Home Web Marketing Creating a Successful Forum to Generate an Income: Start with The Right Foot

Creating a Successful Forum to Generate an Income: Start with The Right Foot

by amol238

Forum RevenueHaving a successful forum that generates an income for you surely entails a big effort. Before starting a new Internet forum you need to make sure you have two things clear in your mind:

  • If you have no prior forum management experience and think you will soon be rich with pay-per-click or any other advertisement, rest assured your forum will be as desert as the plane.
  • Comparing the creation and management of a forum with a project of similar proportions, the latter will always be much more profitable than the former.

You should not start a forum just to make money off of it. The same time would be better spent creating content for your main website.
You must have your objectives clear. Choose your niche carefully, try to be unique. You may start thinking about ROI at a later stage, but always keep in mind that the more your forum grows, the more human and technical resources (hence money) are needed.

Once you have reached a steady and loyal user base (give yourself a minimum of 6 months for this to happen) you can start thinking about placing ads on your forum. A successful forum is an amazing content creation tool. Pages are user-generated, content is all original, and ads placed on these pages usually have a high content relevance, therefore high value per click. In little time you can have thousands of potentially revenue-generating pages.

However, you must avoid making the common mistake of plastering your forum theme with advertisements. Avoid popup, slide in, or timed ad windows. They annoy the hell out of users, interrupt the browsing flow, and contribute to a drop in user loyalty.

Do not interrupt the thread with an adbot post filled with ads. Place your ads in a visible but unobtrusive position in your page. Always keep in mind that users know where to find your ads, and they will click on them only if interested. This will also create much happier advertisers that will continue to invest in ads. Fooling in a few people will not make you richer, advertisers will eventually drop their ads and users will start avoiding your forum if they can.

Some Successful Forum Revenue Generating Ideas

  • Pay per click programs are excellent ad tools, however you must consider that the more loyal your users the lower the CTR. Banners, links, short articles are all usable advertising tools. You should have more than one spot on your page where to place ads, to give your advertisers a choice.
  • Start a traders section in your forum and charge a small percentage off of every transaction. If for example your forum is about Tuscany apartments rentals, you may have a renters area where you charge a 1% commission for every successful transaction.
  • Create a newsletter using HTML email, then start selling ad spaces on it. Your newsletter is precious as you are targeting users that are already highly interested in your niche.
  • Host a set of related services affiliated to your forum. For example, if your forum is on property rentals, create a book review section on the subject then sell those books through Amazon or similar. You may also affiliate to travel insurers, or car rental agencies. Any related business that will pay you a commission works.
  • Once your user base is large and loyal enough you can start creating small conferences and seminars charging each participant. With the power of online communication you can reach thousands at little cost.
  • Create a very high-interest area of your forum, then open it to paying users only. Making them premium users will also increase their loyalty and their status on the forum will attract others to the premium area.
  • Develop unique products and services (e-book, consulting services, etc.) then charge a fee for them.
  • Ultimately, if your forum becomes the ultimate resource on a specific subject, you may restrict access to paying users only. However this is a very rare scenario.

After a certain stage a successful forum should generate an income as you will need it to continue providing the service and grow it. Before making any money, however, remember to maximize quality and branding. Keep in mind that the suggested money-making tips above do require a fair amount of planning and knowledge.

You may also like


Cool Web Developer September 30, 2010 - 1:34 am

Hello Matt,

This is a great article for anyone wanting to start a forum ..I’ve been looking to start one , but I was not aware of the operational aspect of managing it..My sense is that it requires a lot of work to build a community for a forum…but forums work well when they are niche based.

Would love to hear all your thoughts on this.

TuscanyMatt October 1, 2010 - 4:40 pm

I totally agree with you. Niches are the best for forums. As I said, between a more general topic, let’s say Tuscan properties and Tuscany apartments, start with the apartments niche, then work it out from there.

Property Marbella October 2, 2010 - 5:05 am

100% correct TusanyMatt, Iā€™m a real estate agent in Marbella area and I only write articles about Marbella and information about properties ect. Our first goal is to get 1000 visitors every month and be the best blog in and about Marbella.

UK ecommerce forum September 30, 2010 - 6:16 am

Nice article, there are great numbers of ways to make money from forums but the forum needs to be functional with active members, continual promotion, which are not easy to achieve unlike a blog that can be successful in a couple of months.
What is more important is know what you are doing and do it rightly.
Thanks for the post.

Vinyl Banners September 30, 2010 - 9:43 am

I think the point about not just starting a forum to make money should be well heeded. Amazing how many people try this, but see it fall flat!

Home Theater Wall Plates September 30, 2010 - 1:33 pm

I ended up shutting down several forums I had because I just couldn’t stand the moderation after awhile. I think they could have made money, but I just didn’t have the time. Nice article, by the way!

TuscanyMatt October 1, 2010 - 4:58 pm

You should have made some moderators offering them perks. A forum must be self sufficient.

Usama September 30, 2010 - 2:23 pm

This article tackles some really good tips for forum starters.

Iphone 4 Jailbreak October 1, 2010 - 11:56 am

nice article matt . Starting a venture just for money will never give you returns , becuase you never had the intention to create quality content . Google says , give quality , money will flow in …

Gerri October 1, 2010 - 4:29 pm

Forums are a good idea and there are a number of people out there who started off generating an income online via forums they set up. Is there an particular forum software you would recommend?

TuscanyMatt October 1, 2010 - 5:00 pm

vBullettin certainly is a great one, but not cheap. The second best is phpBB, free and highly reliable and fully featured.

Alex Dumitru October 2, 2010 - 10:26 am

I’m currently working on building a forum for one of my blogs and I’m really desperate about it, because I want to build a pretty big community. I’ve also invested quite much in the forum and I continue doing it, because generated content can prove to be an automated income stream.

seo services company October 4, 2010 - 1:41 am

forum is tool which can generate max number of traffic..because
all users want to grab new info and forums contains different threats
so it’s brings lot’s of traffic…

keep cheers/..

Dan Lew October 5, 2010 - 12:03 am

I am a big believe in forums, I really think they can get huge traffic and engagement if done right, I think you have some interesting points

Software Development Company October 8, 2010 - 6:21 am

Good tips about generate income from forums but forums is not easy job. There are many forums but we use good forums which have good content.

Property October 18, 2010 - 6:35 am

Nice tips about forum creation and posting.

Jasmine October 25, 2010 - 9:08 pm

Great tips there for people looking to start a forum. But have to bear in mind that a large forum usually requires a good amount of server resources. This might be expensive to maintain. šŸ™‚

hcg reviews August 24, 2011 - 12:51 am

To me, the only reason a forum is worth starting is if it will provide a valuable service (good information and so on) AND if it will be profitable. You have to think long term if you are really looking at this as an investment.

Comments are closed.

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?
Update Required Flash plugin