If your desire is to earn money from home but you don’t like the idea of working for someone where you will have to conform to their schedule and requirements or blogging is just not your cup of tea then you may want to try starting your own Forum/Community. It is a lot simpler than blogging because your users or members will come up with the content for you. All you really have to do to get started is to moderate it once there is steady traffic to keep it growing, thriving and strong. Here are a few things you need to know in order to get started with your own community and how you can earn money from it.
- Come up with a topic. After you have decided to start your own community the next thing you want to do is to come up with a topic or subject that your community will be based around. This is technique is similar to blogging but with less work. It could be general in nature and centered around stay at home moms, starting a business or it could be more specific and geared towards recipes, saving money, fashion,coupons, etc.
- Decide on what platform or hosting provider you will choose. You can choose to host your community on sites like Go Daddy, Blue Host, Host Gator and several others. Many of the rates for hosting plans are very affordable starting at under $10 or less per month. Make sure you get enough bandwith to support your community. If you are not sure talk with your hosting provider about what your plans are and they can assist you with this.
- Domain Name. This is also very affordable as well. You can acquire a domain name for around $10 up to $15 per year. You also have the option to buy consecutive years at a time for even cheaper rates. Make sure you pick a name that is memorable, catchy or something that will coincide with your Community Topic.
- Pick a community software program. There are several community software programs available for you to choose from on the Internet. Some are free and some are not. Some of the more popular community software programs are VBulletin, PhpBB, Simple Machines and Vanilla. You should pick one that will support your needs and offers all the features you like.
- Create board topics. Before you launch your new community, you will want to create board topics on subjects that are related to the theme or title of your Forum/Community. Keep them interesting and informative to engage your audience. Now you are well on your way to having your very own community for others to participate in.
You may be wondering if this will really work. Yes it does, but it will take some time unless you happen to have a large following already. How long it will take really depends on you and how much time, energy, effort and promotion you put into it. A strong community needs a lot of traffic and active members.
- Start new discussions every few days to encourage new members to join and to keep the other members interested.
- Share your community everywhere. Let everyone know you have a community online and offline.
- Make it easy for others to join where they can use their FB or Twitter profile, open id and incorporate other social media sign ups.
- Use a moderator to keep your community clean and protect your members from spam, abusive speech and so forth so that members will not be discouraged and will continue to be active.
- Advertise your community to get more exposure.
In order to make money with your community, you will need to sign up with some as a publisher for some affiliate companies. It is free to do this and only takes a few minutes of your time. Some of the more popular ones are:
As soon as your account is approved, you will be able to earn a commission based on your ad performance every month! Many of the affiliate companies offer to pay by check or direct deposit into your bank account. Some give you the option to do Paypal. Either way you can still earn money just by using your community to display relevant ads.
There are a lot of advantages to having your very own community online. It gives you the freedom to work your own schedule whether part time or full time and not report to anyone else. It is open 24 hours a day so as long as you have loyal, active members you can earn money even while you are asleep. You may not think of it as a job because if you like interacting with others it won’t even seem like work. You will build up back links to your community in time and you will not have the community will promote in a sense promote itself.
If you have ever thought about starting your own blog or website but hesitated because you don’t want to constantly come up with unique content, then a community may be just the thing for you.