Websites that Build Community

community building through web traffic

Websites that Build Community

by
Harry Bartlett

As the web becomes more social, the ability of brands to foster community becomes more important. The first step is to look at what type of company or organization it is: Non-Profit, B to B or B to C.

Non-profits: Since ‘cause’ oriented organizations like non-profits have compelling missions, online community is a natural fit and are easier to build than B to B and B to C companies.

B to B: Some of the ways B to B companies can foster community include publishing content that the target audience finds useful and compelling. The means for this typically are discussion boards, forums and blogs.

B to C: Most consumers go to company branded websites with product questions rather than social media sites. This emphasizes the need for spending less on Facebook development and more on building on-site communities to increase sales.

Here are some of the parts that comprise online communities:

  • Private member areas for managing programs, members and stakeholders
  • Blog(s) focused on niche issues and content
  • User generated content specific to a program, cause, product or service
  • User profiles and ability to contact other members
  • Ability to login via other platforms (Facebook, Google, Open ID etc.)
  • Ability to join groups and create new groups as well as create forums
  • Ability to ask questions and receive moderated responses
  • Ability to respond to content by rating, commenting and flagging as inappropriate
  • User or member directories for easily seeing who is a part of the community
  • Advanced search including the ability to sort by author, date and other filters
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About the author

Harry started Bartlett Interactive in 1998 and focuses on integrating best practices in branding, user experience design, Internet marketing and technology to increase the value of an online presence.
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