According to the Global Web Index, up to 76% of internet users belong to an online community.
If you are a website owner, you can benefit from an amazing online community. An online community can provide you with insights on how you can improve your business. Members of your online company can give you a better idea on the services and products that can help retain existing customers and attract new ones.
If you want to start an online community to engage customers, members, or like-minded individuals, you need to arm yourself with the right tools, and an online community software can give you a head start. This article will tell you about some of the best online community software and how they can ensure that you have an online community that’s a cut above the rest.
Here’s the list of the best online community tools I’ll cover in this article.
What do I look for when I select the best online community platform? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
- User Interface (UI): Members of online communities need to easily find the features they need, so I look for a clean and uncluttered user interface.
- Usability: Online communities have members from all walks of life, so I look for an online community platform that’s easy to use and master for all members.
- Integrations: Online communities use different widgets and plugins to make their site more interesting, so I am looking for an online community software that works great with other tools.
- Value for Pricing: The software should offer reasonable features and functionality for the price. A free trial or freemium plan for beginners is ideal. Scalability is key.
Online Community Solution: Key Features
- Content management: Allows admins to create interesting articles, blogs, and multimedia content easily to generate activity and interest.
- Ideation: Gauging the pulse of engagement through discussions, polls, and surveys to know which products or services to provide more of.
- Member Directory: Lets you maintain a database of community members, their activity history, and their contact information.
- Moderation Tools: Allows admins to moderate posts and comments to ensure compliance with community guidelines.
- Knowledge Base: A collection of informative articles to help members resolve common issues or gain knowledge about products and services.
- Communication Tools: Allows members to interact with others through replies, private messaging, or group chats.
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Overviews Of The 10 Best Online Community Software Solutions
Here’s a brief description of each online community system to showcase each tool’s best use case, some noteworthy features, and screenshots to give a snapshot of the user interface.
1. Might Networks – Online community platform for scaling online communities
Might Networks is an online community platform that keeps members engaged through activity feeds unique to each member. It allows you to create a custom domain and landing page for your blog, store, or community. Might Networks has private direct messaging and small group chat features to help members stay in touch.
Business owners want to grow their membership without increasing their expenses, and Might Networks is an ideal online community software because it allows an unlimited number of members. It has a Welcome and Discovery feature making it easy to orient new members. Think of this feature as your online community’s welcome committee where new members get to know the community better and familiarize themselves with its features.
Aside from allowing unlimited members, Might Networks allow an unlimited number of hosts and moderators so your community can accommodate a wide range of content creators.
Might Networks is accessible in web browsers, and it has a mobile app that members can access from their Android and iOS mobile devices.
Might Networks’ pricing starts at $33/month/account, and they offer a free trial.
2. PeerBoard – Online community platform for increasing customer loyalty
PeerBoard is a community forum software you can embed to your website to ensure that customers are in the loop about the latest news and updates about your brand, community, or organization. The forum allows members to hold real-time discussions with other members. It allows users to create comprehensive user profiles to allow other users to show off their personality or expertise. PeerBoard also allows users to upload photos and videos.
PeerBoard is an excellent online community platform for you if you have an online store and want to increase customer loyalty to your brand. It lets you host Q&A sessions to introduce community members to your products and services or offer ongoing learning opportunities. . You can also use Q&A sessions to explain the cool features of new products or let thought-leaders in your space present on a topic of choice.
PeerBoard allows you to create an extensive knowledge base so customers can find answers to FAQs without speaking to a customer support representative.
PeerBoard integrates with other online tools, including WordPress, and Shopify. You can connect additional apps using a paid plan through Zapier.
PeerBoard has a free version with limited features but the pricing for paid plans starts at $29/month/account.
3. Hivebrite – Online community software with an event management feature
Hivebrite is a cloud-based online community software with a data management feature for keeping an accurate record of members. Its content management feature lets you add, update, and moderate content to ensure compliance with community guidelines. You can use Hivebrite as a centralized communications center to stay in touch with members through email campaigns, newsletters, push notifications, or in-app alerts.
Hivebrite is the best online community software for websites that frequently hold ticketed events.. It has a calendar feature to manage all events in one database. Hivebrite has a ticketing feature to create different tickets and prices when holding webinars, paid podcasts, and online courses. You can also use Hivebrite to provide members with a secure online payment gateway when buying tickets.
Hivebrite integrates with CRM and productivity tools like Google Workspace, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, Blackbaud, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Hivebrite provides pricing details and a demo upon request.
4. Khoros – Online community software for building a comprehensive self-service knowledge base
Khoros is an online community software to help you build a digital space where customers can interact with peers, share ideas, and receive answers to inquiries. This online community management tool has an analytics feature that lets you gauge the effectiveness of your platform and assist you in decision-making. It has content moderation tools for ensuring that forums and peer-to-peer conversations follow your community guidelines.
Khoros is the best online community software for you if you want to help customers with their FAQs because it has a feature that allows you to build a self-service knowledge hub. Khoros can help you improve customer satisfaction by giving customers instant access to the answers to their inquiries by simply accessing your comprehensive knowledge base. This feature can save you money because you don’t need to hire live customer service personnel to assist customers.
Khoros integrates with community engagement tools, including Pinterest, YouTube, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Google My Business.
Khoros provides customized pricing upon request.
5. Tribe – Online community software for creating user-generated content
Tribe is an online community platform that you can integrate into an existing website or function as a stand-alone online community website. You can use it to host interactive thread-based communications between members. Members can use Tribe to post questions that other members can answer. Tribe lets you create custom landing pages where you can feature spaces, banners, topics, or discussions to stimulate members’ interest.
Hosting user-generated content is an excellent way to increase community engagement. If you want to optimize the contents of your channel, then Tribe is the best online community tool for you. It has built-in SEO practices to ensure optimization of content and make it more visible to searchers. You can use Tribe to optimize content for posting on social media platforms to ensure a wider audience reach. It also gives members access to a wide range of editing and formatting tools to help them present content in the best possible ways.
Tribe integrates with community engagement tools, including Google Tag Management, Google Analytics, and Amplitude. You can also connect Tribe to a paid Zapier account if you want access to additional apps.
Tribe pricing starts at $59/month/for up to 100 members, and they offer a 14-day free trial.
6. PlushForums – Online community software that allows private conversations between members
PlushForums is an online community software that automatically updates to ensure that your page features the most engaging content and discussions. It has a built-in blog feature to help you publish content faster. PlushForums has real-time notifications, so members know mentions, replies, and private messages. It optimizes content to make them viewable on iOS and Android mobile devices so members can engage with the community anytime they want to.
PlushForums is the best online community software if you want to empower members through private conversations. With PlushForums, members can start private forum threads with selected community members. Members of private forums can share files, videos, pictures, and text available only to the members of the said private forum. PlushForums allows members to add participants anytime if they want to grow their private forum.
PlushForums’ pricing starts at $49/month/for up to 100 members, and they offer a 14-day free trial.
7. Higher Logic – Online community software with a marketing feature to increase revenue
Higher Logic is an online community management software to help you create and manage a thriving online community. It has built-in automation and workflows to assist members from onboarding to membership renewal. Higher Logic allows you to create white-label campaigns to increase member participation in programs, events, and online courses. It has a reporting feature to let you track the performance of your online community and the impact of your different programs and initiatives.
Online communities need to earn to support their operations, and Higher Logic is the best online community management software to help you increase revenues with its marketing feature. You can use Higher Logic to create personalized and targeted email campaigns to assure members that they belong to your community and entice them to renew their membership. It has an analytics feature to help you uncover members’ needs and develop products and services that address those needs. Higher Logic enables you to cultivate advocates that keep members involved, improve retention, and attract new members.
Higher Logic integrates with Salesforce, MemberSuite, IMIS, and Microsoft Dynamics.
Higher Logic provides pricing details to customers upon request.
8. vBulletin – Online community software with a robust membership management system
vBulletin is an online community software for building, customizing, and managing community websites. It has customizable content modules to assist you in creating engaging content to retain members and attract new ones. vBulletin has a built-in SEO feature allowing you to maximize search traffic. It has unique control panels for different roles like admins, moderators, and members to limit permissions according to the user’s role.
Although most online community software allows admins to manage members, vBulletin is the best option if you want to give members the freedom to manage and customize their member profiles. vBulletin gives members custom user titles and a URL homepage. Members can use vBulletin to customize their member profiles to include a wide range of information, including birthdays, location, interests, and biography. vBulletin also has a Signature Editor feature so members can create unique signatures for use in discussion forums, private messaging, and live streaming.
vBulletin pricing starts at $249/month.
9. Vanilla Forums – Online community software that uses gamification to boost customer engagement
Vanilla Forums is an online community engagement platform to provide members with an avenue to start discussions, share knowledge, and ask other members questions. It has a feedback collection feature allowing members to submit feedback and vote on ideas, so group admins know what their members want. Vanilla Forums allows you to create a unique and branded community with pre-built themes that fully customize your web pages.
If you want an innovative way of engaging members and customers, then Vanilla Forums is the best online community software for you because of its gamification feature that utilizes the innate competitive nature of members. Vanilla Forums You can use Vanilla Forums’ API to award badges to members depending on their actions and achievements. You can rank members manually, using single sign-on (SSO), or using a target accumulated reputation points, with higher-ranked members enjoying more visibility on their posts. Rankings, rewards, and badges encourage members to increase interaction with your app and fellow members.
Vanilla Forums integrates with other online tools, including Mailchimp, Salesforce, Slack, Aha!, and Github.
Pricing and a free demo of Vanilla Forums are available upon request.
10. Ning – Online community software for hosting podcasts
Ning is a SaaS to help you create a website for hosting your online community. You can use it to create multiple member groups to promote a wide range of interests. It has a content management feature to allow you to share your knowledge and expertise with your members. Ning supports ideation to improve customer success by allowing members to pitch ideas and vote on polls.
If you want to start a podcast for your online community, Ning is the best online community software for you because it allows you to upload music files and audio clips. Podcasts are gaining popularity because it allows members to learn and get entertained while doing other things like working, driving, or relaxing on their couches. You can also use Ning to link podcasts or music from other sites and act as their host. You can also monetize your site by adding a paywall so members can access premium podcasts.
Ning pricing starts at $25/month/up to 1,000 members, and they offer a 14-day free trial.
Other community tools
What Is Online Community Software?
Online community software is a tool to create and manage online communities to support a group of people who share common interests. Members of an online community can share knowledge and ideas with each other. Members of an online community can also start discussions about topics that the community finds interesting. You can start a poll or survey to get the pulse of your members and use the results to add services and products that appeal to your members.
What Do You Think About This List?
Online communities have evolved from being an avenue to interact with like-minded individuals to being an excellent tool to promote products, inspire brand loyalty, and generate revenue. With many online communities competing for the same audience base, you need to make your online community stand out to capture the lion’s share of the market. The online community software featured in this article can help you make that happen. These are the best online community software to provide the best user experience, inspire meaningful conversations, and attract new members.
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