How to Build an Online Community

On September 2, 2010, wrote:

There are many benefits to creating an online community- mostly to make sure your specific messages get out within the right audience. This is quick guide to building an online community. And, the truth is, this is not a simple task, that takes a lot of social networking.

Your Website

Building an effective website is critical to building an online community.

  • Landing Pages
  • Information Pages
  • Multimedia section (video and picture pages)
  • User Submitted Section
  • Resource Page (Tools and Links)
  • A Blog
  • A Forum

This will offer the user everything they would be interested in on the subject matter. Now, some subject matters are harder then others. Doing something on cancer is harder then doing something on, say, the pop entertainer Kesha. People have more of a will to interact with entertainment then they do something serious, Kesha has hundreds of pictures and tons of entertaining videos. Cancer has odd photos and videos of doctors explaining it and parents discussing subjects loosely. On top of that, you can make anyone can become a Kesha fan, and very few will become interested in cancer related subjects with out something very meaningful to back it up. That said, you can still find videos explaining childhood cancer

Creating Online Communities on Existing Websites

obvious, as everyone uses them.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit

Getting people to follow you on Facebook and twitter is trickier then you think. Don’t ask people. Put simply, make it so people can sign in using there facebook or twitter account, and offer them to like and follow you on those venues if they do. Facebook only put attention grabbing stories. Typically these are the silly stupid non-important stories like “You won’t believe the side effects this girl had from chemo” will be “cure for cancer” any day. On twitter, you want to offer people reasons to follow you. Some kind of specials, things they can only get from the venue, or get the information sooner then just on the regular site (you will have a twitter stream on your site anyway, it will just seem more meaningful).

Use reddit to promote linkbait. Linkbait will be created and pushed later. You don’t really even need an account, but it helps that the name is evocative of the site so people can find you easy.

Enhancing the framework

So, we have the groundwork for the network built. Next, what we want to do is simple optimization. This isn’t an optimization guide, but the site you are on should actually be full of useful guides on this subject matter. Optimization is important for the process, as its the most natural ways to find people interested in the subject matter.

One of the most important part of enhancing the framework is making sure there are updates on every section of the site everyday. Making sure there are reasons for people to come everyday is the backbone of the community, especially until they are creating content themselves. Giving them a Reason to connect has to exist before you can connect to the customer. Constant updates is a reason to connect, and we need them to connect. This does not mean stifling the visitor. Make it so comments must be left by logging in from facebook or twitter. Do not make them sign up to your site to see any of your content. Only to interact with your content. This seems simple, but people always seems to be forgetting this when it comes to implementation time.

The next goal should be making your site seem as credible and easy to find everywhere as possible. I recommend getting an seo extension tool, such as The SEO Site Extension for chrome. Add everything they link to in the toolbar to every part of your site humanly possible. I know this seems like pointless grinding, but it will make you seem more credible. If you are not interested in checking the tool, the checklist goes as such:

  • Facebook like every
  • stubleupon everything
  • twitter a link to everypage
  • Digg every page
  • delicious bookmark everypage
  • google buzz everything

Next, install the alexa toolbar to create an inflation of the appearance of the amount of visitors to your website is visited- since you will know you will visit it everyday. Every member of your team should do everything again, and also install the alexa toolbar. Make the contact e-mail a google e-mail and encourage people to gchat you.

Connecting to the user

Connecting to the user does not mean twittering people your link everyday It means becoming a participant in the community.

Guest blogging is one of the easiest methods. Find people who already have resources and blogs and such, and see if they will let you create content there, and get a link back in exchange. This does more then simply get small amounts of traffic back to your site- it connects you to people already active in the community. Being a part of the community is key for community building. Make sure to promote anything you do on someone else’s site everywhere- the same routine as on your own website. Promoting them is promoting yourself. Encourage them to make content for your website as well.

Reddit ads are also a good method to find people who are interested in your network. By creating a reddit ad, notice the people who seem the most interested in the subject and ask them to create content and offer them positions of power on the forums and things to that effect.

Pay attention to the Digg community and twitter followers as well! Encourage them to give feed back and to create content for you-even if all they do is view it they will enjoy the opportunity.

Creating Link Bait

Linkbaiting is pretty key to get people interested in the website initially. Getting something posted on reddit or popurl’s will make your site an ever lasting hit. So creating a lot of things that could possibly make it is very key to gaining a lot of attention quickly- and getting a lot of attention quickly will get others to promote you. The vast majority of the work needed to be done is content creation after the initial set up of the website. Link baiting is also seen as key for SEO as well. Easy articles to link bait are:

Basically going down there list and creating one of everything they have to list is a great way to get recognition quickly. Some of them are dated, at this point, so you can’t literally do everything on the list, but once it gets going, you will get the idea of what we are trying to accomplish.

This is a guest blog post by Jesse Dictor from Portland. He is an SEO Technician and Internet Marketer.


Stay Connected, Subscribe to the Lakeshore Branding blog feed via RSS, email and you can follow Lakeshore Branding on Twitter!

What do you think? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *