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-   -   Blog Versus Forum (http://www.go4expert.com/articles/blog-versus-forum-t22753/)

shabbir 19Jul2010 10:58

Blog Versus Forum
 
If you Google Blog Vs Forum you would find that there are so many articles on the difference between the two but most of them are quite old and concentrate on some aspects of the comparison without any example. As I manage quite a few forums and couple of blogs myself so I will not only compare most of the aspects of both of them but would also give some real world examples.

Before I begin would like to tell you that this is a very large article of 1500+ words and so if you cannot read it right now you can also bookmark it for later reading. Now let us begin.

First let us understand the basic difference between forum and blog.

Forums are discussion platform that is often described as a many-to-many discussion. Anyone can create topics and anyone can reply provided you are member of the forum with appropriate permission to get involved in a discussion in that particular topic.

Blogs back in 2005-2007 were more of a one to many discussion platforms but today's blogs are authored by more than one author (at times) or even contains Guest Posts but yet the content is created by set of authors and others discuss or express views on the same.

Blogs are more personal with collection of posts or articles from individual(s) who control their blogs and create topics where as others comment on the same but for forums it is more like an open platform. In short a blog is more like a magazine from some individual(s) whereas forum is more like a public bulletin board.

Content



If you happen to read other comparison about blog and forum you would see that most of them talk about advantage with forum when it comes to content and it apparently looks true but this is actually not true.

People would be interested in creating discussions only when you have large forum with active user base. To make your forum look active, you need to have content as well as users to constantly get involved in the discussion. In short user would create content when they see the content from others.

If you have a fairly large forum this is definitely an advantage but then if you have a fairly large blog with lot of readership you will get more often than not good quality guests posts and so this advantage for forums is no longer an advantage nowadays.

As forum relies mostly on user generated content it becomes that much more difficult to get the ball rolling.

So to make forum work in your favour either you have to start with a small niche and create content yourself or ask your friends and colleagues to create discussions. You may even hire people to get the content for you. Blogs rarely need to do hire people for content unless you have a blog where you cannot blog about it.

As an example I am a tech guy and so for my MBA Forum I bought lot of content to start with and now though I have limited my content buying, still I buy it because I am not in a position to generate content myself for MBA. This is not the problem with Go4Expert.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO



SEO comparison of blog versus forum is one of the most debatable topics and believe me no one knows the answer to it. Everyone has his own way of putting things and when you read any views you always tend to either strongly agree or strongly disagree on it because of the reasoning and same holds true for me.

Forum is mostly user generated queries which means there is more chances that those queries and archives would be searched by many other users for same issues and queries.

Blog authors with little idea about SEO and post title would also create SEO friendly content. Wordpress themes normally are very SEO friendly and so with good effort on the off page factors chances are you may rank well for very competitive keywords.

Many have a perception that ranking well for one competitive keyword would actually mean a lot more traffic than many non-competitive long tail keywords but this is not the perception of everyone including me. I think that ranking well for non-competitive long tail keywords is better than one high traffic very competitive keyword and so I think SEO is more of an advantage to forums.

Now I leave it on to you to decide what you think would work well for you and in which camp you are aka long tail keywords to competitive keywords.

User Engagement



Forums support rich user engagement features like user registration, communication with other members using private messages or visitor messages (kind of scrapbook), make friends and buddies, upload attachments and content, social groups, who is online currently etc are some of the features which are not part of blogs as yet.

Apart from that I would also like to add one more feature which many a times under-rated for forum i.e. birthday. If you make date of birth as a must field in your forum registration process it can not only help you get lot of returning visitors but this also means at least once a year you send them a reminder to return to your community.

Example would be of my MBA Forum where I tried this feature and it works very well. An important day in your life and if you get an email from some forum actually means that you would not only remember the site but would like to be part of it as well. I get daily few emails saying thanks for the wishes and also many a times get the reason why they are not been able to be part of the forum.

The user engagement features does not end here but there is much more to it. User levels which means, users with valuable contribution or senior members of the community can be given specially privileges.

Forum actually is a clear advantage when you want to have user engagement.

Revenues



Blogs generate more revenue than forums for multiple reasons. One of the main reason for forum are always less on revenue is because forum owners cannot promote affiliate products and reviews within the content to maintain the decorum of the forum or else everyone would start doing it. The other reason is that many CPM advertising network like FastClick / ValueClick do not accept forums.

As an example I generate 10 times better eCPM for my blog Internet Marketing than for any of my forum.

Unique Selling Point or USP



Let us say that you are looking for something. You visit Google. Type what you are searching for and end up on some other webpage, sounds familiar. Now chances are you on some forum or on some blog. If you landed on some forum thread you may have hard time finding the right content from a thread where there are many responses.

So the attraction point on forum may not be the content but the activity on the forum and as a reader of the thread you may think that if I share my query on this forum I may get the answer where as if you land on the some article on blog quality of the article which will make you subscribe to that blog. Apart from that if you have webmaster visiting your blog it is also the link back to his site that may attract him. For blog it is comment links and for forums it is the links in signature.

Time and effort



Forum takes more time and effort to build where as blog it is comparatively easier than forums to get going. Forums are not for every website. Don't just put it up there and hope for the best. If you can't put a lot of time and effort into creating a viable community, just leave it. Having no forums is better than having dead forums that may actually drive people away.

Chronological Content



As content is added by author(s) it is more organized and controlled. Take an example of this very article. If I plan to submit the same article on my blog I would do so in small series of posts.

Final Thoughts



At the end of the day, both blogs and forums are useful in their own ways. It is important to ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish for your website. And, don't forget, these tools are not mutually exclusive - you can have both like me.

fashionbop 19Jul2010 12:09

Re: Blog Versus Forum
 
Thank you for sharing the great post! It is so kind of you.

shabbir 19Jul2010 14:06

Re: Blog Versus Forum
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lisa33 (Post 70386)
Thank you for sharing the great post! It is so kind of you.

The pleasure is all mine.

coderzone 19Jul2010 15:55

Re: Blog Versus Forum
 
Blogs tend to speak with more authority from the author where as in forums it is more of quick answers to specific question.

Scripting 19Jul2010 17:06

Re: Blog Versus Forum
 
Can anyone tell me how to create my own forum?
Please give me some advice.
thx

shabbir 19Jul2010 18:17

Re: Blog Versus Forum
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scripting (Post 70397)
Can anyone tell me how to create my own forum?
Please give me some advice.
thx

Check out vBulletin.com as they have one of the better forum software

Scripting 21Jul2010 00:52

Re: Blog Versus Forum
 
And is that creating of my own forum free of charge or i must pay it?

shabbir 21Jul2010 08:43

Re: Blog Versus Forum
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scripting (Post 70461)
And is that creating of my own forum free of charge or i must pay it?

Depends on your goal and plans. If you want a pro site paid is better but if you want experiment for you local network free would do.

Scripting 21Jul2010 13:01

Re: Blog Versus Forum
 
Yes, i wanna experiment - free of charge, so please can you tell me how to create that, or simply what page im have to go to do it. And by the way, the vBulletin is paid always, it isnt for free, is it?
Thx

shabbir 21Jul2010 13:02

Re: Blog Versus Forum
 
http://www.phpbb.com/


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