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Thread Contributor: RazorDOXBlog VS Forum

09-06-2010, 10:27 AM,
Blog VS Forum
Forums are discussion platform that is often described as a many-to-many discussion. Anyone can create topics and anyone can reply provided you are member of the forum with appropriate permission to get involved in a discussion in that particular topic.

Blogs back in 2005-2007 were more of a one to many discussion platforms but today's blogs are authored by more than one author (at times) or even contains Guest Posts but yet the content is created by set of authors and others discuss or express views on the same.

Blogs are more personal with collection of posts or articles from individual(s) who control their blogs and create topics where as others comment on the same but for forums it is more like an open platform. In short a blog is more like a magazine from some individual(s) whereas forum is more like a public bulletin board.


If you happen to read other comparison about blog and forum you would see that most of them talk about advantage with forum when it comes to content and it apparently looks true but this is actually not true.

People would be interested in creating discussions only when you have large forum with active user base. To make your forum look active, you need to have content as well as users to constantly get involved in the discussion. In short user would create content when they see the content from others.

If you have a fairly large forum this is definitely an advantage but then if you have a fairly large blog with lot of readership you will get more often than not good quality guests posts and so this advantage for forums is no longer an advantage nowadays.

As forum relies mostly on user generated content it becomes that much more difficult to get the ball rolling.

So to make forum work in your favour either you have to start with a small niche and create content yourself or ask your friends and colleagues to create discussions. You may even hire people to get the content for you. Blogs rarely need to do hire people for content unless you have a blog where you cannot blog about it.

Search Engine Optimization or SEO

SEO comparison of blog versus forum is one of the most debatable topics and believe me no one knows the answer to it. Everyone has his own way of putting things and when you read any views you always tend to either strongly agree or strongly disagree on it because of the reasoning and same holds true for me.

Forum is mostly user generated queries which means there is more chances that those queries and archives would be searched by many other users for same issues and queries.

Blog authors with little idea about SEO and post title would also create SEO friendly content. Wordpress themes normally are very importantand so with good effort on the off page factors chances are you may rank well for very competitive keywords.

Many have a perception that ranking well for one competitive keyword would actually mean a lot more traffic than many non-competitive long tail keywords but this is not the perception of everyone including me. I think that ranking well for non-competitive long tail keywords is better than one high traffic very competitive keyword and so I think SEO is more of an advantage to forums.

Now I leave it on to you to decide what you think would work well for you and in which camp you are aka long tail keywords to competitive keywords.

User Engagement

Forums support rich user engagement features like user registration, communication with other members using private messages or visitor messages (kind of scrapbook), make friends and buddies, upload attachments and content, social groups, who is online currently etc are some of the features which are not part of blogs as yet.

Apart from that I would also like to add one more feature which many a times under-rated for forum i.e. birthday. If you make date of birth as a must field in your forum registration process it can not only help you get lot of returning visitors but this also means at least once a year you send them a reminder to return to your community.

The user engagement features does not end here but there is much more to it. User levels which means, users with valuable contribution or senior members of the community can be given specially privileges.

Forum actually is a clear advantage when you want to have user engagement.


Blogs generate more revenue than forums for multiple reasons. One of the main reason for forum are always less on revenue is because forum owners cannot promote affiliate products and reviews within the content to maintain the decorum of the forum or else everyone would start doing it. The other reason is that many CPM advertising network like FastClick / ValueClick do not accept forums.

Unique Selling Point or USP

Let us say that you are looking for something. You visit Google. Type what you are searching for and end up on some other webpage, sounds familiar. Now chances are you on some forum or on some blog. If you landed on some forum thread you may have hard time finding the right content from a thread where there are many responses.

So the attraction point on forum may not be the content but the activity on the forum and as a reader of the thread you may think that if I share my query on this forum I may get the answer where as if you land on the some article on blog quality of the article which will make you subscribe to that blog. Apart from that if you have webmasters visiting your blog it is also the link back to his site that may attract him. For blog it is comment links and for forums it is the links in signature.

Time and effort

Forum takes more time and effort to build where as blog it is comparatively easier than forums to get going. Forums are not for every website. Don't just put it up there and hope for the best. If you can't put a lot of time and effort into creating a viable community, just leave it. Having no forums is better than having dead forums that may actually drive people away.

Final Thoughts

Int the end we can say that both blogs and forums are useful in their own ways. It is important to ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish for your website. And, don't forget, these tools are not mutually exclusive - you can have both like me.
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