Forums can be a great way to add the ability for your website’s community to interact with each other. However, there are many problems associated with forums that could cause headaches and problems in the future. This article attempts to point out the pros and cons of implementing forums onto your website.
♦ Pro: Give users the chance to speak
People will talk about a business no matter where they are: social media, around the house, with their friends, it doesn’t matter. When you have a forum on your business website you give them the ability to interact with other customers which directly adds value and a great experience between you and the customer.
♦ Con: Users can often be very crude and detrimental
Some customers are down-right sour; if they are members of the forum they can often cause a disrupt and even ruin the experience for others. Negative people are all around the web and will flock to forums to vent their unfounded anger; if you can’t keep the internet trolls in check you’ll be overrun and harm your community.
♦ Pro: Allow customers to share their experiences
Customers want to talk about their experiences with a business; offering a forum will allow the good and bad to come out from each person you’ve dealt business with. Because you’ve contained the discussion on your own platform, you can address the good and bad without it getting out of proportion. Additionally, customers that talk about your products and services can increase the chance that it creates a sale through word-of-mouth marketing.
♦ Con: Competitors may use this knowledge against you
On the flip side, letting your customers openly talk about products and services in a centralized place on your website will allow competitors to monitor their discussions to later use against you in business. Although people will talk regardless, tricky businesses can turn an otherwise positive message against you.
♦ Pro: Increase your web presence and SEO
When customers talk about your business, you gain an additional page of content. Each new piece of content increases your chance to be found and your overall search engine optimization. Igniting a discussion can greatly increase your web presence and pull in new customers for the future.
♦ Con: Forums are a hot-bed for spammers
One big problem with forums is if you don’t constantly keep them in check you will be overrun by spammers; you’ll need to employ someone that’s dedicated to running the forum just to make sure that no malicious activity takes place that could harm your search engine rankings and others that use the platform.