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Build a community; checklist

Discussion in 'Manage your Site' started by Floris, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. Floris

    Floris I'm just me :) Hi. Staff Member

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    Build a community; checklist

    There are a few things involved with building a community, and a lot of these elements are ignored by a lot of people. Resulting in their community dying within 3 months, or a year later. Which is a shame, because with thinking through a few pointers one could at least be running as well as their competitor.

    I have an internal check list that's over 500 pointers, and I can't publish them all, so I will narrow it down to the obvious. And leave space for others to contribute to the list if they feel like it.

    [ ] - Do I have a hosting account,
    [ ] - Can this account cover growth?
    [ ] - Do I have sufficient access to this account?
    [ ] - Do I have plans on how to deal with spikes in traffic,
    [ ] - unforseen downtime, as well as scheduled maintenance?
    [ ] - Do I have a backup plan, online/offsite, offline?

    [ ] - Do I have my domain name picked,
    [ ] - Do I have alternative domain names,
    [ ] - and are any infringing on a trademark or copyright?
    [ ] - Do I have to pay for my main domains ahead of time?
    [ ] - Are all domains set up properly (IN A / PTR / Auto renew)

    [ ] - Do I have a business plan, in other words: know what I want out of my community in the long run?
    [ ] - Do I have an internal (and/or public) roadmap, for the short/long term?
    [ ] - Do I have a schedule for maintenance, development, management, administration, etc?
    [ ] - Do I have insight into funding, budget, return costs, administration?

    [ ] - Do I have the right licenses for my software,
    [ ] - and is there a plan to renew / upgrade in the future?
    [ ] - Do I have access to support/developers for support/customization?

    [ ] - Do I have a plan for marketing and branding?
    [ ] - Do I have a plan for advertising,
    [ ] - Including, but not limited to others advertising on my site?
    [ ] - Do I have an idea about how to monetize the site, brand, content?

    [ ] - Do I have my company name, site title, community name, slogan?
    [ ] - Are my custom graphics consistent and in place?
    [ ] - Are the site elements such as frontpage, blog, chat, forums, products, services, support, contact, etc all decided upon and in place (or kept back on purpose)

    [ ] - Does my forum have a forum structure to cater it's content?
    [ ] - Private Archive vs Public Archive,
    [ ] - Private staff forums vs Private temporary staff/writers/etc forums,
    [ ] - News / Information forums (and/or help system)
    [ ] - Public content forums (for guests, members)
    [ ] - Premium content forums (for VIP/advertisers/paid subscribers, donators, sponsors, etc)

    [ ] - Do I have a dedicated core team of staff members? (paid or not)
    [ ] - Do I have a dynamic team of moderators? (paid or not)
    [ ] - Do I have content writers, editors, authors, reviewers? (paid or not)
    [ ] - Do I have a starting amount of members, and content? (paid or not)

    [ ] - Do I have legal documents, such as ToS/AUP/etc
    [ ] - Do I have an about us page, report abuse page, contact page, etc

    In other words:

    Do you know where you are hosted, if its suitable for your site, do you have a domain, where ppl can reach you on. Do you know how to reach ppl?
    Do you have a site, a forum, with a structure, and a team?
    Do you have information for your visitors to read, and privileges to offer?

    Before you continue, you can understand there are check lists you can look into to cover hosting, cover domain management, that cover marketing and branding, advertising, as well as building a site (is mod_rewrite working, can i protect dirs, did I use strong passwords for accounts, etc) and for building a theme (cross browser compatible, modern look, fast loading, works without css and js, etc).

    Just browse around some sites and get a bigger better check list for your site. You will have the upperhand over competitors who do not.

    Making a forum requires you taking it serious. It requires that you understand it takes weeks if not months to build. And it requires that you have a rock solid basis from where you can grow from. And that it takes (sometimes) ages before it becomes 'popular'.

    Don't forget, most companies that start have a few years of running 'in the red' before they start turning over profits and growing and expanding into stores.

    Have a solid basis for your site,forum,blog, etc and it provokes people to take you serious and respect you, and register and contribute via posting.

    No use throwing 500$ into a site, build it over the weekend, spam it everywhere for free and getting 50 ppl to post and your host to suspend your account due to the spike in traffic. (yes, that does happen to a lot of ppl).

    Don't be afraid to ask yourself some basic questions to cover you bases.
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