Online forums have been around since well before social media became the dominant community engagement platform. Despite their age, they remain an integral part of the internet.
A forum is a place on the web where people can have conversations in the form of posted messages. Forums are often synonymous with internet communities as they tend to be focused around specific topics or genres. People who participate in these forums develop a sense of fellowship and even friendship.
You can create a forum around any topic of your choosing. If you plan on monetizing your forum, you should consider that when selecting a subject. For instance, some topics have more options for monetization than others (see below). Additionally, several monetization options depend on a steady stream of traffic to your forum. For that reason, you’ll want to choose a topic that is popular and engaging.
Once you have a topic, you must then create a forum website. With your website set up, you can look into options for monetization. There are various ways to churn out cash from your forum, so let’s explore those options together.
Adsense is an effective way to make some easy bucks from your online forum. Adsense doesn’t require a lot of work to get started, allowing you to concentrate on things like creating content and building a community. The thing about Adsense, however, is that you make money based on the amount of traffic you generate.
Therefore, instead of focusing on ad placement, you should focus on creating more conversations and more traffic. Only when you have a decent amount of traffic should you worry about placing your ads to maximize revenue.
Work with Advertisers Directly:
Instead of using Google Adsense, you can solicit advertisers directly and work out a CPM or CPC deal. This will require more work, but it allows you to pick advertisers that align with your audience. You can also reach out to brands and earn money from sponsored posts. It will also allow you to keep all the money you generate.
Another advantage of this method is that you will start getting outreach emails from different brands automatically for promotional offers. You will also be getting repeat advertisers. It creates a cash funnel for you in the long run.
Once you have a good number of members interacting with the content on your forum, you should create a newsletter. Newsletters help keep everyone in your community abridged of the latest posts. It can encourage engagement, thereby increasing traffic to your site. It also can be used to bring in money.
Look for an advertiser to sponsor your newsletter or look for products you can promote for an affiliate commission. This might seem very hard at first, but if you keep on digging, you might hit the jackpot. Ask marketers, and you will know that a lot of conversions happen on email newsletters!
Promote Products on your Forum:
Depending on the topic of your forum, it’s possible to include affiliate links for individual products into specific discussions. You should only do this when appropriate to the conversation, and you should only use products that you stand behind. For example, if you have a sci-fi forum, you can make novel recommendations using Amazon’s Associate’s program.
This creates a passive income channel for you. For example, whenever a customer is landing on amazon to check out a product that you recommended, the cookie gets saved to their browser, and the next time that customer purchases something, you get paid!
Dedicate a Sub-Forum to Affiliate links:
If it’s not appropriate to post affiliate links in your primary forum, you can create a sub-forum that’s dedicated to product reviews. You can encourage your members to post product reviews and post some as well. You can then add affiliate links to relevant posts.
Another way to add affiliate links to your forum is to turn links that users generate into affiliate links. This means that when a user posts a link, you switch those you can to an affiliate link.
Devote a Sub-Forum to Advertising:
You could also create a sub-forum that’s devoted solely to advertisements. This could be something like a job board or an e-store. Users who aren’t interested in ads will avoid this sub-forum, so this works best if you have an audience that’s looking to make purchases or find a job.
Be careful if you go this way, because, depending on what you choose to offer through your forum, this might or might not work. Also, make sure the sub-forum categories are relevant to your main forum.
Make your Forum Members Only:
If you’re an industry expert, have access to industry leaders who you can get to post on your forum, or you have valuable content, consider soliciting paid memberships. By limiting your forum to paying members only, you’ll earn a reliable income and give your forum a prestigious look.
On the other hand, if your forum is relatively new, you can offer free subforums, limiting access to premium materials to paying members. The idea is to deliver value with your forum offering. Only then will you be able to retain users who pay for a long time.
Create a Forum App:
Well, if your forum is popular, you can go ahead and create a Forum App for your users so that they can access the forum content right inside the app. That will enhance the user experience to a lot extent. You can also apply monetization strategies for Android Apps to earn some more cash. Google has a dedicated AdMob platform where you can apply to show ads inside your App. It is easy to sign up, and you will get approved without much hassle.
Well, I guess you got enough ideas of monetizing opportunities for a forum! Now just go ahead and kickstart your new forum! While a forum might seem like a challenging platform to monetize, its target and passionate audiences give you an excellent opportunity to make money. Therefore no matter how you choose to monetize your forum, make sure that you always prioritize your audience. If you keep them happy, you’ll continue to reap a wealth of opportunities.
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading. If you have further queries, don’t forget to reach out to me in the comments below. I will be happy to help. Also, join our Telegram Channel to get the latest updates. I will be back soon with more tips and tricks. Keep visiting HiTricks.