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How to increase engagement with your online community

You have created a beautiful new online community website. It’s well-constructed and it ticks every box.

So why aren’t people taking part?

There could be a host of reasons. We take a look at some of the barriers and highlight solutions:

1. No one knows it's there

They do have to be told! Look closely at your communications processes and points of contact with existing new and potential members and ensure that you are not overlooking the obvious. The online registration should state benefits very clearly and provide clear instructions and easy to access support. If your community also meets offline you need to take every opportunity to integrate discussions and information on your community website. Make it a critical hub for communications and visitors will soon arrive. Read how we helped the Executive Forum Alumni build member engagement.

2. People are too shy

Often people feel inhibited from making comments and contributing to public conversations. This can be countered with opening gambits that are easy to engage with such as photos, surveys or hot questions.

3. Resistance to online sharing

Here are some great ideas from Dawn Foster, author of Companies and Communities on what motivates people to participate. Your web solution and call to action must emphasise one or more of the following:

  • Status and recognition
  • Passion
  • Work help
  • Giving help to others
  • Career advancement
  • Skills development
  • Financial benefit
  • Learning
  • Social
  • Fun

We would add ‘mutual support’ to this list.

4. Make the site bespoke

There‘s a lot of competition out there from free web 2.0 platforms. For example LinkedIn gives groups of people fast access to sharing content and making personal connections. A membership community website must offer something bespoke to the needs of the community it serves.

For our client SOFT UK we found out the real needs of members which were sensitive, deeply private yet yearning for mutual support.

Our education sector client Yorkshire & Humber Grid for Learning comprises a network of teaching professionals linked to commercial training providers, course booking and an online platform for CPD. We constructed a profile section which allows each supplier to promote its brand.

5. Give people a reason to come

Are you using your community site to host information that can be relayed to the membership by their preferred medium? We helped our client Herts Visual Arts, to produce email and web-based newsletters like clockwork to keep interest and engagement high.

6. Make your website a workhorse for your organisation

Voluntary-based organisations frequently suffer from a lack of commitment from volunteers where administrative processes are time consuming and committee member roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined. Use your community site to define roles and ideally provide the tools to help the steering committee do their jobs efficiently. For example we have developed applications in the eZ Publish Content Management System for our clients to build and distribute announcements, meeting minutes and reports; manage membership registration and subscription renewals; conduct online accounting and allow members to fill in expenses forms online.

About us

Our Government, Education and Non Profit clients

We are the UK’s leading independent developer of eZ Publish web solutions for membership organisations.

Take a look at our list of clients:

eZ Publish is a world class content management system selected by membership organisations worldwide for its amazing power. Top international users include:

The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)

AWID is an international membership organisation connecting, informing and mobilising people online in three different languages.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Living Beyond Breast Cancer spotlights LBBC’s “Community Connections” which is a multi-faceted sharing network consisting of forums, experts community content and their blog all supported by eZ Publish.


INFORMS is the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science and business analytics. The society website integrates content with member accounts, events registration and online purchasing.

See the eZ Publish world class Government, Education and Non profit client list.

Are you looking for an online solution for your membership organisation? Talk to us first.

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We are delighted that the EAB business model has been recognised on the Guardian's Best Practice Exchange for exporting.

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Great news! Andre is back from Nice – tanned and relaxed -  bien sûr!

We have succeeded in establishing a Branch office in Nice. It is located in the very aptly-named Promenade des Anglais!

Our new business will have its own French trading name Entreprise AB – spot the difference?  

We also warmly welcome a number of new team members across the Channel:Jean-Marc Baldini, Odile Collin and Marina Leggiero.

Jean-Marc, Odile Collin, Marina Leggiero

The team will work with our Nice–based designer Dave Cooper to generate new business opportunities for our eZ publish CMS offering  - delivered by our Xi'an- based developer team.

As it happens eZ Publish is better known on the continent than in the UK: used on a number of high profile international French language websites such as Institut de Recherche pour le développement,so we don’t expect to have to spend so much time explaining its amazing capacities to our prospects on the Côte D’Azur. 

Nice is an ideal jump-off point for our French ambitions. We are well-connected to exciting projects in the Var Valley - an inland area of the Côte D’Azur which is earmarked for huge redevelopment.

Our new address: 

455 Promenade des Anglais
Immeuble Nice Premier A
06299 Nice Cedex 03

And our new French telephone number is +33 (0) 483580554.

Love to see you there sometime!


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