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  1. #1
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Community Model Worth The Effort?
    I'm wondering if I should continue my efforts to build online communities???

    I have forums, blogs, profile pages, etc... on my travel, business, health, political, and financial sites.

    My short term results are not good:
    * Poor ad performance
    * Poor affiliate click and conversion rates
    * Not many people participating
    * Very difficult to get consistent traffic

    Hopefully my long-term results will improve?
    * Getting better rankings in search engines
    * I and a few members are creating consistent content
    * New traffic sources have been found
    * I'm focusing on my communities where people are researching a purchase or are likely to make a purchase.

    It certainly is a shot in the arm to see that abestweb was bought and hopefully Haiko got a nice pay day.

    I'm wondering if it is worth the time and effort to continue building these communties? I knew going in that it would be hard to get traction and find active members, but I was hoping for better results from my efforts.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts/suggestions you could share.
    [URL=http://www.investeverymonth.com]InvestEveryMonth.com[/URL] - Build Wealth

  2. #2
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I've tried it all and the only thing I've ever made money with is datafeed product sites. They make me money every month without fail.

    I use Expression Web 3 to build them. http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Expr...6494769&sr=8-2

    It works great.

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  3. #3
    Newbie
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    Iv had nothing but headaches with online communities, like you say the ads are so bad performers that its hardly worth the effort. The problem is that your users are the same users over and over and they become completely blind to the ads. Try changing the ad positions all the time, worked for me.

  4. #4
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Thanks for your comments.

    I'm building some sales sites. Trying to figure out if I should pull the plug on some of my communities or keep them active. I will probably keep them online since they don't cost much and a few are barely profitable, but my effort will go much more into the sales sites.

    Anyone else have thoughts on the effectiveness of building online communities?
    [URL=http://www.investeverymonth.com]InvestEveryMonth.com[/URL] - Build Wealth

  5. #5
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    What about a mixed community/sales site or using your community site as backlinks to a separate related sales site?

  6. #6
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    I like the BodyBuilding.com community model where they collect a lot of body builders as members and then have a store where they sell supplements and other stuff for that market.

    I would like to do something like that with a health & wellness community, but the hard part is getting the community going and getting a lot of loyal members.
    [URL=http://www.investeverymonth.com]InvestEveryMonth.com[/URL] - Build Wealth

  7. #7
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    Initially you may need to do PPC (if you can afford) to attract visitors and build community?

  8. #8
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    > "...the hard part is getting the community going and getting a lot of loyal members." <

    I've been involved in online communities since 1982 and the problem has always been the same: getting a 'critical mass' of active participants to create a real sense of community (including actively participating in posting useful content AND responding helpfully to other posts). It requires a substantial investment of time and effort, not just by the "owners" but by a diverse group of generous volunteers (with a wide range of motives) who can help nurture the community. A community can't be built with "seeded" content and "virtual conversations" posted by paid staffers, nor even by a dedicated group of volunteers "acting in concert." A successful community also requires careful planning (rules and active moderation) to deal with "interlopers" (newbies, spammers, and worse), and to create the right balance so that loyal members continue to participate while keeping the community open to new participants.

    In my experience, no successful community was ever created by someone who focused just on "making money." Arguably, many (perhaps most) of the most successful online communities were started without any real expectation of financial profit. And those few "communities" that seem to become "quick successes" almost always end up being shooting stars whose life ends quickly. And sadly, even a successful, thriving community can be destroyed quickly by poor management decisions (or even by a "benevolent" change of ownership).

    Finally, while I agree that PPC can attract useful traffic for many affiliate endeavors, and can be effective for drawing new participants into an active, thriving community, PPC is not a good way to attract active participants for most online communities during their "birth" or early stages.
    Last edited by markwelch; November 3rd, 2009 at 04:08 AM.

  9. #9
    Half a Bubble Off Plumb RemodelingGuy's Avatar
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    Community minded sites are bear to build ...

    Loyalty is hard to come by with so many options available on the www.

    Jimmy McDonald - Your Local Hard Working RemodelingGuy ( & SprinklerGuy - & GarageGuy )
    StartRemodeling.com .... MySprinklerGuy.com .... MyGarageGuy.com ....
    We're Bettering YOUR Life by Improving Where YOU Live It ...
    Do What You LOVE & LOVE What You Do! ....

  10. #10
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
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    Thanks for your additional comments.

    PPC is good for direct offers with measurable ROI, but not so good for brining people in to look at a new online community. I tested it and could get people to sign-up, but few came back or ever participated. You can burn through a marketing budget pretty quickly and I'm glad it was a small test for me.

    I get traffic now through various free methods (other than my time and effort) and I still find that some people sign up, but most people just look around and then leave.
    [URL=http://www.investeverymonth.com]InvestEveryMonth.com[/URL] - Build Wealth

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