Forums are powerful tools. When using a search engine to find answers, help, or other forms of support, most often it's a forum post that search engines return. The reason for this is that, like blogs, forum posts are searchable on the Web. The key to making your forum posts count is, quite simply, quality. Here are a few things to remember when writing forum posts:
1) Be thorough and accurate.
2) Include links to sources.
3) Include images where possible.
4) Do not copy and paste from other sites.
5) Always remember that you provide a service.
Whether posting a question, starting a conversation, or replying to a question or conversation, be thorough and accurate. It's easy to answer a question or inspire conversation when readers know exactly what you mean. Moreover, people really do want answers. Good answers to solid questions get shared. Additionally, real conversations are woefully rare or even wholly absent in many gaming communities. Set your community above the rest by writing what you know, not what you don't.
Also, links to source information can boost your reputation when answering. Links prove you know what you're talking about. Links also help tie the gaming community together, so to speak. When you link to outside sources or even other pages, articles, or posts on your website, you increase the likelihood of others linking back to you.
Lastly, do not copy and paste from other websites. And don't let others copy and past (i.e. "plagiarize") if you can help it. This is important. You may even want to include this as one of your forum rules. Plagiarism is more than frowned upon online. Plagiarism can lead to possible punitive action by the original author(s) and certainly negative consequences from search engines. All content on the Web is dated, and search engines keep track. Plagiarize, and you risk losing search rank and, at worst, being blacklisted from results.
Side Tips for Writing Great Forum Posts
If a question or conversation has already been "beaten to death" in another post on your site, don't simply drop a link to the other post. Summarize the content of the other post, then drop the link to that post. Paraphrase as much as possible to avoid plagiarizing your own content.
Finally, always be courteous and serious about providing the best possible posts. Remember, posts in a forum are like posts in a blog. They all contribute to passive recruiting.
GOD-sSs-END (aka David Allen Farrell)