Re: So, your BP site is up! Now, how to bring the people in and start using it?
@Chouf1 has some great points – anyone has access to the same tools when creating a community site. BUT – it takes a ringleader upstart and keep a community going. For that, I’d say treat a community idea like a business plan. It will take time to foster growth, activity and membership – (catch-22 of a void site with no activity and members and who will join to start in)
One of the online communities that I’m apart of grew from a local hangout of car geeks (few dozen people) back in the mid-90s now to the largest automotive discussion forums (500k+ users and some 60,285,241 posts later) – all it took was a span of 13 years Frankly the site still operates and grows on outdated forum software, no frills, no social aspect, no mobile, web 0.5 basically. Now it could be better – and that has lead to other small niche community from this (20-30k users on better tools) but the point is; you have to be passionate about your community and provide the value-added benefits that your users seek.
How soon should you start to promote the website?
When everything is perfectly functioning and tested?
Or it is better to start to get the people in when the main features are ok, even if a few things are not working as they should or you would like them to?
I’m a K.I.S.S. advocate – if a site is too complex or overwhelming that may drive users away. Sometimes it works out for the best to keep it low on the extra features and listen to the community as it grows – then customize and add things in that will make it easier for them to use the site. The web is saturated with communities and users have a lot of choices (though i find the tool being used one of the lower deciding factors)