Hope to make your community a success? Don’t neglect the design and layout, our data shows.
One consumer tech brand, for example, saw the number of posts on its community rise by 25% after launching an inSided community with a fresh design.
Compelling design wasn’t the only factor in this increase: it’s also important to drive traffic and activate new users with great content.
But matching an organization’s brand guidelines and getting design right behind the scenes—with a backend that’s designed for mobile and optimized for SEO—helps drive traffic both when a community is new and after it has matured.
Here’s how design influences community success:
A better mobile user experience
Because mobile is so integral to the consumer web experience, communities should be designed from the ground up to work well on phones and tablets. Two ways to do this: a responsive layout and an API that enables mobile apps to tap into community content.
The goal is to deliver a great mobile experience to community users, whether they’re on an app or the mobile web. Responsive design ensures that every page on a community looks good on small screens, while an API can inject community content into apps for a richer, more robust user experience.
Why does mobile matter? Today, 69% of digital media is consumed on mobile devices. That carries over to commerce, too. Today’s consumers are accustomed to using their phones to shop, learn more about products they’re interested in, and get help with what they’ve already bought.
That means you need to deliver a great mobile experience on all of your digital properties—especially your community, which will often be a person’s first point of contact with your brand.
Another important element of community design is what the end-user doesn’t see: the metatags and content hierarchy within the page itself.
These components help optimize every topic, post, and comment for search engine indexing. That, in turn, leads community content to rank higher on search engine results pages, driving more organic search traffic to the community.
This is an important consideration because of how much incremental SEO traffic communities generate. Typically, 65% or more of the total traffic to inSided customer communities comes from organic search—reflecting both the extent to which internet users rely on search engines and the value of good SEO.
When your community lives behind your domain, as is standard, all of this SEO traffic lands on your site. These visitors then have a short path to your online store or your product-information pages.
A great community design on the front-end leads to more on-page engagement.
The same consumer tech company mentioned above saw—in addition to 25% more community content—a 30% increase in visitor time-on-site after migrating to inSided.
Certain elements make a major contribution to engagement. A prominently displayed search bar is one example; a “Welcome” topic pinned to the top of the page is another.
Moderators can do their part by editing topic titles to be more relevant to the terms that users are searching for, and marking comments as “verified” answers.
It goes without saying, as well, that an easy-to-navigate layout enhances the user experience. Spanish telco Tuenti’s new community is one example of a compelling, eye-catching layout.
By Ben Foster
Content Marketer at inSided. Having worked in B2B tech in San Francisco and Boston, Ben's now happy to be in New York City. He'll never root for the Yankees, though. Connect on Linkedin