Increasing Visitor Loyalty by Managing Content Within Your Forum

[Zoints]Paul Kemp

Feb 6, 2006
[Zoints]Paul Kemp submitted a new Article:

Increasing Visitor Loyalty by Managing Content Within Your Forum

One of the hardest tasks forum owners/administrators face is converting their visitors into returning guests, members and, hopefully, contributors. Search engines and advertisements will bring people in, but keeping them interested and preventing them from wandering into the aether is another matter altogether. If, as I do, you run a forum that is supporting existing content, you've got an edge up to begin with: you have a good reason (presumably) for people to come to your site. The next jump to make is using that content to drive people into your forums.

My core site is a download hub for a musician with a large amount of live content that's legally tradable. I'm doing a heavy amount of traffic in downloads (though way less than I would be if I wasn't able to use the Internet Archive for lots of my storage - it's an handy resource for you site owners with media that you're already giving away for free), but getting those people in to post on the forums is a task indeed. If, like me, you have a forum supplementing a main site, it is essential to take full advantage of your existing content, and use it to best exploit it to bring new members to your forum. This is a lesson that I learned quickly, as I observed just how much traffic my site was doing, and how little of it was occurring in the forum itself.

When the board was first installed, I didn't even think have links to it from the actual content pages - just one link from the home page. I realized my mistake after a couple of days, and I added a "Message Board" link on basically every page. Really, you should always give your users a way to get to the forum, and if you have a navigation bar or map, at the bare minimum, you should include a clearly visible link to the forum index.


On this page, the Message Board link goes to my forum home page, the Reviews goes to a thread for people to discuss that recording, and I'm in the process of linking each song title to an appropriate lyrics thread in the forum.

Of course, if they don't have anything to say, this link isn't going to do you much good. You'll also have to give them a reason to visit the forum, at least to read, and hopefully to post.

One excellent way to encourage participation, or at least to get people into the forum, is to offer to opportunity for users to read and write reviews of the content, services or goods offered on your site. In my case, I added a...

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