There are many reasons to build an online gaming community. Some people are seeking to invest their time, effort and money into a online venue that can host content, discussion and revenue-generating ads. Others are fans who want another space to talk about the game they love so much, connect to other players and learn the newest tips and best strategies.
If you’ve been dreaming of creating your own gaming forum, this guide is for you. Here are 5 simple steps to build the community of your dreams.
1. Choose the Right Game
The oldest and most popular games already have plenty of sites dedicated to them. At this point, it would be challenging indeed to build a thriving community for a game like The Sims. A quick search will show you that there’s already more than enough wikis, sites, forums, blogs, and customization communities for that game. People are a lot less likely to notice your site if it’s thrown into a huge mix.
On the other hand, if you chose a game that’s too obscure you’ll also have problems. If only a few hundred people have heard of the game, it will be hard to make a decent-sized forum. You need to find that sweet spot of the up and coming game that doesn’t have too many dedicated sites yet. Or else you need to find a new angle on an old classic. For example, you might create a site based around discussion of the best plan for Minecraft hosting.
2. Choose a Purpose
When setting up the site, you need to have a clear intention. Try to condense your vision of the community into a single sentence. Do you want to make a space for discussion of the latest mods in Civilization 5? Or host conversations for your WoW Guild?
Once you have a sentence that serves a mission statement, all your decisions will be easier. If you feel unclear about anything, simply refer back to your main goal. The clarity of your purpose will help attract those with similar goals.
3. Work Hard, Cultivate Patience
Like anything, building up a gaming community can take a long time. There’s the matter of building up a good solid infrastructure, including a simple and attractive user interface. The design you chose has implications a lot deeper than aesthetic ones. On the Internet, the way a website works determines how and in what ways community members can communicate with each other.
The social aspects can be even more complicated and difficult than the technical ones. It takes time for people to develop relationships, trust and common perspectives. Some amount of conflict is inevitable. Over time, you and the community will develop norms and figure out how you want to relate to each other in this virtual village you’re all building.
4. Reach Out When You Need Help
As the community grows, you’re going to need people to help out. You’ll definitely need some volunteer moderators, and possibly some programmers and graphic designers as well. Be open about what you need and be generous in your thanks. Make a point to give something back, if you can. Helping each other out is what community is there for; you can always try a gaming forum and ask people for advice; most forums are more than willing to help out.
5. Be A Strong and Reliable Leader
If you make rules, you need to enforce them. Someone will inevitably complain, but in the long term showing that your word can be counted on will build trust and respect. You need to demonstrate that you’re impartial and treat everyone equally.
Don’t forget to have fun. Remember you’re all there because you love the same game!