Clickz Building Online Communities

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Clickz just posted a quick roundup on how to build online communities. The insights are not necessarily new, but I found the planning rules section to be a great summary of three central concepts of online communities: 

  • 90-9-1 rule. Of your audience, 1 percent will actively answer questions and post, 9 percent will comment and ask questions, and 90 percent will passively read the content on your community.

  • ­­30-1­0-10 rule. In general, during any 30-day period, about 10 percent of the traffic that sees your community promotion will visit your community area. Of this 10 percent, about 10 percent will register and participate in your forum. (Note: Most sites only require registration to post. Adding registration requirements will lower your participation rate.) It's critical to note that this indicator will vary based on several factors, such as the type and placement of your promotion. Also, the percentages tend to be lower for highly trafficked sites, such as major media destinations. Business-to-business communities by their nature attract smaller, more targeted audiences.

  • 5-to-10-posts-per-day-per-forum rule. To reach critical mass, visitors must feel that a community is vibrant enough to merit return visits. You need roughly 5 to 10 posts per day per forum to achieve this goal. In the early stages, either a core of fans or company employees may be needed to help get the community going. For a healthy community, there should be about 10 percent to 20 percent growth per month in the number of posts during the community's first year. Over time, this trend tends to flatten out.
Especially the last one appears to be the central problem of pretty much 90% of the efforts of online community building out there.
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