Building Online Communities – What Benefits Are Members Getting?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Categories: Online Communities

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Anonymous for a reason brought up an interesting point in last week’s article: Be Interested Before You Start. He illustrated in his real-life example that 186 viewers (all of which were golfers) were shown content, content which consisted of images and movies, in attempt to recruit members for their online community. Of course, most (if not all) of these viewers left the site after seeing their content. This leaves the question: what incentive was there to staying? Participating in a community takes time and effort, you’ve got to make it worth their while.

If you’re like me, you’ve come across an uninhabited forum with posts and threads made uniquely by the moderators and a few of their friends. What incentive or benefits are members getting from remaining and participating in this community? Of course, you will gain advertising revenue, but what are they gaining?

In my past, I’ve jumpstarted online communities for online games. How were they successful? They contained news, tips, updates, posts from game masters, etc. This was incentive for users to participate in the community. Since I’m kind of a number guy, I produced content such as guides, tutorials and statistics that would be used by viewers. Some of it was controversial which also sparked discussions. Discussions meant members.

After that initial jumpstart, building a community can be easy. It’s always toughest to get the first few people involved, but once the “I don’t want to be the only one in the community” barrier is broken, you could experience exponential growth.

Good luck. :)

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