Forums & Blogs
The future direction of the Internet is certain, and it is all based around community and social networking websites. The success of such community oriented sites as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook are showing that people would rather socialize than purchase on the Internet. So if your goal is to sell a product or service, it's going to be a lot easier if your website is not limited to E-commerce.
A forum is an application used for holding discussions, which allows users to post their own content, respond and discuss. A blog is an application in which approved writers can share knowledge, experiences or breaking events with readers who can comment. If utilized correctly, these tools can help recreate your Web presence.
Forums and Blogs are excellent methods of producing repeat visitors, daily watchers and user generated content. However, both forums and blogs are tools that can be easily manipulated by Web surfers, spammers, shady Internet marketers and robots. Web River Group can help you eliminate these problems and construct the correct social networking tools to make your site more than just a basic retailer.
If you'd like to create your own forum of blog for a website, please follow our free guidelines below, and contact us if we can assist you in any way.
Pick SEO-friendly applications. Our favorite blog tool is Wordpress, which is a FREE open source blog application that is almost universally changeable. Our favorite forum tool is PHPBB, which is also a FREE forum application that is easily upgraded and modified. Both are search engine friendly, and contains mods and plug ins that allow you to make them your own.
Stop SPAM immediately. Although blogs and forums are both notoriously susceptible to SPAM, most applications have methods of stopping SPAM. Unfortunately, they are often difficult to implement or install for people with little knowledge of programming languages. Either find someone to implement these methods for you, or carefully follow the instructions for doing so yourself. But most importantly, keep your eyes on the blog or forum. Have the applications email you whenever anyone posts. Require authorization to comment or participate. And immediately delete any unauthorized postings. This will ensure your site maintains its integrity.
Encourage people to participate. Having a couple weekly bloggers or posters that are knowledgeable, entertaining and informative can be a great way to get repeat visitors. Get product specialists or tech guys in your organization to post weekly blogs about new or exciting products. Get customer service people to write about common problems and solutions to those problems. Get managers to post their thoughts on conferences or trade shows. If you give people an inside look at your industry, they will return to keep up with the events.
Be patient. The first couple months will likely consist of mostly deleting inappropriate submissions, spammers and robot entries. Don't let this discourage you. If you continue to run informative applications, more people will participate, and in time you'll have a steadily growing social networking section of your website. And that's when the orders start rolling in!