I thought I’d share how we have been integrating our Discourse site into our main site over the past few weeks since the forum’s launch. Our service, www.MorphMarket.com, is an online marketplace like Ebay or Etsy which brings together buyers and sellers of exotic reptiles. We’ve launched about 4 years ago and are the leader in our space, having about active 1500 breeders.
We’ve branded our forum as the MorphMarket Reptile Community. The stated mission is:
A modern platform for reptile enthusiasts to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation. These forums are for everyone who is passionate about reptiles, both expert and beginner alike. Visit us to gain knowledge on reptile care, genetics, breeding, and business, to observe high level conversations between world-class breeders, and connect with people who love reptiles like you do.
I’ve actually been itching to try out Discourse for several years now, and I think we are in a perfect situation to benefit. It’s a new forum, so there is more open-mindedness about how things should work. Yet we have an existing community and a lot of traffic on our main site which we are now directing over the forum to help it get started. Here are the approaches we’ve implemented so far to syndicate our forum’s content to help build its community:
- Trending topic headlines are shown on our home page and in specific categories. Though the correspondence is not 1:1, we can use a flexible combination of categories and tags to map topics to ~20 areas on our site.
Profile pages: All buyer and seller profiles now have a direct link to their community profile, which is possible due to our use of SSO.
Seller headlines: Our site generates revenue from sellers who purchase subscriptions. As a premium feature, we’re now highlighting a seller’s recent posts on their store page. It provides another way for them to stand out and distinguish themselves (in a crowded space) for their knowledge and helpfulness. It also helps them build trust with prospective buyers.
- Social integration: we’re now sharing trending topics to these social platforms.
- Onboarding “collateral” like welcome emails and “how to get started” pages also now include references to the community.
In conclusion, I am open to ideas and feedback and also thought this might help someone else as well. I really appreciate the meta.discourse.org community and everyone who has helped us get this started.