How to Create a Community Website with WordPress

WordPress powers more than 30% of the world’s websites. If you’re looking to create a website that serves as a hub for your local community, you’ve probably already considered migrating your existing content to WordPress.

However, establishing a community website isn’t as simple as setting up a blog on the CMS. There are a number of essential steps that you need to take in order to successfully launch your community website.

Set Up The Basics

The first step to establishing your community website is to set up the basics. When launching a community website, you will inevitably face problems with internet connectivity. Be sure to set up a backup strategy in advance in case your site goes down for some reason. Backing up is essential, especially if you’re running a business website which can be highly lucrative. If you’re looking to create a blog for your business, you might also want to consider looking into setting up an SSL certificate to secure your website.

Apart from the connectivity issues, you will also want to consider setting up hosting with the proper amount of disk space and a reliable internet connection. For maximum flexibility, you might also want to look into using a free domain name rather than purchasing one.

Choose A Niche

Choosing a niche can be a challenge when establishing a community website. You don’t want to choose a topic that is already covered by many other communities, social media platforms, and forums. The best way to tackle this is to look into what services your community needs and wants. Think of the problems your community faces and choose a niche that addresses those problems. For instance, if you’re working with an NGO in disaster-stricken areas and they have a database of volunteers, you could possibly create a resource hub for that community. The website will promote volunteering and provide the necessary tools to accomplish this.

Many smaller communities can be supported by one website, but you should definitely consider establishing multiple sites for large communities. Even if you have the manpower to do this, it’s still a good idea to spread the load across multiple websites.

Pick A Name

If you’re looking to establish a community website with WordPress, the first and most important decision you’ll need to make is to pick a name. It’s best to choose a word that is short and easy to remember. If someone were to ask you what your website is about, you could simply tell them the name of your website and they’ll have no problem understanding what you are talking about. Short website names are also easier to type and reach when promoting your site on social media platforms.

Establishing A Theme

An important decision you’ll need to make when setting up a community website with WordPress is to choose a theme. The theme you choose will have a huge impact on the look and feel of your site. Some themes are completely free, while others can cost up to thousands of dollars. The best way to find out what theme will best suit your needs and wants is to look at a variety of themes and decide which one you like the most. A good place to start is ThemeForest.

Once you’ve settled on a theme, take some time to familiarize yourself with the different parts of the WordPress dashboard. You can also find help and support from the WordPress community on a variety of topics via the platform’s official forums. The last thing you want to do is launch your community website and realize that you don’t have the slightest idea of how the platform works behind the scenes. Just remember to be creative and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Curate Content

If you’re looking to create a community website where people from your local area can contribute content, the first thing you’ll need to do is find some content to curate. You can use a variety of sources for content, including locally published magazines, newspapers, and books. Another great source of content is your local library. There are literally thousands of books available on a range of topics, many of which are still in print and highly relevant to today’s society. When choosing books, don’t just look at the cover art or the description on the back. Instead find books that will engage and inspire your target audience.

The best way to attract potential contributors to your community website is to populate it with engaging content. A good rule of thumb is to write an article approximately once every two months. This will help ensure that your site will always have content to look at and will keep your audience interested.

Create Categories And Tags

Categories and tags are essential when creating a community website because they allow your content to be easily searched for and found by potential users. If you want your content to be discoverable, you should definitely consider creating some categories and tags for it. WordPress makes this very easy. All you need to do is go to your content dashboard and click on the gear icon located at the top right corner of the page. From there you can select the appropriate category or tag and use the + symbol to add them to your content.

Attracting Visitors

To attract visitors to your community website, you’ll first need to consider which channels your ideal audience uses. If you’re looking for a sustainable source of traffic, you could try blogging or using social media to gain some visibility.

Blogging is a great way to create a community website because it’s relatively easy to set up and requires no special software to be used. Plus, anyone can do it. Visibility on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook can be very valuable and is much more professional than simply putting up a blog. Establishing a social media account for your business is free and very easy to do. Just remember to engage with your followers and make sure you consistently post quality content. Your audience will thank you for it.

Encouraging Comments

Encouraging comments are great when attracting visitors to your community website, but they’re even better when encouraging individuals to contribute content or re-post material from your site. When someone leaves a comment on your blog, you’ll see a little + symbol next to their name. Hit the “edit” button and from there you can choose to “like” or “dislike” their comment. Dislike or block a comment if you feel it isn’t constructive to your conversation.

The easiest way to get started is to go to your WordPress dashboard and hit the “comments” button next to the post you’re working on. From there, you can see all the comments left by visitors to that post. If you want to encourage feedback on a more individual level, you can click on the little gear icon next to a commenter’s name and from there you can choose to “like” or “dislike” their comment. You can also use this icon to report a comment if you feel it violates an acceptable use policy on your site.

Setting Up RSS

Rich-snippets are a great way of grabbing webmasters’ attention and encouraging them to read your content. It’s important to note that not all rich-snippets are created equal, however, so make sure you choose the right one for your niche. One of the best sources for finding the right RSS feed is the HubSpot Blogger network. When choosing a feed for your website, make sure that it is a reputable source and has a large following in your niche. The last thing you want to do is to set up your community website and realize the content is not appearing as you expected. Make sure to carefully check your RSS feeds and if you notice any errors, contact the service provider. Otherwise, you’ll have a huge headache when trying to fix the issue.

Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-friendly

The world is now officially mobile. In 2018, more people search the web on their phones than on desktop computers. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you’re losing out on a massive audience. To be mobile-friendly, your website needs to be formatted for small screens. This means using colors that are easy to see on a small smartphone screen and keeping text to a minimum.

If you want to create a fully functional website that looks great on a desktop computer or large-screen television, you should consider investing in web design software. There are a variety of software packages that can be used to make a website look professional and clean. Think of this as an expensive (but very well worth it) piece of marketing equipment.