"Monetizing Online Forums" is not about squeezing every last dime out of your forums. Instead, it is a detailed guide to making money the right way with the right methods. Over monetization can kill a forum - with this guide, we aim to help people monetize appropriately, ensuring the long term stability of their forums.
Managing an online community can be fun, but earning an income from it can seem prohibitively difficult and dull. But to survive, grow, and constantly provide a better experience for its members and visitors, forums require more than just hard work: they need financial support. Figuring out how to make money from a forum can be even more daunting than building the forum in the first place.
Should you run ads on your site, or do you want to keep distractions to a minimum? Is it wrong to make money from user-generated content? What is affiliate marketing, and how can you make money with it on user-generated content? Should you try to make money right away, or wait until you have an active reader base?
If having ads is a good idea, where in the world do you start in terms of finding advertisers and setting up space on your site? What’s a leaderboard? 728x90?!
The reason I started Skimlinks four years ago is that I needed an easier way to monetize my first business, an online community about products. We had trouble working out how to make money, so we created a technology that helped us. But I wish I’d had this book at the time to learn about the alternatives and best practices. If I had, who knows, maybe that first business would have blossomed and become the first Pinterest.
There is so much to learn about making money as a forum owner, and I’m thrilled that Patrick O’Keefe was able to devote so much of his time and energy to creating a single resource to help publishers learn why generating revenue is important, explore all of the different ways it can be done and work out how it can be done appropriately and respectfully.
There is no one better than Patrick to write this book. Patrick has been writing about online communities – and managing them himself – for years, and is widely acknowledged as an expert in the field, giving entertaining talks at conferences and events. He is, most crucially, passionate about doing it the right way. I don’t know anyone with more integrity in the space.
I’m honored that he agreed to put together this thorough and comprehensive guide. It’s my hope that it will make its way into the hands of current and aspiring online community and forum owners everywhere, to help them create and grow successful, profitable forums of every conceivable kind.