Posts Tagged ‘user’

Building Community within your Website

October 9, 2008

October 9th, 2008

“Building Community Within you website”

The notion of customer experience in e-commerce refers to targeting a customer’s perception & interpretation of all the stimuli encountered while interacting with a firm. There are 7 C’s to effectively building and maintaining a customer experience: context, content, community, customization, communication, connection and commerce. Here we will focus on community and explore some underlying methods of building community within your website.

Community refers to how sites build relationships between users. Strong community encourages stickiness and loyalty. Some examples of the way firms can build communities in their websites are: support forums, discussion/message boards or forums, member areas and blogs. Basically, building community is a way for users of your site to connect and communicate with each other. We will now look explore some of the tools used to build community in particularly discussion/message boards and blogs.

One article about discussion/message boards  examines the several advantages of a message board over an email list or instant chatting.  One of the advantages that stood out in the piece was the fact that past and present messages on a message board are readily viewable. This means that evidence of quality participation and a large group of participants is necessary to encourage more visitors to contribute.  The task then here is developing topics that drive traffic to the conversation.

Blogs can be a great way to encourage users to participate in your website and remain engaged with your websites content. However, professional blogger for Viral Garden, Mark Collier, has a some very interesting points and suggestions made in his article about blogging. He suggests that there is a big difference between blogging and expecting people to participate, and actually creating a viral community within your website. Some of the few blogs he links to include: Jack Yan’s “The Persuader Blog”, Clyde Smith’s “Hip-Hop Marketing”, and Toby Bloomberg’s “The Diva Marketing Blog”.

Priya Shah, a partner at a search engine marketing firm, in her article “How to build Traffic to your Blog”, states that “Write and they will come” isn’t exactly a magic formula to bring in traffic by the boatload. In her article she has 8 points of consideration for anyone wishing to build community through a blog.

  1. Write posts that People will Want to read
  2. Optimize your Post for Search Engines
  3. Submit your blog and RSS feed to directories
  4. Ping the Blog Service
  5. Build Links to Your blog
  6. Edit Your Blog Posts into Articles
  7. Create buzz about your blog
  8. Capture Subscribers by Email

Alot of things must be taken into consideration when implementing tools to build community and keeping that community together. Justilien Gaspard, at SerachEngineWatch.com discusses various aspects about building community in his article. He states that that a viral marketing campaign, whether it be blogging, forums, or discussion boards, or any combination of tools, has a greater likelihood of success by having specific objectives and targeting communities. There are no guarantees with viral marketing, he admits. Finally, he states that if it doesn’t succeed, explore what you can improve on, what you’ve learned and put that new knowledge into another campaign. He says at the very least you developed some relationships with people to promote your next vial marketing initiative. Building viral communities in your website is a good way to bring a group of people (your customers) together that share common interest(s), who can generate content to your website, and feel that they are an important and integral part of what you are offering. 

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