition regardless of the niche of your online community. If you plan to sit back and collect, especially on a newer or less popular forum, you will likely be setting yourself up to fail, miserably at that.

Activity Requirement – Activity will be required from your part in order to truly earn a profit with message forums. The activity will be for different areas as well. You will need to be an active staff member to keep your forum running smooth and free of any violations that might discourage active membership among members. You will need to be an active member as well, posting often and playing a large role in keeping the community active and full of new topics and subjects for members to discuss and have a reason for returning to the forum. You will also need to be active about the methods you are using to earn a profit, whether it is advertising or forum advertising alternatives. If you start a forum, just expect to be expected to be active. If you cannot be active, a forum is something that you shouldn’t involve yourself with, in the first place.

Content Requirement – You know the old saying, Content is King, it is like beating a dead horse. This is preached a lot and for a good reason, because it is a real requirement especially in terms of running a MESSAGE forum. You need to stay on top of your game when it comes to forum content. The content not only needs to be unique but it needs to new ‘newish’ in a way to keep people actually interested in replying to it. This will require you to significantly research your niche or the subject of the discussions you commonly submit on your forum. You want to stay ahead of the other guy, the competition and to do that, you will have to work hard for it. There is no such thing as too much content on a forum unless the content is boring, overused and provides lesser amounts of quality to the community as a whole.

Connection Requirement – Connection is something new that I have been thinking about and considering as a requirement for successful message forums. Maybe, connection, is better as an experiment more than a requirement. Look at social networks and their success and compare them to forums and the success of forums. Many forum owners feel that social networks are killing forums and they might be right but such murder can be completely mitigated through connection objectives. When most people get on social network sites, they are doing it to connect with their closest friends, family members and loved ones – that is what makes a social network so successful because that connection is made easily. Forum owners need to strive to connect their members with other members who share the same interests. Forums should no longer just be about content reading, they should be about bonding and relationship building and forum owners might see more success if they implement such objections into the forum right away. Like I said, it is worth experimenting for at least.

10 Forum Advertising Alternatives to use today
The following are 10 different forum advertising alternatives that I have either personally use and found successful or have watched other forum owners use ending with successful results. There are even more than this as well. Just research for them or even find your own. Making a profit on the internet requires true passion and innovation. If you make it a habit to really show your passion and have an innovative and creative mindset, you can easily earn a profit with your message forum without utilizing advertisements…

1. Consulting Services – What is your niche? Many message forums are based around a particular topic which is often known as the niche. How can you take your niche and create a consulting service around it? Now not all niches are going to be easy for this sort of method but many of them will be especially if your forum evolves around business, marketing, website development and the works. Online consulting businesses are easy to start, too. You can find countless article after article for free showing you how to do it. My only word of advice is that you register your consulting business as a legal certified business in your region and look into any insurance requirements if needed, this protecting yourself and your assets from liability and legal problems that you don’t need.

2. Selling eBooks – I feel that eBooks are a great way to participate in forum advertising alternatives as a way to earn a profit. EBooks are easy to create these days and you really don’t need a publisher. There are even websites out there that sell affordable ISBN numbers so that you can really rake in the right kind of profit for your literature work. If you enjoy creating topics on your message forum concerning helpful advice for your niche, then creating an eBook shouldn’t really be that much of a problem. The eBook needs to be worth the cost though and cheaper than traditional books. Find a topic where you can solve a challenge or at least give your version of solving a challenge and then pitch it to your members and guests.

3. Selling Courses – Nowadays, people love to learn new things, especially based around topics that they get into. Online course creation and sales is a great way to earn revenue with your message forum. Teach someone something new about the niche and charge them for it, it is that simple. For example, if you have a gaming forum centered around one specific game, you could create a course geared to show members how to beat that game. People will pay for this kind of advice. You might be skeptical but you really are not going to know until you try it. Creating courses can be fun for you and for the customer who is buying them but they need to be interactive and features need to encourage activity. A simple PDF file isn’t going to make due, courses need to be fun and allow a student to interact with it and earn some ‘hands on’ experience.

4. Premium Membership – Premium membership is one of the oldest methods of making money with a message forum as an alternative to advertising. Forums have been utilizing premium membership services pretty much since the creation of modern message forums, this is because the method works. However, the old way of premium membership is dying. Giving a custom user time, extra PM space and basic features like that isn’t enough to earn real profits. Instead of charging $15 a year, you need to be discovering how to be successful with charging $15 a month. Bloggers are doing it and many of them are getting rich from doing it as well. A forum is really no different and can also adopt this type of success in selling premium memberships. Premium memberships simply need to be KICK ASS memberships so that they are worth buying into.

5. Sell Merchandise – Gear, t-shirts, other apparel, hats, mousepads and the works – these are wonderful products to see on a message forum and earn great profits with. However, you will often see that many forums are selling this stuff but many of them are not making that much money doing it. Why? Because they are selling BLAND products. Sticking your logo on a t-shirt isn’t enough to successfully sell a crap load of shirts to your members. Instead, you need to creative about it. Add your marketing stuff, sure, a t-shirt is a walking advertisement to your forum but the shirt needs to be fun for the person wearing it as well as people who see others wearing them. Memes, funny quotes, pictures and such should be added to the gear in a creative manner than makes owning the gear worth it. Use your imagination and ask yourself what would make you buy the gear!

6. Donation Drives – One of the most successful websites on the internet is Wikipedia and the website is a lot like a forum because it is completely based on member contributions and edits. Search for anything on Google and Wikipedia results are usually going to be among the first results of such topics. Wikipedia doesn’t serve ads, either. There is proof that websites can be successful without ads. You know Wikipedia pays a huge bill to remain online but yet they don’t show ads??? They rely on member donations and because people care enough about the website, people donate. If you can work to get your forum members to care deeply about the existence of your forum, donation drives will probably be worth it in the end.

7. Niche Posting – You own a message forum. You write awesome content on your message forum. Other forums in your niche, even competitors probably see your awesome content. They might even wish you were writing for their forum or their blog. They can actually make that wish come true if they hire you to post new topics and replies on their online community in return that they pay you for it. Offer your posting services as a way to make money with a message forum. You needto develop a reputation and show people that you can post awesome content, though, that will be required. I suggest being active throughout your niche and becoming well-known on a specific username that stays the same everywhere. When you do write for other forums, write in a way that seems like you are writing for your own forum. Make the price worth it!

8. Ghost Writing – Another form of making money by selling content is ghost writing. You could basically create articles, blog posts, forum topics and replies to sell to online community owners. Once the transaction is final, the post your created content as their own content as if they wrote it on their own. Ghost writing is basically creating content and selling the rights of the content. You can usually charge a higher amount for this type of content than you would with normal posting services because you are selling the rights to the content as well. Some people want to be seen as great content writers but many of them have to do this by buying content created by someone else.

9. Speaking Fees – Become a public speaker and charge for it. If you can focus on becoming an expert of your forum niche, eventually you are going to grow a good fan base. You should then focus on becoming a top expert of the niche and making your fan base even larger. Solve problems, tackle the big challenges of the niche and provide advice that people are actually seeking. Now offer your services as a public speaker for a fee. Try to start local so that this sort of thing can take off quicker and then go from there. Many public speakers not only get paid for speaking but companies fly them first class and they get a nice hotel suite as part of the payment. Public speaking will not only let you earn a nice profit but it will allow you to travel around the world as well. How cool would that be?

10. Get a Day Job – This isn’t exactly a way to make money with a forum but it is important to note. Forums WILL NOT make you rich overnight, especially newer ones. Getting a healthy profit from running a message forum often takes years of practice and commitment. With that being said, don’t quit your day job. I have been running forums for over 15 years and my forums practically pay for themselves and I do earn a profit. I don’t show ads at all, either. But I still have to work. There is no way I could not work and still be comfortable enough with just running my forums and blogs. Eventually, I’d love to be able to just run forums and blogs all day, creating my own schedule and such but I feel that is MANY YEARS away.

Why seek Forum Advertising Alternatives?
As I stated earlier in this article, I don’t write this to negatively reflect those who decide to choose advertising as a way to earn money with their forum. I write this article as a simple alternative. Let’s face it, some of us hate ads. I know I do. I don’t block them but I get tired of seeing the same ones over and over again and I get tired of that group of forum owners that brainwash themselves into thinking that advertising is the only way to make money because it’s not. It is silly to even consider that. Ads are becoming a controversial issue and with ad blocking and even those choosing not to use forums running ads, it opens up easy competition because forum owners like me will create a forum without ads just to be better than the forum with ads. An ad-free experience can go a long way with fans. So why not give it a shot of running a forum without ads? It might be the best thing you have ever done in the end…

Thank you for reading this article about forum advertising alternatives. Please share this article with others to show me support for writing it. Share it on social media as well. Please comment below with more ideas on earning forum profit without advertising. This article was written by Shawn J. Gossman, a long time blogger and message forum owner.