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Ning communities can be compared to your average dinner party. Nobody wants to be the first one at your house. If the conversation is boring, your guests will likely not come back. If you tell them about an
exciting “multi-level” marketing opportunity, they will resent you.

Below are the top 5 reasons ning members leave, and tips for how you can prevent it. This is copied from a post on my blog: http://petermoorman.com/top-5-reasons-ning-members-leave-and-how-you-can-get-them-to-stay

  • “My inbox is full of your broadcast messages, and they don’t even have anything worthwhile in them to read”

The broadcast message is a powerful force in growing your network, but it can be abused. Send broadcast messages no more than 2x a week, and make sure they have useful content for your community. Nobody likes
Spam.

  • “The forum is confusing, how do I even post a question?”

Forum setup is frustrating for new users. Make it simple. Do not have 10 different categories. It’s much better to have few categories with lots of posts, than 20 categories with little to no activity.

  • “Wait. You’re charging me how much to continue my membership in this network?”

You want to start your network as an open community with no charges. If you decide to charge a premium for membership, let your original community members in for free or at a deeply discounted rate. There’s no
better way to drive off membership than to start charging the very
people who helped your network get off the ground in the beginning.

  • “My eyes hurt after 5 minutes on your site.”

Do not have a black background. Do not have flash animation sirens in the sidebars. If you want members to stay, create a network that is easy on the eyes.

  • “There’s no discussion or interaction here. What’s the point of staying?”

With a new network, you have to get the discussions going. Invite your close friends to join, start discussions in the forum, and make the network buzz with activity. Users will leave if they see no signs of
life.

  • “Whenever I go to your network, I get confused about how to navigate and posts”

Navigation is key to promoting network growth and retention. Make it easy for users with less experience with the internet to navigate your site. Just because you can speak CSS and HTML as fluently as English,
doesn’t mean your users can.

Feel free to add any other tips in the comments below.

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Comments

  • Definitively, good forums are the most wanted feature on Ning.

  • We desperately need the ability to move, split, and merge discussion forums. Without it, we are a sinking ship.
  • I think I would have more engagement if the forums were similar to other forums such as phpbb. I have been asking for this since day one and was hoping it would be integrated with the new pricing structure, but was told it was a no-go.
  • I dont agree with blackcolour.Most professional websites are built on white: Facebook, google, Ning, MSN, Yahoo, AOL etc,and we're not all blind.
  • 1.low speed !
    2.no Facilities as same as another social sites! [Social Joom] [Social Engine]
  • Nobody has left my network yet..

    I get an average of about 8 join daily and most either email me or leave me a comment saying how cool the site is!

    I beleave that inorder to get members to stay then you have to entertain them..

    I spend every waking hour adding things and making fun posts for our site..

    I keep all our members informed almost daily sometimes of new cool things we have added and receive regular replies thanking me..

    Someone even wrote a poem in a blog thanking me for creating the site!

    Anyway..

    Just wanted to say..

    Keep your membs entertained and informed and they stay..

    We are all running social networks here and social is the key word!

    Paul Fmiff.com

    http://itsfree.ning.com/

  • where is the "like" button!? ;) thanks for the info!!
  • Add my voice to all of those who are saying that we need the forum to be more like true forum software. I'm more familiar with the site than anybody, but I also find it hard to find new posts, except for those I get notified about by email, and incredibility frustrating, irritating and way too time-consuming. We just can't get people to participate because of it, and it's turning the hole thing into something pretty useless, pretty fast. One member today summed it up succinctly: "The amount of time that it takes to find anything new that has been posted on here is simply time I do not have."

    The Recent Activity thing is pretty useless. It picks up too much yet doesn't show enough. What we need is something in the user's sign-on block that says "new messages since your last visit," as full-fledged forum software has. That way, that's all they have to click (or choose not to). SMF (Simple Machines Forum) is a good example of how that works. Please, please? For the most part, Ning is brilliant, and I'm glad it exists. Thank you.

    Judith Broadhurst
    Transition San Lorenzo Valley
  • This is very good advice you're giving here.
    My network has been operational now for a month.
    Coming from a group at another community site I already used the same guidelines.
    They really work! My network is not very big yet (185 members), which is also caused by the fact that we expect memeber to have an open profile and good picture of themselves. But we feel both increase a feeling of trust amongst members since they share very personal stuff on the forum. They are also a very thight group of people and we meet up every 3 months to bond with eachother.

    I have used the same guidelines as you give here before in my group and now in my network and it really makes them buzz. If for whatever reason there has been no new discussion for a few days, I make sure I place one myself that might interest them. Another important point is to be active yourself. React to what people write so they feel they are heard even if others are not interested and don't respond
  • Ooh forum management tools would be great. Mine end up really long and hard to find. See my plea for help here.
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