Online forums are a great place to get your point across and show that you are an authority in your field. The best way to do this is to initiate new threads with high-quality posts that will receive a great deal of attention and responses from other forum members.
But how do you write a quality forum post that makes an impact? Well, you need to prepare for a great post and think it through before you type a single word. You need to have a good structure in place and write the post in such a way that it will provoke the right kind of reaction.
Think about what you want to achieve with each post. Do you want other forum members to contribute their experiences in response to your post? This will be a popular thread. Or do you want to inform others about an experience of yours and elicit questions from other members?
On most discussion forums, only a small percentage of members will initiate threads. A larger number of members will comment or reply to these threads and the rest of the will just consume the content. The aim of this article is to help you to become one of the esteemed minorities that initiate threads and command authority.
So let’s take a look at what you will need to do to create a high-quality forum post.
Create a Great Post Title
Your post or thread title is the most important part of your post. If your post title does not grab the attention of other forum members then the views that you receive and the responses to it will be a lot lower than they could be.
The best thread titles will provide a summary of what the thread is about. On some forums, you will see mystery titles that are used as click bait. Maybe the title is something like “I just couldn’t believe this!” This is certainly a way to get views, but if the real subject of the post does not interest many of the viewers then there will not be many responses.
On the other hand, it could be a really interesting post that most forum members enjoy reading. The trouble with titles that conceal the subject of the thread is that they can be difficult to find again if a member wants to revisit the thread.
A useful thread will contain information that forum members will want to look at again in a few weeks, months or even years. If the thread has a concealed title then it will be hard for members to find it again in the future.
A title should be descriptive and as short as possible. It should also contain the main keyword that Google and the other search engines can rank the content for. Online forums usually have a high domain authority and many threads will appear in Google rankings if they are keyword optimized.
So a title like “How to make money online in 30 days” is a lot better than “You will not believe what I made over the last month”. The second title could mean virtually anything, whereas the first title is clear and will attract members who want to know how they can make money online quickly.
Why is each created Thread Important?
Most forum platforms will provide a summary of thread titles with the number of views that the thread has received and the replies on the thread. If someone is considering becoming a member of the forum they will not be impressed with lots of threads that have very low view counts and even lower reply numbers as low-quality posts do not serve Google or visitors, and the post ends up being another non-interesting post.
Starting a thread with a post that only contains a couple of lines does not add value to the forum. As a member of a forum, your priority should be to give back to the community. A couple of lines just doesn’t cut it. If all you can muster is two lines then it is better that you do not create the thread in the first place, and it may be best if you look for another forum that will support your low-quality forum participation. Making low-quality posts on any forum will only imply that you do not care or you do not care to support the site, and this applies to get paid to post forums also.
Why Quality Content matters
New members are the lifeblood of a forum. Not only will they want to join a forum that is active but they will want to see the quality of the threads posted. Quality content really does matter, and if there is very little value in a lot of the posts then this will not be appealing to newcomers.
It is important to keep the existing members happy as well, and providing high-quality content is the best way to do that. So what exactly is quality content? Well, it is best to think about a new forum thread as starting a conversation.
A high-quality thread will be informative. It can be the result of something that you have tried (e.g. a case study) or it can show other members of the forum how to do something e.g. “how I overcame my shyness and asked my dream partner for a date”. It can also be a review of products or services such as “my review of the 5 best e-commerce platforms”.
When you are planning out your content be sure to ask other members to respond and ask further questions. It is very unlikely that a thread post is going to cover everything, and you may think that common sense will dictate that members ask questions. This does not always apply, so prompt them to do so.
A high-quality post will always stay on topic and should get to the point quickly and should not contain padding or filler to make the post longer. It will also not be a duplicate of a previous post. Before you create a new thread, then check to see if there is a previous one covering the same topic. If you have a new angle that’s fine, but don’t repeat previous discussions as this will create low quality for the rest of the forum.
A quality post will have a logically sound argument. This is particularly important when you are relating an experience or something that you know to be factual. Forums normally have their fair share of intelligent people, and at times you will get replies from members that intelligently disagree with what you are saying.
The best way to handle this is to provide as much evidence as possible in your post. You can quote external sources that are credible and you should always use relevant data and facts. Try not to use assumptions in your post as people can easily challenge these.
Once you have published your new post you need to take ownership of it and respond to replies as quickly as you can. Be thoughtful here and thank people for responding. If you receive a negative reply then avoid a flame-war with the poster. Just debate the subject rather than making it personal.
Why is Formatting Content important?
You do not want to spend a lot of time planning and writing your new post if nobody is going to read it. If you do not use correct formatting with your post it will make reading it much harder for people. Posting an unstructured thread without reasonable length paragraphs, for example, will be a turn off for many people.
Forum members do not want to read large blocks of text. If you use large blocks then people are more likely to skim your content rather than read it in full. Make each paragraph as short as possible and keep them to 3 or 4 lines long. Be sure to use spacing between the paragraphs. You can use double spacing between paragraphs when you are introducing a new section.
Every forum has its own tone and usually, this is fairly casual, so if this is the case with your forum it is OK to use personal pronouns, contractions and so on. You can be humorous to make a point but always be careful not to offend anyone.
Use subheadings as much as possible to break up the text. Use bold text to make significant points. If you want to emphasize stress on a word or words then use italics. Above all use plain and simple language that everyone will understand. Always be respectful of new forum members who do not have your experience.
Break up your Post with Video and Images
If you have a relevant video that will add value to your post then always use it. People much prefer to watch a short video than read a lot of text. If you are writing a “how to” post then you could create a video yourself which shows the reader how to achieve something.
Videos have a much higher engagement factor than words. A good video will attract attention and people will watch them from beginning to end if they are relevant. Be careful not to post videos that are too long as this will put some people off; With some subject matter longer videos are necessary, but always try to keep them as short as possible.
If forum members see a video in a post they are very likely to watch it out of sheer curiosity. It is really good to add different media to your posts as it will wet the appetite of your readers and help to strengthen your case overall.
You can use relevant images in your posts as well. If it is not obvious what message you are trying to convey with your images then add a short amount of text to them to make the point clear. If you are writing a post about mistakes to avoid when trying to make money online, then an image of a person with empty pockets will reinforce your message.
This is relevant and also humorous. You can add a caption like “don’t end up like this guy” or similar. This will really help to break up the monotony of lines of text and will help you to engage with your reader. Adding videos and images is a win-win situation for both you and the other forum members.
Most forums are dominated by text so if you add videos and images this will interest people and will make them be more attentive to the words that you use. A combination of text, images, and videos will help you to get your message across a lot better than any of them would on their own.
How does Poor Quality Content affect SEO?
Posts from a forum with a high domain authority will often rank in Google and other search engines for related keywords. But if the quality of the post is poor then this will severely hinder the possibility of high rankings, and this can really stun the growth of a forum, or even kill a forum altogether.
One of the reasons that Google likes forums so much is because of the new content and interactivity. A post that has a lot of replies is much more likely to rank well in Google than a post with a low number of replies.
A reply means new content. And the search engines love new content. If you create a low-quality post then either nobody will read it or it will have very few replies. Even if English is not your first language it is possible to make a good quality post with the tools that are available nowadays.
People do not like reading posts that are full of spelling and grammar mistakes. Even if you are putting across a really important point, then it can all be lost with bad spelling and grammar. Your post may be perfectly readable if people forgive your spelling and grammar errors, but the truth is that a lot of people find these mistakes too annoying to continue reading, as a result, the forum is left with a lot of low quality, and undesirable content.
There really is no excuse for a lot of spelling mistakes and typos in a post these days; With modern browsers, the spell check function will highlight incorrectly spelled words so that you can correct them before publishing your post.
Grammar errors are not so easy to spot and there are tools available that can help with this such as Grammarly. Please be aware that tools like this are not perfect and often they can suggest that there is a problem with grammar when there isn’t.
A good way to check your grammar is to read your post in full before you publish it. Some people say that reading the post aloud is even better, and really helps them to catch mistakes with grammar. If you have already published your post you can always edit it afterward to correct any mistakes.
Most forums have different categories so be sure to find the right one to post in. This will help people to find your post a lot more easily and it can have SEO benefits as well, as often the search engines will be aware of a forum’s categories, and use tags in your posts with relevant keywords so that when people search the forum they can find your content. You want to stay on topic, and be as specific as possible.
How can Internal Linking improve SEO?
An internal link is a link to any page on the same domain. So if you link to other posts on the same forum that have relevant information then you will be providing important internal links. This will help with the ranking of your post and the ranking of the posts that you link to.
Search engines will better understand the structure of a website through internal links. All search engines have crawlers that examine a website, and when they do this they record information about the pages and the content. They use internal links to understand which pages are the most important.
If a forum has poor internal linking then this will have a negative impact on SEO. You can do your part by creating links in your posts to other relevant posts on the forum. Always test the links before you publish as broken links also negatively impact SEO.
How Duplicate Content can affect SEO
When you are creating a new post it can be very tempting to visit other websites and copy and paste large chunks of content. Although this makes creating posts easier and faster it will not help with the ranking of your post in the search engines.
What you will be doing here is creating duplicate content. There are many debates online about whether Google and the other search engines penalize duplicate content. The thing is that the original source of the content will always rank higher than duplicate content so it is best to avoid it at all costs. Check for duplicate content using services like Copyscape.
The search engines definitely do not appreciate duplicate content on the same website. Sometimes an element of duplication is unavoidable with forums as people use quotes from posts to make a point. This is OK but duplicating entire posts or large chunks of a post is not. It is better to provide a link to another post for reference than copy the content.
Follow the advice provided here and create quality posts for your forum. Your main aim is to give to the community but there can be other benefits as well. When you create quality posts, then forum members will perceive you as being an authority. They will want to follow you on social media and visit your website.
Don’t be in the minority and just consume information on a forum that others have posted. Be a leader, not a follower and start your own threads. Carefully plan what you want to say and use facts and figures to support your argument. Use videos and images as well to break up a long post.
Other members will appreciate the time and effort that you have put in to create a quality post. It is very satisfying to receive replies from other members stating how much they enjoyed your post and got a lot out of it. So be a quality junky and you will achieve the best results.