Community questions


#1

Thanks for offering to help @HAWK!

Well, I’m rebuilding a travel site that is community centered. The greatest value there seems to be the forum, so I’m trying to figure out how we could keep engaging people. Before starting this project my first thought on forums was “Who the hell uses forums!?”, just to find myself amazed by the forum world. (I

The number of involved users on this travel platform is lower and lower. Most of the traffic is produced by people landing on threads from organic search. They take the information they need and leave, treating it a lot like a Q&A site. Therefore, not much content is being produced lately, compared to the great old times. One of the reasons might be that there’s a whole lot of content there and people are overwhelmed.

So, some of the questions I’m asking myself (and now you) are:

  • How do you keep the community engaged?
  • How do you keep the content/threads up to date?
  • What happens to old content?
  • How much work comes from your side as a community manager?
  • …and What is the meaning of life (on forums)? :slight_smile:

Any insights would be much appreciated! Thanks!


Information that will change our lives!
#2

You’re welcome. :slight_smile: I’ve split this out into a topic of its own so that it doesn’t get lost in the noise of the welcome thread.

That is incredibly common, and it means the value proposition is wrong. There is no compelling reason for people to come back. (Examples of compelling reasons are relationships/connecteness/strong sense of community at one end of the spectrum, and excellent content which invokes FOMO at the other.)

You get the above value prop right. Essentially you need to reconceptualise. In your case it sounds like you need to start from the beginning and work back up to critical mass. That will mean reaching out to a few members that are currently engaging, building really strong relationships with them, and getting them to form a small, highly engaged community which will model behaviour for the others. This will help.

Once the community is healthy, this will happen naturally. What platform is it on?

I’d archive it into a category somewhere so that you still leverage the SEO value but it’s out of the way.

In the situation you’re talking about – lots. Building (or rebuilding) a community is a full time job. Once you get the concept right and reach critical mass (as we have here) then you can step back. I manage this place part time (~10 hours per week).

The rest of the time I manage a community for community builders. You’re welcome to join us – the questions you’re asking here are the kinds of things we talk about full time.

And if you want a massive reading list of community resources, here’s one.

Good luck!


#3

Thanks a lot for our answers and resources, that really helps! I’m starting to understand the value of forums :smiley:

The forum is on vBulletin now. We’re still thinking whether we should migrate it on something “fresher”, like Discourse or other similar platforms. But this doesn’t feel like a main priority right now, since there are communities on all sorts of platforms that work just great.

I can update this thread with the progress and outcomes of our work on this project.

Thanks again!


#4

You should. vB is inflexible and not easily extensible. Hearing you on the priority though.