Before I get to in depth I would like to quickly revise what I will be getting into. There are three main things your users need for your community go grow. The first and foremost is allowing your users to contribute, the second is community rank and social status. The third and final topic is generating something to get their attention.
Allowing users to contribute is really needed, not only does it increase the amount of data in your site but it will give your users more things to do and or read when they are visiting your site. The more content that your site consists of will increase your page rank on larger search engines. User contributions also adds to another main point which is user rank and social status and it does this by giving you (the admin) the ability to decide who is a good enough poster for a promotion, the ability to write a blog post or become a moderator etc.. One of the biggest reasons to allow user contributions is that it gives potential users something to go through and the possibility to become a part of something.
Social status and rank
So now that your users are given the ability to contribute you may now proceed to social status and member rank. Everyone wants to feel important and this is your way to give something to the community. Whether you name the points cookies or Kudos (Reference to Dream.In.Code) you should have it originally named or based on the theme of your site. How you base the point system is entirely up to you but keep in mind that you will be receiving some rather large numbers if you decide to hand out 5 points per post. The method that I prefer to give out is 0.1 per post and 1 point for something larger. (ie. Discussion starter, Tutorial, Popular Blog Post) Rewards and bonus’ are a nice way to reward members also try giving out ranks and titles to the members of your community, they love that kind of thing. As users progress through the ranks they should be able to progress through the community and unlock new abilities such as moderate posts, mark as spam, rate content and try making a verified quality post area on the main page or a spotlight post section where top contributors that deliver quality posts have a place to shine.
Quality of content
The final thing needed to create a community is something to catch new users attention. This can be anything from quality posts to contests to freebies/giveaways. Another thing that gets new users attention are some sleek looking graphics and a well thought out layout. For example one of the highest density click populations on a blog is the top of the right side bar. This is a good place to place internal site links to catch the eyes of people that are interested in similar topics. It is better to promote your own site and your own content rather then to have space wasted for advertisements, especially if your site doesn’t have a lot of visitors.
Now that you know the basic concepts of how to draw in users, get them to stay and support your community, there are only a few more things needed. The first is user input, this can drastically change the way you think about layouts and the content that your site provides. The second is search engine optimization, this will actually bring people into your site from the search engines. The final thing needed is a good idea. Your site isn’t going to get off the ground if it doesn’t have a good idea and motivated people behind it.
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Creating a Community that users are hungry for Three simple things required to build an audience
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