|Making a successful forum better|
taking suggestions :)
A friend and I share a reasonably busy professional forum. 3000-5000 visits per day, 750K posts over 3 years though the forum has been around longer than that. It's for a very niche group (similiar to engineers).
I'm completely rebuilding the site and looking for some way to make some good money. We have an exclusive banner advertiser who covers bandwidth plus a bit.
Here's what I'm trying:
- chess/poker/bridge at the site. all are games that these people play, and play well.
- small cafe pr. shop for t shirts and other junk, I mean, quality merchandise.
- job postings. I think this is the hot button, there are other sites making 10X what we are with 1/4 of the traffic. They've got the namebrand on the job postings, we've got the non-paying name band discussion forum :(.
Due to the exlusive, I can't include adsense. And the advertiser has treated us well since before adsense was around so I don't want to disturb that.
Anything else I should do to monetize the site? Or add stickiness?
|We have an exclusive banner advertiser who covers bandwidth plus a bit. |
I'd think about the exclusivity deal. If you're only really making enough to cover bandwidth, then it doesn't really make sense.
Either get more money from your existing advertiser, or change the exclusivity part and put other ads on your site.
I agree with Pete_m about the exclusive deal - if it's barely covering bandwidth, that's not a good business deal. Maybe you could negotiate a "sponsored by" tagline or something but give prominent position to Adsense or other advertisers. Or, work the old sponsor into an ad rotation.
There have been threads about monetizing forums here that are worth reading, but one thought would be to establish a "supporter" level with additional benefits.
CraigsList.org funds itself pretty well by charging for job postings.
Classifieds specific to the forum are a good idea. Job postings are appealing since you are dealing with business customers whose alternatives are typically very costly. Check the price of a job listing in your local newpaper - not chump change; then check what a job ad costs in the Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, etc. All this makes an online ad in a well-targeted forum an attractive option.
Regarding Cafe Press... I haven't had that much success with it. My forums aren't nearly as busy as yours, but I've never gotten the sales from my Cafe Press store that I wanted. (I agree with the other posts, so I won't rehash what they've said)
A group "similar to engineers" might be receptive to book listings (e.g., Amazon, B&N, etc.). The ideal way to promote this might be to do a keyword-based listing via AWS or similar. On the downside, it's hard to make much money at current affiliate commission rates combined with likely purchase rates.