Going Narrow

Related to yesterday’s post, be ruthless about removing things from the community.

The temptation is always to add more, cater to every whim, and let old items linger in the community indefinitely in case someone needs them.

It’s the same reason why you probably have drawers in your house stuffed with electric cables.

Right now you probably have:

  • Thousands of old discussions which generate no visits.
  • Hundreds of static pages which get little traffic.
  • Features which are costly to maintain yet don’t produce any meaningful change.
  • Menu items which get in the way of more important menu items.
  • Long-term inactive members who will never come back.
  • Discussion categories that don’t merit being their own discussion category.
  • Topics which are slightly outside your community’s core purpose yet are frequently mentioned.

I’d suggest getting ruthless about removing these areas. It clogs up the site, hurts search traffic, creates a confusing experience, and distracts you from doing what you’re meant to be doing.

Unless you’re one of the few ‘mega communities’ out there today, you don’t want to be expanding wider, you want to narrow your focus and go deeper. You want to do a tiny number of things better than anyone else.

We’ve frequently seen surprisingly high engagement boosts when we remove features from the community.

If people won’t miss it, you can remove it.

p.s. Dave Hersch has similar thoughts about community vendors.

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