Finding Your Forever Home: A Comprehensive Guide on Selecting a Online Community Platform for Your Business

In the ever-changing landscape of online marketing, communities have emerged as game changers.

Gone are the days of relying entirely on one-time digital products or courses.

Successful online communities enable you to build a loyal following that consistently interacts with your brand, resulting in long-term audience connections.

Imagine this: instead of making a single $50 sale, you’re cultivating hundreds of relationships with a community that thrives on user-generated content and discussions. The potential for passive income is undeniable, but more importantly, you build a crucial sense of belonging with your audience.

But where do you keep this community?

Choosing the correct community platform is a key decision that will have a huge impact on your performance.

Switching platforms in the middle of a project can be a logistical nightmare, as opposed to downloadable products.

You risk losing momentum, and moving essential information – threads, comments, the heart of your community – is a difficult task. It’s similar like relocating to a new home without losing all of your furniture!

The good news is that you might already have the ideal platform at your fingertips.

No Need to Reinvent the Wheel:

Do you already have a thriving Facebook group filled with daily discussions? Or perhaps a Kajabi course that is booming with user activity? There is no reason to reinvent the wheel.

If you’ve discovered a platform that your audience likes, continue with it! The idea is to use current tools and functions that your target audience is already familiar with.

But, if you’re ready for a new experience or haven’t discovered the right fit yet, don’t worry! Let’s look at some of the most popular community platform choices by the FreelanceKing, each tailored to certain needs:

1. Go High Level (GHL), the All-in-One Powerhouse

For the past few years, Go High Level (GHL) has been my preferred platform for launching online enterprises. Their complete package enables you to develop everything you need under one roof, including websites, sales funnels, email marketing campaigns, calendars, and even chatbots. Gone are the days of spending hours integrating a dozen separate programs, dealing with compatibility issues, and blaming others when things go wrong. GHL just developed a seamless “Communities” option that works perfectly with your existing courses. Here’s what genuinely separates GHL:

Effortless Integration:

No more Frankenstein integrations! GHL provides a seamless user experience in which everything functions in perfect harmony. There will be no more cobbling together disparate tools and dealing with compatibility difficulties.

Forward-Thinking Innovation:

The GHL team is always monitoring the industry, learning from successful features on other platforms and avoiding frequent mistakes. This leads to a constantly expanding platform that keeps ahead of the curve, giving you access to the most recent features and functionalities.

Cost-Effective Value:

The “Communities” function is already included in your GHL package, so there is no additional cost to construct and administer as many communities as you want. This makes it an affordable option for entrepreneurs seeking a comprehensive solution without breaking the bank.

Simplified Usability:

Existing GHL courses can be automatically linked to your community, and you can easily integrate the community right into your checkout experience. This shortened procedure allows you to have your community up and running quickly.

While GHL has an outstanding feature set, it’s crucial to note that the community function is still in its early stages. This implies it may have fewer bells and whistles than other, more established platforms.

However, given GHL’s high pace of innovation, this gap is likely to shrink soon.

2. Skool: Gamification for Rapid Growth.

Skool is a rising star in the community platform market and with good cause. Skool, with its fascinating features and strong momentum, has helped countless communities grow in size.

What’s their hidden weapon? Gamification!

Skool uses smart features to motivate participation and reward content creation, keeping users engaged and returning for more.

Here’s what makes Skool an appealing option:

Built-in Audience Potential:

Skool benefits from Alex Harmozi’s significant marketing experience. This means that you may naturally attract new members to your community without any further effort.

Harmozi’s reputation and reach can help your community grow significantly in its early phases.

Skool’s gamification elements are game-changing!

They combine points, badges, and leaderboards to create a fun and engaging environment that keeps consumers engaged.

This promotes friendly competition and encourages individuals to contribute more to the community.

However, there are a couple of factors to consider before entering into Skool:

Premium Pricing:

At $99 per community, Skool isn’t the most affordable choice, especially for new companies. You’ll need a sizable audience to justify the investment. Smaller communities can have a high expense per member.

Data Ownership Considerations:

One potential disadvantage is that you do not technically “own” your community on Skool. This means you need a separate CRM or database to manage your connections with community members. Skool provides a platform for engagement, but to ensure long-term success, you’ll need to be able to handle your data independently.

3. BuddyBoss: Unlocking the Power of WordPress

Are you a tech-savvy entrepreneur seeking ultimate control over your online haven? If so, BuddyBoss for WordPress could be your dream come true. This powerful plugin turns your WordPress site into a fully functional community platform, replete with the possibility to create a branded mobile app. BuddyBoss provides unrivaled control over your data and enables for extensive customization if you’re comfortable with some code. Here’s what makes BuddyBoss such an appealing alternative for individuals who enjoy tinkering behind the hood:

Unmatched Data Ownership:

Your data is safely stored on your own server, providing you entire control and peace of mind. Furthermore, with the correct coding expertise, you can tailor every aspect of your community to perfectly reflect your brand and vision. You are not bound by the constraints of Skool or GHL’s pre-built templates.

Scalability enables limitless growth:

BuddyBoss can handle enormous communities with hundreds of thousands of active people creating material and participating in discussions, depending on server capacity. This makes it a long-term alternative for enterprises with ambitious expansion aspirations.

BuddyBoss provides a seamless integration for individuals who currently use WordPress for their website, resulting in a smooth and unified user experience. This eliminates the need to manage numerous platforms while simplifying content management.

Of course, tremendous power entails great responsibility (and maybe a few problems).

Before delving into BuddyBoss, consider this reality check:

Technical expertise is required. Setting up a payment system, updating plugins, and addressing security risks all necessitate a certain level of technical proficiency. BuddyBoss is not a point-and-click solution; it is intended for folks who are comfortable working with code. If you’re not technically adept, you may need to employ a developer to administer the platform for you.

DIY Maintenance: 

Unlike GHL and Skool, where platform providers manage maintenance, BuddyBoss puts you in responsible of keeping your own server working properly. This might be a big time commitment, especially if you are not technologically skilled. When deciding whether to use BuddyBoss, keep in mind the continuing costs of server maintenance and potential IT support.

So, what did I choose?

Ultimately, I choose BuddyBoss. Here’s why.

Centralized Data Hub: 

My idea included establishing a central location to manage data from numerous communities, rather than just one for my core project. BuddyBoss was ideal for this purpose because it gave me complete control over all of my communities’ data.

Nested Community Power: 

One of BuddyBoss’ most intriguing features is the ability to build “sub-communities” within the larger one. This enables me to help other freelancers and influencers establish their own productive communities under my umbrella. This develops a spirit of collaboration and can result in a more lively and diverse local ecology.

The Final Takeaway: 

Selecting the Ideal Platform for Your Needs.

The perfect community platform for you is entirely dependent on your individual requirements and priorities.

Here’s a quick recap to help you make a decision:

Do you seek simplicity and an all-in-one solution?

Go with GHL.

Want the power of gamification with built-in audience potential?

Skool might be your best option. However, if you’re a techie who values data ownership, customisation, and scalability, BuddyBoss could be the ideal solution.

Remember that the key to a healthy online community isn’t the platform itself, but rather the value you bring and the relationships you develop.

Choose a platform that will allow you to build an environment in which your audience feels respected, engaged, and eager to connect.

By carefully considering your goals and priorities, you may choose the ideal platform for building a strong online community that drives business growth.

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