One of the biggest challenges I face when running our community is retaining the interest of the people that join. Although retaining 100% of the people that come along from time to time is a virtual impossibility, there are steps you can take to greatly improve your chances.
However, first it would be appropriate to identify why people do leave your clan or community.
Many will leave because they are bored, the clan doesn’t do anything or what they do take part is of no interest to the person. Similarly many people probably join your clan or community because of one particular instance or occurrence in a hope that it might happen again.
Lack of Activity or Content
No one likes to be on the ghost train alone – so why would anyone be interested on being on a ghost website they login day after day and see the same old content and posts. Many clans/communities promise a lot but provide nothing with regards to content or activity.
Sense of Community
Just like at school; if you don’t feel like part of the group you probably don’t want to be there. Many communities are based on a pre-existing group, similar to ourselves, that decided to go official in a sense. Sometimes new members won’t get the same sense of friendship or community like the older members and will look elsewhere.
Many clans or communities have some very odd perceptions about who should be allowed into their beloved clan. Particularly EVE-Online corporations have, understandably, security measures and checks and blood samples and DNA swabs in place to confirm your identity. In cases where it’s not necessary or relevant some people will find it effort to even access your website or communications and go elsewhere.
Some clans might adopt the approach that you need to have a certain level of skill or ability to even be a member; sometimes this can deter people in the harshest of ways as they may view your clan or community as “elitist”.
So how do I get around these barriers?
Well the simple way to deal with people getting bored is keep things interesting
, try new games, new locations and new methods – if things stay the same things go stale. It’s the same as anything in life. Within Retro Community I’m always looking for ways to keep people interested. It’s important to realise that’s it’s not always necessary for something new – sometimes you just need to improve or develop on what you already have.
Lack of Activity or Content
This again relates to the content of your clan or community; sometimes just having people online is better than having any content at all. Before we started a website or had any game servers we were just an unnamed group of players on a Mumble server playing random games as a group of friends picking people up as we went. Now we’ve expanded by introducing game servers and a website – more people join the community because of the positive experiences they’ve had with your community/clan.
Sense of Community
Occasionally you will be playing the most current games, have the best content and the highest activity – but if people don’t feel accepted or part of the community they won’t stick around. The best way to do this is to involve and invite everyone to everything even if you know they despise a particular game or game mode; sometimes it’s about the effort. The most effective way I’ve been able to do this is by way of newsletters. Don’t just communicate things by word of mouth or telling individual people – send out a newsletter to let the whole clan/community know. This makes things available to everyone.
A community without some form of public area is useless; there have been no end of times when I was looking at teams, clans or communities website and came across the same old “This is a private website you must register to access” or something similar. Unless your website is amazingly well known for its free hardware or games; no one will register to access it. It's important to lock things down but you need to be more open with new people. With Retro Community I wanted to keep the website as much of a information base and an open area for members just to share ideas and post opinions etc. This is all open to the public to see; but to access the shop/downloads and post they need to register. This way they can see if they’d like to register and they can see what it is we and what we have to offer.
Setting skill barriers or limitations based on someone’s ability is dumb thing to do; not only does it push the person away the individual can give his/her opinion to other potential new members and thus less people will come your way. Understandably there may be a legitimate reason to require certain level of ability of skill for a team or game based role – but surely not to join the community in general. We’ve easily avoided this by welcoming anyone and everyone – granted some people are absolutely dire at games but hey we all started somewhere. Multiple teams is always a good approach to help people develop and it makes them feel included.
About the Author
Jeronix is a support volunteer for iClan Websites and runs his community at Retro Community
. Jeronix has successfully utilized iClan Websites' features to build, grow and run his community for many years. Feel free to contact him by commenting below or by visiting his website at Retro Community
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