My internet marketing forum Rise Forums now offers free membership. You can sign up today and network with myself and other bloggers, developers, and marketers. I hope to see you over there.
If you care to know why I made this decision, please read on.
Rise Forums was launched in November 2013. Until now, the forum has been closed to the world. Only those who bought a premium membership were able to sign up and participate.
I have run dozens over discussion forums over the last 14 years; however this was my first foray into a private discussion forum. Some things I did right, some things I did not. All in all, it has been a great learning experience, and the forum has been blessed with some great members.
For the last few months, I have become concerned about the forums stagnating. People were signing up to the forum, but then they would not participate (which I always found strange as they paid upfront to use the forum). This was frustrating as I had always hoped for an active forum that was buzzing with internet marketers networking and sharing ideas.
It became clear that I would have to change the structure of the website as closing the forum to the world was not working. I was unfortunately a little restricted by how things were set up: WordPress was powering the home page and blog, Amember was handling payments and tracking membership subscription details, and XenForo was handling the forum side of things. But the main problem was the affiliate program I had ran through ShareASale.
I had been keen to allow people to sign up free of charge, but that was not possible with the affiliate program in place. Therefore, I had to keep the forum closed. I implemented a workaround to this last month in which existing members could refer members to the forum free of charge; however only a few members referred friends.
Keeping the forum closed because of the affiliate program was a mistake. 99% of the affiliates who signed up on ShareASale were crappy low quality coupon websites. And the good websites that were promoting RiseForums were unfortunately not bringing in any new members. Once I acknowledged that the affiliate program had been a failure, the decision to close the affiliate program was easier. Forum members such as Boris Beo and Brian Jackson helped me realise it was the right move too.
Moving forward, everyone can now sign up to Rise Forums free of charge. A premium membership remains at $9.99 per month. If a small percentage of forum members upgrade, I should be able to develop the forums in the same way I had always planned.
Amongst other things, a premium membership allows members to include a signature with their posts and post offers in the Rise Forums marketplace. It's not for everyone, though I see members who want to promote themselves on the forum more taking advantage of it.
With the forum now open to the world, I expect to see a huge jump in search engine traffic. This will really help bring more people to the forum and help it grow quicker than if it had remained closed.
And since the forum can be joined free, I have removed the WordPress landing page and blog. Those were primarily used to help sell the membership to people; however this is not necessary now as people can see for themselves before joining. As a result of this, I moved the forums from www.riseforums.com/members to www.riseforums.com. It is a more convenient URL location for members to use the forum and it means that no one is going to visit the home page and then not click through to the forums (this can happen when you use a landing page on the root of the domain).
Join Rise Forums Today
I am excited at the opportunity in networking with more people on Rise Forums. It has only been a day since forum registration opened up, yet I have seen a sharp increase in activity already.
I hope to see you all over there. It is encouraging to see people signing up and participating and I know the forum will grow from strength to strength when more like minded bloggers, developers, and internet marketers, come on board.