Are you wondering how to create an online community website for professionals? Please don’t panic. In this article, we will guide you step by step. Online communities are the new trend in today’s digital world. Many brands have recognized its use and have begun to use community marketing. The usage of communities has extended so widely that we may need to designate a sub-category title to all the many forms of communities that exist and thrive on the internet. Professional community websites are one of these communities; they are the most respected ones.
For instance, what is LinkedIn? It is a community platform where thousands of people connect with other professional people. It is similar to Facebook, i.e., a social networking site. LinkedIn offers a format that provides surfing features like Facebook but targets a different or similar group of people for another purpose. Features working at LinkedIn are more professional; hence, people find it user-friendly and share many work opportunities and experiences.
On the other hand, Facebook’s activity stream is filled up with casual and chill posts. Here we explained a primary difference between an average community and a purposed community, i.e., a professional community. Let us begin with some slow explanations!
What is a professional community website?
A community website can be thought of as an online version of your local neighborhood, town, or city. It allows you to share information about what’s going on in the area and where people are meeting up for things like coffee mornings, book clubs, and wine tastings. You can also post events such as parties, concerts, and festivals.
For instance, activities in a gaming community will be revolving around the gaming scene only. Similarly, a professional community website is a place for professional people who want to share their job/business experiences with the world. These platforms are good to look for new employees as well. It also acts as a learning website for new employees in the industry.
Also Read: How To Create A Hemp Community Website?
Why should I create a professional community website?
There are several reasons why you might want to do this:
1. To promote your business
You can use a community website to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your website.
2. To engage with customers
You can use a community website as a way to interact directly with your customers. For example, you could offer customer service via live chat or provide feedback on products and services.
3. To expand your network
A community website gives you the opportunity to meet new people who share common interests. This can help you grow your business.
4. To increase sales
If you sell products or services through your website, you can use a community website for two purposes:
- As a promotional tool – if you run a blog, you can include links to your product pages within the blog posts. This helps you reach potential clients without having to pay for advertising.
- As an engagement tool – if you host regular competitions or giveaways, you can encourage users to sign up to your mailing list. They will then receive updates from you when you launch new products or promotions.
5. To generate leads- Online Community Website For Professionals
If you sell products, you can use a membership website to attract visitors to your store. These memberships come with added benefits such as exclusive discounts and freebies.
6. To raise funds
If you run a charity, you can set up a fundraising page on a community website. People can donate money to support your cause.
7. To gain exposure
A community website can give you exposure to a wider audience than your own website alone. By joining groups related to your niche, you can get noticed by relevant businesses and organizations.
8. To improve SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. If you don’t rank well in search results, it can make it difficult for people to find your business. A community website can boost your visibility on Google and other search engines.
9. To collaborate
If you work with other companies, you can use a group website to connect with them and exchange ideas.
10. To advertise
If you’re looking to promote your business, a community website can help you achieve this goal. You can place banner ads on the website, or even sponsor specific groups.
11. To learn more
Community websites can teach you how to manage your social media accounts, how to market your business, and how to build relationships with your customers.
12. To earn extra income
If you already have a successful business, you can turn your community website into a side hustle. You can charge a fee to join certain groups or offer paid courses.
13. To save time- Online Community Website For Professionals
There’s no need to maintain your own website. Instead, you can use a third-party platform that offers all the functionality you need at a fraction of the cost.
14. To protect yourself
You can use a community website to keep track of what information is available about you. You can also monitor any comments made about your company or brand.
15. To stay safe
You should always be careful about sharing personal details on public forums. It’s best to restrict access to these areas so only those who know you are allowed to view them.
16. To network
If you want to meet like-minded individuals, you can use a networking site to do so. In addition to providing an opportunity to talk to others, you can also post articles and ask questions.
Also Read: How To Create A Coder’s Community Website?
How to create an online community website for professionals?
Creating a community website is easy, although building it right from scratch is a tiring process. But do not worry about it, we will try to explain it in the three easiest steps!
1. Create an account on WordPress
WordPress is a drag-and-drop website building platform, you as a newbie can use to build your professional community website. Create a WordPress account and surf the platform to get a rough idea of the big picture.
2. Create a default website and choose BuddyPress
Create an average website and next select BuddyPress – It is WordPress’s Gold Standard Plugin to create an online community website! There are multiple benefits of BuddyPress, one is that you can integrate so many powerful plugins and themes into it that it may completely reform the face of your professional community website.
3. Choose a theme compatible with BuddyPress
Choosing the theme is a work of responsibility, and a website that showcases professionalism must have a decent theme. People should get the vibe that, “yeah, this place is for me to hang out for work purposes.” Get the Reign theme, it is one of the best themes in the market. It is a pro-white-level solution for your community website. Done with the theme? Get your website indexed on the search engine and enjoy your brand new professional community website platform!
What does a righteous professional community website offer?
Professional communities must live up to their name! That’s why we have listed some of the strongest features a modern professional community website owner must use to build their dream community.
1. Activity Streams
Activity stream or feed is a basic plugin that you need to run a good community website. You need to run a good activity stream plugin that has multiple sub-plugins like different post types, and support for audio, video, and gif files. Further classification of plugins has been explained down below:
2. Polls- Online Community Website For Professionals
Enable your members to create and react to polls inside BuddyPress activity streams or micro-communities/groups.
Allow your community members to post quotes in the activity stream using different text, color, and background image functions.
4. Check-In- Online Community Website For Professionals
Let your members post their latest hotel check-in with location! The activity stream will create a Facebook-like check-in post for them.
Let your members create and run sub-communities or micro-communities. Allow them the access to create small groups for an enclosed small/large scale community. It will allow people from different organizations to work together and chat as a group. For instance, LinkedIn allows you to create company accounts, which then can be followed by employees of the company.
6. Resume Display
Let your community members create and edit a resume that will be displayed on their profile. This plugin makes a community ‘professional’.
7. Profile Pro
Allow community members to maintain a profile while taking part in different activities of the community. Use the progress bar plugin which comes with the profile pro plugin to create content viewing/posting restrictions among your member’s posts.
8. Notifications- Online Community Website For Professionals
Everything that happens in the community is sent as a notification to every member. You can also schedule and send mass notifications as advertisements to your members.
9. Private Messaging
Allow your members to connect with random people in the community. Allow them to private message people, it will help improve their connectivity with the community and they will become your loyal members.
Final Thoughts on Online Community Website For Professionals
I have been asked many times, “What is the best way to start a professional community website?” and I always answer with something like this: “BuddyPress works. It really does.” The reason for that statement is that there are so many variables involved in starting any type of business or organization, including your own personal one.