Welcome back to our blog! This month, we’ll focus on How to Make Your SocialEngine Community a Breeze to Use. This is an important topic as first impressions are critical for the success of your community. It’s also crucial to keep your site user friendly in order to keep your members coming back. Read below for some helpful tips!
Why is it important to keep site navigation and features easy for members to use?
According to Netcraft there are over 100 million active websites. Even if your website is competing with just 1% of those, that’s about 10,000 websites in competition with your site for members. As such, your site needs to be set up with features to attract and retain members. One of the main reasons members leave a site is frustration over usability. If they can’t quickly figure out how to manage their account, privacy, friends, and how to post content they’ll give up. Today’s community user is well aware that there are many other community choices and will gravitate toward those that are the easiest to use.
How do I add features and still maintain an easy to use website?
With a new site, you may think you need to add a lot of features to it in order to attract members. Actually, it’s the opposite! A good thing to shoot for when you start your community is to only include features that are necessary for the community.. This allows you to focus on having a website that is fast, easy to navigate, and easy to participate in. You may also want to customize the look with colors and fonts that work better for your niche or match your business. Just remember to choose colors and fonts that are easy to read and don’t cause eye burn.
Once you have a fair amount of members and content, new features can be introduced slowly and deliberately. We suggest introducing one feature at a time. This allows your members to learn how to use this new toy and also allows you to show your members that you have plans for improvements.
You’ll still want to limit how many features you add as it can start to get “crowded,” “too busy,” and even impact site loading speeds. Any noticeable difference in site loading will cause your members to grumble and even leave. Always test on your development site to see the impact in performance and usability before implementing on the live site.
What can I do to make my site easy for members to use?
The most valuable tool for your members to learn your platform is a robust and well written knowledgebase. A knowledgebase filled with easy to follow tutorials will provide all members with a single location for any answers they need.. When there’s time, also consider doing video tutorials as many members learn better when they can see it in action. You can use our built in Forums plugin to build your knowledgebase or even utilize blog posts or simple article posts. Using hashtags and categories for tutorials will help your members find them easier as well. Make sure you have a way for members to request tutorials or to ask questions. Then, follow up with answers as this is an invaluable resource for you to see what tutorials are needed.
There are some certified plugins that can help make your site easier for members to use as well.
- Website Tour
- Tom Friend Welcome
- Staff Display Block
- Step by Step Tour
- Moderator Toolbox
- SSO (Single Sign On)
Those are just a few of the plugins we found to make things easier for members. Feel free to browse the certified marketplace for any others that might suit your site. We hope you’ve found this article helpful! Feel free to post feedback or request more articles at our community. Hope to see you there!!