Beyond Your Website

August 31, 2010Comments Off

A website isn't as important for your online community as you might think. Community building efforts should drive people to each other, not to a website. A website should be just one element of your community (and not always a big element at that).

Apple has a very strong online community, but not a central website.

Look beyond your website. What else are you doing to develop a community?

  • Causes. What is the strong cause and mission that strikes a chord with your intended audience? How are you articulating this? What are the developments?
  • People. Who is the audience you're trying to reach? Why these people? What are you telling them? Who are the key people you're spending more time with? How are you reaching out to them? Who will you be reaching out to in the future? Why?
  • Issues. What are the major issues your community can talk about? What's new? What's good? What's bad? What's topical for members?
  • Relationships. How are you helping people to develop relationships with each other? Whom are you introducing to who? What discussions are you facilitating?
  • Events. What events are you doing for your communities? What live events, online discussions, conferences and shows are you hosting for your community?

We need a website to feel in control. But we don't need to feel in control. Our audience needs to feel in control. Our audience has more ways convenient ways to talk than visiting our website first.You will find it easier to build a community if you don't commit your entire efforts to driving people to a website. Let members talk the way Apple's community does, through any platforms they like.

If you feel it is essential to drive people to a website and exclusive those who don't come, then that is fine. For many, however, I expect there is a web of opportunity just beyond your website.

 

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