Could have been the forums, might have been the blogs: make your online community a partyScaling enjoyment in your online community is your best growth and success strategy

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If you've been online for a while, you've probably seen them: would-be online communities that echo with emptiness.

John Gladding at A List Apart offers a handy metaphor: hosting a party where nobody comes. (Dammit... must I relive high school again?!) And he uses that metaphor to offer some solid advice – pitched particularly at people operating forums, but useful for the rest of us, too.

Among his best tips:

  • Create an appealing venue, consistent with the look and feel of the rest of your site.
  • Invite your guests, with everything from links on your main site to an URL in your email signature.
  • Start small, keep it personal, introduce folks (the way a good host does at a party) and set the right tone.
  • Don't divide into lots of sub-forums and sub-sub-sub-sub-forums until you have a big, boisterous party going.
  • Reward participation – but don't let a few loudmouths squeeze out your other guests.

It's a great post. Check it out here. And be sure to have a look at the rest of A List Apart; it's crammed with fantastic advice on web-building.

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