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Building A Site For Your Dev Community For Public


My presentation at Web2Expo, NYC 2009 - on Building a Successful Developer Community. Included is tips on building your community, your site, SEO tips, free products to help, and more.

My presentation at Web2Expo, NYC 2009 - on Building a Successful Developer Community. Included is tips on building your community, your site, SEO tips, free products to help, and more.

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  • Let’s give a few ground rules here and set things straight.…. – not evil How I’ve build community websites in the past & some relevant experienceBEA dev2devIBM developerworks & alphaworksEclipse BIRTApache Geronimo, XML Beans, BeehiveCodePlex Foundation


  • 1. Building a Site for your Developer Community
    Lauren Cooney
    GPM, Web Platform & Standards
  • 2. Who Am I?
    Not Evil
    • Microsoft (Web Platform & Standards, Developer Division)
    - IBM (Apache Geronimo; Info Management CTO Office)
    • BEA Systems (dev2dev)
    • 3. Apache Foundation
    • 4. Eclipse
    • 5. CodePlex Foundation
    • 6. Advisory Board, Web2Expo SF
  • Porter’s 5 Forces?
  • 7. Cooney’s 5 Forces of Site Community
  • 8. #1: Clarity
  • 9. Why am I building this website? What are my Top Level Goals?
    Questions to ask:
    What need am I addressing?
    Does my company already have a site that addresses these needs?
    What results do I want to see?
    How am I going to achieve these goals?
    What does success look like?
  • 10. #2: Customer
  • 11. Who is my Target Audience?
    Who is the target audience?
    Is there another community out there that fits these needs (competitor/partner?)
    Do I partner or do I create my own community?
    What is my differentiator & how do I create that (is there one of value)?
  • 12. Who is Your Customer?
    • Customers are different than “target audience.”
    • 13. Figuring out your site customer involves segmenting the target audience
    • 14. Both of these audiences require different types of content and different types of websites and communication mechanisms
  • How do I Segment my Audience?
    Less is More:
    Tips and Tactics (on the cheap)
    • Look at competitor sites.
    • 15. Data is available on lots of different websites for free or a fraction of the cost of analyst reports/DevTrackers
    • 16. Scouring public blogs, wikis, research sites
    • 17. Sometimes analysts offer up free reports
    • 18. Talking to people in the industry
  • #3: Content
  • 19. Content: At the Core of Websites
    Why Content is so Important:
    • Content is KING
    • 20. Good content is absolutely critical; poor content means you’ll lose customers (no repeat visitors)
    • 21. Helps new users or current customers learn about news, new products & information critical
    • 22. Important in helping customers build out their skill set
    • 23. Core way to get developers plugged in/bought in.
  • What Content is Good?
    What is Good Content?
    • Less is More (Good Content v Bad Content)
    • 24. Developer websites need code
    • 25. Interactive content is good (but keep it short & to the point)
    • 26. Short Videos
    • 27. Learning tutorials
    • 28. Demos
    • 29. Step by step articles/how to
    • 30. Interviews with the experts
    • 31. Blogs
    • 32. Syndication
  • How to Get Good Content
    Tips & Tricks (on the cheap):
    • Have a volunteer Editor
    • 33. Ensure you have company buy-in; ask engineers/product managers to contribute
    • 34. Ask the community to contribute
    • 35. Syndication deals
    • 36. Search for good bloggers
    How do I ensure it’s good?
    • Commenting
    • 37. Rating ability
    • 38. Provide editor’s email address (be accessible)
  • Once You Get the Content
    Information Architecture is Critical
  • 39. #4 Community
  • 40. Characteristics of Great Community Sites
    • Great mechanisms for conversation
    • 41. Allow for feedback & bi-directional conversations
    • 42. Employees listen & react
    • 43. Voting/commenting/rating abilities
    • 44. Clean UI/easy to use
    • 45. User Contribution is high
    • 46. Useful information & code samples
  • X
  • 47. Trying to On Ramp To Our Stuff – Where Do You Start?
    How do I onboard the community?
  • 48. How do I Start to get Noticed?
    Real World Example (
  • 49. SEO SEOSEO
    Microsoft SEO Toolkit
  • 50.
  • 51. Bootstrapping Organic Search
    Search keywords such as “Install PHP Windows”, “Install Wordpress”, “Search Optimization Tools”, etc.
    Drive search traffic by leveraging top apps (Wordpress 40% PHP app market share), products and workload keywords
    Start building Organic (Discovery) by raising awareness initially with Advertising (Direct) traffic.
    Build Top Product/App Pages enable ad traffic that also lend themselves towards organic search for /Web
    Compliment with site-wide optimization of content/link structures for search
  • 52. #5: Connect
  • 53. Listen
    Critical to have an outlet for community and customers to provide feedback & ask questions
  • Respond
    People & communities want answers to their questions & comments.
    Provide access to real people
    Increases customer relationship & stickiness to community
    Respond in public if possible; likely other community members have the same questions
  • 58. Audience Connection Methods
    Pick your methods of communication
    Ensure it scales
    Make it easy to remember/access/push method: user names, links, RSS, ATOM
    Be Patient
  • 59. Provide Personalities
    Provide Interesting Facts/Tidbits/ Information
    What are you doing?
    Be polite and respectful
    Take time to respond
    Be relevant; be credible
  • 60. Core Takeaways
  • 61. Questions?
  • 62. Lauren Cooney Web Platform & Standards, MicrosoftFollow me on Twitter: @lcooneyEmail me:
    Thank You!