An internet forum is a place where people can exchange ideas on topics of interest. Its members can post discussions and read and respond to messages written by other participants. A forum can focus on various topics and usually develops a sense of virtual community among its members.
Forums are also known as bulletin boards or discussion groups, differing from a blog because the latter is usually written by a user or administrators of the web and usually only allows the responses of other users regarding the material of the blog. A forum usually allows all members to post and start new topics.
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Difference between forum and chat
An Internet forum is also different from a chat room, as members in a chat room communicate at the same time, while members of a discussion group post messages that will then be read by other users each time they log in. In addition, forums are usually more focused on a specific topic than chat rooms.
How a forum works
As a general rule, the prospective member must register before they can join a group and write a message. This user will need to follow certain online rules, known as netiquette, such as treating other members with respect and refraining from using profanity. When a member is approved by the administrator or moderator, they usually choose their own username and password. An avatar, photograph, or image provided by the member usually appears next to the username in each message.
Separate conversations in a forum are called threads and are made up of messages written by members. Typically, users can edit their own messages, launch new topics, and edit their profile. A general profile displays optional information about each member of the forum, such as the city where they are located and their interests.
The forum administrator or moderator can also participate in the threads. An administrator can modify the discussions, as well as move or delete them if necessary, usually being their role to monitor and guide the discussion to ensure that the rules of the forum are being followed.
Examples of forums
Although the forums have lost part of their popularity due to the irruption of social networks, which also allow to establish discussions and resolve doubts through tags or hashtags,there are forums in Spanish that continue to enjoy great popularity. Among them we can highlight:
Tools to create a forum
Most of these discussion groups, even those with a larger number of participants, retain a rudimentary design and far removed from new trends on the Internet. In fact, there are several tools that allow you to create forums without excessive complications.
- phpBB. Short for PHP Bulletin Board, it is a versatile and easy-to-use free software.
- MyBB (My Bulletin Board). It is another free and easy-to-use option.
- bbPress. It is a WordPress plugging that allows you to insert the forum into a web page.
- vBulletin. Payment tool with which they are configured, among others, Forocoches.
- Kunena. It is a forum for the Joomla CMS
Usefulness of forums in web positioning
Forums were a fundamental part of the positioning strategy until the arrival of Google’s “penguin update” in 2011, and until then they were used to include links both in the posts and in the signatures of users. However, after this change in the algorithm, numerous websites that positioned through these practices suffered serious penalties in their positioning. There is still a discrepancy in the role that forums should play today in SEO strategies, but there is a consensus that they can no longer be used as a single strategy, but, in any case, complementary to others within link building.