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Community Building on the Web : Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities

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There's been a marked shift in the philosophy of developing successful Web sites. The technologies (HTML, JavaScript, JavaServer Pages) no longer occupy center stage. Rather, functional objectives and the communities that grow up around them seem to be the main ingredient in Web site success. In her carefully reasoned and well-written Community Building on the Web, Amy Jo Kim explains why communities form and grow. More importantly, she shows (with references to many examples) how you can make your site a catalyst for community growth--and profit in the process. From marketing schemes like Amazon.com's Associates program to The Motley Fool's system of rating members' bulletin-board postings, this book covers all the popular strategies for bringing people in and retaining them.

Nine core strategies form the foundation of Kim's recommendations for site builders, serving as the organizational backbone of this book. The strategies generally make sense, and they seem to apply to all kinds of communities, cyber and otherwise. (One advocates the establishment of regular events around which community life can organize itself.) Some parts of Kim's message may seem like common sense, but such a coherent discussion of what defines a community and how it can be made to thrive is still helpful.

Read this book to help crystallize your thinking about community building, and to review strategies that work for real sites already. --David Wall

Topics covered: Strategies for designing Web sites around the needs of particular groups of people, attracting those people to your site, and motivating them to return frequently. Community identification, member profiling, community leadership, and organization (of information, time, and relationships) all receive ample coverage.

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