Mumsnet is the UK's best online community. Mumsnet is proof that if; a) you pick the right topic b) Run it professionally and on behalf of members and c) do lots of cool things; you can create a profitable online community.
Here are a few things Mumsnet does really well.
- Independence. Mumsnet is independent of any corporate owner. Corporate communities are fine, but don’t think you can speak on behalf of people rather than products.
- Homepage. The homepage is incredibly active with a clear mixture of content created by editors and content by users.
- Parenting news. Is summarised in a paragraph with the most topical issue to be debated in the forums.
- Discussions of the day. Clearly visible, what a simple way for members to see what they can do right now.
- Mumsnet Campaigns. Mumsnet has a staggering record of campaign success. It identifies issues its members care about and campaigns strongly against them. This created emotional unity between members and increases activity.
- Product reviews. Good content, well written and allowing for feedback from others.
- Latest activity. A clear display of the very latest activity in the community. Encourages members to engage in debates in near real-time.
- In the news…A great list to show where else the community has been mentioned. Develops the bonds between members, they can be proud of their community.
- Regular live events. The community hosts regular live events and guest chats.
- Competitions. I’m not usually a fan, but they manage to do them well.
- Community guides. Mumsnet offers a good array of official guides by the Mumsnet online community. Highly recommended for an array of topics in your online community.
- Quote of the week. Shines the spotlight on members and is fun. Encourages others to put more thought in to their comments.
- Useful links elsewhere. The community isn’t shy about developing it’s own tools (ovulation calculator) or providing very useful links elsewhere.
- Tip of the day. Who wouldn’t want to receive a tip of the day from people that are like you.
- Mumsnet local. Mumsnet makes it easy to find other members in your local area. Very smart.
I’m betting nearly every online community would benefit by adding some of these elements to their own.