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5 Reasons Forums May be Hazardous to Your Website's Health

Oct 12, 2007
When used correctly, forums offer new as well as experienced business owners the perfect platform for promoting new ideas and products. They're also a great way to acquire one way links.

While forums have their benefits, they also have the potential of creating huge damage to your business. One wrong thread could send a lot of bad press to your site as well as to your email account.

Forums can be a great place to learn new ideas and bounce ideas off other people. But, they require a lot of time.

More often than not, it's far better to spend that time concentrating on marketing your business rather than trolling the forums.

The following five points underscore why spending time in forums can be hazardous for your site's health.

1) It's not a matter of if but when you'll get flamed

The problem with forums is that you never know when things are going to get out of hand. Without any reason or warning, you can become a flame target.

I can guarantee that at least one person will not agree with you. This isn't so bad as long as the dialog takes place within the forum.

But, these online arguments can get out of hand and spill over into blogs, other forums, and through email.

2) Link bandwagons, and useless comments

One of the low points of any forum is that 95% of the posts tend to be completely useless. Many posters are only participating in the hope of getting some mileage from a forum. For people who own a similar business, posting on a forum is the perfect way to gain some exposure and get one way links to boot. Many times, they don't add any value to the forum.

Then there's the typical flood of "I agree" comments. These "valueless" comments can suck and excessive amount of your time.

3) Everyone's an expert

There's an old saying, "If everything is important, then nothing is important." I believe this applies to forums as well.

The problem isn't for lack of experts. The problem is trying to decipher the real experts from the flack.
Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to differentiate good advice from bad.

This is somewhat like the blind leading the blind. Misleading advice abounds. It takes time to acknowledge the good experts from the "wannabe" experts. Time better spent elsewhere.

4) Old and stale information

People post comments and information based on what they've read or heard about. Unlike a typical publication, with its overabundance of editors, assistant editors, and fact checkers, forums are open source. You have to do your own fact checking.

Another problem is information that's just plain old. What may have been true a few years ago may not apply today. For instance, web rings were very popular in the late 1990s. Now, they're simply known as link farms.

But, there's plenty of information, old information, that shows up in search results concerning web rings; much of it in forums.

5) Writing truthful, thoughtful comments is a fad

While some forum discussions have their golden moments, many threads are one sided or between two or three parties. I liken it to two groups of people, each standing on opposite walls in a gym screaming at each other. Unfortunately, many times the good comments get stuffed underneath the bad, disrespectful, disparaging comments.

While forums certainly have their place, they shouldn't be an all too often hangout. Most webmasters would find they can achieve their site goals faster and more efficiently if they focused on their sites rather than the forums.
About the Author
Jerret Turner, CEO of LinkAcquire.com, can help you build one way links for better search results. Download a free copy of Jerret's new work, The Little Linking Instruction Book.
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