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Old 09 Dec 2017, 16:53
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kevcj kevcj is offline
 
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Keeping forums relevant in social media age?

Several years ago I visited all the typical webmaster and blogging forums. Took a break from the forums for a few years, came back and was surprised at how much traffic had dropped to those types of communities.

It seems traffic to forums that deal with blogging and forum development has dropped a LOT. Why is that? Are fewer people building websites? Or, are those people hanging out in places I do not know about?

Facebook and places like reddit have taken a toll on forums, but surely they still have a place?

What can forum owners do to compete with the large social media and social networking sites?

Highly specialized forums seem to be doing good. For example I belong to a metal detecting forum. At any given time the forum has over 1,000 members logged in. A Toyota forum I visit stays pretty busy.

This leads me to believe less people are visiting forums like vbulletinb.org, vbulletin.com... because less people ae building forums and websites.
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Old 09 Dec 2017, 19:24
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In Omnibus In Omnibus is online now
 
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A forum is just a communication tool. The main difference between forums and social media is the ability to limit the discussion to specific content and to control the amount of garbage which enters the conversation. Facebook and Reddit are steaming piles of manure when it comes to trying to keep a group or a discussion on-topic. Facebook doesn't even allow content to be sorted by date or last reply or anything else. Forums still have a place for those looking for niche specific focused content and discussion. While the trend toward mindless, meaningless "look at me" type content has prevailed the least several years it is likely a fad that will end at some point, when people grow tired of everyone talking and no one listening. When that happens the forum type community will make a comeback in popularity.
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Old 09 Dec 2017, 20:36
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I feel like forums that have existed for a long time or its subject is very specific are ones that are still popular. People starting a new forum about something general usually end up being a ghost town.
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Old 11 Dec 2017, 16:44
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RichieBoy67 RichieBoy67 is offline
 
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There is no doubt that social sites have taken a toll on forums but social sites can also be used to promote your forum. On average nearly 20% of my traffic comes from social sites.
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Old 11 Dec 2017, 18:08
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kevcj kevcj is offline
 
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Originally Posted by RichieBoy67 View Post
On average nearly 20% of my traffic comes from social sites.
How targeted is that 20% traffic?

My google analytics shows facebook has some of the worst bounce rates of any other source.

Reddit traffic is probably the worst. They come in for a few seconds, then leave.
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Old 11 Dec 2017, 18:17
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RichieBoy67 RichieBoy67 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by kevcj View Post
How targeted is that 20% traffic?

My google analytics shows facebook has some of the worst bounce rates of any other source.

Reddit traffic is probably the worst. They come in for a few seconds, then leave.
The bounce rate is not the best but I do get conversions and in my stores I get sales.

In terms of the forums I am not talking about paid promos with targeting. I am talking about using a fan page to promote certain posts and content, using groups, etc. Granted nobody is going to jump right into Facebook and get traffic like that. It takes time to build followers but the more followers you have, the better your traffic.

BTW - To get to 20% takes a couple hours per day at least and this is an average I am estimating across all of my sites, some of which are not forums. And to build some of these followers on some pages I did have to use paid promos through facebook.

I have used Reddit paid promos in the past but I never had time to build any organic traffic from Reddit. It can be done but it is very niche oriented and time consuming. I mainly use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram though I also get traffic daily from Youtube and Pinterest.
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