What are the top five pieces of advice you'd give to a new Network Creator...the five pieces you wish you'd had when you started out?
I'm a new creator, and I don't know what I should know...a common feeling I'm sure.
Permalink Reply by M on November 5, 2009 at 6:11pm
All I will give out for now is make sure groups are up and front. End of story. This is because once a person joins the group and makes a discussion or comment it alerts everyone else in that group. So if you have 200 people in a group you could have at least 30 or so hit your site when they normally would not have.
Wow, I'm surprised how much of a challenge this is. It took a while to think about this one. And my answers may not be the best. Based on my experience, these are the best I could come up with.
Site Features: Start out with the most simple and common features, already offered by Ning. And this is especially funny coming from me, since I'm the Queen of "too much stuff". The nature of one of my sites, is to show examples of what all can be done with a Ning Network - - and to offer assistance and promotion to Ning Networks. Sometimes, that can be confusing. However, if I started a new Ning site today, for a different type business or good cause, it would be as simple as this site we're on now - - in regards to Features. Why do I say this? If you look around, short of thisis50, some of the most successful Ning sites, typically use the basics.
Site Design: Clean, Crisp, Interesting, and Unique.
Site Privacy: If the site topic allows, open site to the public, 100%. There are many reasons why this is the best way to go. Sometimes of course, it's just not the thing to do.
Approve Members: At first I thought this would be "just the worst thing on the planet, LOL". Turns out, it's really not bad at all. It only takes a few minutes to look over a member's submitted page, and approve or disapprove. This has cut down on nasty spammers and spambots, around 95%.
Forum Categories: Set up your Forum Categories well. Think this through thoroughly, for your site topic.
Keep it rolling. Be the host, comment, help and keep people interested.
I'll admit, when I started I had three accounts (one admin, one of "me", and one kinda crazy guy.) My split personalities used to talk to each other a lot, but now the site is going strong and I don't need therapy anymore. :-)
Hey Doug, have you considered contacting key people in small community groups who don't have a dedicated website with an invite? Seems like your site may be very good for them.
Even offer to create dedicated groups on your site for each community group. Your could offer to do it for them, using their logo, whatever text they want and so on. It would be a free online presence for them and a source of members for you.
1. Resist the attempt to be a control-freak. If you micro-manage every part of your network all the time, you may never find out what the real enthusiasms of your members are. Keep the network as open as you dare and have as little as possible set for prior approval before posting (members like instant gratification).
2. Don't offer every possible network feature all at once. Then it gives you something new to offer to your members after the first few weeks (Birthdays is a good candidate for this, as is the Gift Store)
3. Keep forum categories to the smallest number you can live with. Empty sections of your network make your network look...er....empty.
4. New content every day. Networks need a constant supply of new content to keep people coming back.
5. If you don't enjoy what's on your network, your members won't....if you think it's dull, it probably is dull.