Top Online Community Platforms Review
Whether you’re a web-based artist or the owner of a SaaS product, creating a community can help you reach a new audience, increase customer loyalty, collect feedback, provide customer support, and so on. You’ll need what’s known as an on-line neighbourhood platform in order to create a neighbourhood.
However, there are quite a few options available in the market and it may be tough to pick the precise one. In this information, I’ll share a few of the best online neighborhood platforms that exist, the important thing features they provide, and their strengths and disadvantages, and I’ll additionally share some fast ideas that will help you pick the precise one for your small business. Let’s start.
Best On-line Group Platforms
- Mighty Networks: Best all-in-one neighborhood builder for creators
- Circle: Best standalone on-line neighborhood platform
- BuddyBoss: Best WordPress-based neighborhood builder
- Tribe: Best for SaaS & software program firms
- Disciple: Best for building premium on-line communities
- Hivebrite: Best for building skilled networks
- Facebook Groups: Best for rising your viewers organically
What’s a Group Platform?
A group platform means that you can create a secure and safe on-line house the place your members can work together with one another, your company, share data, assist one another, and create beneficial networks. The software program that means that you can create an internet group is named a group platform.
These options allow you to build a group round your corporation and hold members engaged. This improves person retention and boosts buyer loyalty. There are numerous choices in the marketplace, together with Tribe, Discourse, Vanilla Boards, and extra. Whether or not you’re creating a membership site, a group in your online course, or only a place in your clients to work together, you need to select the best software program to make it occur.
What’s the Best Group Platform?
The best group platform is customizable, makes use of fashionable design practices, is easy to use, and comes with highly effective gamification and moderation capabilities. It should additionally have the ability to scale with member development and supply seamless expertise by taking good care of internet hosting, upkeep, and safety. These advantages can be found in a cloud-based (SaaS) resolution.
In my view, the best group options are Tribe, Discourse, Vanilla Boards, Mighty Networks, and Spectrum. chat, Slack, and Facebook Teams. These group administration platforms empower you to create your social community (also referred to as a social group). You’ll be able to join your audiences, clients, partners, and workers under your model to build genuine relationships. It will act as a secure social platform to share concepts and be taught from one another with a collaborative strategy. A superb group software program for small companies has to be easy to configure and should facilitate partaking discussions.
This could simply merge with varied enterprise capabilities — from advertising and marketing to gross sales and assistance. With highly effective buyer engagement, it is possible for you to drive retention. This may be additionally used for customer loyalty, advocacy, and referrals. Many corporations are leveraging social buyer communities to advertise buyer self-service, accumulate product reviews, and enhance personal expertise. Plus, all group tools include features like easy content material posting, content material administration, member profiles, assistance for rich media, discussions, moderation, and extra.
The content material created in your group will get listed by SERPs and additionally boosts the natural visibility of your model. Should you see, SERPs tend to function user-generated content material from websites like Quora, assist boards, and Stack Overflow (programming questions). Listed here are my top picks for the best on-line group software program to do that yr.
What to Search for within the Best Online Group Platform?
To choose the best platform, you must first understand what a web-based neighbourhood software program is intended to perform, and then you must be clear about your requirements. The first thing you should understand is that online community platforms differ significantly from traditional discussion board software.
While discussion board builders primarily provide a discussion board for your users, community platforms often include a variety of tools for community management and member involvement. The capacity to write engaging posts organize Occasions, neighbourhood group tools, member listing, rich member profiles, personalised exercise feed, member notifications, ability to construct sub-groups, web optimization compatibility, neighbourhood moderation, and so on are all must-have features. Furthermore, there are additional elements that are necessary for engaging your clients, and your platform should support them:
- Live Movies: Live movies are glorious for connecting along with your members and boosting engagement. Your platform should both have a local live streaming performance or the power to combine with an answer like Zoom.
- Gamification Instruments: Your platform should help you reward members with badges/factors/freebies primarily based on their exercise locally, which in flip helps to maintain your viewers engaged and motivated.
- Cellular Apps: By making it easy for your customers to enter your neighborhood on the go, native apps could make the difference between gaining an energetic, long-term participant and having somebody disappear after their first go-to.
Past this, there are different features that, relying on the type of on-line neighborhood you need to build and what your finish purpose is, could or will not be essential for you. If you wish to create a membership website or promote entry to your neighborhood, you’ll want monetization tools like cost processing, checkout pages, and so on.
One other essential characteristic is single sign-on (SSO) performance. You’ll discover a number of communities are hosted on separate online community platforms”
1. Mighty Networks
Best all-in-one neighborhood platform for creators
Pros of Mighty Networks
- Highly effective neighborhood features
- Native Zoom integration
- Capacity to create on-line programs
- Free iOS and Android apps
- Inbuilt monetization tools
Cons of Mighty Networks
- No assist for SSO integrations
- Expenses a transaction payment
Pricing: Free – $98/month
As the most well-liked hosted neighborhood platform for creators, Mighty Networks lets you build a web based neighborhood by yourself web site. Relating to neighborhood design and engagement, Mighty Networks has loads to supply. It lets you create “Fast Posts”, polls and quizzes, as well as fully-fledged articles.
You too can use the platform’s occasion administration characteristic to create a one-time occasion or a recurring occasion. Whereas there isn’t a native assist for live streaming, there’s direct Zoom integration which works very well. As well as, Mighty Networks helps different essential neighborhood features like personalised exercise feed, member listing, sub-group creation, notification administration, and so on.
From an end-user standpoint, the platform is fairly intuitive to make use of. There could also be a slight studying curve for some customers however as they use the platform, they’ll rapidly get the knack of it. What takes the end-user expertise to the subsequent degree is the truth that your members can entry your neighborhood by Mighty Networks’ free iOS/Android cell app.
If you would like, it’s also possible to get a customized, white-label app created to your model. Now, Mighty Networks helps you to do extra than simply building a web based neighborhood — it additionally consists of an online course builder so that you can create and deliver partaking programs inside your neighborhood. Furthermore, it affords some helpful monetization tools, so you’ll be able to charge for entry to your neighborhood and programs.
So far as pricing is worried, Mighty Networks lets you get began without cost (+5% transaction payment). The following pricing tier that features these features is the Group Plan ($28/month + 3% transaction payment). The best tier is known as the Enterprise Plan ($98/month + 2% transaction payment). It helps Zapier integration, affords premium analytics, and permits the creation of on-line programs. Overall, Mighty Networks is the best on-line neighborhood platform for creators. It is going to be an excellent choice for you for those who’re trying to handle all the pieces — neighborhood, programs, and memberships — multi-function place.
Best standalone on-line neighborhood platform
Pros of Circle
- Clear, trendy design
- Highly effective neighborhood features
- Capacity to embed widgets on exterior websites
- Native iOS app for customers
- Helps SSO integrations
Cons of Circle
- Doesn’t have an Android app
- No inbuilt monetization tools
Pricing: $39 – $199/month
Circle is a branded neighborhood platform that’s centered solely on the community-building side of issues. In contrast to Mighty Networks, it doesn’t supply inbuilt monetization tools or the power to create online courses. Having stated that, the platform takes care of all of the essential points of neighborhood design and engagement, like creating discussions, content material group, neighborhood moderation, member connections, personal messaging, and way more.
You too can create personal Areas inside your neighborhood and ensure only particular individuals have entry to the discussions inside a given House. One other helpful and superior characteristic that Circle affords is the power to embed a widget, a specific House and even the complete neighborhood in your principal web site.
Probably the most engaging facet of Circle, although, is its clear and trendy design. The platform has an easy and intuitive consumer interface which makes it easy for your members to search out discussions and navigate by your neighborhood. It even has an iOS app, which makes it easy for your iPhone-using members to enter your neighborhood. However, it doesn’t have a cell app for Android. Lastly, Circle affords direct integration with WordPress, as well as with popular membership platforms like Memberful and MemberSpace. It even helps customized Single Signal On (SSO) integrations, so your customers can login to Circle with their present credentials.
Relating to pricing, Circle affords inexpensive choices, with the Primary plan costing simply $39/month for as many as 1,000 energetic members. In case you have a much bigger neighborhood, you’ll be able to subscribe to the Skilled plan ($79/month for as many as 10,000 members), or the Enterprise plan ($199/month for as many as 100,000 members). Whereas Circle is a comparatively new choice available in the market, it’s already being utilized by some massive names within the business.
For instance, Pat Flynn makes use of Circle for his Good Passive Earnings Professional Group, and Teachable makes use of it for his or her consumer neighborhood. Overall, Circle is the best standalone neighborhood platform, and it’s an excellent choice in case your principal purpose is to build an engaged neighborhood. It can work nicely for every type of customer together with course creators, membership website house owners, on-line coaches, SaaS product manufacturers, and so on.
Best WordPress-based neighborhood builder
Pros of BuddyBoss
- Most versatile neighborhood builder
- Capacity to gamify your neighborhood
- Integrates with LearnDash & LifterLMS
- Capacity to get a white-label cell app
Cons of BuddyBoss
- Not so easy to make use of and arrange
- Can get fairly costly
Pricing: $228 – $328/12 months
BuddyBoss is kind of completely different from the remainder of the choices on this checklist, in the sense that it’s a WordPress-based neighborhood software program relatively more than a hosted platform. So, utilizing BuddyBoss clearly requires you to be considerably tech-savvy, but when that’s not a difficulty, you should utilize it to build essentially the most feature-rich and customizable neighborhood platform for your small business.
To start out with, BuddyBoss covers all of the important necessities of a web-based neighborhood software program, together with the creation of posts, social teams, and a member listing, personal/group messaging and notifications, personalized exercise feeds for members, and so on. You may create occasions inside your neighborhood or sub-groups and it’s also possible to host live occasions by the native Zoom integration.
On top of the important tools, BuddyBoss affords some superior features as well. The primary characteristic is for gamifying your neighborhood and boosting engagement. BuddyBoss makes use of GamiPress, a free plugin that permits you to acknowledge members with factors, ranks, rewards, and badges primarily based on their exercise locally.
Equally, BuddyBoss integrates with the most well-liked WordPress LMS plugin, LearnDash, to allow you to create and share a web-based course along with your neighborhood. Furthermore, you’ll be able to promote entry to your neighborhood and programs by LearnDash, WooCommerce, or fashionable membership plugins. Lastly, BuddyBoss offers you the choice to get your personal branded cell apps for iOS and Android units. Your members can enter your neighborhood and programs by the app and it additionally helps with features for push notifications, in-app purchases, and so on.
So far as pricing is worried, BuddyBoss prices $228/12 months for a 1-site license. When you want greater than that, you will get a 5-site license for $288/12 months and a 10-site license for $328/12 months. The only caveat is that these plans don’t embody the cell app performance. That could be an utterly separate service for which pricing begins from $219/month. The largest benefit of utilizing a WordPress-based neighborhood plugin is the extendability of performance.
Even when native assist is missing for sure features, you will discover one other plugin or add-on that lets you add what you want. So, for those who’re searching for a web based neighborhood software program answer that provides you limitless flexibility when it comes to performance and customization choices, BuddyBoss will work well for you.
Best for SaaS & software program firms
Pros of Tribe
- Customizable and extendable when it comes to performance
- Native gamification tools
- Single sign-on performance
Cons of Tribe
- No cell apps performance
- No inbuilt monetization tools
Pricing: Free – $249/month
Tribe is similar to Circle within the sense that it’s centered utterly on community-building features and doesn’t embody tools for both course creation and even monetization. The platform has been available on the market for a while now and it’s already utilized by top manufacturers like Decathlon, ASUS, Pipedrive, and ConvertKit.
Tribe makes it possible to create a completely white-label expertise and customise all the pieces from the emblem and widgets to colours and area. Relating to content material creation, Tribe lets you write articles, post photographs and movies, and to ask questions and submit solutions. It additionally lets you categorize content material and affords seamless discovery by a personalised exercise feed.
What I like about Tribe is the truth that it helps native gamification features to drive neighborhood engagement, together with badges, factors, digital forex and a leaderboard system. One other wonderful thing about Tribe is the truth that it has a library of apps and integrations which can be utilized to increase the performance of your neighborhood.
For instance, it has a SSO app which facilitates integration with different platforms like WordPress and gives easy entry for customers with their present credentials. Having stated that, there are a few essential features lacking from the platform. The primary is the dearth of native live stream performance and even the power to combine with live streaming options like Zoom. One other difficulty is that Tribe doesn’t supply any cell apps performance. Whereas your members will nonetheless be capable to entry your neighborhood by cell browsers, the expertise won’t be as seamless.
So far as pricing is worried, Tribe has a Free plan which provides you entry to all of the important features together with the power to make use of a customized area. The Free plan does restrict your neighborhood to as much as 500 members nevertheless it’s nonetheless very beneficiant in comparison with different platforms. Past this, you’ll must improve your pricing package deal to both the Plus plan priced at $85/month or the Premium Plan priced at $249/month, each of which permit for limitless members. Overall, Tribe is an honest on-line neighborhood software program, and the best choice for SaaS & software program firms who need to build a very customizable expertise for his or her members.
Best for building premium on-line communities
Pros of Disciple
- Characteristic-rich neighborhood builder
- Native live streaming performance
- Branded iOS and Android apps
- Inbuilt monetization tools
Cons of Disciple
- Tremendous costly
- Expenses a transaction payment
Pricing: $55 – $549/month
Disciple is one other fashionable platform that lets you create a completely branded neighborhood over which you’ve got full possession and control. Organising your on-line neighborhood on Disciple is fast and easy, and all of the platform’s performance works nice proper out of the field. Like the opposite top choices on this checklist,
Disciple lets you post/schedule all sorts of content material, create sub-groups and reasonable your neighborhood, and observe essential metrics. One characteristic that units Disciple other than others on this checklist is the native live stream performance which lets you go live in your neighborhood without having to resort to utilizing Zoom or one other third-party answer.
By default, your members can entry your neighborhood on the internet, however it’s also possible to get branded iOS/Android cell apps for even simpler entry.
Your members get pleasure from their very own personalised neighborhood feed, they’ll create new discussions or interact with present ones, and so they can simply seek for and join with different members. Lastly, Disciple has some helpful monetization tools which let you create subscriptions and charge for entry to both the entire neighborhood or simply particular areas inside it.
Relating to pricing, Disciple has two pricing plans. The decrease tier is the Net plan which prices $55 monthly whereas the Cellular App plan prices $389/month. The primary difference between the plans is that two of crucial features — cell apps and live streaming — are only accessible on the upper tier.
Plus, the Net plan limits your membership to 100 customers, whereas you’ll be able to have as much as 500 members on the Cellular App plan. This makes Disciple the most costly choice on the market. Overall, Disciple is essentially the most premium-branded neighborhood platform on the market. When you’re a longtime creator or a enterprise proprietor who doesn’t thoughts paying the premium worth, it should work nice for you.
Best for building skilled networks
Pros of Hivebrite
- Highly effective neighborhood administration tools
- Job board performance
- Inbuilt monetization tools
- Branded cell apps
Cons of Hivebrite
- Appropriate only for skilled networks
- Costly pricing plans
Pricing: Begins from round $500/month
Hivebrite is a specialised neighborhood administration software program — built from the bottom as much as assist organizations handle their alumni networks, volunteer portals, or different skilled networks.
The platform delivers all of the essential features you’ll want — you’ll be able to create, replace and reasonable content material, host occasions and promote tickets, ship notifications by way of e-mail as well as push notifications, get away smaller teams inside your community, supply cell entry for members, and so on. You additionally get the mandatory monetization tools, together with the power to create membership tiers, charge subscription charges and settle for donations.
As well as, Hivebrite has a couple of distinctive features which make it excellent for working skilled networks. The primary one is the power to create a job board the place individuals can post employment alternatives and customers can add their resume and be contacted by others.
One other helpful characteristic is the power for members to showcase their startups and initiatives and get assist from the neighborhood to attach with traders, co-founders, and even potential workers. Overall, Hivebrite is good for academic establishments or firms desirous to build an alumni community, for nonprofits trying to build volunteer/donor networks and, for that matter, for any group trying to build knowledgeable community.
7. Facebook Teams
Best for rising your viewers organically
Pros of Facebook Teams
- Nice for member engagement
- Built-in FB Live performance
- Native FB cell apps
- Fully free to make use of
Cons of Facebook Teams
- Lack of possession and control
- Privateness and distraction issues
- No option to charge for entry
Facebook Teams are the most well-liked choices for building a web based neighborhood and are utterly free to make use of. With over 2.6 billion monthly active users, you acquire entry to a big viewers and it’s a lot simpler to drive engagement as well. With Facebook Teams, you get loads of helpful neighborhood features. You may create partaking posts with textual content, photographs, movies, and polls, create scheduled “Occasions”, set up your content material with “Subjects” and “Items”, and so on.
It additionally affords built-in Facebook Live performance, so you’ll be able to simply do live streams. Plus you’ll be able to create “Rooms” inside your Facebook Group and host live video chats with as much as 50 individuals. Furthermore, your members can entry the group and interact with the content material and with different members by way of the net as well as cell apps.
However, Facebook Teams have a number of drawbacks which is usually a deal-breaker in loads of eventualities. The largest disadvantage is that you just and your members don’t have a lot control over notifications. For the reason that FB algorithm decides who will obtain what notifications, you don’t have any means of creating positive your members get notified about essential updates. One other main difficulty is that the common consumer will get loads of noise on Facebook within the type of polarized debates, ads, messages, and notifications from pals, and so on. which makes it a distraction machine.
Furthermore, you don’t have any option to charge for entry to your FB Group, nor are you able to even combine with third-party checkout platforms like ThriveCart. Lastly, you should take into account that you don’t personal the neighborhood (or the viewers). A random algorithm tweak or replace can plummet your neighborhood’s engagement and attain nearly immediately. Having stated that, Facebook Teams proceed to stay a well-liked on-line neighborhood platform and its best use case is while you need to faucet into the large viewers base of Facebook.
While the first massive open online courses (MOOCs) made learning more accessible, Udemy took it a step further by allowing anybody to teach online. The platform currently has over 40 million college students enrolled in its programmes, as well as a teaching base of over 50,000.
To create a paid course on Udemy, you must first become a premium instructor. As soon as you’ve been accredited, you’ll be able to see a series of simple stages that will guide you through creating your first course. As you plan your course content, keep in mind that all programmes require at least a half-hour of video and five lectures. Quizzes, assignments, coding fitness routines, and dialogue prompts are all excellent additions.
Why did you choose Udemy to publish your first course? Because the platform provides a great deal of assistance in terms of producing and promoting a course. For example, if you’re not sure if your video classes are up to par, you can submit a sample for assessment and receive video and audio recommendations, as well as gear recommendations. Udemy also has an Educate Hub with tutorials on how to organise a course, film your first video, and other related topics.
If you’re having trouble making your first few sales, Udemy’s specialised promotion and marketing packages can help. Get your course highlighted in one of their e-mail blasts, take advantage of site-wide discounts, or join Udemy’s affiliate marketing programme. All of these programmes are optional, and Udemy takes a cut of all gross purchases, depending on the promotional channel you choose.
Finally, Udemy’s market insights let you pick the right course subject and assess how it compares to other programmes on the platform—which is critical given the size of the industry you’re competing in. This service, similar to Google Analytics, tells you how popular a subject is on Udemy, as well as its search volume and related key terms. You may also check the current variety of programmes for a subject, the highest-earning programmes within the class, monthly income earned, and the best promotion channels (Udemy discovery, Udemy search, exterior sources, paid adverts).
To put it simply, you’re in good hands with Udemy.
Free for promoting a premium course on Udemy. Udemy charges a 3% commission on track sales generated via instructor coupons, a 50% commission on programmes discovered through natural search on Udemy or through an Udemy promotion, and a 75% commission on track sales generated by Udemy’s paid person acquisition channels. (Note that income split excludes PayPal or Payoneer processing fees, as well as cellular platform fees for cellular course sales.)
Best On-line Group Platforms – Final Verdict
On this article, we’ve mentioned a few of the best on-line neighborhood platforms on the market and I hope you had been in a position to decide on the one which’s best for you. When you nonetheless don’t really feel outfitted to decide, let me summarize my suggestions right here.
When you’re a web based creator searching for a platform to not simply build a web based neighborhood, but in addition to create on-line programs and be capable to monetize, you should go together with Mighty Networks. Alternatively, in case your major purpose is neighborhood design and engagement and also you don’t want the course creation or monetization tools, you should try Circle. When you’re already utilizing WordPress to your on-line course/membership website, you would possibly need to go together with a WordPress-based neighborhood platform like BuddyBoss.
I hope you found this information to be useful. Do you have any queries about any of these online community platforms? Which platform do you think will be the most beneficial to you, and why? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.
However, the question remains: which group platform in your firm is the best? It may change depending on your specific requirements. Step one is to make a list of all of the features you want as well as your budget. Then, based on this checklist, you must match the group platform. It’s also important to consider the business goal you’re seeking to achieve, as well as how your group platform can assist you in measuring accomplishment. You won’t give you the chance unless you can prove ROI.