10 Tips to expand your server/community

Right, it’s 2020 and apparently every article has to be either a top ‘something’ list or a clickbait titled piece of text. So within the context of being a super hip/edgy Angry Mob, here are 10 tips on how to expand/grow your server and/or community! Note that these tips aren’t in any orders because labeling tips with ranking numbers is just stupid in my eyes.

1. Recruit qualified staff members

Having qualified staff members within your server/community gives both benefits to you and your players. Because of the skill/experience of your staff members you can take a step back from player management and focus on different tasks (networking for instance). As a player, nothing is more annoying than an inexperienced or an admin who acts based on assumptions. Good staff keeps players playing on your server.

2. Make good use of your forums

I can’t stress enough how important a forum board is for your community (smaller communities can use Discord if that’s preferred). Be sure to have your boards well arranged and properly named. Your forums function as the brain of your community, it is the place that should give you all the impulses (suggestions and discussion) on which you will act on. The best thing about having a forum is that you are able to interact with the community outside of the game.

3. Host special events

To keeps things fresh you should host (special) events now and then. These events can take place both in and outside of the game. A few suggestions for events: organise a (small) tournament, host a different gamemode/game, collaborate with another community or host a yearly E3 livestream event where you and your members watch the E3 conferences on your voice server. If you are a role play community, have random events now and then to spice things up (be creative)

So you want to start a community? that’s great! But first think about what kind of community you want to create. You probably have found a game where you want to start hosting your server, if not find a game you really enjoy playing. Do you want to be the next BIG thing or just a small/medium sized community with a core group of players? Let’s break this question down in several factors. The game (you just lost it) Your community is heavily dependent on the game server that you are hosting your server for. Nowadays lots of games have the “drop in, drop out” mechanics. Let’s take a game like CS:GO for instance. The majority of the players only use the matchmaking system and never play on the community section. Unlike the previous games, CS:GO has competitive, deathmatch, gun game and demolition built in within the matchmaking system. The same can be said about DayZ, server hopping is unfortunately a common thing nowadays. Although it is possible to build a community in these games it will be really rough in the start. If this will be your first community I encourage you to skip games like these unless you are starting with a group of friends (this due to player count). How much time do you have to spare Running a community is very time-consuming, so be sure you have enough time to spend on your community. First of all, you have to maintain your server(s), manage your staff and players also keeping your website + social media updated. If you don’t have enough time to build your community then join an existing one with your friends and meet new people. Within that community try to work your way up and who know’s what the future will bring. Work in a team When you want to start your community I advise you at least have a partner to work with. This way you can delegate tasks to speed up the process and make it less stressful for yourself. Let’s say you are a team of 3 people, 1 person can create the website and social media pages, 1 person can start setting up your first game server and the other person can start gathering players and setting up the voice server. All of this after doing research with the entire team of course. Dedication & motivation You need to be highly motivated and have the dedication to keep pushing yourself. Expect empty servers, leavers, trolls and be prepared to invest money into your community. There are two rough periods when running a community. One being the startup, getting members can be very rough in the beginning. Besides that, you need some technical experience when setting up and maintaining servers. The second one being that over a longer period you may lose your motivation. This is a natural thing and will be discussed in a different guide later on.

4. Be thoughtful with your donation program

Don’t provide your donors with P2W rewards since this breaks the economy and scares people away, provide clarity into where the money goes to after they have donated and most of all be thankful. For more information about how to handle donations check out this guide.

5. Host giveaways

Giveaways are a great way of attracting new members and giving your community a little reward. You can also specialise the requirements to participate in the giveaway. This way you can promote certain channels (for instance social media). Depending on your revenue coming from donations you might have to invest your own money.

6. Branch out on social media

Having a social media presence is a good way of pushing out announcements and creating new contacts. Besides that it is another way of attracting new players. When it comes to which platform you should invest (time) in is depending on your community. Personally we only have a twitter page which is more than sufficient (for now atleast).

7. Provide more content for your community

Besides having a game server,voice server and forums what else can you do to entertain your community? Try something new, why not have some sort of (development)blog? I know the idea sounds weird “who the hell would read my blogs?” but trust me some people will. The best way in my opinion is making videos. This provides entertainment for your members and more exposure (Youtube). For a player it’s always fun when you see yourself in a video 🙂

8. Encourage the use of your voice server

One of the first things I do after I launched my PC is join the teamspeak and see who’s online. This is the same for a lot of (staff)members, as it should be. Not only will they be using this when playing on your server but also to: socialize, play other games, contacting staff and inviting their friends over to join. For more information on the use of voice servers check out this article.

So you want to start a community? that’s great! But first think about what kind of community you want to create. You probably have found a game where you want to start hosting your server, if not find a game you really enjoy playing. Do you want to be the next BIG thing or just a small/medium sized community with a core group of players? Let’s break this question down in several factors. The game (you just lost it) Your community is heavily dependent on the game server that you are hosting your server for. Nowadays lots of games have the “drop in, drop out” mechanics. Let’s take a game like CS:GO for instance. The majority of the players only use the matchmaking system and never play on the community section. Unlike the previous games, CS:GO has competitive, deathmatch, gun game and demolition built in within the matchmaking system. The same can be said about DayZ, server hopping is unfortunately a common thing nowadays. Although it is possible to build a community in these games it will be really rough in the start. If this will be your first community I encourage you to skip games like these unless you are starting with a group of friends (this due to player count). How much time do you have to spare Running a community is very time-consuming, so be sure you have enough time to spend on your community. First of all, you have to maintain your server(s), manage your staff and players also keeping your website + social media updated. If you don’t have enough time to build your community then join an existing one with your friends and meet new people. Within that community try to work your way up and who know’s what the future will bring. Work in a team When you want to start your community I advise you at least have a partner to work with. This way you can delegate tasks to speed up the process and make it less stressful for yourself. Let’s say you are a team of 3 people, 1 person can create the website and social media pages, 1 person can start setting up your first game server and the other person can start gathering players and setting up the voice server. All of this after doing research with the entire team of course. Dedication & motivation You need to be highly motivated and have the dedication to keep pushing yourself. Expect empty servers, leavers, trolls and be prepared to invest money into your community. There are two rough periods when running a community. One being the startup, getting members can be very rough in the beginning. Besides that, you need some technical experience when setting up and maintaining servers. The second one being that over a longer period you may lose your motivation. This is a natural thing and will be discussed in a different guide later on.

9. Take a step back once in awhile

Right of the bat, this does not mean “abandon” you community once in awhile! Taking short breaks is important to keep your motivation up and gives you time to evaluate. Be sure to have your staff members pick up certain task in your absence and that they can always contact you. As a owner it is hard to let go of certain tasks but doing everything by yourself takes a big toll on your energy and motivation.

10. Listen to your players

Your players basically decide what happens to your server/community direct and indirectly so listen well to them. Threat them with respect, but do not treat them as special snowflakes. Without the players your server will not succeed. Be sure to always have a channel op for suggestions and act on them.

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