It can take a long time to develop a successful online community – attracting and retaining members can be a challenge, and even when you have the ‘critical mass’ that allows you to take more of a back seat, you still need to ensure you have a plan for your community’s long term success.
The road ahead will be bumpy
Things may look great now – you may be pulling in impressive visitor numbers and be receiving fantastic income, but rest assured something will change in the future. Your site may drop out of the search engines, an advertiser may decide to go elsewhere, your community may turn against you.
It is important that you always have a contingency plan – write down everything that your site relies upon for its success, and come up with a workable solution should anything you currently rely on disappear.
Short term pain for long term gain
Sometimes it is worth forfeiting short term results for long term success. If you use affiliate links to generate income, always try to negotiate recurring commission. Try to avoid long term advertising deals – if someone offers you a certain amount to advertise on your site for 12 consecutive months, think before accepting. Sure, the immediate short term income would be great, but what if your site doubles in popularity in a couple of months’ time? You may have ended up massively undervaluing your advertising space.
Remember to keep your members happy forever
Your members may be happy now, but what about tomorrow? Your site may have fantastic features at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it will in the future unless you are always on the look out for the next big thing. If you snooze, you lose. Just because you are successful now, it doesn’t mean you will be this time next year.
Have a plan
You should always have a plan for your community. Where do you see it in a month’s time? Where do you see it in six months’ time? What about in a year’s time? Having written plans and written goals will help ensure you are always planning ahead and aiming for long term success.
Remember – it may take you months, if not years to make a success of your community. Do not determine your success by how well you are doing today – determine your success by how well you will be doing in the future.
What are your plans and goals? Do you think for the long term, or do you make decisions only for today? Share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below.