How To Build An Online Community: The Ultimate List Of Resources (2012)

February 2, 2012 Comments Off on How To Build An Online Community: The Ultimate List Of Resources (2012)

This is a collection of my favourite and most popular posts from the last five 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. Building An Online Community: How You Start With 0 Members
  4. How Do You Build An Online Community?
  5. 7 Contrary Truths About Online Communities
  6. Don’t Start A Community For Any Of These Reasons
  7. Basics Community Building Principles
  8. What Is An Online Community?
  9. Different Types Of Communities
  10. The 4 Fundamental Things A Community Provides Its Members

Strategy & Planning

  1. The Map: A Proven Process For Developing Successful Online Communities
  2. How To Develop Your Community Management Strategy
  3. How To Write A Practical Online Community Plan
  4. Setting Objectives For Your Online Community
  5. Settings Targets For Your Online Community
  6. Starting An Online Community? First Get The Concept Right
  7. Planning For A Big Online Community?
  8. How Big Should Your Community Be?
  9. The Online Community Ecosystem
  10. Which Communities Tend To Succeed?
  11. Big Launch Syndrome: Don’t Faill Victim To This
  12. Why Will People Participate In Your Online Community?
  13. Getting The Appeal Right
  14. A Simple Formula For A Successful Online Community
  15. Audience Analysis In Online Communities
  16. Base Your Online Community Around Real People
  17. How To Position Your Online Community
  18. The Importance Of Developing A Strong Community Identity
  19. Don’t Target The Wrong People
  20. How To Make An Accurate Membership Projection
  21. Naming Your Online Community
  22. 12 Ways To Doom Your Community Before You Launch
  23. A 3-month Pre-Launch Strategy
  24. The Assets Businesses Need To Develop Successful Communities
  25. Don’t Dilute The Community Identity

Building An Online Community Website

  1. Test Before You Invest
  2. How To Design Your Online Community
  3. 20 Things That Should Be Included In Every Online Community Website
  4. The Perfect Landing Page
  5. 8 Overlooked Elements Every Online Community Should Have
  6. A Radical Change In Our Approach To Community Platforms
  7. Developing Forum Communities
  8. Easy Ways To Add Value To Your Online Community
  9. The Toolbox Of Community Reputation Systems
  10. A Simple Reputation System
  11. Pick An Online Community Platform That Works
  12. Stopping Human Spammers
  13. 7 Things A Community Can Live Without
  14. The Problems With Incentives
  15. A Basic Online Community Wireframe
  16. Essential Elements Of Community Platforms
  17. The Notification Cycle
  18. The Case Against Facebook As A Community Platform
  19. Using Your Real Estate: A Quick Case Study
  20. Easy -vs- Difficult -vs- Impossible: Exporting Community Data
  21. Refine or Develop?
  22. 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. The Ultimate Welcome For Your Online Community’s Newcomers
  3. How To Keep Newcomers Hooked For 21 days
  4. Awesome Questions To Ask New Members Of Your Online Community
  5. Which Visitors Are Most Likely To Become Regulars?
  6. Create A Welcome Pack
  7. The Online Community Joining Process
  8. Optimize That First Contribution
  9. How To Help Members Overcome Their Fear Of Initiating Discussions

Growing Your Online Community

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

Increasing Participation

  1. Why People Join And Participate In Online Communities
  2. A Brief Guide To Reaching Unbelievably High Levels Of Participation In Your Online Community
  3. Increasing Activity And Participation In A Community
  4. Creating A Sense Of Community
  5. Sustaining Long Term Participation In An Online Community
  6. The Basics Of Increasing Interactions In Any Online Community
  7. Why Members Participate: Fame, Money, Sex, Power
  8. A Few Quick And Simple Tips To Boost Activity In Your Online Community
  9. 4 Types Of Contributions You Want Your Members To Make
  10. The Only Way To Keep Everyone Active
  11. 20 Questions which Will Stimulate Activity In Your Online Community
  12. 7 Kinds Of Conversations That Always Stimulate Activity
  13. Concentrate Activity
  14. How To Find New Discussion Ideas For Your Online Community
  15. Simple Tactics To Encourage Your Members To Talk More
  16. 10 Simple Ideas To Increase Activity In Your Community
  17. 9 Ideas To Revive Your Stale Online Community
  18. Sense Of Ownership
  19. When You Have Lots Of Members But No Activity
  20. Epic Events
  21. How To Find Major Issues To Boost Activity And Unite Your Community
  22. Why People Stay In Your Online Community
  23. Create A Guide To Be A Top Member
  24. Trade Control For Participation
  25. What You Can Do To Make Your Community More Fun
  26. 8 Ways To Encourage Individual Contributions In Your Community
  27. The Benefits Of Off-Topic Conversations
  28. Open -vs- Closed Questions
  29. A Simple Way To Stimulate Interesting Discussions
  30. How To Make Your Online Community More Responsive

Managing an Online Community

  1. The 10 Principles Of Professional Community Management
  2. Building An Online Community Team: The 5 Roles You Must Fill
  3. High Value Community Management
  4. What Tasks Should Online Community Managers Prioritize?
  5. Community Management: Planning The Week
  6. Moderation Strategy
  7. Interact With Your Community Like A Human Being
  8. Attaining Power And Influence
  9. Hierarchy Of Communicating With Your Members
  10. Uniting Your Online Community: Creating Strong Ties
  11. The Art Of Forging Strong Friendships
  12. How To Subtly Influence Members Of Your Online Community
  13. How Many People Can You Really Look After?
  14. Creating Momentum
  15. The Personality Of Community Managers: A Few Tips
  16. A Brief Guide To Building Relationships With Your Top Members
  17. 10 Excellent Rewards You Can Offer Members
  18. Creating Titles For Members
  19. How To Use Transferrable Elements To Develop A Strong Sense of Community
  20. The Unlimited Supply Of Important Work You Need To Do
  21. The Small Simple Processes Which Make The Biggest Difference To Your Community
  22. How To Handle Troublemakers
  23. Finding Inspiration In Other Communities
  24. Reorganizing Your Forum
  25. Allocating Your Time As The Community Grows
  26. The Status Dilemma: Don’t Bite The Hook
  27. 11 Processes For Scaling Online Communities
  28. Huge Online Communities: What Do You Work On Next?
  29. Resolving Problems
  30. Building Strong Relationships Between Members: A Few Practical Steps
  31. Removing A Provocating Member
  32. Why Fights Are So Important
  33. A Guide To Rewarding Members Of Your Community
  34. Never Reward Your Volunteers
  35. Community Guidelines
  36. The 24-Hour Response Rule
  37. 14 Events You Can Organize And Celebrate In Your Online Community
  38. What Would A Passionate Community Manager Do?
  39. Link Your Community Management Activities
  40. Member Lifetime Value


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


  1. Measuring An Online Community: Master Your Data To Gain An Unfair Advantage
  2. Measuring The ROI Of Online Communities
  3. Community Health Index
  4. Ace The Community ROI Question
  5. What Matters (and what doesn’t)
  6. This Wasn’t Part Of The Plan
  7. How To Check Your Community builder Is Doing As Promised
  8. A Faith Challenge
  9. Measuring DIY
  10. Proving Benefits Of Building A Community
  11. Me And You, Them And Us
  12. How To Spot Your Community Is In Trouble: 8 Red Flags
  13. The Huge ROI Of Small, Exclusive, B2B Communities


  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

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. Perhaps The Best Online Community I’ve Seen
  8. What Is A ‘Successful’ Community?
  9. The Genius Of Kotex’s Community
  10. 10 Examples Of Great Online Communities
  11. A Great Example Of An Online Community
  12. Never Hire A Marketing Agency To Build Your Online Community
  13. A Great Example Of An Online Community
  14. Hampton People
  15. A Great Examples Of Game Mechanics In Online Communities
  16. The Usual Errors From The Big Brands
  17. Importants Lessons From A Failed Online Community
  18. A Lesson In Successful Communities
  19. The Evolution Of A Big Community Launch
  20. 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. Rethinking How We Hire Community Managers
  6. The 7 Most Likely Ways Your Online Community Will End
  7. Struggling To Build An Online Community? Try This Easier Approach
  8. The Easiest Solutions To Your Community’s Biggest Problems
  9. 10 Steps To Building An Online Community In Your Spare Time
  10. 8 Ways To Merge Your Online Community With The Real World
  11. How To Revive Your Local Community
  12. How To Create Exclusive Online Communities
  13. 6 Social Psychology Hacks For Online Community Managers
  14. 5 Features Of Really Strong Online Communities You Can Embrace
  15. Searching For Online Communities
  16. The One Book Every Community Manager Should Read
  17. Rules For Growing A Group Of Insiders In Your Community
  18. Community Awards 2010
  19. Beyond Your Website
  20. What’s Wrong With Community Management?

Reports & eBooks

  1. The 2011 State of Community Management Report
  2. Howard Reingold – The Virtual Community
  3. The State of Online Branded Communities
  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. The Community Backchannel
  2. The Community Roundtable
  3. The OC Report
  4. e-Mint
  5. Facebook Community Manager Group
  6. Community Builders
  7. The Community Manager
  8. Online Community Managers
  9. 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. Dawn Foster
  8. Dave Cayem
  9. Debra Askanase
  10. eModeration
  11. Eric Foster
  12. Holly Seddon
  13. Jake Mckee
  14. Jeremiah Owyang
  15. Jono Bacon
  16. Judi Huck
  17. Kirsten Wagenaar
  18. Laurel Papworth
  19. Lauren Klein
  20. Mario Ogneva
  21. Martin Reed
  22. Matt Rhodes
  23. Michael Norton
  24. Patrick O’Keefe
  25. Phil Wride
  26. Rachael Happe
  27. Sue on the web
  28. Ted & Rosie O’Neil
  29. UX Booth
  30. Vanessa Dimauro
  31. 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.


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