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Is it Time to Redesign Your Online Community?

November 15, 2011
Is it Time to Revisit the Design of Your Online Community?

Just as you rearrange the furniture in your living room from time to time, or de-clutter your office and give it a fresh coat of paint once a year, your online community needs the same type of love.  

We are all aware that content is king in the world of online communities and if you are working with your editor to keep the content fresh and up-to-date, that’s half the battle; however, in order for your campaign to remain a complete success, it is equally as important to keep your design and multimedia elements refreshed as well.

Ads
Back in the development days of your online community, you most likely worked together with a designer to create eye-catching advertisements or utilized your own ads to attract visitors to important calls to action on your community. Whether those ads involved upcoming conferences or webinars your company was involved in, or a free cost assessment or demo, it’s likely that after six or so months, those ads become dated.  Keep in mind it is important to keep your ads fresh and relevant to continue to generate the number of clicks and leads your company is anticipating.

Assets
Also present on your online community are assets or resources that help to validate your company as a thought leader in your designated market, which can include whitepapers, product bio’s, case studies, etc. Be sure to stay in touch with your designer in order to keep this list of resources up-to-date and promoting your company’s latest releases, announcements and success stories so your online community’s visitors are consistently in the know of what is going on behind closed doors.

Overall Appearance
When developing your online community, you were probably told to keep the same look and feel of your own company website - and for good reason. Keeping both sites similar in appearance helps visitors to recognize your company’s branding and to solidify you as a thought-leader in the industry. Have you made changes to your company website recently? Does your online community mirror those changes? Remember, while separate, both sites represent your company as a whole. Be sure you aren’t leaving anything out on your online community that would lead visitors to believe it is not directly connected to your brand. 

Multimedia aspects
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Aside from fresh, up-to-date content, one of the next most important assets you can have on your online community are additional multimedia aspects; videos, podcasts, webinars, etc. Featuring multimedia elements on your online community helps your site to stand apart and allows visitors to be more engaged whenever they are visiting your online community. Keeping your videos and other elements relevant and up-to-date is a no brainer.

The bottom line is, as hard as it is for us to accept change, sometimes the best results emerge from new ideas and content. And when your company’s success is on the line, it’s a small price to pay to keep your online community generating the traffic and leads your company deserves.

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Stefanie Mosca is a Managing Editor for TMCnet, with a particular focus in wireless technologies as well as mobile and IP communications. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Haven. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page or follow her on Twitter (News - Alert) @stefaniemosca.


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