The Value Of Forums: How Adding A Forum To Your Website Benefits Everyone
When designing a website, even with a template, the overall possibilities can seem endless. There are so many features you could add to your site, but it’s important not to go overboard. Rather, you need to choose a central group that will really improve and add to your site’s function. Depending on your goals, that core group of functions will vary.
But no matter what your website’s aims are, adding a forum is almost guaranteed to improve your site. Forums offer many opportunities for you to engage, receive feedback, and network. They make the web a little more personal.
If your website doesn’t currently include a forum, here are 4 major benefits of adding one to your site.
Improve Customer Service
service today relies primarily on a series of button presses
directing you through phone channels, a system that no one enjoys.
But what if your customers and readers could post
their questions to a shared space? A few experts can be assigned to check the forums
and repeat questions can easily be linked to prior answers or FAQs.
Forums also allow you to post screenshots, a visual set of explanations that can provide much greater clarity than purely verbal directions. Many customers find screenshots very helpful when solving technical problems, but it doesn’t require the same commitment as real time screen sharing.
Meet The Geek Squad
If you’ve ever used an online forum, especially on a site about tech issues – but really about any kind of gadget these days – you’ll notice that forums are where the tech geeks come out in full force. They post about hidden features they’ve found in a product and suggest improvements. You’ll find some of the best minds not currently in the industry hanging out on these forums.
Returning to the previous point, these savvy tech users can even improve your customer service response times. While they aren’t formally part of your company and aren’t affiliated with your website, forum users will often answer questions for less technically skilled individuals. The goal of the forum isn’t to avoid doing your job, but it can sometimes end up that way as others step in.
Forums are home to a lot of voices, but that’s part of what makes them especially good for getting some perspective on your business. Not only can you talk about new ideas and recommendations with users, forums also allow you to keep an eye on things while you’re away.
By checking into your forum you can see whether or not customer service individuals are answering questions efficiently, whether breaking news is being shared and discussed, and more broadly, see what your team is up to. This can allay concerns about efficiency and responsibility when you’re on the road.
Finally, no matter your industry, the best thing about having a site forum is that it can help you build community. In some ways this function has been supplanted by Facebook groups and other separate spaces where interested parties gather, but returning this space to your own website gives you additional control over content and user behavior that you might not have had otherwise.
Forums are also an ideal place to network with other industry professionals, offering the possibility of collaborating on new ideas or creating a referral relationship. You can even set up a forum thread just for networking purposes. You may even find new employees there.
Focus On Forums
Whatever your industry or website, forums are a valuable website function. If you don’t currently have one, then it’s time to consider introducing this feature. Organized with clear headings and tags, forums can house a wealth of information and build important community contacts.
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