I thought that having a forum was a great way to get more visitors to a website, and I hope to have a forum for my site eventually.
Do you think Steve is making a business mistake by closing the forums? Surely the number of visitors to his site will drop dramatically, making it more difficult for him to promote whatever it is he wants to promote.
As I shared in another thread:
Business-wise the forums are effectively irrelevant. Less than 1% of my blog readers ever visit the forums. The forums chew up a lot of bandwidth and resources because VBulletin is very server intensive, but the blog's traffic dwarfs the forums' traffic.
The forums aren't a money-maker, so paying someone to admin them would just make them more of a drain. Even so, I was heading towards doing that, but in retrospect I'm glad I didn't.
I didn't start or end the forums for business reasons, but from a business perspective, ending them will free up time and energy for other pursuits.
It may seem like this forum community was huge, but the total number of members who've registered here after 5+ years is less than one day's worth of blog visitors.
The main reason these forums because so popular is because the blog kept feeding them traffic. Without the blog, these forums would have been a ghost town.
Interesting. From this, it sounds like having a forum won't help a website grow. Do you think this is true?
If you look at the blog archives, you can see that my blogging frequency decreased noticeably after the forums launched in Nov 2006. That's because forum management and participation offset some of my blogging time.
On the other hand, the forums also helped me gain many new ideas for blog posts that I might otherwise never have written.
Thanks Steve. You've given me a different perspective on forums.
I look forward to your future ventures/adventures too :)
Another thing to consider is that it's a lot easier for a blog post to achieve a great search engine ranking than it is for a forum thread. One strong blog post can generate more search traffic than 10,000 forum threads.
If you think about it, Google is far more likely to send people to a well-written article than to a more chaotically structured forum thread. And most people who use Google would probably rather be referred to an article too.
The advantage of forums is that you can get a lot of long-tail hits from the sheer volume and variety of posts, but in my case I get way more search traffic from my 1000+ blog posts than from the 1M+ forum posts here.
Even my blog post on "how to cook brown rice" generates thousands of visits a month from search traffic alone. No forum thread has ever come close to topping it.
Suffice it to say that Google loves blogs a lot more than it loves forums. Forums mainly compete for the crumbs that blogs and other content forms haven't already captured.
I discovered your site through searching forums and enjoy your blog posts. I understand why you are closing though, it just sounds like it is time.
Steve, would you consider selling the forum to CrowdGather?
They're in the forum business:
I personally think its selfish to close the fourms. It takes this from me it takes that from me. Alot of people use these fourms, for various buisness purposes but steve knows this. For a person thats build a empire through "giving value" it seems a lil suspect imo but thats just me
Steve is closing the forum for his own reasons (more than one I think). However, whether it's selfish or not, it's possible that releasing the time that is used to manage the forums will create more time for other ventures, which may have as much or more value. It's too soon to judge that.
I agree that these forums are unique (and given a choice, I would keep them running), but closing them will open up opportunities for others to create their own forums - as they are already doing.
I can second Steve's reply re:forum ranking as well as blog vs. forum comparison.
There are forums that makes $1m+ /yr, but these are mostly "how to make money" forums that attract army of suckers that buy "how to get rich" stuff from each other.
Still - would be sad to see this forum go.
It's an unintented consequence. We always made a point to ban people who seemed to have joined this forum for "free adverstising".
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