Business from home

Internet Forums
Date: Monday, October 02 @ 04:39:59
Topic Business Promotion Tips


Web forums have become a popular and important tool for many
website designers. Forums are evolved from bulletin board
systems (BBS) which were an early form of computer
communication. Another important predecessor was usenet or
computer newsgroups which still exist today.


Internet Forums



Author: John C. Banks


Web forums have become a popular and important tool for many
website designers. Forums are evolved from bulletin board
systems (BBS) which were an early form of computer
communication. Another important predecessor was usenet or
computer newsgroups which still exist today.
 
The concept is fairly simple – users read and post questions or
comments. Other users can respond and the process can continue
over time. Web forums differ from chat rooms in having the
advantage of longevity. While chat rooms offer spontaneous
discussion, forum users can login at any convenient time, read
and respond. Discussions can go o­n over long periods of time
and involve many participants.
 
Forums can have a single venue or be divided into multitudes of
subjects. In turn each subject will be populated with posts o­n
many topics. Some discussions may flourish and die within hours
while others can go o­n for months or years.
 
The multi–subject style, often referred to as a “community” is
very popular. Another popular variant is the web log or “blog”,
where a commentator publishes periodical article and users visit
and comment.
 
Forums come in a variety of packages. Some forums are open
source packages which are free to download and have a variety
of customizable features and add-ons. Website owners using a
cpanel type web host may find ready to use open source forums
as an option in Fantastico, a software installation tool that
many hosts provide. Others are commercial packages that are
paid for by the time period or thru a long term agreement. In
some cases forums are custom coded by a programmer.
 
The advantage of having a forum as part of an overall website
is obviously to provide users with information and a reason to
return. It is the feeling of membership and a potential for new
information that makes forums so attractive to audiences. This
pays off for the web administrator as the overall site stands
to flourish in terms of traffic brought in via the forum side
of the site.
 
Site owners have a variety of ways to benefit from forum
traffic. First and foremost they have an opportunity to
showcase their products or services. Other advantages include
possible subscription income, the ability to sell advertising
and the use of the resource to influence the audience. Many
site owners will use some combination of those options to
accumulate profit from several small sources.
 
The audience is attracted for a number of reasons. Many forum
readers are repeat visitors, looking for news or self training.
Others visit for the conversation and company. Some members will
join for business reasons such as promoting a product or
service.
 
A member usually has a profile which may contain information
such as username, image, email address, website URL, contact
information, hobbies, and more.
 
Each forum will have a set of guidelines which can vary widely.
The forum software often allows for several options of user
privileges. Some sites allow o­nly posts from members while
others allow guests to post. Users may also be restricted in
posting commercial links either in posts or signatures.
 
Forums can cover a wide array of issues. Many are technical in
nature. Some forums deal with segments such as regional
interests or hobbies. Other sites will have a community with a
wide span of unrelated forum topics. There are even forum
forums where forum owners can discuss the intricacies of forum
development and maintenance.
 
Forums are not without disadvantages. They can be costly and
time consuming to maintain. By nature, most forums and forum
variants tend to be prone to security problems. A loss of data
or other compromise can translate to a perception of a poorly
crafted site. Another risk for forums comes from the
possibility of unfavorable publicity for the site as a result
of discussions gone bad. Perhaps the most frustrating are the
constant bombardments of spam to many forums.
 
Typically these issues are addressed by having o­ne or more
administrators and a group of moderators. A moderator is
usually a volunteer reader with an interest in the subject who
acts as a watchdog for the good of the forum. Administrators
have extensive controls o­n the site, and moderators have some
level of control, usually with the ability to edit or delete
offensive posts.
 
Website owners considering a forum, blog or other communication
tool must decide what the needs are, then consider all the
options. Budgets of time and money are all factors that will
influence the choices.


About The Author: The author is a small business web designer,
recreational angler and owner of several outdoor websites. See
http://www.daybreakwebdesigns.com for more o­n website design.
An example of a useful forum is available at
http://www.daybreakfishing.com

 




This article comes from Business from home
http://business-fromhome.com/

The URL for this story is:
http://business-fromhome.com/print682.html