Part Four: Building Revenue Streams

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For any community to be self-sustaining it will need to have some type of revenue stream(s). Even volunteer based communities require funding to keep relevance and growth. There are always tradeoffs with how to approach this since visitors do not want to be blasted with more ads than content and advertisers want to have the best possible exposure. With the same token not everyone that adds value to your community is willing to pay to be a member. Picking the right model and strategy can significantly affect your success or failure.

  • How do I plan to build my membership model and how does it fit with my base user?   
  • How much would members be willing to pay for each tier of benefits?   
  • Where would I place advertising or sponsorship?   
  • Are there limitations on or conflicts with certain types of advertisers?   
  • How will I manage the transactions?   
  • What disclosures or legal disclaimers are required?
  • Will I have affiliate, partner or reseller programs?   
  • Where does my community add value to an advertiser?

Once you go through the exercise of asking the right questions you can then set a starting point for determining which approach to roll out and perhaps when might be the best time in your evolution to do it. You will also soon find out that once you start collecting money you take on new risk and responsibility. You will need to make sure you develop articulate documentation and legal notices so you can effectively manage all expectations for your revenue building programs.

Security, integrity and liabilities

One of the first things to make sure of is to have the right business structure in place to facilitate any legal responsibilities with donations or fundraising. Are you able to manage and protect the private information that users will give you through any transaction processing? What disclaimers or legal notices are required for accepting money for your service or subscription offering? These all should be discussed with professional advisers to make sure you are protected and that your users/members/advertisers are protected.

Building a membership program

With Joomla there are many extensions that can help you configure and manage an effective membership program. Make sure that you have a well thought out membership plan so the extra steps of gathering profile information do not deter folks from joining. One challenge with most membership programs is the point of entry. Many sites these days offer FREE memberships to get folks in the door and then once the users find value the hope is they will join. You will need to make sure you are offering enough value without “giving away the farm” sort of speak. If you get folks to join and they are among a few, it will be like going to a party and finding an empty room.  In this case, you better have some guests show up soon or they will leave and never come back or worse they will reflect negatively in social circles that may scare folks away. Develop a tiered approach to membership with clear guidelines and benefits so you can encourage folks to join, tell their friends and keep coming back. You also need to make is a relationship of choice so they can easily unsubscribe. If you have a disgruntled member you want them to go away quickly and quietly without disrupting the rest of your community.

Building an Advertising program

With Joomla there are a lot of tools to help you manage and track an effective advertising program.  One of my favorites “AdAgency” can be found at www.ijoomla.com. When you use JomSocial for your community there are social analytics tools kind of like having your own internal Google analytics built into Joomla but specific to your community interactions. These tools can help you prepare reports and statistics for enticing advertisers once you have momentum and built some traffic. Remember the fact that often humans want to be in the “Cool Crowd” or involved with the “next best thing” offers opportunity if guided properly. Sometimes you can let some high profile advertisers in for a free introductory placement since it can attract other high level advertisers and grow momentum. Even if you do not have the traffic right away, with good projections and a realistic (Believable) strategy you can often convince advertisers to jump on-board for the longer term benefits. It can be helpful to have enough rotation of advertising when you launch your program so there is a sense of demand for the space even if you include internal ads in the mix. You also need to make sure ads have a consistent graphical integrity so they do not make your site unappealing to your visitors or it can work against you.

Building an affiliate/partnership or reseller program

Building a affiliate/partnership or reseller program can be inbound or outbound in nature. If you are selling products or services or membership you can offer discounts, coupons or referral fees for help selling these offerings. There are a lot of tools that can be used with your Joomla portal that will help you manage an affiliate program with your site. One good affiliate solution we have used is idevaffiliate by http://www.idevdirect.com. Perhaps you are not selling anything but you want to offer your partners opportunity to discount their products and services. Perhaps in this situation you may try some type of classifieds extension. In any case you will need to make sure you have articulated all of the rules and requirements to make clear and realistic expectations between everyone involved.  There are a lot of affiliate opportunities on line for Joomla CMS.  Many of these existing affiliate and partnership programs or networks are as easy as signing up for them and placing links within your content.  Note: If you sign up, make sure you keep an eye on them since they do not always fulfill their payment promises and you may have to hunt them down for payment. Be careful since how you present these and what you offer could impact the integrity of your community. Once you start down this path you may want to build a simple spread sheet to keep track of all of the URL’s and user names and passwords since they all require some type of registration.

For more information on Building Communities with Joomla CMS see other related articles in this series.

Part One: Starting with a plan
Part Two: The right tools and user experience
Part Three: Marketing, Audience and Incentives

Christopher Nielsen is the CEO/General Manager for www.cnpintegrations.com and will be a featured speaker at the Joomla Day Chicago event August 10th 2012.

For more information on the myPugetSound.net Case Study presentation about building communities with Joomla! CMS visit:  http://joomladaychicago.com 

 

Part Three: Marketing, Audience and Incentives

bCard-glob-sm-wtConnecting with the right people or networks

When you consider building a community site with Joomla CMS  or any other technology for that matter, you have to make sure you understand what social or professional need you are filling and where your members will be coming from.  What are the average or common demographic profile elements? You will need to make sure your community “type” or “model” is right for the audience that you want to serve and that you configure your tools and presentation accordingly.

  • Is the group or industry mostly male or female, younger or older and what special interests do they all have in common?    
  • What will be the glue that holds them together in a community and attracts new members to join?
  • How will you capture and keep their attention?
  • What information will you need to push to them or gather from them?
  • What key benefits make your community save them time, money or frustration, or give them a sense of pride to participate in?

Once you have a clear demographic profile of your intended community you will be able to create incentive programs and key selling propositions for marketing your community to the world, even if this world is a small niche market or private membership for an organization. 

Tell a friend, referrals and opportunities to win

If your community is going to grow on its own you will need to make sure it is worthy and interesting enough that members are going to get excited about this and want to invite their friends. You can have things like job opportunities or topical conversations or content collections that spark interest. Perhaps content with a call to action or giveaways will be of interest. All-n-all you need to have an offering that entices your users to participate independently and when appropriate offer them meaningful incentives for doing so.

Partnerships and relationship building

Often folks join clubs, communities or organizations for a variety of reasons. Some offer discount programs or insider information or are just important for image and integrity. Evaluate what motivates your community first. Then you can build partnerships with companies or organizations that would be willing to provide you with insider information or discounts for their products or added integrity if your user profile is of interest to their marketing strategy. It is all about creating win win relationships and understanding how everyone can benefit from participating in your community. Then associating marketing programs to match them.

Advertising, Promotion and SEO

There are a lot of options for advertising and promoting your community online. The trick is deciding which will give you the most bang for the buck. Do your research when it comes to the options that best fit your community model and work within your budget. You will also need to monitor the programs of choice to identify what works and what does not. SEO optimization for much of your featured or most evolving content can have a significant impact on getting your site found naturally by search engines. It is well worth taking the time to define a specific strategy around key word research that blends online and offline initiatives for promoting your community.

News Releases and current events

Keeping your community news worthy is a very effective strategy. Staggered news releases can build excitement and offer you the chance to increase your “google juice” and search results related to your community. Remember though, not everyone you want to reach, attract or that ads value to your community will be online with the same enthusiasm or frequency so you should consider a blended strategy of online and offline marketing. Faxed or mailed press releases to some of your favorite news outlets will help reinforce your campaigns. Simple things like postcards and traditional media around targeted initiatives may also offer a significant benefit to growing your community. Connecting with local events that are relevant to your community can help you attract users that will appreciate what you are offering. Defining right level of involvement or combination of supplemental marketing materials can also help you connect with targeted groups in a meaningful way.
For more information on Building Communities with Joomla CMS see other related articles in this series.

Part One: Starting with a plan
Part Two: The right tools and user experience
Part Four: Building Revenue Streams

Christopher Nielsen is the CEO/General Manager for http://www.cnpintegrations.com and will be a featured speaker at the Joomla Day Chicago event August 10th 2012.

For more information on the myPugetSound.net Case Study presentation about building communities with Joomla! CMS visit:  http://joomladaychicago.com 

Photos add visual interest to your website. Most visitors will look at the pictures to determine the content before they read even one word. Sites like Pinterest and Flickr have made images even more important since they are increasingly easy to share.

If you have multiple images, a photo gallery presents your photos in a user friendly manner, allowing your visitor to browse through at their leisure. It's also easier on the website administrator's side, as uploading and resizing are batched.

Note: All are compatible with Joomla 1.5, 1.7, and 2.5

sigplus

Sigplus Joomla Plug-inA full featured plugin with automatic cropping and centering of thumbnails, several lightbox effects and the ability to display galleries in articles as well as modules, this popular extension. With major (and recent) props on not only the support but the documentation, it seems like sigplus is lacking in few features.

http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/photos-a-images/photo-gallery/11426

  • Slideshow available: Yes   
  • Custom display formats: Yes       
  • Flickr compatible: No   
  • Picasa compatible: No
  • Watermark option: No
  • Lightbox: Yes
  • Cost: Free


Phoca Gallery

With lots of different display options for galleries,  Phoca Gallery is a plugin that gives flexibility in how images display within a Joomla article or module. If you are an enthusiastic Google products user, you may like how this extension allows you to not only display self hosted photo galleries and video but also display photos from Picasa and videos from Youtube.
http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/photos-a-images/photo-gallery/3150

  • Slideshow available: Yes   
  • Custom display formats: Yes
  • Flickr compatible: No
  • Picasa compatible: Yes
  • Watermark option: Yes
  • Lightbox: Yes
  • Cost: Free


Ignite Gallery

Ignite Gallery Extension for JoomlaWant people to be able to download your images, share them on social media, or even just do something a little fancy like display with rounded corners? This gallery is for you and with some good support, this extension is not only for the more advanced discriminating user but for beginners as well.
http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/photos-a-images/photo-gallery/5396

  • Slideshow available: Yes
  • Custom display formats: Yes
  • Flickr compatible: No
  • Picasa compatible: No
  • Watermark option: Yes
  • Lightbox: Yes
  • Cost: $40/year


JoomGallery

If you are using third party extensions like JomSocial or JComments or are looking for features like geotagging or batch upload via zip file, this gallery should be on your list to consider. When people complain there are ‘too many options,’ you know you are dealing with an extension with a lot of possibilities.
http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/photos-a-images/photo-gallery/5481

  • Slideshow available: Yes
  • Custom display formats: Yes
  • Flickr compatible: No    
  • Picasa compatible: No
  • Watermark option: Yes
  • Lightbox: Yes
  • Cost: Free


Simple Image Gallery

If you want to display a gallery with a bit of short code very quickly, Simple Image Gallery offers a (predictably) simple solution from Joomlaworks, a well known name in the Joomla extension community. If you are looking for easy-to-implement captions or some more ‘advanced’ photo gallery features, you may want to look at other options or invest in the ‘pro’ option.
http://extensions.joomla.org/extensions/photos-a-images/photo-gallery/1468

  • Slideshow available: No (but the same company sells Front Page Slideshow)
  • Custom display formats: No (Yes with Pro)
  • Flickr compatible: No (Yes with Pro)
  • Picasa compatible: No
  • Watermark option: No
  • Lightbox: Yes
  • Cost: Free (but they have a ‘pro’ version for 14.90 Euros)

Joomla is a powerful content management system that can not only handle photo galleries but offer a variety of viewing and displaying options. What photo galleries are your favorites?

A Plus ReputationJoomla! is hugely popular full-featured Content Management System (CMS). It powers approximately 2.7% of the largest 1,000,000 Web sites in the world. Consequently there are a lot of people looking for professional Joomla! help to build their sites, intranets, blogs, etc. The good companies are looking for skilled developers and site integrators that have a proven track record and a good reputation.

CNP Integrations will be hosting a FREE webinar on Thursday July 26th at 1:00 P.M. EST. This interactive webinar is aimed to give Joomla enthusiasts a preview of activities and topics for the Joomla Day Chicago event. In addition, CNP Integrations also announced about being the proud Bronze sponsor of Joomla Day Chicago event.

 

This webinar will be moderated by Christopher Nielsen, CEO of CNP Integrations, includes a panel of Joomla experts and presenters for Joomla Day Chicago - Jonathan Neubauer, Jeff Brown and Joe Sonne. Mike Carson, event co-organizer and presenter will be providing vital updates that make this event an opportunity which should not be missed. The feverish wait among Joomla enthusiasts for this event is understandable. And that is why this webinar offers an insiders look to the information and social networking opportunities that can be amassed through the Joomla Day Chicago event.