How to Build an Online Community

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Want an example of the power of an online community? In a past interview, I heard that won twiistup partially because the its community rallied and voted for it.

So I called up the site’s founder, Devlyn Steele, and asked him to teach us what he knows about building communities online.

Devlyn Steele

Devlyn Steele

Tools To Life

Devlyn Steele founded Tools To Life, a free online self help site with real programs and support from community.

A few lessons from this program

Here are a few key elements of building an online community. (Listen to the full interview for more.)

Come back – You can’t have a community if your members don’t come back to your site. ToolsToLife gets its members to return because its self-improvement programs are broken up into multiple steps and members are emailed to come back and take each subsequent step.

What are we here for? – Devlyn reminded me of the power of a mission. When I learned how politicians build movements online, I was told the same thing. When people have a common mission, a community and a movement grows.

Group challenges – On ToolsToLife, members join in groups to achieve goals like exercising more. By joining together, they naturally form a community.

Commit and boast – On ToolsToLife, members can take on a goal and email that commitment to their friends. When they achieve that goal, they can boast about it to their friends. In both cases, they’re inviting their friends to the site. When they do, they grow their community with people they trust.

What ideas do you have for building communities online?

Who should we feature on Mixergy? Let us know who you think would make a great interviewee.