Hey all - I've had some excellent discussions with many of you before, and I'm back to serve up another big question or two for ya!
Many people start communities as a hobby and offer anything and everything to their visitors to make it more "sticky" - and typically these folks are losing the shirts off their backs. I think that's great if you have a hobby you love and want to have a place you can meet other likeminded people at your expense, but I'd like to be able to pay my expenses and turn a good profit at it too. Am I asking too much?
My BIG question for you all, is what components of a "for profit" community do you think help to build it up and make a buck or two - and what components are nothing more than a waste of bandwidth?? For example - so many community type sites have forums, articles, news, reviews, business directories, classifieds, photo galleries etc etc etc... but which of those is beneficial to really help grow a site and which is just a wast of time?
The reason I'm asking is because I'm planning a site for the community I live in, and I want it to be something that adds value to the community and also a few $$$ to my wallet. Right now, I'm planning to offer free listings in a business directory, a listing of valuable - internet only coupons from local merchants, and maybe offering some how-to/instructional articles written by local business owners. A large part of my plan to make money will be to offer a newsletter offering a select few special coupons and deals from local businesses to my visitors, and charge the businesses a few $$ to list their coupon in each issue.
Are their other components you think I should be adding to the site? Like forums, or free classifieds, or user submitted reviews of local businesses and restaurants?
Thanks for you time to help me sort this all out, and best wishes to all of you in your own community building efforts!
Have a great weekend!!