For a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, it’s also one of the most misunderstood, underutilized tools in the toolbox of any creator, small digital business, or entrepreneur operating today.
Especially when you’re offering paid online courses or memberships, exploring community website software shows a certain level of savvy in building your business. Why? Because it means that you understand that the value of what you’re creating isn’t just about content. When you choose to build a community website, you’re creating a network of people that gets more valuable to every member with each new person who joins.
What is a Community Website?
- A community website has people. It has member accounts, member profiles, member direct messaging, message and activity notifications, @mentions and member tagging, and other member-specific features.
- A community website has things for people to do together. Beyond members and member profiles, a community website has activities for people to do together from contributing posts with text, photos, and videos to threaded conversations, polls, questions, events, sub-groups, and even online courses.
- A community website gives people a compelling reason to come back. By connecting people to each other, community website software gives people a reason to keep coming back to your website to contribute, message, and meet up with other members.
What are the Benefits of a Community Website?
In the past, 99.9% of the population in search of community website software simply started a Facebook Group, or, more recently, a Slack Channel or WhatsApp group. However, there are more reasons than ever to avoid these platforms.
When you make the break from a Facebook Group, a Slack Channel, or a WhatsApp group and choose a community website builder instead, you unlock three key benefits:
You can bring your online courses, memberships, subscriptions, sub-groups, *and* community together in one place with ONE login. One of the more classic reasons someone stays with a Facebook Group work long after they’ve outgrown it is that “my members don’t want to have another login.”
Then, in an effort to make their members happy, they proceed to use separate platforms for online courses, subscriptions, and more. This then defeats the purpose of avoiding “another login” by requiring members to create 2-3 *new* logins to use other services. 🤦🏻♀️
More logins become unnecessary with your own community website.
The new generation of community website software is designed for a small digital business to deliver a complete set of digital products and services. The community is the glue that holds together online courses, memberships, mastermind groups, and content that a person or brand wants to offer.
You can give your people more focus, more value, and better results. Now that you have your entire brand or digital products business in one place, something magical happens. Without jumping from platform-to-platform – say, between your online courses and Facebook Group – your members can stay focused and go deeper with your content, courses, and, most importantly, other members that are much harder to meet in a newsfeed cluttered with the news, the latest outrage, and updates from your friends and family.
Just imagine what’s possible when your community is absolutely integrated into your content and courses? What would happen if your people could focus? Would they get better results? Would they build deeper and more meaningful relationships with the other members who share their same goals and motivations? Would they be more likely to stick with the workshop or course and actually implement the teachings or practices?
You know the answer. It’s yes.
You can launch this complete package all under your brand, not just on the web but on your own native mobile apps too. The most important reason to consider community website software today is that the options now available have solved the biggest hurdle to creating a successful community website in the past: being instantly available under your brand on every platform, not just the webs.
In the past, private labeling your own community website meant you were limited to a clunky, slow, and not-that-delightful community experience for your members. Compared to the speed, elegance, and delight of using Facebook, Slack, or WhatsApp’s mobile apps, the community websites of the past just couldn’t keep up.
That’s no longer the case. Now you can get your own private labeled community website plus your own fully integrated native mobile apps all under your brand without the cost, risk, and development time of custom app development.
It’s a game changer for your choices of a community website builder and more options are emerging every day.
How Do I Get Started With a Community Website?
If you’re sold on the benefits above, choosing community website software gets pretty easy in 2020. While there are a handful of options from Mobilize to Disciple Media, the most comprehensive, flexible community website builder in the market is a Mighty Network.
With a Mighty Network, you get your own community website under your brand, and can always upgrade to get your own native mobile apps (using Mighty’s apps on its lower priced plans). The best part? You can start your community website for free and grow into more sophisticated features, like online courses, sub-groups, and more, over time.
When you’re ready for a community website, the choices don’t get better than that.