I don’t think a platform really does that much to shape the impact of the community. That’s really down to how you structure it and lead it.
It’s worth noting that Invision Community now has clubs functionality (example: Clubs - Invision Community) which can be a good way to host sub-communities and male them feel more secure. It’s based on member permissions, so you can add a paywall in front of a club if you wanted to.
I would also restructure your community to have a landing page in front of it that showcases feature user content and any of your own content. Here’s an example using Invision Community. The community itself can do with a custom header to focus on search and/or show your communities purpose. Also the announcement/rules is a little hostile so I’d rework that to be more guidance and nurturing.
If courses are important, check out https://www.cahootlearning.com/ . They are based in Australia and they started as an LMS and that’s their “thing” but, they were in the process of introducing a nice community platform that sounds like it’d work for you. (Disclosure: I haven’t seen it since the beginning of the year because I left the company that was using the platform.)
Thx Rosie, I weren’t aware of Memberful. Will have a look into it. Also discourse + Patreon.
Right now I still experiment with MN. Some features are nice. But I also think the UX is messy. Additionally it’s not very flexible. + If I process my membership payments with MN I am basically stuck in their system for ever. Thats not good.
I tried to work around it with Sendowl payments (subscription) and Zapier … but it gets complicated quickly (invite links, account sync) and doesnt work smoothly.
I ve tried already paywalling some content with wordpress and member plugins. So I have some experience doing everything manually. It’s definitely the most flexible way but also very time consuming.
that’s a good point. i guess i feel like there aren’t a lot of good options out there my community is better suited to long-form communication imo, but the popular tools that fit that description aren’t my favorite.
how hard is it to transition users to a different platform? is it a death sentence to a community or better described as a difficult process?
Right now, I’m about to fall in love with Ghost. Maybe I can also use the Discourse integration. Since I’m based in the EU I would also like to have paypal for payments (credit cards are only tolerated by 50% of my customers). I need to figure out how to accomplish that.
What happens now is that I try to shape my future product around the best technical solutions available. Not the other way around. I cannot stress enough how important it is that the user experience is smooth and clean. Finally, it has to feel right for the customer. Otherwise, you produce a shitload of friction for them and also on your side. In my experience, this breaks almost every endeavor in the long term.
I just want to echo my agreement with your sentiment.
Far all too often, the webmasters and forum admins of old used to just follow the misguided “Field of Dreams” analogy - that if you build it, they (presumably, members) will come. But the reality proves quite the opposite: that you need to identify the demand of what your community seeks, and instead provide it incrementally, aligning your asks of your visitors, members, and subscribers directly with their levels of engagement.
For technology, this also means delivering something exceptional, modern, intuitive, and simple. It absolutely has to feel right. “Friction” is often over-used as an excuse to not innovate, in my opinion, but to be truly frictionless, you have to be willing to experiment with alternative pathways for users to access your content. A/B testing is an art more so than a science, but it should be attempted at every level, beginning with your Ghost layouts, information architecture, and taxonomy.
Really looking forward to seeing your community come together!