About this Guide
You have a website. Now you want your members to use it. But how do you get them to use something not in the game? This is a quick and dirty guide to getting members to use your site.
A lot of people think that just having a website is enough. It's not. Your website doesn't need to be complex, or professionally designed, but it does need to be easy to figure out. Have someone who doesn't know a thing about your website look at your site, and try and see if they can find certain things, like the forums. If they can't do it easily, then your site needs some tweaking. Remember, people have short attention spans... make sure they can find what they're looking for quickly or they'll leave. Put important stuff where they can find it.
Content matters tooEdit
The best designed, most easily navigated site won't have any hits if there's nothing on it of interest. Don't focus just on utility. Give them some fun options as well. In your forum, have a place for general or off-topic discussions, a place for photos, and a place for videos. People will visit those the most, but they'll be on there to see the stuff you need them to see as well. Other items you can add to your website that help attract people are rosters, shoutboxes, galleries, downloads, talent calculators, character profiles, ventrilo/teamspeak status etc. It should also house your guild rules, policies, mission statement or charter, and other guild specific pages.
Make some things website exclusiveEdit
If you make everything available in game, or elsewhere, there's no incentive to go to your website. Put things on your website that they can only find there. Some examples of website only items could be your guild calendar/sign ups, dkp standings, announcements, and required guild mods.
Put your applications on the webEdit
The easiest way to get people to use your site is to get them used to it from the beginning. You can also encourage your older members to use the site by encouraging input from current members about new applicants. Be sure to moderate this heavily though.
Be active yourselfEdit
You should always be the top poster on your site. If people post, and then don't get an answer, they're going to assume the forum is dead. The more active you are, the faster you respond, the more active they'll be.
Ok, I've done all that, now how do I get them to use it?Edit
Promote it. Put the site in your GMOTD. Refuse to answer any question you've already answered on the website... give them the link instead. Encourage feedback... ask people to look at the site and post their suggestions on what they'd like to see. Read through those and implement a few of the good ones.
Post any accomplishments on the site as well. Down a boss? On the site. Promote a new raider? On the site. Someone hit High Warlord? On the site.
Keep in mind that you're going to have a few people who spend all day on your forums, and you're going to have people who never, ever visit your site. If you get a decent number of people who are active, and get a few more who lurk but never post, then you've done your job. Just keep up promoting and pointing people to the site, and sooner or later you'll be sitting in Shattrath watching guild chat and someone will ask a question, and someone else will say "you can find that on our website!"
Then you'll know you've done your job.
As I said before, this is pretty much a general guide. For how to specifically do something on your website, check out some of the guides found in the CREATING GUILD WEBSITES section of the Forum Table of Contents.
- Written by Evol of Chupathingy - Akama Server
Original Post: Guild Relations Forum