Should you add a discussion forum to your website or blog?
I have recenty added a discussion forum to this blog. You can find it here:
Now seems like a good time to discuss the pro's and con's of adding a forum to your website or blog. First, the "pros":
Adding a website forum is simple and free if you have Cpanel (ask your webmaster if you don't know if you have Cpanel) and if you have an automatic installation system called Fantastico.
Cpanel and Fantastico allow you to click a couple of buttons and add your forum. I usually add Simple Machines Forum (SMF for short). But there are other forums in Fantastico such as PhpBB2.
Theoretically, adding a forum to your website will increase your google and yahoo rankings. This is especially true if you get many people registering and using the forum. Why will your search engine rankings increase? Mainly because you will get more visitors to your website and more people will link to your forum. Although some have hypothesized that google likes forums and simply adding one will increase your rankings.
In addition to the potential search engine benefits, such as higher ranking and more traffic, you are giving your readers and customers another reason to visit your website and talk about you and your products.
They are also helping you to generate content for your website. In other words, your users will add new "pages" of information on your website (in the form of posts and comments) that will also get indexed and shown on google and the other search engines.
What are the cons of adding a forum?
The biggest con of adding a forum is the time required to manage it. You will need to approve new members, moderate comments and posts and respond to people's questions.
For most new forums, the various moderation and approval tasks only take a few minutes per week. But if you get a sizable community of regular visitors and posters, your forum could quickly evolve into something that takes several hours per week to moderate.
*I recently deleted the forum on my website, I found that it was not being used very much and the few minutes per month of maintaining it was not worth my while. I still do have forums on other websites, but not this one.
Adding a Forum Video
cheers for now - Ryan