Building a community can be extremely profitable if done the right way. Imagine owning your own highly trafficked website. You will be able to sell valuable advertising space, memberships, and more while owning a lucrative, highly trafficked website. Plus, if you ever get tired of managing the website you will be able to sell it to an interested buyer. With all of this in mind you might be wondering why more people haven’t launched their own interactive website and the answer to that is that many people simply do not know how to get started.
Building an interactive website takes time and research. It can be similar to launching a traditional website, at least when it comes to finding a good web hosting company, marketing, and choosing a domain name but after those steps things get difficult. For starters, an Internet based community is designed to help people from all over the world communicate with each other while many traditional websites are designed to spread a particular message or promote a specific product. When you design an interactive website you will have to keep all of your visitors in mind.
The first thing you should do when deciding how to build and interactive website is to decide how you want members to interact with each other. There are many options available but in the end your choice should be based on your budget and the time you have to manage your new website. The most popular options currently available for interaction are forums, blogs, chat rooms, and private messaging. Each of these options has its own benefits and drawbacks which must be considered before making a final decision.
Online forums are easy to set up and a great start for website owners who do not have much money to invest in social networking software or web designers. Many web hosting companies even offer one click install features that let customers set up online forums with little or no web design knowledge. Forums give members a chance to talk, discuss, or debate various subjects and usually include private messaging features that allow members to talk privately. They also give members the chance to set up their own profiles complete with photos and links to personal or professional websites and other messenger services. The one downside to forums is that they often require a lot of moderation to avoid spamming or other abuse from taking place within website members’ areas.
Blogs are another popular online community feature since they give members a chance to rant and rave about any topic that comes to mind. While blogs and online journals are extremely popular setting up a site that allows multiple users to register for their own blog can take time and require the help of a professional designer. Many Internet based communities that allow blogs offer other features such as profiles, photo sharing, and more. Plus blogs require a lot of moderation since each post often needs to be reviewed for abuse along with comments made by other users regarding the posts.
Lastly, private messaging is another feature that necessary when building a website that is based on online communication. Members will want to be able to talk privately to each other and staff members. Offering private messaging will give members a chance to interact and help establish stronger bonds among members.
Once you have decided what features you want your online community to have the next step is finding someone to design the online community for you. Even if you are a website or software designer you might not have the free time that is necessary for designing, testing, and maintaining an online community. Hiring outside help will let you build a member driven site without interfering too much with other ventures.
After you have found a designer or developer, and tested your site it will be time to market your new online community. This will be an important phase since an online community will never succeed without members. Start by getting friends and family members to sign up for accounts with your new online community and later invite coworkers. One benefit of online communities is that they often spread thanks to word of mouth when other members start sharing their profiles in an effort to get more friends or make more connections.
Building an online community can be a trying experience. It takes time, money, and more than anything else patience. If you are working on establishing your own online community do not get discouraged when things do not get done as quickly as you would like. Always remember that you working on building your own little online world and creating a world will often include much trial and error.