Your community must be your passion

by Martin Reed on 14 June 2007 in Snippets

I have spoken many times about the challenges and hard work involved in creating a successful online community. In the early days you will work to create content and attract traffic, and on many occasions you will probably think about giving up.

This is why it is so important that you only start a community based on a subject area you are passionate about.

Passion is a motivator

Because creating a community from the ground up is such hard work, you may suffer from time to time from a lack of motivation.

You will be putting in hours of hard work to make your community a success, but be lucky to see an extra registered member each week, or a few extra daily visitors. For anyone, this can result in a loss of motivation.

If you are passionate about your community’s subject matter though, you will find that this passion can drive you forward.

Start a routine to maintain passion

Draw up a routine and stick to it – make x number of new posts on your forum or blog each day. Give yourself realistic but challenging targets each week or month to help keep you motivated.

Establishing this blog was easy. Keeping it going by creating new content virtually on a daily basis, is certainly not.

My passion for online communities has kept me motivated enough to continue maintaining and building this blog.

What is your passion? Is it helping you to meet and achieve your goals? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Smiley June 14, 2007 at 8:49 pm

“In the early days you will work to create content and attract traffic, and on many occasions you will probably think about giving up.”

That is so true. I thought about giving up on my old site numerous of times. I even get a bit down-hearted with the new one sometimes, because I just can’t seem to figure out a way to get more visitors. I’ve worked on the keywords to get several #1 spots, I’ve got regulars, all new, I’ve changed my image to be a tad more ‘user-friendly’ ;) , I create new content everyday.

The boards are doing fantastic for only one week old. But, the chatrooms, you get into a vicious cycle. People enter, it’s not full, they leave. But if they leave, how the devil do they expect it to be full?! – That’s the part that frustrates me the most.

I think next month I’m just going to have to pump a load of money into Google Adwords to give the chat rooms a kick up the bum.

But, I’ve always had a passion for helping new users to the internet, and in particular, ensuring they have a safe environment to chat in, without the scrollers, cappers and perverts (the main focus of my community – a strict no-perv policy).

That’s what keeps me going.

I think the mistake a lot of people make, is, they create a new community, spend ages making a nice flashy nifty website, write all the literature etc….. then just expect it to have hundreds of users within a few weeks… when reality hits them and they realize it just doesn’t work like that, they lose interest and just let their community go stale and die off.

Even if a community is small or just taking off, you should still post there, and chat there, and keep at it as if it WAS full of users because that will rub off on new visitors and will show, they’ll be more likely to sign up then.

I’d be more likely to sign up to a 2 week old site that had plenty of posts made today, rather than a 3 month old site where the last post was made 2 weeks ago.

Israel Jobs June 15, 2007 at 12:23 am

There’s no question that passion is a key motivator, but if you can’t light that same passion in other people, it’s going to be a tough ride.


Mike June 15, 2007 at 4:15 am

I have just installed vbulletin in what is to be first serious attempt to build a forum. This is all great advice for me.

Chicago 2016 June 15, 2007 at 11:22 pm

For some reason, spammers always seem to be passionate about their phalluses…

Jonathan-C. Phillips June 16, 2007 at 12:31 am

Martin, we share the same passion! ;)

realistic but challenging targets – You’re absolutely right I think, while it’s really ok to set challenging goals, gotta keep things realistic, or else the passion will fade away.

Smiley June 16, 2007 at 2:37 am

Chicago, if you have phpBB2, install the anti-spam ACP. I haven’t had one spammer since installing it ;)

It allows you to hide the ‘website’ & ‘signature’ field until a poster has made X amount of posts, I set it at 10 posts.

It also stops spam bots registering, as the website & signature is only hidden, not de-activated, so spambots, being the stupid things they are, still type some stupid URL in the fields, so the registration process voids.

Martin Reed June 18, 2007 at 6:14 pm

Smiley – I am glad to hear you are still working away at your new community and starting to see rewards for your hard work.

Rather than spend a fortune on Google Adwords, have you considered ‘sharing’ a chat forum with a number of other sites? This will reduce your costs and improve the chances of a visitor arriving when others are in the chat forum.

You make a good point when you mention just how easy it is to actually make a website – the real challenge comes in getting and retaining visitors and the development that takes place after you launch.

Israel Jobs – That’s a good point. It is important that you are able to capture the interest of your visitors, otherwise you will not retain them. Visitor retention is crucial to the success of a community website.

Mike – Good luck with your new community; I hope you pick up some good advice and tips from this blog.

Daniel – Spammers seem to be passionate about anything to do with body parts in that region, eh?!?

Jonathan-C. Phillips – I couldn’t agree more. A target must be challenging to ensure you work hard to achieve it, but must be realistic in order to prevent disappointment and de-motivation from setting in when they are not reached.

corporate comedy magicians June 26, 2007 at 10:29 am

Great advise for a newbie like me. I have one question: do you really need to create posts every day? How about once a week. As you can tell, the “routine” thing is going to be a hard one for me to crack.

Martin Reed June 26, 2007 at 7:30 pm

It really is up to you – how badly do you want your online community to succeed? If you are the only one creating the content, in between your posts there will be nothing fresh for new visitors to see.

I would strongly recommend you create new content every day. As you get new members on board and they start to create content, you can reduce the amount and frequency of your own posts.

Peter August 14, 2007 at 3:16 pm

This is so true, with more than one active forum and blogs to keep up with, you do have to have a passion to keep going, although I don’t get all the time I would like to update the forums they almost run themselves now even with a low ‘true’ member count, the blog I do almost daily.

Martin Reed - Blog Author August 14, 2007 at 3:59 pm

Peter – Thanks for your comment. Passion keeps you going once the enthusiasm and motivation wanes; that is why I consider it such a necessity!

I took a look at your blog and am really impressed; I have no doubt that it will help bring you new business. Keep up the good work!

john July 2, 2008 at 11:38 pm

I just ran into this blog and it comes at the most perfect time: I was thinking of abandoning and…No just for the time involved but often I feel that I am the only interested in this, and then the design issue of choosing Spanish, Brazilian Portgeuse, English Or just English….
But I do believe in my heart that the Internet gives us a powerful and inexpensive way to “tell the world” about the contributions to making our communities better.

Martin Reed - Blog Author July 17, 2008 at 1:28 am

John – Can’t you offer all languages? That way you aren’t restricting your audience. If you are passionate about the subject matter of your communities and are determined to make them succeed, you can make them successful. Good luck!

Nirosh December 10, 2008 at 11:51 am

ok guys I have question here….!!!

suppose we are creating a travel related online community(lets say its like Facebook but more travel related people are there). So I like to here your opinion regarding “how to create passion towards the travel related online community”

Martin Reed - Blog Author December 22, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Nirosh – You should already have the passion for travel yourself. So go spread it in your community! Talk about it!

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