How To Build An Online Community?

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How To Build An Online Community?

By David Chen

  1. What is an online community? 

An online community is a virtual community whose members interact with each other for common interests primarily via the internet.


  1. The benefits an online community may offer to members.


  1. Find a niche (define the purpose & scope) for your online community.


  1. Set up and grow an email group using Google Group, etc.


  1. Start a website. The easiest one is a Google Sites. What you need is a Google account. Example:

(Free if site size <= 100MB; more space for G Suite accounts - with a monthly fee).


  1. Grow your website with valuable/interesting content, leverage the social media to attract visitors.


  1. When the daily unique visitors reach 5000 or more (not easy), add a forum to the site to help boost traffic.
  •  Build on top of an existing online forum system, such as: 

You will be a moderator.


  •  Build your own (commercial or open source)  (open source)  (open source, Wordpress Plugin)

MyBB and WordPress Plugin wpForo are open source software based on php and mysql. It is easy to set up a test forum on your own computer using either of them.

Examples of Excellent Forums


  1. At some point (over 1,000,000 unique visitors?), you may consider if it makes sense to build (or upgrade to) a more advanced website (using or something similar).




  1. Keep working on it, bring it to the next level…


  1. Challenges and Trends


“IcyBoards Discontinuing All Hosting Services on July 31st, 2018”


Trend: Merging all features (of social media, traditional website/forum/email/text, live chat) to one tool?


Be device responsible; go mobile, etc.


More information:

About the author: David Chen is an IT professional, he can be reached at

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