How to build on-line community with an edge above the rest?

(Brent Bartholomew) #1

Hello all. I’ve just signed up on FeverBee. I am amazed at how much good information is available on this site and I am excited to have joined this community.

I am starting from scratch, looking to build an online car community where people can post pics of their cars and discuss topics in forums. I used to be member of one some time ago, but it has since been upgraded (to be responsive) but in doing so lost some of the fundamental features that people liked about the original site.

So before I start building a site - I would like to research what my community site would need, to be an edge above what’s currently available.

What keeps people’s interests? What makes them want to come back for more? What features and tips can I implement? Any guidance on where to start on this quest will be appreciated…Thanks.

(Sarah Hawk) #2

Hey @BrentB – I’m glad you found us!

I’m curious about the features that were removed. Can you elaborate? What platform did they upgrade to?

The best way to start this process is by making a prioritised list of the features that your community members will need. For instance, the ability to upload images easily, which then display well, is going to be key to your success by the sounds of things. Once you have that list, it’s going to be much easier to shortlist platforms.

The other key considerations are budget and you/your team’s technical ability.

The CMX Platform Guide is a good place to start. It is slightly outdated, but the ‘9 questions to ask yourself’ are a great starting point.

[quote=“BrentB, post:1, topic:1796”]
What keeps people’s interests? What makes them want to come back for more?
[/quote] To crack this, you have to understand their motivations for wanting to join.

For instance, someone that is joining because they have an amazing new car and really want to show off is going to be attracted by features that allow them to do that. It might be a widget that displays the ‘car of the week’, or it might be the ability to vote for the best looking cars. Those people are driven by ego.

If it’s someone that is joining up because they have a passion for cars and want to make genuine attachments with other people that also love cars, then give them a way to form relationships. That might mean the ability to live chat, or automation rules that allow you to connect people that live in the same geographical area.

My personal tip is to get a platform that allows you to build a great notification system. The more ways that you can draw people back into your platform, the more quickly they will get addicted. Look for things like @tagging, favicon counts, push notifications. (Case in point, as I write this I can see at the top of my screen that there is someone else engaging me. That would have displayed if I was off platform as well.)

Does that give you something to work with?

(Jason Hill) #3

Good luck @BrentB.

I would definitely recommend you do lots of homework on what communities in this space are currently active. I imagine it is a crowded space! You would need a compelling point of difference. I would be trying to find a passionate group of community founders before investing in building a site. That way you’ll be certain that there is going to be strong interest in your community from the get-go, and your founders can inform you as to what functionality is and isn’t important to them. A simple Discourse site might be an easy way to get started and prove the viability of your idea.