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Creating a succesful community


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Once you’ve tried it, most of you will agree. Getting members
that actually post in a community is hard. Making members stay
is even harder. Of course it’s a lot easier when the subject of
your site is original, and if your site has actually something
to offer. Today we’re going to look how successful communities
do it.

First of all, a successful community didn’t become a successful
community by itself. The creator had to work really hard to make
it so big. Mainly because there already exist thousands of sites
on every subject. So, make sure you have a good site with fresh
content, with a community attached to it. Make some links from
the community to the site and back. For example, make people
register before they can see all the site content, or organise
contests in the forum, and link to it from your site.

Ok, so now you’ll get new members, but maybe they just register
to see the site content. You need good content and discussions
in the forums too. If people just see some spam in the forums
and no real subjects or discussions, they just won’t post. After
they registered, you could also send them a mail to say welcome,
and link to a place where they can make their first post. It’s
pretty important that they see that people actually post, and
that the community is alive. If they never see anything new,
they won’t bother posting either! If you start with a big amount
of forums, your forum will look empty, and people will not post.

For a beginning community, I’d recommend the following forums:
general chat, (fun forum), welcome forum, suggestions, news, and
then some forums related to the subject of the community.

There is enough forum software available, and all of them are
different. Choose the software that best suits your needs. I’d
integrate the forum design in the site design. This is a great
way to give people a good feeling on your site. You can find a
good example of this at tomorrowsdesigners.com a>

An online community is a big bunch of people that don’t know
each other in real life, so one day, you will get some
troublemakers on your forum, or heavy discussions which become
fights/flaming over time. Never just let it happen, because this
can seriously hurt a community. People may leave because they
*hate* some people in the community. You should make out for
yourself what’s the best thing to do, but here are a few tips:

Don’t be too bossy. People don’t like being bossed around. Show
them that you are there for them if they have a problem, and
help them. I suggest you just close a thread if it’s getting out
of hand, and send a pm with more information to the
troublemakers. Don’t humiliate them in public. People can differ
in opinion, but they should respect other people’s opinion. If
there are people who are really ruining your forum, ban them.
You could first give him/her a warning or two.

Your forum getting bigger and bigger, you’ll have to update your
server. Every growing community has growing pains; matters like
money and time play a big part in this. These problems can be
solved by placing ads on your forums, or by searching people who
want to help you moderate the forums.

Maybe the most important tip in this article: Listen to your
members’ feedback!! They will tell you how to make your
community a better place to hang out, tell you what they think
of your community, and tell you what you can fix/add/update!

And when you’ve updated and made improvements, don’t stop! It’s
not enough to do this once, you should do it as much as
possible. You should be really devoted to your community. Even
if you’re not in the mood for updating, just do it. It’ll only
help your community. Try to search a good average between the
time you want to spend on your community, and the result you get.

Remember: Never give up! It’s pretty hard, but it’ll be pretty
cool when you succeed :)

That’s it. Hope I helped you out a bit ;) Good luck!

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  • Posted On June 18, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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