Help Me/Question How To Monetize A Forum?

butterfly

Active Member
I've been thinking about starting a forum a forum for a while. I have a few topics in mind. My main question is how does one go about monetizing a forum? And, can you actually make decent money from a forum, or is more of a labor of love? Thank you in advance for your answer.
 

Webmasterserve

Staff member
Administrator
We recently had a discussion on a similar topic here - Help Me/Question - What could be the best topic to start a forum? at http://www.webmasterserve.com/posts/337736/
I repeat my personal opinion, that forums are a long term commitment and monetizing a forum takes more time than say a blog or a website. Forums are no longer the social bulletin boards as they used to be, before Facebook and social media. The other discussion focuses on what topic forums are best and how to go about making a forum successful.

Regarding monetization, yes forums can be successfully monetized with the right approach and a lot, lot, lot of hardwork. The competition depends on the exact niche your forum is going to occupy and the popularity of the forum niche. Several ways of monetizing forums which are implemented by some of the big forums online:

- Donations: least useful would be - accepting donations from members to keep the forum alive: It takes a lot of investment to run a forum, from the software to hosting and all the features you add to make the forum interesting cost money

- Premium Membership for access to premium features or content - this depends on your niche, if you have a forum about video games and have a premium locked section with latest video game walk throughs, cheat codes, secret levels and stages, reviews of the latest and greatest written by avid gamers and sought after content by video game enthusiasts, they will pay you a membership to have access to such content. The challenge is in keeping the site fresh with latest content all the time to make the premium membership valuable to your members

- Email marketing - Forums usually send out newsletters to their members to market their own products or affiliate links, any sales generated by these emails is a profit for the forum managers

- Advertising/Adsense - This is as applicable as for blogs or websites. Placement of ads across the forum generates revenue when users click on these ads.

- Commissions - Providing a place for business or sellers to market their products on your forum and charging them a fee to post their marketing materials.

And there are several other unique and creative ways of monetizing a forum depending on the specific niche.

I would say forums and social media sites are long term investments and are not easily monetized in the beginning stages. You really need to have passion and a lot of patience to maintain and grow your community before it can even sustain itself without having to spend money out of pocket to keep them alive.


What kind of forum were you planning to build and in which niche, what ideas did you have for your own forum?
 

dcristo

Content Writer
Forums are hard work, and they tend to be resource hogs, so you need better web hosting, but they can make a lot of money if you know what you're doing. The awesome thing about forum communities once they gain momentum is they generate lots of user generated content. There is also something very satisfying about creating an online community that helps a lot of people. Just don't expect to make much in the first year, although really the same can be said about most websites.
 

butterfly

Active Member
What kind of forum were you planning to build and in which niche, what ideas did you have for your own forum?
At this point, I would call it less of a plan, and more of tossing around some ideas. I earn my income now as an ESL teacher in Asia. So, a forum based around that would be one idea. A problem that long-term ESL teachers abroad face is that as time passes, they get older and returning home to look for work proves to be a challenge. So, my second idea for a forum would be focused on sharing ideas about how to transition out of teaching abroad into doing something online, as I am trying to do now. Thank you for your response!
 

cheezcarls

It's Game Time!
If you want to monetize a forum, you should treat it like a long term business. The process is hard and you should be dedicating your time and effort to make your forum successful. You may lose money in the first place, but aa long you learn what's working and what's not, you'll eventually become successful in the end. In my own opinion, some ways for you to monetize a forum is to offer thread sticky, premium membership, paid forum threads for marketplace, ad spaces, etc. But in order to make this work, your forum should have lots of daily activity and engagement going on.

I hope this is going to help you realize something on why forum isn't just an ordinary money making strategy. It is a challenging one, and you have to embrace it.
 

Zirkon Kalti

Content Writer
You could offer members the option of upgrading their accounts to premium memberships. For the premium account, you can offer advantages such as ability to change their username and bump the thread they created regularly.
 

butterfly

Active Member
Forums are hard work, and they tend to be resource hogs, so you need better web hosting, but they can make a lot of money if you know what you're doing. The awesome thing about forum communities once they gain momentum is they generate lots of user generated content. There is also something very satisfying about creating an online community that helps a lot of people. Just don't expect to make much in the first year, although really the same can be said about most websites.
I do like the idea of creating an online community around a topic, or topics, I am interested in. But, at the end of the day, I am looking for a way to make a living as well. Your response was helpful!
 

butterfly

Active Member
You could offer members the option of upgrading their accounts to premium memberships. For the premium account, you can offer advantages such as ability to change their username and bump the thread they created regularly.
Why would someone want to pay for the ability to change their username? What does "bump the thread" mean? I like the idea of a premium membership. What other benefits could a forum owner provide to premium subscribers?
 

butterfly

Active Member
If you want to monetize a forum, you should treat it like a long term business. The process is hard and you should be dedicating your time and effort to make your forum successful. You may lose money in the first place, but aa long you learn what's working and what's not, you'll eventually become successful in the end. In my own opinion, some ways for you to monetize a forum is to offer thread sticky, premium membership, paid forum threads for marketplace, ad spaces, etc. But in order to make this work, your forum should have lots of daily activity and engagement going on.

I hope this is going to help you realize something on why forum isn't just an ordinary money making strategy. It is a challenging one, and you have to embrace it.
I apologize for my ignorance, I am a newbie. What is "thread sticky" and"paid forum threads for marketplace" Should ad spaces be sold to individual businesses, or let something like adsense decide what ads are placed on the forum? Thanks.
 
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