7+ Ways to Grow a Strong Online Community

How to Start a CommunityWe’ll be adding more tips as we get them, bookmark/favorite this page for updates…

Successful online communities share common traits, mainly all focused on engaging their members regularly.

Here are seven great ways to help grow traffic and maintain active members in your community:


1. Get Some Moderators

It’s great to start with a few people you already know and give them the privilege of being a moderator (also known as an online community manager) for your forum.

A great community manager not only helps moderate the forum, but is also someone fully engaged in the niche topic of your community and can stimulate other members to participate.

Start with friends, colleagues, or recruit them from other forums, blogs or social media sites. (Here’s how to make a member an Administrator or Global Moderator).

2. Use Email to Notify Members of Updates

When a member replies to a topic, there is a setting you can adjust so that they are emailed when there are any updates to that topic. This is a great way to get members back to the forum and keep the members themselves informed on topics they showed an interest in.

For Simple Machines Forums, here’s how you can auto-notify members by email when topics are updated.

3. Schedule Live Chats

Many forums will host chat hangouts with their online community. Whether monthly, biweekly or weekly, it’s a great way to further engage members with each other and grow the community. A great solution for this is our Private Chat Service.

4. Promote through Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are great places to recruit people to your community. See our comprehensive page about Social Media Promotion for your Forum

5. Send out a Regular Newsletter

Some of the largest forums online email a newsletter once a week or at least monthly. It doesn’t have to be that long, just mention some of the hot topics or even some funny anecdotes with some links back to the forum. This can do wonders for increasing traffic and keeping members interested.

Here’s how to email all members a newsletter in SMF.

6. Post Great Content

This one seems obvious but sometimes it is forgotten so worth being here as a reminder. Dazzle your members with awesome posts. Good content inspires more good content, which helps lead to more traffic and more members.

7. Guest Blog

Writing a guest blog post on a popular blog related to your niche is a great way to expand your membership database and increase traffic to your forum. Try asking at some of your favorite blogs or browse Google for blogs related to your community.

A great external resource for guest blogging opportunities that we found out there is Bloggerlinkup.

A couple last tips…

We discovered a site out there that focuses on helping people build communities called Feverbee.com. They share a lot of insights for free. Also it’s essential for your community’s success to have reliable and cutting-edge hosting for your forum.

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