An Internet forum, or message board, is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. A discussion forum is normally tree or hierarchically structured with forums, subforums, topics, and finally individual posts against each topic. Forums are normally not anonymous and require registration of IP addresses, and a valid email address for each individual user. The contents of the forum can be open to the public, or they can be private for registered or individually approved members.
Blogs and forums have become an increasingly popular part of small business’s online marketing. While blogs and forums require a considerable amount of maintenance, the results are usually positive. Blogs and forums not only increase the content of a website and establish expertise regarding a subject or product, they are also search engine (Google, Yahoo) friendly and can drive more traffic to your website. Furthermore, being an interactive medium, blogs and forums can help retain (or potentially increase) traffic to your website because of the ‘virtual communities’ they create. One important thing to understand before considering whether you should invest in a blog or a forum is the differences between the two. Forums are created for discussions within a group or community while Blogs are mainly designed for a single user input, with the possibility for other people to comment.