Featured Forum – CU Freebies Only Forum

Today, we’re talking with Laura of CU Freebies Only Forum. Their forum is a place for designers to share Commercial Use freebies items. In less than 2 months, Laura has build a forum with over 800 members and 3,400 posts. Quite an accomplishment to happen so quickly.

So Laura, the first question everybody would like to hear, how did you grow your forum so fast? How did you get so many members participating?

CROSS PROMOTE and Always Invite folks to join daily!  My Admin and my members also do the same thing, they can’t help it!

Lots of Designers join the Forum to generate traffic to their stores and blogs….they offer free items to get them there and when the members buy they will buy from the other members in the end. And the members are looking for those free items to practice with and create with.

Are there any promotional or marketing tips you would like to share with other forum admins?
I belong to other forums with the same interest.  I cross promote on my 2 blogs and the forum.  I sponsor a Blinkie (ad exchange) on my Forum for my members for free. They sport the forum blinkie and I in turn sport their blinkie on the forum.  I advertise on freebie scrap booking exchanges , both blogs and the forum.  I use Entire Card…it works I only taking ads that are relevant to my topics.  And I place ads only on other relevant blogs all for free.  Giving away something free helps.  I am listed in a lot of Topsites that are relevant to my topic.

My Admin team does the same thing cross promoting and hosting challenges.  I really must say without them I would not be able to keep up. And the forum would not have grown so fast…..having a Fantastic Admin Team is a Must have!

Where do most of your visitors come from? How do they first hear about your site?
They first came from my blogs where I always post an invite in every post….now they come from Google, Yahoo, and MSN searches, and even from Lefora itself, personal blogs, Kaboodle, forums, sharing groups, designers, when I check to see where my visitors are coming from I visit that site, blog or forum…..thank them and leave a comment with my URLS.

I started my CU Freebies only Blog after my other Blog…..it became so popular that folks were leaving notes about cu freebies and asking me to feature them….wow it took off.  I featured them and then cross promoted them to get traffic to their sites.  Win Win!!

What goal did you have in mind when you first started your forum? What goals would you like to achieve at this point?
I actually was getting overwhelmed with keeping up with folks who wanted to be featured and not being able to keep up….I thought how about a forum where the designers can post their freebies and I can feature them from the forum on my blog.  I won’t have to search everyday for good stuff to feature.

I am now in the process of testing to see if the designers want to post some of their creations that they sell on the forum and give forum members a discount.  I provide a free way to advertise and reach new folks everyday.

The forum has grown fast and takes time to keep it cleaned up and running smooth…I was surprised when my blog took off and mostly very surprised when the forum surpassed the blog.

What was some of your reasoning for choosing Lefora over another forum service? What other forum software have you worked with in the past?
I have never ran a forum before, so I searched for something that would be easy to navigate for myself and my members….we all like the format, and it is very simple to work with….doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but sometimes that is what complicates things for the members.

I’ve been a member of forums but not even an admin or moderator and I simply was confused with the forums I belong to…. I get lost easy.

So Lefora offers simplicity and consistency….Win Win!!!

Lastly, do you have 3 simple tips you could share with other forum admins to run a fun and active forum?
Check out others blogs, forums and sites that are relevant to your topic….be active and cross promote…offer something they don’t and be consistent…..work at promoting and being active in your niche and the growth will come as long as you are having fun!  Put your URL in your signature, comment on the other blogs, forums etc…. always leaving your URL when ever you comment or contribute anywhere.  And never stop Inviting folks to join.


Follow-up thoughts: Laura is doing a fantasitic job at promoting her forum and one of the fatest growing Lefora forums.  It’s interesting to see that she’s been doing some cross advertising between her forum and other forums – as a free trade.  That’s a great idea for anybody running a forum on a topic that shares similiar interests with other sites.  Reach out to similiar sites, and let them know you can advertise their site on yours by putting an image and link on your sidebar in exchange for the same. Additionally, you could always purchase google ads on google’s search result page, it may run you only 20c-40c per thousand impressions.


10 Responses to “Featured Forum – CU Freebies Only Forum”

  1. 2 Kathy Kennedy November 18, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Your work is amazing you could go far with this and possibly go into business for some designers online. I believe your name is going to get out there.

    I’ve never seen anyone be able to get onto the computer and figure stuff out like you and get so far. Look at yourself and give yourself a little credit and pat on the back. Your doing GREAT!!!!

    Keep the good work up:)

  2. 3 LadyShannon November 18, 2008 at 8:03 am

    I just wanted to give a shout out to LauraLee. I am one of the ADMIN team over at the forum and I have got to say she has done a wonderful job!

  3. 4 LeahsFrog November 24, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Lauralee this is incredibly awesome, congratulations and what a fantastic ride it has been to follow this from early on. I hope to learn a few things from you myself, I will definetly be keeping those suggestions in mind from now on.

  4. 5 Lauralee November 24, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks for the kind words and encouragement!

  5. 6 Shellez Creations November 24, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    I want to thank Lauralee for everything…she is an awesome lady whm I am glad I have met…I havent been on the forum long but do plan to stay with her for along time!!!!

  6. 7 Deb November 24, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Laura has generated a lot of traffic to my blog through her blog and forum. I don’t know how she has the time to do it all but we all appreciate all the hard work she does! Thanks so much Laura!

  7. 8 Marie November 24, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Well done Laura and team over at Cu Freebies great site, and wonderful people. Hugs to all

  8. 9 PatinParis November 24, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Congratulations Laura!! Great job!

  9. 10 Worthy SkG December 1, 2008 at 7:12 am

    This is an interesting experience. Two months is a short duration but if you are able to do wonders, then you are just “GREAT”.

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