What to Look for When Starting a Community

Most modern day websites are now community based. For webmasters stuck in the era of completely static websites that hasn’t existed for 10+ years, it can be a real challenge in order to re-learn everything. There’s certain types of requirements and strategies one must have knowledge of in order to maintain a reasonably active community. Here we’ll discuss what some consider to be the three most important aspects of running a community and what that means when choosing a web hosting company.

1: Security

Security is of utmost importance when dealing with a community type of website. Why? Because it’s not just your security that’s at risk, it’s your visitors’ security as well. Having things happen like password theft and constant spam is not something that your visitors are going to be willing to work with you on. Most people use the same passwords and information on all their accounts on the internet, and you don’t want to be the one responsible for letting all that information slide.

You want to look for a web host that has a reliable way to protect against things like brute force attacks and other forms of mischievous behavior. Safety issues like these shouldn’t require spending cash on 3rd party software; it should be something that your web host takes care of for you (or at least lets you monitor).

2: Popularity

A web host isn’t going to get your community popular, but it certainly can do things that can help. One way is to allow a constant amount of server processing power and bandwidth to let users communicate without any kind of limitations. Another way is that most web hosts have servers which are optimized for today’s common community-based scripts such as forums, blogs, and sometimes even microblogging platforms (like Twitter-type sites).

Using the same interface as the next guy may seem a little less creative then we’d all like, but think about it. Your visitors have probably already used a similar interface before and will less likely become confused as to how your website works. For this reason, it’s important to not only choose a web host that allows commonly used content management systems, but also encourages their use and automatically installs and maintains them if possible. You can choose a good web host from a list of user friendly web hosting companies.

3: Flexibility

What we mean by flexibility is to be able to use the types of scripting languages and advanced features that make community-based sites that much easier to run. Sometimes MySQL isn’t exactly suited for the type of community that requires thousands, even millions of database entries, each being maybe the length of an article. Sometimes you may feel that eventually you’ll need to upgrade your service all together. The idea is that if you’d ever seriously think about using some type of service, make sure that your web server lets you do it if you so choose. Communities aren’t usually willing to wait around for you to change to a different server, and moving a community that’s consistently communicating without shutting it down temporarily is, well, impossible.

Design is Key

There is little in the development of an online presence that is as imperative as design planning that is efficient, and keyed to the needs of your potential customers. Whether you develop your online location on your own, or through the assistance of a professional, a thorough understanding of your goals in this area must be achieved prior to the building of your property.

Success of any enterprise, be it web based or brick and mortar in nature, relies heavily upon the ability of the business operator to anticipate the wants of his or her clientelle. Doing so takes a keen understanding of the industry within which that operator resides, and a constant review of customer feedback and attitudes. This attribute is especially true in web design, as the ability to interpret the needs of your visitors is much more challenging without the face to face contact of the usual storefront scenario.

Key perspectives to keep in mind while developing your approach, then your design include the following:

* who is your customer?
* what does your customer enjoy and/or need?
* are they information or entertainment oriented?
* what standard site components will they require?
* would they prefer efficient downloads or heavy multimedia?
* what are their service expectations?
* how can we exceed those expectations on site?
* how can we ensure their return visits/purchases?

One of the most efficient means of understanding your potential buyer’s needs, especially if you are new to the industry, is to visit an array of online operations within your area of interest. Review each site with a keen eye for overall site design tactics and inclusions. Choose what you feel are the most effective target items, and incorporate the best from each of your competitors. This type of careful preparation, combined with an effective design process virtually guarantees you a seat at the top of your industry, and of course, online success.

Web Site Design Tools – Directory of Resources

Additional Site Design Tools There are innumerable resources available on the internet designed to assist the budding online developer in authoring a web property that is effective, appealing, and efficient. Rapid advancements in web technology have resulted in a substantial improvement in the usability, access, and quality of these resources. Online has assembled a brief summary of the better quality assistants to simplify your quest for the best property possible: Advertising Managers Ad Butler Ban Man Pro Banner & Graphics Development Netstudio AdDesigner.com Flash Development Guides & Software Flash Sitebuilder Flash Intro Builder Flashkit.com Macromedia.com Forms and CGI Script Resources FreeScripts.net ChilliScripts.com Graphics Management NetMechanic.com Netstudio Link Managers and Testers LinksManager.com Reciprocal Link Manager Newsfeed Providers Sparklit.com Moreover.com   Online will continue to add resources to our listing as they present themselves. If you have any suggestions for a resource you would like to recommend, or if you are a resource provider interested in listing your property, please contact our technical & product advisor at: alexboyd@onlineforsuccess.com   Related Subjects: Site design softwares Top ten web design tips     back to top of website design tools page