This started as a review request at The Admin Zone (TAZ), but I think it could be a broader topic. Having spent years as a forum administrator, I've developed a general understanding of "the fundamentals" of launching a community. These include a clear brand/niche, a consistent flow of unique content, an aesthetically pleasing theme, intuitive and feature-rich software, a healthy backend (hosting, domain, etc.), best SEO practices, friendly staff, social media marketing, etc.
Are these fundamentals still enough to launch a community? Is there still space for new communities?
Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I think that my newest community features many of the fundamentals. For example:
- Clear brand/niche: news and community for nerds!
- Original, engaging content is created daily by our many talented writers
- Our brand and site are beautiful
- The software is integrated stylistically and technologically (WordPress + XenForo)
- We have a dedicated box and own multiple variations of our domain
- We've hired an SEO expert
- We have a team of around 30 people, including experienced community staff
- We promote all stories to our social media outlets
- . . . and yet, no growth
Epilogue: The Review Request Text
Generally, what I posted as the review request on TAZ.
Board Title: The Noobist Community
Board URL: http://noobist.com/community
Launch date: February 2013
Number of members: 189
Number of Posts: 2,835
Custom style?: Yes
Software: WordPress + XenForo
- Website: http://noobist.com
- Media: http://noobist.tv
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheNoobist
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/noobistnews
- Google+: http://plus.google.com/ Noobist
- Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/thenoobist
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/NoobistNews
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-noobist
The Noobist (http://noobist.com) publishes headline news on technology, entertainment, and gaming, as well as op-eds, interviews, reviews, and fan fiction, all served with a heaping spoonful of nerdy.
Every post auto-creates a discussion thread with an excerpt from the story. These discussion threads are linked to the original WordPress post for seamless integration: when someone comments on a WordPress post, their linked forum account replies to the discussion thread; when someone replies to the discussion thread, their linked WordPress posts a comment on the WordPress story.
I've been a TAZ member for quite some time and managed communities as large as 1.7 million posts. Clear brand, fresh content, large team, unique perspective, social media marketing, we've taken all the basic steps. What can we do to improve? And why do you think we're not seeing community growth, despite our publishing growth?