Keep that community feeling

by Martin Reed on 9 May 2007 in Snippets

Some argue that the larger a community becomes, the less it actually feels like a community. To some extent I would agree with this – in many cases a community starts off with a relatively close-knit group of individuals, but as the site gains popularity more and more new members join resulting in the community knowing each member less and less until the overall community feeling is lost.

There are steps you can take to prevent your site’s sense of community being lost, and I will outline them in this article.

Engage with your members

Always engage with your members – not only does this reassure your members that you take an active role within your site, you also make them feel valued and more secure as a part of your community.

Get involved and encourage interaction

Always remain involved in your community – create content and use suspense to promote interaction. Every time a member contributes to your site, they are revealing parts of themselves such as their personality and their opinions. This allows other members to get to know these contributors, further strengthening bonds and the sense of community at your site.

Recruit forum moderators to help you out in this area, but avoid forum competitions – they only generate temporary and short-term interaction which is often of low quality.

Consider promoting real-life meets or parties

Over at Just Chat, many of our members arrange their own impromptu meetings and get-togethers. Whilst you do have to be careful if you choose to promote such meetings (ensure you have clear safety advice on your community website warning of the potential dangers of meeting people offline), if they include a large group of people meeting in a public place there are unlikely to be any safety concerns.

There have been numerous real life get-togethers amongst Just Chat members which have strengthened the community no end.

Has your site reached the point where its popularity means it is losing that original community feeling that made your members feel special? What have you done to try to combat this? Have you employed any of the tips I mentioned above? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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J.B.Slife May 9, 2007 at 4:26 pm

Great tips…staying involved is definitely a must. I have also added a picture gallery to my site. Pictures say a thousand words.

Martin Reed May 9, 2007 at 5:18 pm

Adding a picture gallery is a good idea – as long as you moderate any comments that may be posted!

jake May 9, 2007 at 5:30 pm

hey martin, wow ive been impressed with the content for the last couple days, it really made me start thinking. i would also like to say however that i think your theme needs to be lightened up, i know that i would defiantly feel more compelled to come back it it was lighter.

Martin Reed May 9, 2007 at 10:54 pm

Thanks for your comment jake – I am glad you are enjoying the blog.

Is the colour scheme really preventing you from visiting on a more regular basis?

Since I made the latest round of tweaks, I believe the site is clean and easy to read.

If more people feel the same I guess I will have to get a new theme.

Pbanker May 10, 2007 at 5:32 am


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Take a look, and keep up the great work!



Shane May 10, 2007 at 8:06 am

I think it’s vital to encourage interaction between your commenters as you grow.

At some point, as your site grows, you just can’t reply to every comment because there are so many. That’s when the community spark has to kick in. :)

Martin Reed May 10, 2007 at 10:31 am

Hi Shane – thanks for your comment. I agree with you – I lose count of the number of blogs I visit where the author simply doesn’t respond to any comments. Many of these blogs are new and are in desperate need of the additional interaction.

Even worse are the blogs I come across that have actually disabled comments!

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