Considerations and questions
Here are a couple of general thoughts and questions to keep in mind.
- Keep it as simple as possible.
- Is the website or networking site likely to be blocked by your organisation or employer's IT firewall?
- Do not use fancy graphics and media that use up people's bandwidth, especially those who live in rural areas.
- It takes time and patience to build an online community and/or network.
- How much are you prepared to spend on this online community? Do you plan on using a free platform, or pay someone to develop a custom made website? Where will you host the website...will you need your own server? Will you need funds to buy a domain?
- You will need people to take responsibility for facilitating, moderating and developing the community, especially at the beginning. This has time and funding implications.
Once you have decided what to do for your community website or networking site, read the work of Nancy White for information about how to set up and build your community, or have a look at the resources I have put together for the 'Facilitating Online' course. Another interesting blog post is one written by Coach Carole in which she details the steps she has taken recently in developing an online community that has ePortfolios as its point of interest.
Do you have any tips for people thinking of setting up professional websites or networking sites?
In my next post I will talk about some of the tools you can use to develop and host your professional online community.