by Lisa Lake
If there's one thing I've learned in my years of doing business
online, it's that credibility should be your number one
objective. If people know you and respect you, they'll feel like
they can trust you with their money. On the other hand, if
you're just starting out and no one knows who you are, you're
going to have a hard time drumming up sales.
The best way to gain the kind of credibility I'm talking about is
to establish yourself as an expert in your field. This can be
very hard to do if you're new to the business, so I'm going to
give you a tip: spend a lot of time on those free discussion
Discussion boards are a great way to get your name out there.
Just conduct a search for discussion boards in your area of
business (there are a lot on MSN and Yahoo) and jump on in.
Begin by asking a question, or making helpful suggestions when
people ask for them. Make sure to leave your name and URL on
every post so people get familiar with you.
Whatever you do, don't post ads on discussion boards. Most board
moderators will only delete them, and placing ads there will only
serve to undermine the very credibility you're trying to create.
Ads placed on discussion boards are annoying, and people won't be
ashamed to let you know what they think of you. Believe me, the
last thing you want to do with your precious name is attract bad
Instead of blatantly promoting yourself, just offer your sincere
help and advice. If someone wants to know the best places to get
free web sites, tell them what you've found in your experience.
If someone wants an opinion on collecting email addresses, offer
a few ideas.
Sometimes these discussion boards can get pretty heated. If you
want people to respect you, be careful not to insult people or
give harsh replies. Try being a peacemaker of sorts, being as
helpful as possible without tearing down the ideas of others.
Hang out on as many discussion boards as you can, and post often,
even if you're only asking for the thoughts and opinions of
others. When people respond to your questions, respond back with
a thank you and give them feedback. You'll be surprised at how
much good this free method of subtle promotion can do for your
Author Lisa Lake is a writer and self-made business expert.
Lisa is the moderator of DrNunley's PromoteTown, a sounding board
for marketing and advertising ideas and suggestions. See Reach Lisa at or
by calling 888-429-6203.

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