This question goes out all the forum owners/admins and regular forum members.
As from a revenue point of view, you can make money from your forum by using a lot of different methods, I could list many more ways to earn an income but that’s not what this blog post is about. It’s about going clean with no ads but membership fee’s vs banner advertisements that take up space and may annoy the visitor.
To earn money from your forum, are you slapping up advertisements all over the forum which includes selling custom banner spots or do you just have no ads up and only offer a premium membership option with a bunch of goodies that goes along with it?
The one thing about putting up banner advertisements is that It tends to clutter up the forum space depending on if you had a custom built theme with custom advertising spots built into it. Usually the custom built advertising blocks tend to blend in really well and not stick out like a sore thumb. It makes the forum look good and not spammy looking.
For a membership option depending on your forum software, you can have a custom group for the membership members in which also have to pay before being upgraded automatically to that custom group. This special group can get more forum features or other goodies in which the forum owner decides on. If your membership option is really good and you think members would pay to upgrade their account, you could start to make a good chunk of change if the forum takes off like a rocket. Make sure you continuously add onto the membership’s groups features or goodies to keep them wanting to keep paying each month.
If I was to start a forum again, I’d put up adsense of course with 3 blocks but make it viewable to guests and have like 1 or 2 blocks shown to members. Then on the registration email and a sticky thread urge members to join the membership fee group to get rid of all the ad’s. With the adsense income and membership income, that should be a good chunk of change if the forum would actually be popular. I don’t have time to create a forum again but someday I’ll create one but it would be a niche one in a field I’m an expert in.
Have a great weekend and feel free to post some comments on putting up banner advertisements vs membership option. Heck you could say pay the membership fee and never see 1 ad ever again. (Good way to force people to pay)