So I have been getting a large number of about my website type emails recently from people who have been using my free link popularity analysis tool.
One of my friends recently sent me this feedback:
I know there isn't much point duplicating the existing webmaster
forums out there, but if you are going to offer tools, a support forum
is probably a good idea.
It may also be a good accompanyment to your blog, adding space for
discussion and creating a broarder landscape for your sites.
Anyway, I'm sure you would have considered it in the past... just a
prompt to consider it again today.
In the past I debated the idea of a forum, but many of my friends have told me bad call bad call bad call.
So do you think I should start a forum or not? What is the best way to efficiently answer questions related to the tools? Forums? Make an FAQ page? Both?
The problems with forums are:
- even if they start off great eventually they lose their appeal to some extent.
- the bigger they grow the more of a problem management is.
- they are exceptionally time consuming & can cut into my ability to have time to learn other things.
- I am not exceptionally even keeled. Sometimes I like to work hard and other times I like to take a break, plus I go away from home somewhat often now.
- I really need to become more physically active, and I don't see running forums helping that any.
- even if I started a small one just for tools I am sure it would eventually widen out, as that is what happened to Shawn, although he did it in a manner where he does not need to spend much time on moderation.
- You can get sued for anonymous comments that occur on chat boards. More on that later today.
- although sometimes I have grand ambitions I am not sure forums work profitably unless they have an amazingly huge reach, and I am not sure if I am that ambitious.
The positives of running a forum:
- it would make it easy to launch new items / ideas / software projects.
- it could help teach me more about social interaction
- so far today I have probably answered about 200 emails. there is no archive of that information, although if it were on a forum all that information would be reusable and able to help more people.
- If I was making enough money from advertising I could change my business model & potentially be able to afford giving my ebook away. But then again if I put a price of $0 on it that is exactly what some people would value it at: as being worthless.
I have learned a lot from SEO forums, but I have also got to do IM chat with people like Dan Thies and NFFC. The biggest complaints with forums are noise, and learning everything in such small chunks that you view them out of proportion. Getting to listen to guys like NFFC or Dan Thies in an IM conversation it really helps you step back and view things from a broader perspective.
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