Web Hosting Forums: The Best Technical Support Team Around

In the internet, virtually thousands of web hosting companies offer different attractive packages for the worldwide market. Because of this, searching for the best web-hosting provider can be overwhelming and confusing.

Although there are some websites that give reviews on certain web hosting providers, you can never be sure if the content of the reviews are unbiased or just another paid advertisement.

The best way to receive unbiased information about web hosting and the best providers around is to ask around different web hosting forums. Searching through web hosting forums not only gives you the best leads for hosting companies, but also gives you information, answers about technical issues and other concerns about web hosting.

Ask the Web Gurus in Web Hosting Forums

Imaging this scenario: You’re having trouble with your web hosting and the company that hosts your website is not available. An important client relies on your website to transact business and you have no idea how to fix the problem. Where do you go? What do you do?

Web hosting forums can be a great help. Since most members that post in web hosting forums are just like you, who have their own websites, you could relate to them easily and ask them questions.

When you experience a hosting problem, it is possible that someone else has experienced the same problem before. Web hosting forums allow webmasters to unite in one place and discuss issues about web hosting, applications, hosting features and other concerns about web hosting.

Web hosting forums will benefit both beginners and advanced webmasters because they share techniques, tested methods, marketing strategies and other information pertaining to the success of a website.

Not only can web hosting forums help you solve your problem and improve your website, it could also inform you about the latest products and news about information technology, the world wide web and new software to make your job easier.

Since members of a web hosting forum share the same goal of creating websites, improving business and providing quality websites on the internet, you can also meet many people that could help your website become successful. In addition, you could also look for other professionals who are interested in starting up their own web hosting service.

With web hosting forums, you can expect unbiased information, advice, troubleshooting and other important information about web hosting from different webmasters worldwide.

Online Forums – How to Use an Online Forum

Online forums (also known as online discussion sites, message boards, newsgroups and internet forums) are powerful tools for sharing information. Their use has become omnipresent and wide reaching. Many people use discussion sites on a daily basis, whether it’s to gain knowledge, share ideas or simply to feel as part of a community.

Why use Online Forums?

* communicate with other like-minded people who have the same or similar interests

* exchange intellectual ideas and thoughts

* offer your opinion or advice

* submit materials for others to consider and provide feedback on such as your website, business ideas or questions

* find out new opinions and ideas

* be up to date with latest news and trends

* meet new friends and leads

Participating in forums is another way to stay in contact with persons belonging to the same community and to keep abreast of recent events. It’s a place to voice your opinions, be heard and discover other’s thoughts.

This social media outlet can become addictive. For some, Online Forums provide a haven; a place to escape the daily grind and indulge in the community aura. Forum usage is certainly a concern for employers, due to reduced productivity and procrastination on behalf of the users involved. However, most of us are thankful for their existence.

How to Use Online Forums:

The appearance of an online forum may seem daunting at first. There’s information, posts and threads flowing all over the home page in what appears to be an ad hoc manner. Occasionally, the initial reaction of first time users is to put discussion sites in the too hard basket. Here’s an easy step by step guide to using Online Discussions:

* Registration. Most discussion boards require you to become a member by registering or signing up in order to post. Invariably, you will need to provide a Username (your alias), password and an email address. The forum will also require your agreement to its terms and conditions.

* Validation. After registering to an internet forum, you will need to validate your email by following the validation link emailed to you by the site.

* Rules. Familiarize yourself with the rules and netiquette required by the forum. Generally, spamming, double posting and registering multiple user accounts is prohibited. Try to adhere in order to avoid being called a troll for unintentionally breaking the rules.

* Posting. A forum has predefined topics (called threads). Members may submit messages or comments (called posts) within these topics. The message will be enclosed in a box with the username, time and date notified either on the left hand side or appearing at the top of the post. Usually members are allowed to edit or delete their own posts. Many online forums limit posts to a certain number of characters.

* Threads. A thread (topic) is started by a post. Other members may then follow in the conversation started by the original post (sometimes called the thread starter). At times the responses and comments can become derailed. The tread generally displays posts in opposite chronological order (from first to current). The abbreviation OP often refers to the original poster. Some message boards enable you to customize the view to commence with the starting post. They may also have a thread view which shows the branching of replies in priority to chronological order.

* Moderating. Moderators monitor and enforce the message board rules. They may have access to all posts and threads or just those within their area of responsibility. Mods have the power to delete a post and to ban and suspend members who violate the discussion site’s policy. The moderator is usually the site owner’s friend. Among other responsibilities, they also help members in need and respond to complaints.

If you’re a first timer to online forums, try some smaller message boards to start with. Smaller sites still have that community feel and are more than happy to accommodate beginners. Once you become accustomed to the way discussion websites work, you can then join some larger expert message boards if you wish. Above all, don’t be shy to voice your opinion; that’s what forums are for.

Don’t Forget Forums As a Formidable Social Networking Source

For many of us, the term ‘social media’ is practically synonymous with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

At the very least, we will tend to associate social media with analogues of these three big sites and generally we think of social networks as modern sites where you can log in and share pictures and status updates.

In reality though, the web has been social long before Facebook was a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye.

When the web first exploded in popularity, people were already having discussions and debates about their favorite hobbies and interests but they were doing so in chat rooms and on forums.

And while Facebook and Twitter have more prominence now than those aforementioned chat rooms, they are nevertheless still out there and they still offer a lot of opportunities.

What are Forums?

A forum is essentially a message board, normally attached to a website, where people can post questions and get answers. Users must first create a profile and from there they can create or respond to ‘threads’ as well as doing other things like send private messages.

In other words, these act like the groups or pages on social media, providing discussion that is centered around a specific topic and where only ‘members’ get to contribute.

This is one of the biggest attractions of these forums – they have a ‘VIP’ feeling and tend to nurture a much more close-knit community. Many people will make friends on forums, or will even work together on joint projects etc.

The Advantages of Forums

So while forums are smaller than social networks, they are also much more targeted and the users tend to be very committed and passionate to the subject. This creates an ideal opportunity for you to gain exposure for your product or website if you post there.

The problem is, most companies have no idea how to use forums. They will simply create accounts, log in and then post their link like an advert. Bearing in mind how much of a clique the users of these forums become and how protective of their community they are, you can imagine that this is often met with disdain.

To succeed on forums then, the objective is rather to post links only after you’ve established yourself as an active member of that community.

To do that, you need to take part: by answering questions, by starting discussions and by finding things you find useful. Though it takes a little work, this can allow you to learn more about your target audience, to demonstrate yourself as an expert on your topic and to build loyal fans and even friends.

Once you manage that, you may even find that they actively help you to promote your business!

Where to Find Relevant Forums

In this article I am going to talk about where you can go to find relevant forums in your particular niche.

Using forums as a means to determine what your market want and also as a means to market yourself and your product is a really effective.

People who are active on forums are generally quite passionate about that topic and so it gives you insight into what people are really discussing and things that are relevant to your potential customers.

Therefore you need to first of all find these forums.

The easiest way to do this is to do a Google search. You can search for something like the following:

  • keyword forum
  • keyword community
  • niche forums

Where the word keyword can be a particular keyword that is specific to your online business and the word niche is obviously the particular niche that you are in.

When you do a search like this you will find a lot of forums showing up in your results. It might be tempting to sign up with every single forum that you see.

However it is best to choose only the top forums and use only those for your forum marketing.

So how do you know if a forum will be good or not? Here are a few things that you can check.

Membership Numbers

How many members does that forum have? If there are only a few members on the forum then that will not be a good place for you to market your business. Ideally you will want to choose a forum that have a lot of members.

Most forums have a membership count that is visible towards the bottom of the webpage. Here you will be able to find out how many members the forum has.

However sometimes you will notice that a forum has many members but in fact these members are no longer active.

Activity

You need to choose a forum that has a lot of active members. This means that the members of the forum are using the Forum every day and are being active by posting comments and interacting with each other.

Just as many forums have a membership count towards the bottom of the webpage you might also notice an active membership count or the number of people who are actively on the forum at that moment in time.

This is the member count that you really want to be looking at.

If the forum is active then you know that you will have plenty of people reading your own posts and having visibility to your offer in your signature.

Signature

Obviously you will want to choose a forum that allows you to add a signature. Some don’t so it is very important that you check this straight away. If you can’t add a signature then it is probably not worth your while joining that forum. However if it is a very active forum you can still use it for market research.

If the forum allows you to add a signature then you will be able to add your link to your squeeze page to build your list.

There are many rules that you need to follow when you join a forum and you should take note of this. There are unfortunately many people who spam forums and don’t actually post any helpful information.

This is not the type of person that you want to be seen as on any of the forums you join.

Using Copyrighted Material in Blogs and Forums

Recently, a relatively new member of Ecademy, one of the online communities I participate in regularly, posted an article from my About.com site in his blog without a link and proper attribution. I don’t believe that he was trying to claim authorship or doing anything malicious, but he caught some pretty heavy flak about it from other members. What he did was “wrong”, but unfortunately all too common, not because people are willfully stealing intellectual property, but because they don’t know any better.

That may seem shocking to those of you who know (or think you know) the proper care and handling of copyrighted material, but in some discussions about the topic on a couple of forums, I learned that a common sentiment about articles on the Internet was, “Spreading the articles around just helps promote the author. Why wouldn’t someone want their articles posted in discussion forums and blogs, assuming proper credit is given? It’s doing them a service.”

That may or may not be true, depending on what the author’s business model is. Ultimately, though, how you can use someone else’s writings is not your decision, it’s the author’s. Here are a few basic concepts and some resources to help you stay within the law, as well as build respectful relationships with the people whose content you find so valuable:

Blogs posts are copyrighted by default. The #1 rule to remember is that, by default, posts to a blog (or to a discussion forum, for that matter) are copyrighted material, and the author owns the copyright. Just because it’s “public” doesn’t mean it’s “public domain”. That means that it is subject to all the restrictions on copyrighted work, i.e., it can’t be freely copied and used even with proper credit without either a) the permission of the author or b) within the context of “fair use”. The owners of the site, e.g., Ecademy, may also have rights to use it as part of the user agreement, but no one else does.

Fair use is a concept that allows limited use of copyrighted material, generally for the purposes of criticism, education, satire, etc. And no the “education” umbrella doesn’t allow you to use works in their entirety. There are no hard-and-fast guidelines as to where the line is drawn, but using a work in its entirety is never allowed, whether it’s a four-line poem or a four-page article. Similarly, an entire chapter from a book would also be a copyright violation. You can use excerpts, but not “complete” anythings: chapters, articles, posts, poems, etc. You can see a quick summary of “fair use” at the U.S. Government Copyright Office or get more in-depth information at the Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center. The Electronic Frontier Foundation provides some great legal resources for bloggers, including Bloggers’ FAQ – Intellectual Property.

There are exceptions. Sometimes, bloggers or article writers make things available for use in their entirety. This may be done through an express permission statement in the byline of the article or on the blog site’s footer, something to the effect of “This article may be reproduced in its entirety so long as this resource block is kept intact and included in the article.” Many people now use a Creative Commons license of some type to permit broader use than allowed by copyright, but still under the control of the creator.

Don’t make assumptions. You can’t assume that you know what the allowable use is of a particular post or article. For example, the content I post on my About Entrepreneurs site is all copyrighted and may not be reposted without permission. On the other hand, what my coauthor and I post on TheVirtualHandshake.com, the companion site for our book, is under a Creative Commons license and can be freely reposted with proper attribution and a link. Why the difference, you ask? Simple economics. On About.com, the revenue model is advertising-based, and I get paid based upon page views. Post the content elsewhere and I don’t get paid on it, at all. On TheVirtualHandshake.com, it’s all about positioning ourselves and promoting the book. Post the content wherever you want — if it’s any good, it eventually drives people back to us for the book and maybe more.

Proper respect for intellectual property = good networking. Good networking means learning about other people’s business. For those of us who write professionally, our content is our product. Learning about our business means learning how to properly refer people to us, just as it would for anyone else. The simplest solution is to always use an excerpt and a link, never content in its entirety. That will pretty much always constitute fair use, and will always be appreciated by the content creator.

This is not the first time this has happened to me, as you might imagine. I always approach it as a networker, not a litigant. “Are you aware that this is copyrighted material and may not be re-posted in its entirety, even with proper attribution? I’d be happy for you to use a short excerpt and a link. Please edit it as soon as possible and inform me when you have made the correction.”

Think win-win.