Rojo Sunsen: An online community could be a chat room, e-mail discussion list,
discussion forum or other technologies that allow groups of people to
communicate at your web site. When you have a popular online community
it will increase your traffic and sales. Here are ten ways to attract
people to participate in your online community.

1. Tell your
visitors that you post a new, free offer every day, week or month in
your online community. The free offers should be attractive to your
target audience.

2. Regularly schedule experts or famous guests
to participate in your online community. You could design it to be a
virtual class or a question/answer session.

3. Post testimonials
on your web site from people that have participated in your online
community. The testimonials could be about what people have learned or
liked while participating in it.

4. Don’t allow blatant ads in
your online communities. If people decide to visit your online
community and see a ton of ads they most likely won’t be back.

Post all the benefits of participating in your online community on your
web site. You could write it like you’re writing an ad for a product
you’re selling.

6. Submit your chat room, e-mail discussion list
or discussion board to online community directories. You can find them
by typing " the community type" with the word "directory" in any search

7. Create an e-zine just for people who participate in
your online community. Allow them to subscribe for free. When they
receive each issue, it will remind them to come back and participate in
your community.

8. You (the owner of the online community) should
participate regularly. Post information that will benefit the other
people. This will show them you care about your online community

9. Have plenty of people to monitor your online
community. They could remove postings that turn away people like
profanity, spam and other off- subject postings.

10. Your online
community should contain user friendly features, like a search option
for archived discussions, easy posting or chatting options, email
updates or digests, etc.

More here.