community (22)

Switching community platforms is one of the riskiest things you can do. The benefits are usually minimal and the dangers are colossal. Unless you picked a terrible platform initially, changing a platform won't help you much. If you want a better community, it's rarely a new platform you need, it's a new and better approach to community management.
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On Thursday, we had the pleasure of hosting Ric Dragon, CEO and co-founder of DragonSearch, for an enlightening hour on Creating Healthy Communities in Social Media. From the origins of the term "community" to how dysfunctional communities are like families, this was a fast-paced hour packed with information.
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Fish farming, or aquaculture, is the fastest growing agriculture method, making over $80 billion just a few years ago. In this swiftly growing industry, AquacultureHub brings together people interested in their goal to "help advance the development and implementation of aquaculture programs around the world that promote sustainability, food security and food safety, research and advocacy." Network administrator Dr. Barbara Payne McLain, ATOLL Project Director at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, spoke with us about the passionate aquaculture community behind AquacultureHub.
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Beards aren't just for lumberjacks and pirates. In fact, they have a long history as the facial hair of choice for statesmen, educators, and philosophers. Look no further than Bearded Gents for a new generation of bearded wisemen. The site's creator, Gary W. Norman, took a moment to speak with us about the Bearded Gents Community, beard history, and bringing together a community from around the world.
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The goal at this stage isn't to persuade members to create an online identity for the community. Don't ask any questions that don't relate to the name, e-mail, and password. The goal is simply to get them through this stage and back to participating.
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Unpopular Communities

I recently read "The Power of Unpopular" by Erika Napoletano, the no holds barred brand strategist who makes a splash in the marketing world with her frank, uncensored advice. While the advice in her book is primarily aimed at brands and companies, I found that much of the wisdom could easily be applied to online community. Here are my favorite takeaways for cultivating an "unpopular" community.
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The Online Community's Ecosystem

Your community lives within an ecosystem. This ecosystem is the broader topic, industry, area, field, group which encompasses the community. The ecosystem has a significant impact upon the community. It provides both inspiration for material in the community and opportunities to foster a closer sense of community.
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Everything between the moment you establish the objectives and the moment you begin doing outreach to your members is the conceptualization phase. This is when you decide who you're targeting, what the community will be about, what type of community it will be, and how you get it going.
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Members need both the motivation to initiate and to overcome their fear of starting a discussion. Their motivation to initiate will be to either learn something (e.g. "Does anyone know how to....?"), to impress others (e.g. "does anyone else think business class travel isn't as great as it used to be?" or to bond with others (e.g. "I'm upset Kelly got fired from the Apprentice").
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It's the boring part of developing a new community: setting the Dos and Don'ts. While Community Guidelines will be an ever growing part of your community, getting some basics down will not only give users a clear idea of what's right and wrong, but it can also go a long way toward developing your community culture.
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Successful amateurs will still thrive, but organizations will want the reliability of the proven professionals. As part of FeverBee’s Professional Community Management Course, we have developed our 10 principles of professional community management.
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Every few weeks, Ning invites a leading expert to discuss trending topics and best practices for community management. Watch the recordings here.

More than two million people have built a branded social network on Ning. Many of these customers now enjoy thriving online communities. You can find a few of those success stories here.

Learn what it takes to thrive and see what it is possible to achieve with Ning.


Growing a thriving online community is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

Our goal at Ning is to make building a community dead simple. We provide an incredibly reliable, popular, and easy-to-use platform so you can focus on cultivating your community.

Learn how to launch your community in minutes.

Have you considered monetizing your community? Download your free copy of Monetizing Online Forums by Patrick O'Keefe to learn what methods are available, how to implement them, and how you can benefit today.