Making a success of a brand new online community is hard work, not least because you are highly likely to be competing against a number of other sites that are already established. The challenge you face is how to attract people to your site when there are others out there that already cater to the needs and wants of your target audience.
Your online community needs added value
Your online community needs to be different. The best way of being different is to add value to your site that your competitors are unable to match. This ensures your community is different in a positive way; after all, you could make your site different by making it impossible to navigate but this would hardly be a good strategy!
By thinking how you can make your community different in a positive way, you will be thinking of ways to add value to your website. By adding value, you are making your site more attractive to new visitors, which will make them far more likely to register and become members. If your site’s added value is truly useful and of interest, it will also help retain your current members.
Ideas for adding value to your online community
I previously wrote an article about how you can use articles to attract forum traffic. Articles are a fantastic way of adding value to your site, and what makes them even more attractive is the fact that hardly any forum websites adopt this strategy. This means that by publishing quality articles related to the subject of your community on a regular basis, you are immediately different from your competition.
Being responsive to your members is another way you can add value to your community. You may choose to offer members additional features that other communities do not offer – just be careful not to overdo it and end up making your site confusing and difficult to use! Do some research as to what additional features you could offer your community. Ask your members if there is anything they want to see or be able to do.
You can also add value to your site through your community’s personality. By developing a personality, your site instantly gains character which makes it stand out from the crowd. Developing a community personality is not particularly difficult – you simply take the lead by posting in the style of the personality you want your community to adopt, and soon your members will follow. Just make sure you pick the right personality from the start as it can be extremely difficult to change the character of your community once a personality has been established.
What is your community’s added value?
What does your online community offer that your competition doesn’t? What have you done to add value to your community? Share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below.