Aiste is a talented designer, based in Lithuania, who has been knitting since her childhood. She has won awards and continues to participate in design competitions. She jokes that she's knitted enough to dress several football teams.
Over the years, she launched multiple websites and forums and finally landed in Wix with a site she named Vilnonis. The word Vilnonis, translated from Lithuanian to English, means woolen. Aiste generously shares her patterns and knitting techniques. You can also buy knitting patterns and find free instructions, handbooks and lookbooks.
A close-knit community
Aiste has created a fantastic online store and forum on her site. She sells knitting patterns in the store, and uses her forum to support her customers and drive more traffic to her site.
Aiste has set up a forum category specifically for members to discuss patterns sold in her store. In posts, Aiste encourages members to post anything which is related to the products and ask questions.
Members showcase their creations once they have knitted the patterns they have bought from the store.
Pattern testing and correction with members of the forum community is a great way to make sure the patterns she sells in her store are easy to use. Aiste needs up to 3 knitters for each size of clothing. With clear instructions in the posts, she encourages her community to post lots of pictures of their knitting by saying, “you need to understand that beautiful and informative photos are a massive help to me and others who are going to knit a specific design in the future.”
This is another lovely excerpt from a post written in the forum, which demonstrates the power of a forum community, “As can be judged from the existing testing experience, we get a lot of pleasure, joy of communication, learn new knitting techniques, invent, improve. If you want to make friends and get a unique experience, join us!”
About the Forum
The forum is an inspirational source for knitters, fiber artists, and fashion designers. Aiste shares advice, trade secrets, and answers knitting-lovers' questions. You can also buy knitting patterns and find free instructions, tutorials and lookbooks.
She also keeps members updated about her personal projects. Aiste should be proud of having a super friendly and responsive community that admires each other's work!
What the Wix Forum team likes about this Forum
Members can win prizes in contests. Aiste also organizes contests in the forum. For example, members are tasked with uploading their finished projects and writing helpful notes about knitting patterns. In return, the members win prizes, such as 5 of the patterns she sells in her store. This all helps Aiste to generate a buzz around her patterns.
Old posts get closed. Aiste closes outdated discussions, rather than deleting them. This means her users can still read the content but isn't able to comment on less relevant posts.
Award members with badges. Badges are great for community engagement. Using badges to celebrate and cheer for special members takes this forum to the next level. Aiste awards badges to members who help to test out new knitting patterns which will be sold in the store, for example, forum members get a badge when they have participated in several knitting tests, and are active in the pattern correction process. Fun badges such as the Activist badge are also awarded to members who write in the forum, click like a lot and show off their knitting projects. A Knitting Queen badge is awarded to a forum member who knits a lot of breathtaking pieces.
Tips from the site owner
Aiste kindly shared her experience of building, growing, and maintaining a successful forum community.
Everyone deserves to be heard. Aiste begins by saying, "Be better and somewhat more interesting than other forums. There's huge competition in the knitting world, so innovation and uniqueness are essential elements for keeping members engaged and interested. Let your members share their opinions, even if you don't agree with their viewpoint. Let them be heard and respond to them when they interact with content or discussions. Other important characteristics for forum owners are goodwill, a sense of humor, and the ability to solve conflicts."
Constant activity is crucial. Aiste emphasizes key factors when growing a forum, "The activity in the forum is core. Did a member get an answer? Did they learn anything new? Inactive and abandoned forums do not engage anyone." Aiste keeps her categories structured clearly, only creating new categories only when they are necessary, as she thinks that dozens of empty categories will scatter the attention of readers. Key takeaways from Aiste's forum include creating categories only when they are vital, being proactive, and staying responsive.