Our community is a very good example — because it is a very tiny niche. If it worked like this for us, it will surely work at lest that good for the others; but most often should be much better than this.
http://forum.kozovod.com is a Ukrainian goat keepers community.
In terms of numbers, it took us ~2 years to get to what we are today:
- ~30 registrations weekly, with zero marketing effort
- all views are from organic search from a few major search engines, including Google
- 170 active users daily out of 1400 registered users
- 320k views per month (using default recommended integration with Google Analytics)
- 300-500 new messages sent daily
- 90k messages and 3k topics total
This is a wide topic.
It took us a team of a few people and 2 years of constant daily effort to get to this point.
We read a lot about writing, editing, and about building communities (here at Meta and in FeverBee).
The summary of our activities:
- contests, both one-time (with very good prizes), and month-to-month ongoing (with small and funny prize)
- a lot of thoughtful topic renaming, splitting, joining
- ban of texts and images copied from the internet when it comes to serious topics
- find out topics not discussed enough on our competitors’ websites — and put a lot of effoert to make them boost in our comunity
- a lot of individual work with community leaders and potential influencers (it’s all about people!) — we had to learn to “read” people’s mind, find out their preferences and invite them to activities that get them excited
- regular invitation of those who are online to participate in topics they might be interested in
- translation adaptation to our industry field and nation, so that people feel cozy
- ongoing composition of rules that set our community as being very different and much better than any real and potential competitors; and ongoing moderation to keep everything as dictated by the rules.
Community is a hard work… But thinking, analyzing, trying out new things and regular action will always be rewarding.
Nonetheless, I’m sure there should be other models of community development, which require much less effort. For example, if the community is not the main thing per se, but rather a complementary hub for the users of your product — if this is the case, you’ll get plenty of users free and effortlessly out of the box (I suppose so, but never did it in practice on my own)