What is a discussion group?
Another way to make contact is to participate in discussion groups. Discussion Groups are forums where people can ask and answer questions on various topics through email or directly on-line. The topics will usually be relative to a particular community. For instance, there are several forums that are dedicated to web promotion. We will list the best of these at the bottom of this page.
Discussion groups are a tool to become recognized as an expert by other professionals in your field of business.
How long do I have to be involved in a discussion group?
The process of becoming involved in a discussion forum should be started during the first month of operation and continued through the life of your site. Discussion forums can take up a lot of your time. Allot approximately one hour per week for each employee to submit to a discussion group which surrounds the topic of their expertise. For instance, I submit to discussion groups on marketing and promotion. Terry submits to discussion forums which deal with web graphics. One or two discussion groups is probably the limit for most people. Try to stick with one group that you feel most comfortable with.
How do I become involved in a discussion group?
1. Find a group relative to your expertise.
2. Read several postings to be aware of how a particular group operates and what kinds of questions and responses are acceptable. Also, if they have any guidelines, be sure to read those. You will find that each group has its own set of rules.
3. Begin to submit postings by answering questions or posing your own questions. You can gain a lot of valuable information by posing very specific questions. People are more than willing to show you how smart they are! If you can throw in some of your own hard-won advice, all the better.
4. Use signature files when you post either questions or answers. (If allowed.)
Is it really worth it?
I cannot stress the importance of submitting to discussion groups. Yes, it takes time, but once you become familiar with a certain board, it doesn’t take much time in a day to read all the new postings.
You will learn a great deal by going to discussion groups. You will also increase your traffic. However, you must be dedicated to submitting to them on a weekly or even daily basis. Discussion groups will bring you traffic, but you must continually post in order for people to see your name and your URL each week.
It will be worth it if you find a group that has lots of people posting. These are the groups that you want to stick with. You will get the most “coverage” from boards that are frequented by many people.
Also, many of the promotion discussion boards have places where you can get your site reviewed by experts for free. This can be very beneficial to help you determine what is good and not so good about your site.
Promotion Discussion Boards
Here are some excellent groups that surround the community of web promotion:
Virtual Promote Search Engine Forums: They really get into the nitty-gritty in this one. I find a lot of helpful information just by reading through it. It took me a few months before I got up the nerve to begin to post there. Once I started posting, not only did I increase traffic to our site, I was also able to get answers to specific questions that I had regarding search engines.
i-sales Discussion List: Will come to you through email. A definite must to stay “in the know” about any internet marketing concerns.
i-search Discussion List: A must for anyone interested in search engine promotion. If you click on the link it will take you to your email program. Put “SUBSCRIBE” in the body of the letter. This list comes bi-weekly, it’s not too lengthy and it provides you with all the latest info on search engines. If you don’t like it, they provide you with a method to unsubscribe from every letter.
Forum One: Search over 280,000 Web Forum Discussions! If you’re looking for a specific forum – you’ll find it here!
How to start your own discussion board!
1. You need to decide which type of discussion forum you will use.
a. Moderated: this means that someone must approve of the posts and add them to the discussion if they are approved. The moderator is the “leader” of the discussion. (This is the type of discussion list that would come through email.)
b. Unmoderated: this means that people can say whatever they want, add whatever they want. As a webmaster, you will have the ability to remove posts, if they are inappropriate. You may also be the “leader” of the discussion by placing your own posts throughout any discussion. This may be a good choice for your site, if you don’t have a lot of time to put into reading people’s posts – you can moderate when you have the time.
2. Next, you must find a script to use. Again the two types parallel the above:
a. Moderated: You can have a mailing list (the i-search digest is an example of this type of discussion forum) – where you mail people all the posts. More explanation on setting up this type of script will be explained in the section on Newsletters.
b. Unmoderated: A discussion board right on your site. Here is a link to some discussion scripts that you would put right on your site. You need to be able to install a CGI script unless you are paying for it:
CGI City Resource Index: Bulletin Board Message Systems
Marketing on newsgroups: Article and advice on how to market in a discussion forum.
List Tool: Info on what a mailing list is and lists of several of them.
LSoft: More mailing lists.