Think Visibility 2012: Building Online Communities on Wordpress

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In this presentation I talk through how to build a community using Wordpress. There are a few considerations to think about - freeium vs paid for model, content strategy, membership options and which plugins to use.

2 years ago we set up http://www.onlandscape.co.uk/ which is an online community / magazine for landscape photographers.

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  • I'd like to say thank to Tim from Your Members (http://www.yourmembers.co.uk/). Had a great chat about the plugin & support. Definitely a good plugin to look at for membership (despite what I said)
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Think Visibility 2012: Building Online Communities on Wordpress

  1. Create a Community Using WordpressEmail: charlotte@optimumexposure.co.ukWeb: www.optimumexposure.co.ukBlog: www.charlottebritton.co.ukLinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/charlottebrittonTwitter: http://twitter.com/charlottebritto
  2. What do you want to get out of this session?
  3. What will be covered?• Social media & online communities• Using Wordpress as a platform for building online communities 42.6% of UK consumers buy something• Setting up community &week online at least once a building• Example: On Landscape• Questions
  4. Future of Social Media
  5. Online Communities – Why?• It’s not blogging, tweeting or posting content on Facebook for the sake of it• Building an online community around your brand / organisation is key• It’s not about your business, it’s about your customers• It’s about engaging with your audience / customers
  6. What is AN Online Community?Where a group of people with similar goals or interests connect and exchange information using web tools. (source: Jeremiah Owyang)
  7. Example Of Online Community
  8. Paid for vs Freemium Models• You need to create value in your content• Can’t just be blog posts• Niche content is vital• Needs to be content users want to read, not what you want to tell them• Go for a more magazine style with specific dates for releasing the next issue
  9. Extension or Stand Alone• Is the community an extension of an existing business (e.g. ecommerce site growing fan base via content)Or• Stand alone model (Brand Yorkshire or On Landscape)
  10. Paid for or Free?• Need to have value in content for people to pay for membership• Need to have balance of free vs paid for content to entice people in• Membership – what will the market tolerate? Monthly, 6 monthly or yearly• Need to build business model around community
  11. Research Niche Market• Start engaging in the existing forums / blogs to understand the market• Need someone with the knowledge to converse / respond• Build up profile, so a trusted source in other forums / blogs• Understand competitors, complete SWOT analysis & design content & functionality
  12. Niche Content• What content get comments on other forums / blogs• What style of writing works?• Balance video, MP3 & written content• Guest authors• Crowdsource content
  13. Subscriptions / Register• Manage subscriptions & content• Need to define membership levels • Free content for SEO & to hook people in • Free content is your sales pipeline• Align this with payment (if you’re making it a paid for model)
  14. Subscriptions / Register
  15. Plugins for Membership• Have used Your Members initially• Migrated over to S2 Members plugin• Similar functionality but improved technical support• Use plugin that integrated with Buddypress• Learnings: use best plugin, don’t just go for a plugin that’s got good reviews & developed locally
  16. Search Engine Optimisation• SEO is a key way to promote community to target audience• Ensure free articles are optimised for specific related terms• Design content that is around key phrases & content that is around hot topics• Yoast or Wordpress SEO is good plugin
  17. Email Sign up• Integrate with email subscription so can email people when new issue is released• Key way to drive comments / interactions• Campaign monitor or Mail Chimp are good platforms to use which have Wordpress integration
  18. Growing Community• Blog with good interactions is a community in the lowest sense• Don’t launch forum or other functionality until grown interactions• Use Twitter, Facebook & other forums as source of growing awareness.
  19. Growing Community• Free content is important way to engage & drive visitors• One article drove 4,000 visitors from US photography forum
  20. Growing Community• BuddyPress plugin integrates with membership plugins and enables additional functionality: • Groups • Extended profiles • Private messaging • Forums
  21. Optimise Wordpress• Need to ensure server can handle large volumes of traffic• Caching is important – especially when 1 article can get many visitors• Server – invest in the best you can afford
  22. Skills for Online Community• Wordpress Development & design skills• Content writing – need someone with knowledge of niche market & can write• Moderation & community curation – need to be able to weave & drive conversations• Social media – know how to drive conversations through Twitter & Facebook• SEO – to optimise free content
  23. OnLandscape – next steps
  24. Rounding UP• Think about if community is stand alone or extension to existing business• Niche good content is vital• Issue release or continual flow of content• Think about free vs premium & business model• How grow visitors into community
  25. Thanks for you time.. Any further questions?Email: charlotte@optimumexposure.co.ukWeb: www.optimumexposure.co.ukBlog: www.charlottebritton.co.ukLinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/charlottebrittonTwitter: http://twitter.com/charlottebritto

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