So you want to build a community, but the question arises “what tool should I use to build a community on my site?”
When making the decision between adding a Wix Forum or Wix Group to your site, sometimes the differences aren’t clear.
Both are tools you can use to build communities and made for conversations. They are also great for bringing people to your website.
There are two central pillars to forums and groups - content and community. Great content helps you build long term relationships with your audience. If you look after your audience, they’ll turn into valued members of your community. ❤️
Let’s look at the similarities and differences between groups and forums:
Forums have a clear categorization of content and posts are organized into categories. A category is like a folder for posts based on a certain topic.
Categories are usually named based on the topic of the posts within the category. Because posts have titles, you can quickly see if it’s a post you want to invest time into reading. There’s also layers in a forum, because you can set up sub-categories.
Groups are usually built around a particular topic, and apart from using tags to make connections between content, posts within the group are not categorized.
With a forum, you can sort posts by:
Groups don’t have different post sorting options. Because posts are displayed chronologically, the newest content is usually the most important. You can sort the groups that have had recent activity in the group list instead.
When you publish a post in a group or forum, members can have conversations under it in the comments. These strings of comments are called threads. By following the thread of a conversation, you can gain useful insights from other people and have a chat.
4. Search Engine Optimization
SEO is all about creating content that can be found on search engines. Make sure you create public groups and forum categories if you want the content to show up on Google.
5. User Generated Content
Both forums and groups are great for getting members to create content on behalf of your brand. User generated content is a fancy term for any content that has been created by users of a brand. It’s one of the most powerful content marketing tactics because it’s so influential.
Moderation is an important part of community management. More so in forums, the main role of a moderator is to promote community interaction. By focusing on getting members involved in conversation, moderators build a sense of community.
As well as keeping an eye on the forum, moderators can answer questions, pin important posts and maintain a welcoming environment. They can also ban members or delete comments.
7. Member Profiles
Both forums and groups link to your profile in your Members Area. Edit your bio, change your avatar, or add a cover picture. Browse other users in the Members Area - it’s a directory of people in the community where you can see how many followers someone has, or check out their badges.
What’s really cool is the Members Area links to a CMS (customer management system) where you keep track of people interacting with your site - see when someone’s last activity was or set reminders to contact them.
A badge is a medal of honor that’s awarded to highlight a member’s accomplishments. Badges are displayed on member profiles and appear next to their name in the Members Area, or when they post in the forum, so everyone in the community can see.
Give someone a badge when they've created their first post or complete another important milestone. It’s a great way to make members feel special.
Follow your favorite members, posts in a specific forum category or a whole group. There’s customizable settings. Choose to get notified when someone has created new posts, likes your stuff and more. You can also receive email notifications and by downloading the Wix App you’ll get phone notifications.
In both groups and forums, you can choose to approve people - useful if you only want specific people as members, or, set up automatic access.
Most of the time anyone can view posts in a forum, but you could also create private categories. In a way, a private category is like a private group because it’s built for a handful of people.
In both forums and groups, if you want important posts to stand out, pin them to the top. Groups have a simple posting system. Something on your mind? Just bang it out onto the keypad, press publish and voila!
With forums, you could create a questions category, a discussions category, or a hybrid. Knowledge share is a kick-ass benefit of a forum, making it perfect for questions and answers (Q&As). You also get the ability to mark best answers, and when you’re creating a post you’re shown similar posts, stopping duplicates in the forum.
There’s differences in threading styles and the buttons when you ask a question or start a discussion. Here’s the difference between the types of forum posts:
Ask a Question
Once a member has posted a question, you and your members can respond with answers. Upvoting and downvoting answers is a nifty feature. Show support for good answers with an upvote. The answers with the most votes get pushed to the top.
Start a Discussion
Discussion posts are best for disseminating pieces of info or sharing your thoughts. Members can add reactions and give the post a like. It’s like a classic post style where members can add their comments and replies under the post.
If you’re still wondering which community tool you should use, begin by choosing the one that best suits your needs and goals. Don’t be afraid to just pick an option and see how it goes. You won’t know if a decision is a good one until you actually go for it. If you decide to swap later down the line, that’s fine. Go for it! Or, get in touch if you need help you choosing.