Well, we’ve finally done it. We’ve added a new trick- administrating and moderating phpBB3 forums! Many of you probably are not familiar with what phpBB3 is let alone what php is. “Php” stands for “hypertext preprocessor” which is a very widely used open source scripting language for message board forums. Php was not created strictly for these forums, it is used to write web applications. It just so happens that php is easily embedded into HTML- so that is why it works so well for these message board style forums. The “BB” part of PhpBB3 stands for “bulletin board.”
At any rate- we’ve had fun administrating and moderating this forum. It’s a bit complicated at first- setting it up, moderating user groups, moderating the new users that sign up- it can get kind of crazy, but we’ve learned a few things.
- Having a phpBB3 forum for your business is pretty cool- not only will your customers come in to chat and ask questions, so will the other like-minded businesses in your industry.
- You can set up different areas of the forum that are accessible to different user groups- such as if you have sensitive information in one area that only customers should see, you can make it so that only users from the “customer” user group have access to it. Similarly if you want to apply a “waiting period” to certain users to make sure they are not spamming your board, you can do it this way also.
- Having your employees take part in this adds extra credibility. I find that since we’ve been working on this most recent bulletin board forum, it really gives the “faculty” a chance to shine- and show that they really know what they are talking about.
- It also helps with SEO! Our SEO guy (Jim Gubiotti) who I interview in the new article coming out later this week, gave us this idea- so not only is it good for your customers, and partners, it adds to the “relevant content” that Google searches for to index pages. Although there are many things that help with your search engine optimization- this is by far one of the best ways to optimize your site and truly make it a “hub”.
Lets get back to the basics: According to Brian Halligan from Hubspot, Inbound marketing is “where you help yourself ‘get found’ by people already learning about and shopping in your industry.” It’s sort of like being able to predict what someone is looking for and strategically placing yourself in their path as if to say “hey! you’re looking for me! let me make it easier and just walk up to you and introduce myself!” This is also why it has steadily become the gold standard of customer service. It becomes so much easier for the would-be customer to find the outstanding service they are looking for, saving them time, and consequentially, money. It becomes so easy for the potential clients to rely on Google because they do rank search results according to credibility. And although there are many white-hat SEO “tricks” you can use to increase your rank in the search results, the best way, by far- is to create remarkable content.
So… by using a bulletin board forum for people who are your clients, potential clients, and industry partners- it gives you a lot of credibility especially since you open up the door for people to ask your company, staff, and clients questions about the goods/services provided. It shows you are being totally transparent as a business (this is a good thing), it shows you are the master of your craft, and it shows that you not only care about business, but care about enlightening your industry. It makes people like your business for participating in a meaningful way, and everyone knows that one of the most basic principles in selling things: people will buy from you if they like you!
If you need more information on how phpBB3 style forums can help your business, feel free to contact me anytime with questions.