7 Hacks to Increase Community Engagement on your Website

increase community engagement
Last Updated on: Posted inBlog

Are you tired of talking to yourself on your website? Feeling a little lonely in the vast expanse of the internet? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Building an online community can be tough, especially when you’re competing with cat videos and memes.

But fear not, dear reader, for we have the ultimate guide to help you increase community engagement on your website.

And no, it doesn’t involve sending your cat on a skateboard (though that would be pretty cool).

From virtual worlds to reward programs, we’ve got some fun and creative strategies that will make your website the coolest kid on the block (or the internet, as it were).

So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s get started on creating the most engaged community the world wide web has ever seen!

1. Implement a private messaging system

If you want community members to spend more time on your site, you need to build it like a virtual world. And what better way to do that than a private messaging system where folks can talk?

This allows members to build relationships and gives them the incentive to stay on your site longer, as they’re able to chat in real-time instead of leaving for another platform.

UsersWp is a WordPress plugin that lets you create an online community on your website.

One of the reasons they’re the best solution is the Facebook-like chat add-on – with this nifty feature, members of your online community can now connect and chat one-on-one, just like they do on popular social media platforms.

Logged-in users can send messages to other users with ease.

Simply click the “Message” button on the user’s directory, profile page, or messaging sidebar, and voila!

A popup message box will appear, ready for you to craft your message and send it off to your online friend.

Some cool things you can set up on our private messaging plugin are:

  1. Defining message length – When chatting with your community members, it’s important to keep conversations clear and to the point. Our private messaging plugin lets you set a character limit, which encourages concise communication and helps you and your community members stay on topic. Alternatively, you may not want to set a character limit at all to allow for free-flowing conversations! It depends on your users – you know them best.
  2. Unread message notifications – In a busy online community, it’s easy to miss important messages. With our private messaging plugin, you can receive email notifications for unread messages at your chosen interval, ensuring you’re always in the loop and never miss a beat. This means you can stay on top of conversations, respond promptly, and maintain a strong connection with your community.
  3. Users Blacklist – Keeping your online community safe and enjoyable is a top priority. Our private messaging plugin lets you stop selected users from using the chat, which helps prevent trolls and spammers from disrupting conversations and causing trouble. This means you can maintain a positive and respectful environment for your community members, which fosters strong relationships and encourages engagement.
  4. Profanity filter – Creating a professional and respectful environment for your community is key to fostering productive and meaningful conversations. You can specify the words that you want to be restricted on your site’s chat, which helps ensure that offensive or harmful language is not used. This means you can cultivate a positive and productive space for your community members to communicate in, which encourages engagement and collaboration.
  5. Message box design – Designing a visually appealing and engaging chat experience is important for building a strong community. You can customize the color of each element of the chat, which helps you create a chat experience that reflects your brand and enhances engagement. This means you can create a visually appealing space for your community to connect and collaborate in, which strengthens relationships and encourages participation.
  6. Allow users to block other users – Empowering your community members to take control of their online experience is essential for building a positive and respectful community. Give community members the ability to remove negative or disruptive individuals from their conversations so you can provide them with a safe and respectful space to communicate in.

With the “Messages” tab in the profile, users can easily keep track of their recent conversations in one convenient location. This means no more hunting through endless chats to find that one important message.

In addition, the UsersWP Private Messages add-on is fully responsive and 100% translatable.

This means that users can access their messages on any device, whether it be a desktop or a mobile phone.

Plus, the add-on can be translated into any language, so users can communicate with others across the globe.

This means that users can stay connected with their community no matter where they are, making the add-on an indispensable tool for fostering engagement and building relationships.

2. Let users publish and comment

Piggybacking on the idea that you have to establish a virtual world, find ways to incentivize community members to comment and publish their own content on your website.

This will encourage users to be creative, get involved in conversations, and share their ideas with the rest of the community.

And when you enable comments, you let users interact and encourage conversations about topics relevant to your brand.

This will not only help create an environment for meaningful dialogue, but it will also keep users engaged and interested in what’s happening on your website.

Just make sure to moderate them regularly.

This helps you ensure that the content being shared is friendly and respectful, which creates a positive environment for your community members to engage in conversations.

  1. Install and activate the “Frontend Post” add-on on your WordPress website.
  2. Create a page where you want to add the front-end blog post submission form, or use an existing page. In the WordPress dashboard, navigate to UsersWP > Pages > Frontend Post Page and select the page where you want to add the form (if you’re using the classic editor, add the UWP > Frontend Post Form block or [frontend_post_form] shortcode to the page).
  1. If you want to enable the form for guest users, navigate to UsersWP > Addons > Frontend Post and enable the “Allow guests to submit a post” option. This will add two extra fields for name and email address to the form for non-logged-in users, and a new user will be created using those details.
  1. Customize the form settings by navigating to UsersWP > Addons > Frontend Post and adjusting options like post status, success and error messages, and more.
  2. Enable or disable email notifications for user and admin by navigating to UsersWP > Emails > User Emails | Admin Emails and selecting the “Frontend Post” options.

That’s it! The “Frontend Post” add-on is fully translatable, making it easy to create a multi-author blog and engage your community in their language of choice.

3. Add follower functionality

If you’re going to enable content creation, allowing user followers is a great way to encourage further engagement. People love validation. It motivates them to produce content, share ideas and opinions, and become more involved overall.

When users can follow each other, they get updates whenever new posts are published. This creates a sense of belonging within the community as people gain recognition for their activities, and insights are shared among members with similar interests.

4. Set up friend requests

Setting up friend requests can help your community members connect with others who share similar interests and build meaningful relationships.

By sending and receiving friend requests, users can engage with each other on a deeper level and form social circles, which can create a sense of belonging within the online community.

Again, it’s about creating a virtual world – whether it’s discussing common hobbies or interests, sharing experiences, or simply having fun, friend requests can generate more time spent in your community.

  1. Install the friend request add-on by UsersWP to add a “Send Friend Request” button to user profiles.
  2. Customize the plugin settings to your preferences, including options to accept or decline requests and set privacy levels.
  3. Add the friend request feature to user profiles, which may require adding a shortcode or editing your site’s theme.
  4. Users can send and receive friend requests, with notifications sent via email or dashboard.
  5. Accept or decline friend requests as desired, adding new connections to your friend list.

Enjoy a more social and engaging community, connecting with like-minded individuals and building meaningful relationships.

5. Promote groups

If your community has a lot of users with similar interests, you may benefit from creating and promoting groups.

Groups give members the opportunity to join or create niche networks, engage in conversations related to their shared interests, and even organize events.

Members can interact with each other without feeling overwhelmed by the larger community, while also gaining access to exclusive content and resources.

With our group management features, users can quickly create and customize groups with their own privacy and posting settings. Here’s what group creators can do:

  • Choose a name, write a description, and add a banner image to make the group stand out.
  • Set clear group rules to guide members’ behavior and ensure a positive experience for everyone.
  • Decide on the group’s privacy settings: make it public for anyone to join, private for members only, or hidden so only members can see it.
  • Set post moderation options: choose to auto-publish posts or require approval before they go live to ensure quality content.
  • Select who can invite new users: give permission to site admins, group owners, owner and moderators, or all members.

And to ensure a safe community that users will want to come back to, group owners can assign moderators that approve, reject, or review flagged posts.

All in all, your community will be able to share content (+ like and comment just like on Facebook), collaborate on projects and tasks, and form meaningful relationships that go beyond the scope of your website.

6. Encourage immediate interactions

When you’re building a new community, you don’t have the same pull as Insta or Facebook – yet. That’s why it’s important to foster immediate interactions as much as possible right from the start.

Here are a couple of ways to do that:

  1. Enable real-time notifications: People are more likely to engage in a lasting conversation if they know that someone is actively listening. Add real-time notifications to your site with the Notifications add-on, which gives users immediate updates on activity within their network. You can set notifications for pretty much anything, including:
    1. New comments and replies
    2. Posts published
    3. Follow/unfollow
    4. Friend requests
    5. New/unread messages
  1. Show online users: Seeing who is online on your site is also a great way to encourage real-time engagement. With the Online Users add-on, a green circle will appear beside a user’s profile every time they’re online. You can also set how often the online status checker resets.
  1. Allow easy social logins: Last but not least, make it easy for people to join your community by allowing them to log in with their existing social accounts like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Instagram. With the Social Login add-on, users can quickly sign up and start engaging with others without having to manually fill out forms or remember a new username/password.

7. Implement rewards and recognition

A great way to motivate users to participate in your community is by offering rewards and recognition for their efforts.

This could include anything from points or badges earned for completing tasks, to the occasional gift card or other items for members who contribute regularly.

  1. Leaderboards: Recognize top contributors with a leaderboard tracking engagement, such as posts or comments. Example: “Top Posters of the Month” section on your homepage.
  2. Badges and points: Create a badge or points system to reward members for completing specific activities or achieving milestones. For instance, you could add a distinction like an “Expert Contributor” badge for those who reach a certain post count.
  3. Exclusive access: Offer benefits, such as early access to new features, to highly engaged members. Maybe a “Beta Tester” role for active members.
  4. Personalized recognition: Offer personalized recognition, such as shoutouts or social media posts, to members who have made significant contributions. Set up a “Member of the Month” highlight in your newsletter or homepage.
  5. Awards and contests: Host awards or contests to recognize top performers or encourage participation in specific activities. If your community is known for creating and sharing content, then a “Best Blog Post” contest with a prize for the winner could be a good idea.
  6. Appreciation events: Host events to show appreciation for community members, such as virtual happy hours or town hall meetings. You could even hold a “Meet the Team” event where members can ask questions and get to know community managers.

Pro tip: Get community members excited about your rewards and recognition programs by using a plugin like Mailster that lets you send email newsletters about upcoming events, contests, and awards.

You can allow members to opt-in for the newsletter during registration.


Parting words

By implementing these seven hacks, you can increase community engagement on your website and create a more active and vibrant online space.

With the right strategies and tools in place, you’ll be able to see an uptick in user activity and build relationships with users that will last long into the future.

You can implement many of the tips we’ve shared today yourself with other tools or using one simple plugin: UsersWp.

So what are you waiting for? Start engaging today!

Published by Paolo

Paolo Tajani, co-founder and marketing lead at AyeCode LTD, works alongside his business partner Stiofan to develop key WordPress plugins such as GeoDirectory, UsersWP, and GetPaid. Starting his journey with WordPress in 2008, Paolo joined forces with Stiofan O'Connor in 2011. Together, they have been instrumental in creating and marketing a range of successful themes and plugins, now actively used by over 100,000 websites.

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