Using Forums To Network Successfully

According to one of the entries found at dictionary.com the definition of the word network is as follows: Something resembling an openwork fabric or structure in form or concept, especially: An extended group of people with similar interests or concerns who interact and remain in informal contact for mutual assistance or support.

The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary at http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary gives the following definition for networking: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions.

Successful networking occurs when the exchange of information or services is amongst people with similar interests or concerns. Maintaining the network of connections provides a networking opportunity when one has new information to exchange with others in this group of individuals.

Recently I decided to put a theory to the test that one of the best ways to develop networking relationships was through the use of online forums. My target audience of response was forums aimed at people involved in affiliate programs, network marketing, or internet marketing of some type. I mostly wanted to see who would respond if anyone and see how much of a response I would get.

I used a piece of software that has both a browser and a way to watch one’s forum posts for responses. In addition to seeing how many people would answer my questions another goal is to get my self-known among forum communities. No one wants to do business with a stranger.

Here is something that I discovered. The small forums that are part of groups such as Delphi Forums and Ezboards have very few posts and when someone does post, the posts are mainly advertising in nature. I would suggest that you are wasting your time if you post to these forums. Is all forum posting a waste of time? Definitely not, as there is much value in it, as you will see by what I write next.

I decided to go to some of the forums of well-known websites or well-known internet marketers and posting there. In creating an account I set up a signature file so that in every post that I made my URL would be shown. I was very careful for the most part to ask questions or give answers. Never once did I post what could be seen as an ad. And guess what the result was.

In the settings of the forums where it was allowed I set the choice so that I would be emailed when I had a response. I was very happy to get emails announcing that people had responded to my various posts in not one but several of these professional forums.

The forums I posted to all had to do with a subject that I am interested in namely affiliate and network marketing on the Internet. The people who responded were very knowledgeable and helpful and I hope that in situations where I answered someone’s question(s) that my answer(s) were of help to them.

What did my experience in the forums prove? By the fact that I shared information with people interested in the same topics as myself and that they shared their information with me it proved that forums are a very important part of networking on the Internet.

In researching to write this article I have also discovered an incredible online tool, basically a website that keeps track of posts to e-commerce websites. It is found at http://www.mikes-ecommerce-software.com/ecommerce-forum/ Mike also has a page for watching posts to marketing forums discussing internet marketing and search engines. The link for this is at http://www.mikes-marketing-tools.com/marketing-forum/ Although this tool doesn’t watch for replies to your post it can keep you aware of what discussions are going on in these forums. Then if you have questions about the particular subject or answers to someone’s question you can jump into that forum and network with the people in that forum.

Starting An Online Business? – Tutorial 3 – Selecting The Business Domain Name

Picking the domain name for a business is of high importance when forming an internet business. Many businesses that have an established business name automatically register that name and use it for their internet business; this may not be the best idea. The best solution is to register several domains names, one that includes the business name, which is aimed at web users who know the business directly and type that into a search engine to find you. The other incorporates the product or service that is being offered by the business, this is targeted to web users who are looking for the product or service online.

Many businesses that sell online through their ecommerce solution have learned that web users type what they want to buy into search engines, the web user will likely find what they are looking for using this method as almost all of the words in the English dictionary are now registered within a domain name.

Finding a domain that fits the business and business product or service can be difficult but there techniques that can be utilized. If the company sells ecommerce software and these words are already taken for the different extensions (.com, .co.uk, .net etc.) then incorporate the business name into the domain such as business-ecommerce-software.com or incorporate another service such as ecommerce-software-solutions.com.

By adding these important keywords into the domain helps search engines identify the business and establish that the website is relevant for web users. The search engines place huge significance on relevance to help the web users and make sure their search engine is offering the best possible results.

To buy domains select a trusted registrar, these can be found by searching for domains, the cheapest prices available start from £2.49 for a .co.uk and £8.99 for a.com domain per year. Once you have found an available domain for the business then select which web hosting company to employ to look after the ecommerce solution.

Once the domain has been decided upon and bought it has to be advertised and marketed onto all corporate identity and promotional material so the business is identified as having an online presence. Most potential customers now search the internet for a company before they even make contact so by having a high-quality online presence is crucial to the success of a new or established business. By including ecommerce software to sell the products will be the next stage, so by having the fundamentals in place such as a domain name the development of the online business will operate smoother and quicker.

Year In Review: Top Ten Internet Businesses 2004

The internet boom hit a high mark in 2004. With old
standbys and new emergences, the top ten internet
businesses 2004 show a variety of companies all with one
thing in common: they have adapted well to the World Wide
Web. Many companies have difficulties and struggle amidst
the huge ocean of the internet, especially since it is
quite difficult to maintain a personal face. The
companies in the top ten have not only succeeded in the
business sense, they have invaded out daily life and have
become a household name. From meagre beginnings, these
top ten entrepreneur companies have mastered this new
medium and are an inspirational to any budding
entrepreneur interested in starting an internet based
business.

The Internet search engine Google was the top internet
business of 2004. The world’s largest search engine
receives over 200 million hits a day. Businesses pay
Google to have an ad for their website appear to the
right side of the user’s search. The paid advertising
targets consumers seeking information. Google’s initial
public offering gave it a market capitalisation of over $23
billion dollars, placing it between Yahoo and Amazon.com.
In addition to becoming an economic success, the company’s
name has invaded our language. The verb “google” entered
the dictionary with a definition meaning “to look someone
or something up on the internet.” The essence of a truly
successful business is not only one that makes money but
also serves its clients to the utmost potential.

The online auction site eBay.com continued to expand its
services and customer base throughout 2004. As the industry
leader it boasts over tens and millions of members and has
websites in over 17 countries. eBay.com generated over $3
billion in revenues off of a record $34 billion dollars in
Gross Merchandise Volume.

Amazon.com continues to be the world’s number one internet
retailer with 2004 sales in excess of $6.9 billion dollars.
The retailer continues to expand its offerings and
partnerships with other retailers. Recently Amazon.com
rolled out a9.com, which provides consumers with expanded
search options to find merchandise on Amazon.com’s website.
As part of the Tsunami relief effort and in conjunction
with the American Red Cross, Amazon.com set-up an online
donation channel, which raised over $13 million dollars.

Yahoo Inc. provides comprehensive global internet services.
It remains the most visited website with over 3 billion
page views per day. Yahoo launched its own search engine
technology after dropping Google-powered results. Boasting
free and paid email accounts and website complete with
design tools, many pleased clients are using Yahoo.

Expedia, the Washington-based travel company has
revolutionized the entire travel industry. Allowing
individuals to serve as their own travel agents and search
a database of airfares, rental cars, and hotel rooms,
Expedia has allowed everyone to gain access to the
phenomenal travel deals that would previously be
reserved for insiders.

Technology giant Microsoft launched the Microsoft to serve
a variety of needs for a consumer. Boasting email, news,
chat software, and website hosting, MSN is one of the most
visited websites on the internet.

America Online has found a great deal of competition with
companies like MSN and Yahoo! but is still one of the most
popular internet service providers out there. Boasting an
entire network of satisfied customers, AOL goes beyond the
service of other providers. Many individuals new to the
internet choose to use AOL due to its ease of use and
availability all over the globe.

Netflix has become an increasingly popular option for many
movie-renting customers. Instead of having to travel to
your local movie store, the movies are shipped directly to
your home. You have an unlimited number of rentals and
pay a nominal monthly fee for the service. By lowering its
fees in the middle of the year to compete with lower
competitor prices, Netflix drastically increased its
clientele.

With the popularity of burning audio and video files to
create your own CDs, many copyright issues have taken
center court. Instead of illegally trading music for free
using person to person programs; Real.com has a wide array
of songs available for legal download for a nominal fee.
Additionally, Real.com offers a variety of free and pay
media players so individuals can play MP3s, CDs, DVDs, and
any other type of media file directly on their computer.

The last internet company in the top ten is online retailer
and technology giant Apple. Their website Apple.com boasts
an amazing number of customers each month, as it provides a
forum to purchase Apple products along with different
programs necessary for maintaining your Apple computer,
iPod, or any other electronic product sold by the company.