How to Write a Great Forum Post

15Katey

Member
If what they say is true, then content is king. If, as a website owner or operator (or both), you don't create wonderful, engaging, and compelling content regularly, you won't get very far. Your website will end up in the dustbin of history before too long. Far too many website creators have fallen for the initial energy and luster of designing and launching a blog, forum, or some other type of site, only to have their enthusiasm fade days, weeks, or months later. Some never get off the ground at all. Some never even write the first post! We've all seen it. Time and time again, a friend emails us and tells us that he's got the best website out there. Well, it's going to be the best website. Only if we can stop by to populate it with our witty banter. "Pleeeease" they say. "Please help me. I need content for my site." Of course, we rarely go and help out and if we do, we'll offer a menial comment here or there. After all, it's not our site. We have other things to do.

But what if we did want to help? What if it was us who created the site or what if it was our significant other who did? In those cases, we'd definitely want to write the best posts we know how to. And that's why I'm writing this post today - to offer you some assistance in doing so. You see, I'm a writer by nature and I've been writing for years and years. Over a decade to give you some more perspective. If there's anything I know, it's how to write forum and blog posts.

I'll give you a quick piece of advice before I even get into anything. Here it is - if you think you're going to need to write hundreds of posts to help your site off the ground, then you're going to need a system. Don't think you're going to go in fresh and simply write what comes to mind. Sure, you can get away with that for about a dozen posts, but you'll lose steam. And you'll not only lose steam, you'll lose motivation, direction, focus, and you'll eventually stop contributing to your site altogether. Trust me on this. What's the statistic for blogs and forums failing in their first year? Something like 99.999999%? Yeah, probably something like that.

Now, before I offer you my tips below, please realize that in order for you to write dozens or hundreds of posts, you're going to need to be a writer yourself. You'll already need to have the passion and burning desire for writing inside of you. Without that, forming a structure to turn you into a writing machine will never happen. All I'd like to do down below is inform you of certain aspects you need to pay close attention to as you sit down to type out each and every post. So, without further ado, let's get to it.

The Title

The very first thing you'll need to do before writing any post is craft a title. Well, I actually shouldn't say that. You may want to write your post first and from that post you'll find inspiration for the title. Either way you do it, the title will need to be as descriptive as possible, without being wordy. You want to tell your audience as well as the search engines what your post is about, without going overboard. Here is an example of a good title:

Water Skiing on Candlewood Lake

Here's an example of a title that's too wordy:

We Went Water Skiing on Candlewood Lake In May on a Tuesday With Friends Who Were Visiting

Again, all you want to do is tell the potential reader what your post is about. They'll find all the details once they dive into it. And as for the search engines, all they care about it keywords, so save the fluff for the post content itself.

Proof Reading is Critical

Do you want to know the very first thing that loses a reader's trust? Yes, that's right. Horrible spelling and grammar. If they ever trusted you to offer advice or tell you something new, they won't after reading your lousy prose. If you aren't good at spelling, get good at it. The same is true for grammar. The internet is full of free resources and the time to start is now.

Don't Go Overboard With Formatting

Formatting is fun. I use it here or there. Typically, I'll limit myself to bolding a heading or italicising some piece of text I'd like to stand out. I don't think what I offer special formatting to is distracting at all. Actually, I think my formatting has the opposite effect. I think it enhances my writing. A writer can go overboard though and it's important to steer clear of over formatting a piece. The result of overformatting in the way of adding underlines, indents, bolding, and italicising can be reader distraction and loss. If they lose focus, readers tend to walk away.

Categorize Well

If you don't have a category for the post you'd like to write, or if you think you'll only write one post of it's kind, perhaps you should skip the post altogether. Every website needs a theme and writers shouldn't stray from that.

Tag Your Content

Along the same lines as categorization done well, tagging done well can be important as well. While categories are big and broad, tags are much more fine and nuanced. Just be sure to stay within some set parameters and stay away from the temptation of going overboard. And if you feel that the search engines won't like your kind of tagging, be sure to add a noindex meta tag on those pages.

Ask for Input

If you'd like to receive responses on your post, you'll need to ask for them. The rule for forums is that 1% will create new threads, 10% will comment on threads and posts written by others and the rest will simply consume. If you want to tap into that 11% who's willing to write, you'll need to ask them a question or for their input. Ask and you shall receive.

Stay Away From Jargon

Not everyone is in or is familiar with your particular industry, so not everyone might know what the words you use mean. Recognizing this, it's important for you to use common words when writing your posts. And if you'd like to continue using industry jargon, at least define the words you use so everyone has an understanding of what you write.

Use Images

We all know this. Photos and images help just about anything and trust me, there's an image for every topic under the sun. When writing your beautifully crafted post, try to find an image that will complement it.

Mention Other Writers

The most beautiful sound to a person's ears is their own name. And the most beautiful sight to someone's eyes is seeing their name on the internet. I just made that second one up, but it's probably true. This tip has to do with not only drawing someone into a conversation on your blog or forum, it's also a method of effective marketing. Use someone's name to market your post and give it credibility. Top writers use this trick all the time. It's more common than you'd think.

If You Wrote It, You Own It

Once you write a post on either a forum or a blog, you own it. You're responsible for following up with those who have left comments or added to the thread. The more you encourage others to write, nurture, and cultivate the writing on your site, the more writing you'll be committed to with going back and forth with others. Don't worry, this is a good thing. This means that your content generation is on auto-pilot!

Well, that's all I've got for today. Do you have any further tips or suggestions you think others might enjoy using? If so, please leave them below. Thanks!
 
How to Write a Great Forum Post was posted on 08-10-2020 by 15Katey in the Announcements.
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