Forums take up a lot of space and require a significant amount of moderating, especially if you’re working with a popular forum. The answer is to monetise. But it’s not enough to throw up lots of ads because this could potentially ruin the popularity of your forum. You have to come up with ways of monetising without impacting on the user experience, and that’s not an easy task.
Let’s take an in-depth look at some easy ways to monetise your forum.
Start with AdSense
The first place to start is with Google AdSense. AdSense is Google’s program that puts up ads on your website. You can place it anywhere on your forum, but you do have to stick to limits like how many ads you can put on a single page.
Do think about how worthwhile this is and implement a comprehensive testing period. A lot of users have a zero tolerance police when it comes to ads.
Affiliate networks generate sales. All you have to do is allow an advertisement on your forum for a product or service. If someone clicks on the link and it leads to a sale, you get paid. Whilst affiliate networks have declined in recent years, they aren’t dead yet. As long as products are relevant and well-placed, users usually have no problems with them, even if they aren’t particularly interested.
Selling Text Links
Do you have a PR3 (or above) website? Think about selling space for text links.
Text links are just links that are added in randomly to certain phrases. They’re those links that appear seemingly at random as hyperlinks on forum posts. You can also decide whether to allow for popups when someone hovers over them.
Banner advertisements are some of the oldest ways to advertise still in use today. If you’ve got a niche forum, or you want a higher class of clientele, sell space on your banner. You can put out a call to advertisers and have your own list of requirements for what you’ll feature and what you won’t. This gives you far more control than you’d get with Google.
A sticky thread is a thread that’s always pinned to the top of a forum. You may also see them going under pinned posts and pinned threads. Believe it or not, you can sell this space, as well. It works by having your client posting a thread about their great offer. You can pin this to the top of the forum so it never drifts downwards over time.
This is a prominent method of advertising and is extremely popular on forums, especially niche forums where offers are likely to have more relevance.
Private Membership Group
Think about opening up a private membership area. Members who pay a small fee can get access to exclusive content. This exclusive content can be anything you like. All you need to do is come up with something you think people would be willing to pay for.
For some websites, this gives members access to certain gurus and experts. They will answer questions directly and provide tailor-made answers.
Yes, this can work. It may seem like you’re begging for money, which you are, but it can work. The only way to see if it will work is to go right ahead and place a donation cup on the website. It doesn’t cost anything to setup, so there are no problems if it doesn’t work. If anything, it’s always worth keeping it up even if your donations amount to a few pennies per month.
Image source: Online Fanatic