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Author Topic: Building a sucessfull online community  (Read 4113 times)

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Dr Preacox

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Building a sucessfull online community
« on: June 02, 2006, 01:21:18 pm »

Here is something that im sure a few of you have trouble with, you do your research into what applications you need for your website, be it Forum software, Gallery Software or even a Blogging application. You install everything, your website is up and running and all is well. First week you have 10 members, then it fades down and your website is now Ghost Town. Something which is very dispiriting to any webdesigner / webmaster. Here is some handy tips to turn your Ghost Town into a thriving online community ...

First a handy dictionary description of what a community is, I mean you need to know what it is to build one right??

         1. A group of people living in the same locality and under the same government.
         2. The district or locality in which such a group lives.
         1. A group of people having common interests: the scientific community; the international business community.
         2. A group viewed as forming a distinct segment of society: the gay community; the community of color.
         1. Similarity or identity: a community of interests.
         2. Sharing, participation, and fellowship.
   4. Society as a whole; the public.

Things you need to think about: Checklist

Below are the most IMPORTANT things you need to write down and actually know before you start building your community, this will later help you design your website in a way that is beneficial to your members.
  • Identify your community purpose or goal
  • Identify your target audience
  • Think about which interaction tools would serve your purpose and audience and how to structure the space.
  • Think about how you want to host or facilitate your community
  • Build it
  • Draw in the members
  • Go and nurture it!

Now for the big word ... Content

One of the things that keeps people coming back to communities is good, fresh content. In one way, your users are generating their own content by continuing their conversations in your community space, but it sometimes helps to be able to provide other content to them. This can be in the form of links to other appropriate, interesting sites, articles written by you or other community members, or discussion-starter posts from you which help to jump-start a conversation about some hot topic or vital issue.


"If you build it, they will come." Well, on the web, that's not exactly true. Publicity and marketing are crucial to your community's success. If no one knows about it, no one will show up. Depending on your community's goals, you may find that one or all of these techniques are what you need to draw traffic:

  • Banner ads
  • Advertising in your email signoff signature
  • Posting on appropriate newsgroups or in other communities
  • News releases
  • Notices or links on your home page
  • Registering with the forum directory at Forum One
  • Networking among those you know who would be interested
  • Print advertising
  • Business cards, or
  • Other techniques - you can decide on what this is

In summary It's best to design then build, not the other way around. its where things go wrong, sometimes it works but very rarely as your community becomes dis-organised and falls apart.

Any Questions?

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