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TMCnet Online Community News

Is it Time to Redesign Your Online Community?

September 28, 2012

Sure, the saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ may hold true in a number of instances, however, one place where that is certainly not the case is on the Web.  With the immediacy of technology driving design standards and algorithm changes by the minute, the Web can be considered a work in progress as it will never fully be complete due to being updated and improved so frequently. Think of your online community as possessing the same traits.

Over the past year, the constant flow of content and design elements of your online community may have provided additional success for your business. But keep in mind that in order for your campaign to maintain that level of success, it is equally as important to refresh your design and multimedia elements to keep your viewership coming back for more. If you are considering a redesign here are four key tips to keep in mind:

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.

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 at your organizaiton.

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.

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 feature on your online community are additional multimedia aspects such as 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. Remember that with the short attention span and level of distraction that comes with viewing content online, readers love shortcuts that allow them to sit back and make their experience even easier. Keeping your videos and other elements relevant and up-to-date is a no brainer for increased click through rate and average time spent on your site.

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.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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