I use the google adwords and also clicksor to advertise my forum. I get a few clicks from them, but I dont know if it is genuie hits, or from people who run the google/clicksor ads on their site, and just trying to make money for themselfs by clicking the adverts.
Although my forums have mostly been built up by search engine listings and word of mouth I still believe paid promotion is an important piece of the puzzel, espcially for a new forum in the current market. Nearly every major forum niche has dozens of competing sites and growing requires traffic which generally means paying for some of your visitors. No forum should rely completely on piad traffic or even highly on it but it can be a helpful route to take.
Do you intend to generate revenue with your forum, or is this just a "let's get together and be happy" community-type forum? That would be my determining factor on it-- if you intended to make some money off of it, I'd say it's worth investing at least a little bit of money.
I use AdWords only to advertise DaniWeb ... but I am a big budget spender. I invest about half of whatever last month's gross profit was, so it grows each month :) Nothing ever comes out of pocket, so the site pays for itself. I have conversion tracking setup, and there is about a 5% conversion rate for new visitors registering on the forums :)
Well, I started << url snipped to abide by forum policies >> about 2 years ago and advertised quite a bit on Adwords. I still advertise using Adwords, but not as big a spender as I assume Dani would be. My site doesn't earn much anyway. :)
I'm with Alex here. If my site were a commercial venture I'd pay for that if it were commercially viable to do so.
If it isn't, word of mouth is excellent advertising. If it's a hobby site you're probably a member of some of the other associated sites with that hobby. Most offer link exchanges for hobby sites (even the commercial sites often have these for free for noncommercial ones), put the URI in your forum signatures, etc. etc.
Far more effective than paying for it for the simple reason that many people will not click on advertising banners or sponsored links in search engines but will visit a site referred to them by a friend or a site they trust for no reason other than that the referrer liked the site.
My sites visitors/members are all mostly attracted by stickers, posters and T-shirts that have been seen in the loacl area. Did everything myself, design and print and then got everything photocopyed (Execpt for the T-Shirts which where screen printed). But that site has moved on and I am wishing to do it all again for another one.
I do not see any point using AdWords with the exchange rate (every NZ$1 equals to around US$.40 cents). So i have never bothered to look into to. The only other way was to use a banner a local banner exchange. Which did work :D. Ehh my mumbled 2 cents
In our 4 years ScubaBoard has rarely done any direct advertising (ppcs, banners, magazine ads), however, we do a lot of indirect promotion using stickers, tshirts, banners at events and anything else that will build word of mouth. This has worked well enough and brought us to about 1,000,000 posts. Still, the bigger you get the more you seem to do to keep the growth rate increasing. Word of mouth, inbound links and search engine links keep us growing nicely but we have begun (or I should say, re-activated) some ppc and print ad campaigns. Right now we are spending a few dollars here and there for ppc terms but it's very specific stuff and not really high bidding. The goal os any campaign for a community should be to target those people who will join and participate as best possible. For example, if you run a forum like DaniWeb's which covers hosting advertising for the term "web hosting" would probably not be an ideal use of money, especially if you compete for a top spot. The more specific the term and the more informative your ad is, the more likely you will be to attract people who want a forum. Remember, the goal is quality... quantity means nothing if you have a 0.01% sign up rate (unless the advertising is dirt cheap). Don't forget to count stickers, shirts, cds or anything else you can use to brand your name as part of your advertising campaign. Many sites forget the power of word of mouth yet word of mouth is what makes most sites what they are. The more you can feed off of what you have the better your campaign will be -- it is always easier to have your users help promote you (even if they don't realize it) than try to "cold call" new users.
While I previously mentioned I'm a relatively big PPC spender, I have never invested a cent in advertising out of pocket. Once I began to notice the forums growing, I, just like many other forum admins, put up AdSense and started earning a bit of revenue. Since then, I started investing a portion of revenue into AdWords.
That makes sense. I have ad sense up but its well lets just say it's not so good.
Also I'm not sure but I think I'm technically not allowed to make money of my site. It's a fan site that is given "exclusive" things for it by the official site, that the official site doesn't show, but part of that agreement is it has to be non commercial.
nathanaus - You're right, there is a big differance betweeen a for profit business that happens to be a website and a fan site or not-for-profit site. If you aren't making money you probably don't want to spend much if anything, but at the same time people may be more likely to link to you for free given the non-profit nature of the site.
I hadn't thought of that. The difficulty there is finding a site with the right potential target audience. It's one thing to have link everywhere, its another to have value links that attract visitors.
As csc gal said, I came out the pockets once and made it right back selling ads. I also reinvest a portion of my revenue into ppc (adwords) and banner/textlinks. I'm thinking about do something as TedS as far as promotion. Being I do stay in Daytona Beach. I think it would be great.
Hi I'm new here.
I'm sure I already posted this, but can't find it!
I have small not-for-profit site with a mssageboard too adn whave got it lsited in search engines, but was wanting to push it further by paying to advertise. This is because some of the content is not on any other websites and I wanna b the first to have it etc!
so what's adwords like? Expensive?
Anyone know of any other free ways to improve traffic?