So you want to start a community? That’s great! In this guide, I will be giving you some tips that might come useful. I presume you have found a game (which you enjoy playing) and a name for your community. Some subjects we will be talking about are your goals, the right mindset, preparation, timing, presentation, and communication/advertising. Ready?.. set go!
Have a goal for your community
Before you even do anything you should ask yourself “What do I want to achieve?”. Do you just want to set up a server where you and your friends can play on it? or are you aiming for a community experience (don’t worry you can still have fun with your friends). If your goal is the first option then I still recommend continuing reading since a lot of communities started this way. Once you have got a clear goal in mind you can proceed to the next step.
Getting the right mindset
Now that you have a goal, try to get into the right mindset. The road to becoming a healthy community is a bumpy one and it might take you a while to reach your destination. This means that ambition and dedication are a must, but be sure not to be overambitious as explained here.
Accept that you are going to put in a lot of time, energy, and possibly money in your project. Besides that, expect setbacks since not everything will go as planned. The final important quality is to have is patience. Don’t expect to have a full server on the first day of launch or a big member pool in your Steam group.
Preparation is key for your community
A very important step is preparation. A lot of times this step gets rushed or even completely skipped. With proper preparation, you will have more time to develop where it is needed instead of trying to patch things up all over the place. When it comes to the tasks that have to be performed, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks if you are working in a team.
Write write write
Having everything written down only gives you benefits. Yes I know most of you don’t like to write things down but trust me, you will be rewarded later on. By writing down everything you do/plan, you clarify the information for yourself. This gives you new ideas and insights. Besides that, you always have the written information to fall back on.
Be sure to write it in a way so you can present it to other staff members when needed. so don’t get spamming notepad files with random checklists all over your desktop. Set Up an ordered (shared) folder on for instance Google Docs or Onedrive. This also gives you access to all your documents when you’re not home (I am currently writing this guide at work)
Research and planning
Always perform research before you set anything up. See how the game is doing (player base), what hosts are out there, check with your friends/contacts, see what the requirements are, and very important is to check your personal schedule (do you even have time to start this project?).
Once you have finished your research and wrote down what needs to be done, you can start planning. The planning is dependant on your experience and skills but always grant yourself some leeway. A lot can happen during the setup of your project.
TIP: Don’t underestimate the testing phase
Timing is important
Besides your personal schedule, be sure the timing is right to launch your server/community. See if the game you want to host your server for isn’t on a downward slope. And for the love of Satan, don’t launch your server around the time a big AAA game is set to release, this WILL affect your community.
*gets flashbacks from the player count on one of his servers right after GTA5’s release
Communication, do not underestimate it
Alright, so you have got all the preparation done and have started developing/setting up your server. Now it’s time to start creating awareness and shaping your community. It’s a good thing to inform your new members on what you are doing and give them (bits of) information on what to come. When it comes to releasing information about future plans be sure that you will actually follow through on it. Nothing kills your project quicker than false promises
Here are 4 platforms I suggest you should invest in:
|Website||this is your business card, although that sounds cringe, it is the first thing new members will check out. Here you provide all the information about your server/community. Be sure to have your information well organised, use common english (no try hard business language or broken english) and use a pleasant and responsive template.|
|Steamgroup||A great way of seeing who your members are and vice versa. Steamgroups allow you to communicate, post announcements and events (please, don’t spam them. Thank you) and provide (basic) information.|
|Great for posting quick updates, announcements, reaching out to other communities & players, exposure and collaborations.|
|VOIP||Having a voice server (ie:Teamspeak or Discord) gives both you and your staff as members a place to hang out and play games. This is great to start community bonding before you even have a server up yet and a good way to get to know each other.|
Finding a host for your gaming community
Research research research, finding a good host that fits your needs is really important. Be sure to compare several hosting companies and see if you are looking for a VPS or want to rent a game server (depends on knowledge). For information on finding the right host check out this article I wrote last month.
Advertising your gaming community
This is a demanding job of its own. Attracting new players/members is a long and tough process, so don’t expect instant results. In your approach try not to copy-paste everything, be personal, not spam, and accept the fact that not everyone is interested in your community.
Be sure not to invest all your time on one platform but use multiple ones (friends, social media, steam, forums, etc). Whenever someone comes to you with questions regarding your community, don’t put them on hold so you can finish your game. Especially during the beginning of your community, you have to be helpful to all possible new members.
A guide dedicated to advertising your server/community will be published in the near future. This guide will include (in-depth) tips and things to take into account when advertising.