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5 Ideas For Monetising Your Forum

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Posted 17th October 2013 at 09:24 PM by brettb


I'm Brett, the software developer behind FindAForum.Net .

I look at every forum submitted to FindAForum. So I've seen a heck of a lot of forums!

In this article I'll look at different ways that forum owners use to monetise their forums.

1. Adsense

Quite a few forums are monetised by AdSense. It's a lazy man's way of monetising a forum.

Having said that, it can work well in forums that cover a wide variety of niches and the readership is global.

One issue with AdSense is that you MUST moderate content. My friend runs a general forum and got his ad serving suspended due to the amount of sexy photos on the site. Since the forum was so large, it was a pain in the ass for him to locate the offending content. And a few of the regular members weren't exactly happy to find that their posts were now getting censored.

2. Ad free for members

So making money is good, but NOT making money is also good. Many forums give members the benefit of an ad-free forum.

Why throw money away?

Actually you'll find that most ad revenue comes from GUESTS browsing the forum. So by making the site add-free for regular members, you'll please your content producers, and make money off the newbies drawn to your forum from the search engines and other sources.

I'd say that on 80% of the forums I've looked at, they've has 10x more guests currently browsing the forum than regular members.

3. Sell text links

Paid links can be VERY lucrative for forum owners.

If your forum is big then you should hopefully get advertisers knocking on your door and wanting to buy text links.

You could also approach your top 10 advertisers (whose ads regularly show if you're using AdSense) and ask them if they want to buy text links.

Then all you need to do is set up a $25 (or more!) a month PayPal recurring payment that will give you cash for as long as they're willing to pay for some links on your site.

Just a word of warning though - be EXTREMELY picky about which text links you allow. Don't link to unrelated niches, don't link to poor quality sites and don't link to anything you wouldn't buy yourself.

4. Sponsorship

FindAForum has a lot of car and motorbike forums listed (see here). One thing about this niche I've found is that a lot of the vehicle forums have sponsored sections.

So you'll see the tyres niche is sponsored by Dunlop or Goodyear or somebody (actually the sponsors are usually smaller, local suppliers).

Like text links, this is a great idea for making some recurring monthly revenue for your forum.

5. Custom Ads

One thing I've failed to see in all the forums I've looked at is any particular creativity in serving up ads.

As a programmer what I've done for my own forum is to take my top 20 affiliate offers and serve up ads for them using a custom ad manager. Actually it's just a cheap ass clone of Adsense. I serve up ads based on the user's location (IP address -> country) and the page title of the forum topic they're looking at. So if my blog was about furniture, if they looked at a post titled "how do I find a new matching chair for my dining room table" then they would see ads about chairs.

Why has nobody else done this? Sheesh :confused:.

Got any more good ideas for monetising forums? Leave comments here or on the FindAForum Facebook page.
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