[Guide] Getting Members to Your Guild Website

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85 Human Paladin
7595
Editor's Note: Posted on the original World of Warcraft forums by Evol . Edited by Asterie.

About this Guide

You have a website. Now you want your members to use it. But how do you get them to use something not in the game? This is a quick and dirty guide to getting members to use your site.

Design matters
A lot of people think that just having a website is enough. It's not. Your website doesn't need to be complex, or professionally designed, but it does need to be easy to figure out. Have someone who doesn't know a thing about your website look at your site, and try and see if they can find certain things, like the forums. If they can't do it easily, then your site needs some tweaking. Remember, people have short attention spans... make sure they can find what they're looking for quickly or they'll leave. Put important stuff where they can find it.

Content matters too

The best designed, most easily navigated site won't have any hits if there's nothing on it of interest. Don't focus just on utility. Give them some fun options as well. In your forum, have a place for general or off-topic discussions, a place for photos, and a place for videos. People will visit those the most, but they'll be on there to see the stuff you need them to see as well. Other items you can add to your website that help attract people are rosters, shoutboxes, galleries, downloads, talent calculators, character profiles, ventrilo/teamspeak status etc. It should also house your guild rules, policies, mission statement or charter, and other guild specific pages.

Several of the most popular threads on our site have nothing to do with the game itself. One is a Pwn The Image thread (stolen from Sleeper Cartel, thanks Darias!) where you have to make a post of an image that related to and "pwns" the image above it. This has spawned a second thread, Pwn The Song, which does the same thing with music. And there's always some sort of Bring Teh Funny thread for people to post stuff they find funny. Depending on your guild culture, you may want to have a NSFW thread, which serves as a collector for stuff that people want to post that may push boundaries and tends to keep that stuff then out of every other thread.
Edited by Asterie on 2/2/2011 10:15 AM PST
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85 Human Paladin
7595
Make some things website exclusive

If you make everything available in game, or elsewhere, there's no incentive to go to your website. Put things on your website that they can only find there. Some examples of website only items could be your guild calendar/sign ups, dkp standings, announcements, and required guild mods.

Put your applications on the web
The easiest way to get people to use your site is to get them used to it from the beginning. You can also encourage your older members to use the site by encouraging input from current members about new applicants. Be sure to moderate this heavily though, especially if the applications are public.

As far as public vs. private applications, there's some debate either way. A private application allows the applicant to apply without fear of any sort of retribution from their current guild, and may allow for a more honest app than one where they have to watch what they're saying. Guild members may be more likely to comment on applications if they aren't afraid of hurting the applicants feelings.

On the other hand, a private application won't have any input beyond guild members experience, often including the applicant themselves. A public application, on the other hand, means that anyone reading with anything to say about the applicant could do so, which could be both a blessing and a curse.

Either way, having applications on your site will draw people to it.

Be active yourself
You should always be the top poster on your site. If people post, and then don't get an answer, they're going to assume the forum is dead. The more active you are, the faster you respond, the more active they'll be.

Ok, I've done all that, now how do I get them to use it?

Promote it. Put the site in your GMOTD. Refuse to answer any question you've already answered on the website... give them the link instead. Encourage feedback... ask people to look at the site and post their suggestions on what they'd like to see. Read through those and implement a few of the good ones.

Post any accomplishments on the site as well. Down a boss? On the site. Promote a new raider? On the site. Someone hit High Warlord? On the site.

Keep in mind that you're going to have a few people who spend all day on your forums, and you're going to have people who never, ever visit your site. If you get a decent number of people who are active, and get a few more who lurk but never post, then you've done your job. Just keep up promoting and pointing people to the site, and sooner or later you'll be sitting in Orgrimmar or Stormwind watching guild chat and someone will ask a question, and someone else will say "you can find that on our website!"

Then you'll know you've done your job.

As I said before, this is pretty much a general guide. For how to specifically do something on your website, check out some of the other guides here.
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85 Blood Elf Warrior
4715
Good guide! I hit that like button and what not :)


P.S. It's sarannah, hope youre doing well!
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85 Human Paladin
7595
Hey Sarannah :D
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85 Human Warrior
4270
Well I am trying everything you have said so far, still I am having problems with folks in the guild to login to website once a day. Although attendance is picking up slowly.
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85 Tauren Shaman
0
02/02/2011 4:39 AMPosted by Asterie
Editor's Note: Posted on the original World of Warcraft forums by .


...Me!
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85 Tauren Shaman
0
02/02/2011 7:54 AMPosted by Easyryder
Well I am trying everything you have said so far, still I am having problems with folks in the guild to login to website once a day. Although attendance is picking up slowly.


You're never going to get 100% buy-in. The majority of your members might check the site three times a year, including the application.

What you want to strive for is enough of a percentage of your guild to check the site that they can point others to the site when they ask something in guild chat that's answered there.

But the point of playing the game is to play the game, in game. As long as your members are doing things in game, and signing in and being active there, their activity on the website is significantly less important. And it's a realistic expectation to set.
Edited by Evol on 2/2/2011 9:49 AM PST
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85 Night Elf Druid
5785
I used to jump hoops trying to get members to log onto our site with any regularity but was never entirely successful by far. Then we started having site problems and I temporarily stopped using the website. In the meantime we started up a guild FB page just for fun and the funny thing is that we have a hell of a lot more participation and checking-in there. So basically I now post updates, discussions, notes, etc. on our guild FB page and reference that in our MOTD when necessary. What I will most likely do once our website is running properly again is to put some of the more lengthy content on our website but then post the notice/update on our FB page with a link to the website page. My bet is that will get a lot more guildies actually clicking on the link to check out content on the page.
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85 Human Paladin
7595
hehe Whoopsie :D

Update in 30 seconds lol
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85 Blood Elf Rogue
8515
02/02/2011 10:03 AMPosted by Moonsilk
I used to jump hoops trying to get members to log onto our site with any regularity but was never entirely successful by far. Then we started having site problems and I temporarily stopped using the website. In the meantime we started up a guild FB page just for fun and the funny thing is that we have a hell of a lot more participation and checking-in there. So basically I now post updates, discussions, notes, etc. on our guild FB page and reference that in our MOTD when necessary. What I will most likely do once our website is running properly again is to put some of the more lengthy content on our website but then post the notice/update on our FB page with a link to the website page. My bet is that will get a lot more guildies actually clicking on the link to check out content on the page.


It's the same for my guild. I ended up getting an application like RSS Grafitti that posts all my news updates from the guild website onto the Facebook page. That's been working a treat so far.
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90 Night Elf Hunter
11840
I have quite a few members that use the site once in a while, but only a couple that are posting on a regular basis.

I really like the Gallery Ideas. To keep it simple, I'm going to run a Pwn your guildie screen shot event. Our members love to duel each other, so I thought, having them post screen shots of their victories over other members would be a nice twist on your ideas.

....and your ideas are always great Asterie! Thanks for the thread.
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85 Human Paladin
7595
....and your ideas are always great Asterie! Thanks for the thread.


Hehe thank you, though I can't take credit for the guides I've posted, as all have been written by others. Evol is the brilliancy behind this particular one :)
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85 Night Elf Druid
9450
We also have something in our application where the applicant has to agree to check the website at least once a week, preference more often. It doesn't work for everyone, but in the end, people who miss certain things, I can tell them that they agreed to check it, and I have an application from them that says so.
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85 Tauren Shaman
0
02/02/2011 10:03 AMPosted by Moonsilk
In the meantime we started up a guild FB page just for fun and the funny thing is that we have a hell of a lot more participation and checking-in there. So basically I now post updates, discussions, notes, etc. on our guild FB page and reference that in our MOTD when necessary.


Yeah, when this was written, Facebook was just starting to gain traction as more than just a place for college kids to upload drunk photos. Now, it's not at all inconceivable that a guild could make themselves a page on Facebook, and have that serve as their guild site.

But, like any other guild website, there'll be some that won't use it. With going the Facebook route, you kind of have to accept that there will be folks that won't want to use it, that don't use or aren't active on Facebook, or don't want to join the guild page because they don't want that showing up on their profile, and because it uses your real information, it's significantly less private (and, following, less secure than logging onto a website where you can only see a screen name or character name). Though there's ways around that too... like posting using Tumblr, which would post to not only Tumblr, but a linked Facebook and/or Twitter account, and have an RSS feed of one of them on a guild website, giving people several options to get new information and to choose their level of buy-in/privacy/etc. So there's definitely more options out there to use, given a little bit of creativity. :)
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85 Tauren Warrior
2435
Well I just started my own guild and im haveing trouble getting people to join i want it to be a pvp and raid guild u have any advise
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90 Worgen Druid
11780
The main post and guide really sums up some of the best ways to get your guild websites more active. I may be repeating a lot of the same things, but I'll share my experiences with my guild because it really does make a difference.

A huge thing that has helped my guild boost our forum use has been changing from ingame calendar sign ups to sign ups on the website. If raiders don't sign up on the website by a certain day of the week they are automatically given lower priority and have a very high chance of being sat or waitlisted for the evening. BIG incentive to get on the site and log on. Of course, while they are there they can see what addons are required, any new kills, achievements, posts, silliness, etc.

We've also started having these fabulous "Farm Days" that have helped us increase our mats, our gold reserves, and our team spirit. We use these as a sort of contest of contribution and we post the rules and requirements, the prizes, etc. all on the website and only on the website.

A big thing to keep in mind is that once you get a good handful of members that use the site regularly, they tend to influence others as well. Whenever someone starts spamming in guild about wanting to form a new pvp team?? Go post on the site!! If they want to start running old raid content on off nights?? Arrange it on the website! We track our progress, post pictures, everything on the website. A lot of our members (and likely MOST players) also play many other games - and so we are planning on creating forums for each of these other games for members to chat about and arrange playing together etc.

I could go on, but ultimately the steps are simple and easy. Nothing is an overnight fix from 2% forum usage to 100%, but if you implement changes like the guide mentions, you'll definitely see a steady rise. As Evol said earlier too, the point of playing the game is to play the game... in-game. For me, I want my members to enjoy the website as an additional resource with important information that can help them be better raiders, players, and members who ultimately feel more invested in our guild as a team. The more we interact out of game on our site, the stronger our bonds get, and so our raid team only does better as time goes on.

On another note, we recently changed from one hosting site to the much cleaner and more user friendly hosting that curse is providing. The usage has improved a great deal, and it has made the lives of our members on the forums so much easier. So if you're using a site that has too much customization that you don't know where to start, either considering trimming down on all those "perks" or changing to a simpler hosting.

And as lots have posted above, Facebook is a great option! I have a couple friends on another server that are part of a guild that has all their members create facebook pages for their characters! So of course, their profile pictures are of their toons, and they have a community guild page and all friend each other through there. Since so many people already are using social networking sites, it's not an additional stop on the internet and makes it easy to interact outside of game.
Edited by Tintalle on 2/16/2011 2:13 AM PST
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84 Human Warrior
1000
I used to jump hoops trying to get members to log onto our site with any regularity but was never entirely successful by far. Then we started having site problems and I temporarily stopped using the website. In the meantime we started up a guild FB page just for fun and the funny thing is that we have a hell of a lot more participation and checking-in there. So basically I now post updates, discussions, notes, etc. on our guild FB page and reference that in our MOTD when necessary. What I will most likely do once our website is running properly again is to put some of the more lengthy content on our website but then post the notice/update on our FB page with a link to the website page. My bet is that will get a lot more guildies actually clicking on the link to check out content on the page.


I think I am seeing an increase in the use of FB. Its much easier to cope with and maintain. Im not sure how valuable it might be to a hardcore raiding guild but overall, FB seems to be a much easier, cost effective means to convey info for guild info/notes/fun stuff. Anyways just a thought.
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85 Blood Elf Paladin
7405
Our guild existed long before our website. We're ridiculously informal and we're also really into chasing achievements. Since our site is much newer than our guild it is difficult to get members to log on. However, I have found that fear of loss and peer pressure are amazing motivators. That's actually basic marketing.

We have a bank tab that is officer access only with a lot of gems and other fun, cool or expensive items. The running joke pre-Cata was "someday when I grow up I'll be able to access Tab 6."

So, in the first week there was a flurry of added posts, mostly from myself and my co-GL. I inserted a forum post in the middle of all of these titled "Achievement: You Found the Forums!" I created an achievement banner graphic and then congratulated any reader on having found the forums. I told them that if they posted in response to the thread they would get access to choose any one item from Tab 6. However, they must redeem said prize directly from me when I was in game (so I could make a sufficient public spectacle.)

I had one post that night and one the next morning. When I logged in game 24 hours later I made a VERY big deal about the award and opening Tab 6 to these two people. When others wanted to know how they got it I said "they got the website achievement" and then told the winners not to help.

The next day our registrations tripled. And in game it became one more fun "event" to laugh about.

Since I'm known to repeat in different but similar ways, they continue to check the website and pay attention to things I post lest they miss a reward.

We're in the process of also adding bank inventory to the website for items that are member request only and only taking those requests on the website. This was originally intended as a work around due to the loss of the armory bank log <dons her black veil> but I expect will also have the same motivating factors I discussed above.
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90 Night Elf Warrior
HPR
8765
hi ya'll

Asteria listed some really great tips. hpr officers and myself have been practicing this for years to drive people to the guild website :) We have a high percentage of members that use the guild website so it has worked.

Something we do differently is we do not require anyone to apply on the website before entering the guild HOWEVER we do require people to register AND claim their characters on the website before we will give anyone a promotion. This includes all the officers up to and including the guild master alts.

We also require a certain amount of activity on the website before a person is eligible to become an officer in the guild.

An additional thing we have done to get people to go to the site that was not listed has really helped as well.

Website based contest ...

example:

~ Hold photo gallery contests ... basic idea is you present a certain topic of a photo to post. the guild votes on the best and the winner gets a prize ;)

This can get very creative ...



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1 Orc Rogue
0
The number one way we've found, and it's briefly mentioned in the OP, is to have raid sign-ups on our website instead of in game. All of our members are required to post their status (attending, tentative, not attending) on the guild calendar. If they don't, they fall to the bottom of the loot priority list. This ensures that everyone checks the website at least once a week, which is important, since all of our strategy discussions are there.
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