Your members are the most valuable asset your site has – if you do not make them feel welcome and valued, they will soon go elsewhere. There are many ways of preventing this, and all of them come down to making your members feel valued.
In this article I want to talk about an easy way of doing just that – through the use of rank titles. When a member makes a post, information about them such as their member name and avatar is displayed alongside their post. This information will also include a ‘rank title’ if assigned. By default, moderators and admin users are assigned a relevant rank.
Screenshot showing forum rank title
In the screenshot above, I have circled the rank title so you can see exactly what I am talking about. Personally I have done away with the awarding of ranks based on the number of posts made – I believe it only encourages low quality posts. In the same way that I think forum competitions are a bad idea, this is another way of making people post through incentives, which is not the way to go about creating a successful community.
Forum rank titles can however, be a useful tool to utilise in order to make your members feel valued. If someone gains a reputation in your community or has been given a nickname, why not award them with a rank title to reflect this? Frequent jokes were made over at the Just Chat message boards about a specific member’s infatuation with goats – don’t ask me about the basis of it, but it seemed like a good idea to award this user a rank title.
Screenshot showing the use of a custom forum rank title
I didn’t make an announcement about the change, I just assigned it to the user via the admin panel of phpBB. As members of the community noticed, it was evident that they all loved it. When the member in question noticed, they too saw the funny side and even sent me a private message thanking me for their new rank.
By giving out custom rank titles now and again, you are engaging with your members and making them feel valued. This sets your forum apart from the competition, shows you take an active interest and strengthens the bond within your community.
Have you tried this method with your community? What have you done to make your members feel valued?