Recommended Podcast: Boagworld > Community Websites, by Paul Boag

A couple of weeks ago, Rhonda recommended Boagworld as a good podcast to listen to. If you’re into web design, I also recommend this podcast, particularly the episode on Community Websites. This episode has two parts:

Boagworld

Paul mentioned a few interesting points about communities:

  • Users who can participate and contribute to your site feel more loyalty and belonging to your site.
  • The comments and information they add can also function as keywords to increase your site’s rank.
  • You can nurture a community by asking questions. People like to answer questions because it makes them feel important; their responses give them their 15 seconds of fame.

Asking more questions is a technique I plan to do just with my regular blog posts.

Also, Paul talked about the varying degrees of participation that sites allow, from simply allowing comments to allowing users to entirely control the content. He relates an experience of how he implemented a forum for one group, and it didn’t have much participation. He then changed the medium to an email list, and it took off. He said you have to know your audience and the way they prefer to communicate.

He’s got a cool English accent too, and says things like CONtribute instead of conTRIbute. (He sounds a little like the Geico Gecko, actually.) [In looking for an image of the gecko, I realized the gecko has his own blog!]

There’s a bit of fluff at the beginning of the shows, but if you skip past it you soon sink into good content. You get the sense that he really knows what he’s talking about.

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By Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer working for The 41st Parameter in San Jose, California. I'm primarily interested in topics related to technical writing, such as visual communication (video tutorials, illustrations), findability (organization, information architecture), API documentation (code examples, programming), and web publishing (web platforms, interactivity) -- pretty much everything related to technical writing. If you're trying to keep up to date about the field of technical communication, subscribe to my blog either by RSS or by email. To learn more about me, see my About page. You can also contact me if you have questions.