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How To Build An Online Community: The Ultimate List Of Resources (2013)

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

This is a collection of my favourite and most popular posts from the last six years. It should give you a great overview about both the strategy and the process of creating an online community from scratch.

The Online Community Basics

  1. A Primer About Successful Online Communities
  2. The 11 Fundamental Laws of Online Communities
  3. The Four Tenets Of Professional Community Managers
  4. Building An Online Community: How You Start With 0 Members
  5. How Do You Build An Online Community?
  6. 7 Contrary Truths About Online Communities
  7. Don’t Start A Community For Any Of These Reasons
  8. Basics Community Building Principles
  9. What Is An Online Community?
  10. Different Types Of Communities
  11. The 4 Fundamental Things A Community Provides Its Members
  12. Types Of Communities And Activities Within Those Communities
  13. Visitors, Lurkers, And Members

Online community resources

Strategy & Planning

  1. A Free Online Community Strategy Template
  2. The Online Community Lifecycle
  3. Understanding Conceptualization: The Process You Go Through Before Launch
  4. How To Develop Your Community Management Strategy
  5. How To Write A Practical Online Community Plan
  6. Online Community Strategy & Data
  7. Setting Objectives For Your Online Community
  8. Settings Targets For Your Online Community
  9. Starting An Online Community? First Get The Concept Right
  10. Planning For A Big Online Community?
  11. How To Make Your Community Better, Not Just Bigger
  12. The Online Community Ecosystem
  13. Total Feasible Audience Size: And Why It Matters
  14. Which Communities Tend To Succeed?
  15. Big Launch Syndrome: Don’t Faill Victim To This
  16. From Maturity To Mitosis: The Problem Facing Large Communities
  17. The Establishment Phase: Building Structures & Shifting Processes
  18. The Huge Gap Between Reading and Participating
  19. Identifying And Articulating The Community Benefit
  20. Audience Analysis In Online Communities
  21. Ensuring Your Community Personifies The Interests Of Its Members
  22. The Rush To The Niches
  23. How To Position Your Online Community
  24. The Importance Of Developing A Strong Community Identity
  25. Don’t Target The Wrong People
  26. How To Make An Accurate Membership Projection
  27. Naming Your Online Community
  28. 12 Ways To Doom Your Community Before You Launch
  29. A 3-month Pre-Launch Strategy
  30. The Assets Businesses Need To Develop Successful Communities
  31. Don’t Dilute The Community Identity
  32. Make The Community About Your Members

Building An Online Community Website

  1. Before You Spend $500k On A Community Platform
  2. How To Optimize Your Community Website
  3. Test Before You Invest
  4. How To Design Your Online Community
  5. 20 Things That Should Be Included In Every Online Community Website
  6. The Perfect Landing Page
  7. 8 Overlooked Elements Every Online Community Should Have
  8. A Radical Change In Our Approach To Community Platforms
  9. Developing Forum Communities
  10. Easy Ways To Add Value To Your Online Community
  11. The Toolbox Of Community Reputation Systems
  12. A Simple Reputation System
  13. Pick An Online Community Platform That Works
  14. Stopping Human Spammers
  15. 7 Things A Community Can Live Without
  16. The Problems With Incentives
  17. A Basic Online Community Wireframe
  18. Essential Elements Of Community Platforms
  19. The Notification Cycle
  20. The Case Against Facebook As A Community Platform
  21. Using Your Real Estate: A Quick Case Study
  22. Easy -vs- Difficult -vs- Impossible: Exporting Community Data
  23. Refine or Develop?
  24. Social Density In Online Communities

Launching An Online Community

  1. 5 Things Every New Online Community Should Focus On
  2. 20 Ways To Start An Online Community
  3. Never Wait For The Website To Be Ready
  4. Seeding Your Online Community
  5. Who Are You Trying To Reach?
  6. Who Do You Need At The Beginning?
  7. How To Find Your Community’s First Members
  8. The Founder Role In Starting A New Community
  9. Create An Easy Reason To Take A Small Step
  10. How Small Businesses can Launch Successful Online Communities
  11. Simple Steps To Creating An Online Community

Converting Newcomers Into Regulars

  1. How To Convert Newcomers Into Regular Members Of Your Online Community
  2. Designing The Perfect Newcomers To Regular Conversion Journey
  3. The Ultimate Welcome For Your Online Community’s Newcomers
  4. How To Keep Newcomers Hooked For 21 days
  5. Awesome Questions To Ask New Members Of Your Online Community
  6. Which Visitors Are Most Likely To Become Regulars?
  7. Newcomers: Are They New To The Topic?
  8. The Online Community Joining Process
  9. Optimize That First Contribution
  10. How To Help Members Overcome Their Fear Of Initiating Discussions

Growing Your Online Community

  1. How To Grow Your Online Community
  2. Why People Aren’t Joining Your Online Community
  3. Create A Criteria
  4. Types Of Community Growth
  5. Use The Right Symbols To Attract The Right Members
  6. Growing A Community: A Campaign-Based Process
  7. How To Get More People To Join Your Online Community
  8. How To Find Your Community’s Founding Members
  9. Basic Tactics To Grow Your Online Community Without Any Promotion
  10. Target Clusters Of People At A Time
  11. How To Get Members To Invite Their Friends
  12. 3 Perfectly Acceptable Ways To Invite Someone To Join Your Online Community
  13. Growing From A Social Media Following To Small Groups
  14. How To Persuade Your Employees To Join Your Online Community
  15. How To Get The Best People To Join Your Online Community
  16. The Right And Wrong Way To Grow A Forum
  17. The Problem With Asking Members To Invite Friends
  18. How To Convert Existing Contacts Into Active Community Members

Increasing Participation

  1. How To Increase Activity In Your Online Community
  2. Why People Join And Participate In Online Communities
  3. A Brief Guide To Reaching Unbelievably High Levels Of Participation In Your Online Community
  4. How To Keep Members For The Long Term
  5. Increasing Activity And Participation In A Community
  6. Using Social Proof To Increase Activity In Your Community
  7. Creating A Sense Of Community
  8. Sustaining Long Term Participation In An Online Community
  9. Initiating And Sustaining Discussions
  10. The Basics Of Increasing Interactions In Any Online Community
  11. Why Members Participate: Fame, Money, Sex, Power
  12. A Few Quick And Simple Tips To Boost Activity In Your Online Community
  13. 4 Types Of Contributions You Want Your Members To Make
  14. The Only Way To Keep Everyone Active
  15. 20 Questions which Will Stimulate Activity In Your Online Community
  16. 7 Kinds Of Conversations That Always Stimulate Activity
  17. Concentrate Activity
  18. A Weekly Debate: A Good Idea
  19. How To Find New Discussion Ideas For Your Online Community
  20. Simple Tactics To Encourage Your Members To Talk More
  21. Sense Of Ownership
  22. Two Types Of Participation Problems
  23. Programme Of Activities
  24. Epic Events
  25. How To Find Major Issues To Boost Activity And Unite Your Community
  26. Why People Stay In Your Online Community
  27. Create A Guide To Be A Top Member
  28. Segmenting And Contacting Members
  29. What You Can Do To Make Your Community More Fun
  30. 8 Ways To Encourage Individual Contributions In Your Community
  31. The Benefits Of Off-Topic Conversations
  32. Open -vs- Closed Questions
  33. Themes And Topics

Managing an Online Community

  1. The Community Management Framework
  2. The 10 Principles Of Professional Community Management
  3. Building An Online Community Team: The 5 Roles You Must Fill
  4. High Value Community Management
  5. What Tasks Should Online Community Managers Prioritize?
  6. Community Management: Planning The Week
  7. Moderation Strategy
  8. Turning Data Into Activities: A Simple Example
  9. What Affects Most Members Over The Long Term?
  10. Interact With Your Community Like A Human Being
  11. Attaining Power And Influence
  12. Hierarchy Of Communicating With Your Members
  13. Uniting Your Online Community: Creating Strong Ties
  14. The Art Of Forging Strong Friendships
  15. A Process For Dealing With Complaints
  16. The Base: Every Regular Participant Is A Big Win
  17. The Behaviours You Really Want To Discourage
  18. How To Subtly Influence Members Of Your Online Community
  19. How Many People Can You Really Look After?
  20. Creating Momentum
  21. The Personality Of Community Managers: A Few Tips
  22. A Brief Guide To Building Relationships With Your Top Members
  23. 10 Excellent Rewards You Can Offer Members
  24. Creating Titles For Members
  25. How To Use Transferrable Elements To Develop A Strong Sense of Community
  26. The Unlimited Supply Of Important Work You Need To Do
  27. The Small Simple Processes Which Make The Biggest Difference To Your Community
  28. How To Handle Troublemakers
  29. Using Data To Prevent Violations Of The Rules
  30. Finding Inspiration In Other Communities
  31. Reorganizing Your Forum
  32. Allocating Your Time As The Community Grows
  33. The Status Dilemma: Don’t Bite The Hook
  34. 11 Processes For Scaling Online Communities
  35. Huge Online Communities: What Do You Work On Next?
  36. Resolving Problems
  37. Building Strong Relationships Between Members: A Few Practical Steps
  38. Why Fights Are So Important
  39. A Guide To Rewarding Members Of Your Community
  40. Helping Members To Have Influence
  41. Community Guidelines
  42. The 24-Hour Response Rule
  43. 14 Events You Can Organize And Celebrate In Your Online Community
  44. What Would A Passionate Community Manager Do?
  45. Link Your Community Management Activities
  46. Member Lifetime Value
  47. Explaining Conflicts In Communities


  1. Creating A Content Calendar
  2. The Secret To Awesome Content
  3. Basic Community Newsletter Tips
  4. Converting Traditional Content Into Community Content
  5. Information Needs And Why Content-Driven Community Strategies Are Flawed
  6. Writing Content That Bonds Your Online Community
  7. 20 Fantastic Content Ideas For Your Online Community
  8. The Power Of Exclusives
  9. Interviewing Members
  10. Every Online Community Needs A Local Newspaper
  11. An Online Community Newsletter Clinic

Community Psychology

  1. Getting Members Into The Community Mindset
  2. Motivation, Opportunity, Ability
  3. Understanding Motivation In Online Communities
  4. Recognition Is A Complex Tool
  5. Influencing Behaviour And The Problem With Broken Windows
  6. Permeable Boundaries Between Groups
  7. What Discussions Are Most Popular To Men And Women?
  8. 40 Participants In 20 Minutes And Information Overload
  9. Participation for Intrinsic Reasons
  10. Community Boundary Maintenance And Behaviour Modification
  11. Compliance Without Pressure
  12. An Aligned Process – Motivation To Participation
  13. The Shame Effect
  14. The Efficacy Factor: Increase Participation By Accentuating Impact


  1. Techniques To Help Measure The ROI Of An Online Community
  2. Measuring An Online Community: Master Your Data To Gain An Unfair Advantage
  3. What To Listen For, And How To Listen For It
  4. Establishing The Value Of Online Communities
  5. Measuring The ROI Of Online Communities
  6. Ace The Community ROI Question
  7. How To Check Your Community builder Is Doing As Promised
  8. Communities, ROI, And Misplaced Enthusiasm
  9. Measuring DIY
  10. Proving Benefits Of Building A Community
  11. How To Spot Your Community Is In Trouble: 8 Red Flags
  12. The Huge ROI Of Small, Exclusive, B2B Communities
  13. Data Secrets


  1. The Definitive Guide To Monetizing Your Community
  2. Becoming A Community Intrapreneur
  3. 40 Ways To Make Money From Your Online Community
  4. The Pros And Cons Of Charging For Membership
  5. Community Souvenirs
  6. How To Give Sponsors Access To Your Online Community
  7. Integrating Your Community With Your Business
  8. Getting Innovative About Monetization

Branded Online Communities

  1. Never Let Your Company Start An Online Community
  2. 10 Things Organizations Should Be Comfortable With When They Launch A Community
  3. 12 Steps For Successful Online Communities
  4. Brands Must Use Their Unfair Advantage To Build Successful Communities
  5. A Case Study Of A Branded Onine Community
  6. Why Most Online Communities Shouldn’t Try To Create A Community
  7. Why Branded Communities Fail
  8. 6 Huge Advantages Big Organizations Have Over Amateur Community Builders
  9. A Requirement For Branded Online Communities
  10. Brands: Get The Benefits You Want Without Upsetting Members
  11. Common Branded Community Mistakes
  12. The Choice Most Brands Don’t Know They Have
  13. The 2 Most Common Reasons Why Branded Communities Fail
  14. Decide Between These 2 Types Of Communities
  15. How Do Online Communities Make Your Business Money?
  16. Why Amateurs Build Better Online Communities Than Businesses
  17. Failed Corporate Communities
  18. Your Dream Online Community

Non-profits and Online Communities

  1. Fundraising From Online Communities
  2. What Non-Profits Need To Change


  1. The Slow And Steady Evolution Of A Successful Online Community
  2. 15 Examples Of Successful Online Communities
  3. 15 Ideas You Can Steal From The UK’s Best Community
  4. You Can Learn A Lot From This Wildly Successful Community
  5. The Best Online Community You Can Begin Today
  6. Case Study: How To Improve A Recently Launched Community
  7. Some Great Ideas From A Terrific Community
  8. What Is A ‘Successful’ Community?
  9. The Genius Of Kotex’s Community
  10. A Simple, Effective, Community Design
  11. 10 Examples Of Great Online Communities
  12. A Great Example Of An Online Community
  13. Never Hire A Marketing Agency To Build Your Online Community
  14. A Great Example Of An Online Community
  15. Hampton People
  16. A Great Examples Of Game Mechanics In Online Communities
  17. The Usual Errors From The Big Brands
  18. Importants Lessons From A Failed Online Community
  19. A Lesson In Successful Communities
  20. The Evolution Of A Big Community Launch
  21. Stories, Clicks, and Relationships: The Sad Story of MetroTwin


  1. A Simple Example Of A Great Online Community
  2. 8 Brilliant Posts About Online Communities
  3. Essential Reading For Online Community Managers
  4. Forrester Wave Report


  1. How To Improve Any Online Community Without Spending A Penny
  2. Great Findings From Social Sciences Applied To Online Communities
  3. Creating A Community From Your Social Media Efforts
  4. The One Essential Task For Newly Hired Community Managers
  5. The Online Community Narrative
  6. Social Scaling Processes
  7. Rethinking How We Hire Community Managers
  8. The 7 Most Likely Ways Your Online Community Will End
  9. Struggling To Build An Online Community? Try This Easier Approach
  10. What Data Disproves Common Community Myths
  11. The Easiest Solutions To Your Community’s Biggest Problems
  12. An Example Of How To Diagnose And Resolve Common Community Problems
  13. 10 Steps To Building An Online Community In Your Spare Time
  14. 8 Ways To Merge Your Online Community With The Real World
  15. How To Revive Your Local Community
  16. How To Create Exclusive Online Communities
  17. 6 Social Psychology Hacks For Online Community Managers
  18. 5 Features Of Really Strong Online Communities You Can Embrace
  19. Searching For Online Communities
  20. The One Book Every Community Manager Should Read
  21. Rules For Growing A Group Of Insiders In Your Community
  22. Community Awards 2010
  23. Beyond Your Website
  24. What’s Wrong With Community Management?
  25. Turning Employees Into Stars: A Tip For Internal Buy-In
  26. Integrating The Community With Major Events
  27. Making Tough Community Decisions
  28. Tactics -vs- Processes

Reports & eBooks

  1. 2012 State Of Community Management
  2. 2012 State Of Branded Communities
  3. Howard Reingold – The Virtual Community
  4. The ROI of online customer service communities
  5. The Forrester Wave Report
  6. eModeration White Paper – Communities of Purpose
  7. Deloitte – 2009 Tribalization of Business Study
  8. Lithium – Community Health Index
  9. Radian6 – Building & Sustaining Brand Communities
  10. Jono Bacon – The Art of The Community
  11. Forrester – The ROI Online Support Communities

Websites & Assocations

  1. e-Mint
  2. The Community Manager
  3. The Community Roundtable
  4. Facebook Community Manager Group
  5. Community Builders
  6. The Community Management Group


  1. Alison Michalk
  2. Amy Sample Ward
  3. Angela Connor
  4. Blaise Grimes-Viort
  5. Community Roundtable
  6. Connie Benson
  7. Dave Cayem
  8. Debra Askanase
  9. eModeration
  10. Eric Foster
  11. Holly Seddon
  12. Jake Mckee
  13. Jeremiah Owyang
  14. Jono Bacon
  15. Judi Huck
  16. Juergen Derlath
  17. Kirsten Wagenaar
  18. Lauren Klein
  19. Mario Ogneva
  20. Martin Reed
  21. Matt Rhodes
  22. Michael Norton
  23. Patrick O’Keefe
  24. Phil Wride
  25. Rachael Happe
  26. Sue on the web
  27. Ted & Rosie O’Neil
  28. UX Booth
  29. Vanessa Dimauro
  30. Vanessa Paech


Academic articles

  1. McMillan and Chavis (1985) Sense of Community
  2. Robin Hamman (1997)- Introduction to Virtual Communities Research and Cybersociology Magazine Issue Two
  3. Moore and Serva (2007) Understanding Member Motivation for Contributing to Different Types of Virtual Communities: A Proposed Framework,
  4. Williams and Cothrel (2004), Four smart ways to run online communities (Sloan Management Review, 2000)
  5. Bughin & Zeisser, (2001) The Marketing Scale Effectiveness of Virtual Communities
  6. Iriberri and Leroy (2009) A Life-Cycle Perspective on Online Community Success
  7. Ridings and Gefen (2004) Virtual Community Attraction: Why People Hang Out Online, JCMC 10 (1), Article 4
  8. Ardichvili, Page and Wentling (2003) Motivation and barriers to participation in Virtual knowledge-sharing communities of practice, Journal of Knowledge Management, 2003; 7,1
  9. Wang and Fesenmaier (2003) Understanding the Motivation of Contribution in Online Communities: An Empirical Investigation of an Online Travel Community, Electronic Markets, Vol 13, No 1.
  10. Sugiyama and Rothaermel (2001) Virtual internet communities and commercial success: individual and community-level theory grounded in the atypical case of, Journal of Management 27
  11. Sangwan , S (2005) Virtual community success: A uses and gratifications perspective
  12. Andrews, D.C (2002) Audience-specific online community design, Communications of the ACM, Vol 45, N. 4
  13. Barab, S.A, MaKinster, J.G, Scheckler, R. (xxxx) Designing System Dualities: Characterizing An Online Professional Development Community
  14. Baym, N.K. (2007) The new shape of online community: The example of Swedish independent music fandom, First Monday, Volume 12, Number 8 – 6
  15. Stanoevska-Slabeva, K. (2002) Towards a Community-Orientated Design of Internet Platforms
  16. Arnold, Y. Leimeister, J.L, Krcmar, H. (2003) CoPEP: A Development Process Model for Community Platforms for Cancer Patients, Community platform engineering process
  17. Porter, C.E. (2004) A Typology of Virtual Communities: A Multi-Disciplinary Foundation for Future Research, Journal of Computer-mediated Communication, Vol, 10. No. 1.


FeverBee’s Products

  1. FeverBee’s Podcast
  2. Book: Buzzing Communities: How To Build Bigger, Better, And More Active Online Communities
  3. CommunityGeekCommunity Geek is an exclusive community of practitioners dedicated to sharing knowledge about how to grow and curate successful online communities.
  4. On-Demand Training Courses
  5. Live Training Course
  6. FeverBee’s Community Consultancy

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