How to Increase Website Traffic Using Q&A Sites and Forums
Not all website traffic is created equal.
You may be drawing thousands of page views every month, but if they aren’t from people that are actually interested in what you have to say (on your blog), or sell (on your website), then you might as well not have any traffic at all.
Finding and targeting people who would first, be interested, and second, actually read your blog is not as difficult as it sounds.
Using avenues like Yahoo! Answers and forums, you can find readers looking for the information you’ve already written about—and create a high-quality backlink for SEO purposes while you’re at it.
What website should you use?
There are essentially four questions and answer (Q&A) websites that see heavy traffic and enable anyone (even if they are not a paying member of the community, like on some forums) to leave an answer.
While some questions are going to be plagued by “trolls,” do not let this soften your resolve to add your informative answer and link.
Attached to the popular email server and news venue, this service allows anyone with a yahoo account to post a question and post answers.
Users are encouraged to post questions and answers, as it awards points for activity in the community.
The question asker and the other answerers can vote on the best answer to the question, so that it will show up at the top of the answers.
Askville is Amazon’s version of Yahoo! Answers.
It has a staggering variety of topics that are discussed every day, with a very active base of Amazon customers.
Inserting your two cents into relevant conversations is a great way to draw traffic to your blog—just make sure you don’t post irrelevant content to the wrong place. The other users will let you know if your answers look like spam.
Stack Exchange is like the first two websites, but its focus is a little more scholarly, providing advice from experts.
Of course, being a business owner, we hope that you are an expert in your field, which makes you the perfect candidate to contribute to this website. A link to a valuable blog post as an answer to a relevant question will definitely be appreciated.
As a note, most of the users who utilize this site regularly ask technology-related questions.
It is the most varied and comprehensive site on this list, and puts a special focus on providing honest, valuable answers, while weeding out the trolls that can make the rounds on other websites.
Experts from all industries come to Quora to answer questions.
5. Industry forums
In just about every forum on the internet, especially those devoted to certain industries, there will be users asking questions to whom you can lend your expertise. Answering a question and providing a backlink to your business’ blog or website is a great way to improve traffic, without simply salting the internet with your link.
Tips for Engaging Users on These Websites
Before you get started searching through and answering questions, it might be valuable to have some tips about how to go about formatting your answers and your links.
Here are a few tips to make sure that your answers are properly posted and received.
1. Get familiar with the websites.
Before you start answering any questions, it would be valuable to read through other questions and answers and see how those answers are phrased and how they are received by other users.
Learning the lingo, so to speak, will allow your answers to be better received.
Also, use this time to evaluate whether or not your input will be valued on this website, or if another might be better.
2. Build your profiles.
Before answering any questions, it’s important to have a professional looking profile.
Most of these Q&A websites require you to have a profile created, as does almost every forum on the web.
Having a username that relates to your blog or business, a relevant picture, and some information about you and your company on your profile page will add legitimacy to your answers.
Savvy internet users are not going to click on any random links in a forum feed—but they might if your profile looks legitimate and you provide valuable information.
3. Only answer questions that you really know the answer to.
While it may seem pointless to put so much effort into answering just a few questions per day, it is important not to branch out of your expertise and start spit-balling on other questions.
The last thing you want to do is damage your standing by providing incorrect or unhelpful answers.
Keep in mind that plenty of other users will have the same question and will now not have to search for the answer because you have provided it.
You are reaching out to thousands of people, not just the single person who originally asked the question.
4. Be an active participant on the site.
Don’t just lurk in the background, waiting for someone to ask a question you can answer.
Add what you can to other discussions. Vote on other answers. Make friends with others on the website who attempt to be providing the same service that you are.
Again, this will lend legitimacy to your profile and encourage others to vote up your answers and engage with you.
5. Include a link to your blog.
While you should answer the question directly in the forum or on the Q&A website, it is also appropriate (depending on the website’s guidelines), to include a link back to your blog, especially if a character restriction prevents you from fully answering the asker’s question in the space provided.
Take heed though – not every interaction should necessarily include a link. Only provide a link that adds value to your answer. It could be a link to a blog post that ellaborates on your answer or provides examples that might be helpful to the reader or a webpage that offers a service or product that provides a direct solution to the question.