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1374469197_edu_languagesHuman beings are social by nature, and online communities or forums are the latest in a long progression of social organizations created by humankind. While many people join forums specifically for the social benefits, there are several good reasons for Internet entrepreneurs to join an online forum. Here are the top seven benefits you and your online business can reap.

1)  For Search Engine Optimization

2)  Bridge the Gap between Time and Distance

3)  Knowledge and Continual Learning

4)  To Find Customers

5)  To Find JV Partners

6)  Get Help With Your Internet Marketing Strategies

7)  Learn What Not To Do In Your Business

The top reason many Internet business men and women join forums is for the search engine benefits. Many forums are tremendously popular with search engines and so not only rank well but also are regularly crawled. Most forums offer an introductions area as well as a signature area where you can promote your web site or sites. In addition, as you participate in a forum that is relevant to your site’s topic there will likely be opportunities to work your site into conversation. All these links can be of tremendous benefit in terms of search engine rankings and relevant back links.

However, if you think that search engine benefits are the beginning and end of the ways you and your Internet business can profit from joining a forum then you are missing out on a lot of learning.

If you are going to join a forum then join a forum that help you learn more about your niche. Even if you are an expert in your field there is always more to be learned and where else to go for that knowledge than a place where others knowledgeable in your area also hang out? That is what is so wonderfully flexible about forums. There really is an Internet community for everyone and every interest. Your task is to find the forum where your peers are already hanging out. Learning more about your niche is a tremendous benefit of joining a forum.

You don’t need to restrict your forum memberships to those within your field. It is also wise to join forums that can help you learn more about how to run your business. Find forums of other small business owners and entrepreneurs. You will soon be able to find folks who are at your level of expertise as well as those with more experience willing to share their hard-earned lessons. Soon you’ll have the opportunity to repay that debt by mentoring other newbies. This sharing and hand-holding is one of the elements that make Internet communities so successful.

You should also seek a forum to help you with your Internet marketing. There are many different approaches to Internet marketing and while some people prefer the scatter-gun approach most choose one or two primary methods. Explore and try methods to determine which you feel most comfortable with and then join a forum focused on that method to help you refine your approach and achieve maximum success.

One of the primary problems with the Internet is that it can be easy to feel isolated. However forums can help bridge the gap of time and distance by serving as a community as well as an information source. Friendships and even love can be found in time and laughter and camaraderie and commiseration can help sustain the person as well as the business.

Forums can also help you find customers for your business. As you participate and share information about your business some folks will naturally express an interest. As you share your expertise and demonstrate your knowledge then you will attract still more. Don’t be a pushy salesperson, simply allow your expertise to showcase your business and you will attract a quality customer relationship.

A forum can also be a great place to find partners to help you expand or promote your business in a number of ways. You might discover some like-minded soul whose business perfectly complements yours or you might discover the perfect joint-venture partner. Even if you encounter people you might view as competition try to view the relationship from many angles to see if there is a way to benefit from a partnership rather than a competition.

Joining forums can provide many benefits to you and to your business but remember that Internet communities are social contracts with rules and guidelines. Make sure you know and understand the rules before leaping into discussions. It is even more difficult to undo a bad first impression on the Internet as it cannot always be erased. Start slow and easy until you are sure of your footing. Also, be very wary about pushing your business too aggressively. That type of activity can get you banned from a forum pretty quickly. Many forums have a clearly marked area for advertising and sales posts and also allow some blatant promotion in your signature, but keep your posts on topic and helpful and you’ll be better off in the long run.

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