wp-greet-boxDoes your online community receive a lot of traffic from sites that are big on link sharing? For example:

  • Social bookmarking sites like delicious and StumbleUpon.
  • Social news sites like Digg.
  • Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.
  • Microblogging services like Twitter.
  • Social aggregators like FriendFeed.
  • Or any site that allows and encourages people to easily share links – perhaps sites with a focus on the niche that your community is based on.

If you do, you should consider installing a WordPress plugin. “But, Patrick,” you say. “My site doesn’t run WordPress.” I thought you might say that!

The plugin I am talking about is called WP Greet Box. In short, it recognizes visitors who are coming from these social sites and shows them a custom message that you set, inviting them to subscribe to your site or share content with the site they came from.

Let’s say that one of the threads on your forums was stumbled and was receiving traffic from StumbleUpon. Whenever someone visits that post through StumbleUpon, they’ll be greeted and invited to stumble the post themselves! You could show them a message like this:

Welcome Stumbler! If you enjoyed this page, please considering giving it a thumbs you!

In this example, “giving it a thumbs up” is linked to the exact page on StumbleUpon where they can give your post a thumbs up, generating more traffic for it from the StumbleUpon network.

Or, let’s say you get a lot of traffic from Twitter and one of your posts has been shared on there. Maybe your community has it’s own Twitter account. When they visit, maybe they see:

Welcome Twitter user! Please consider tweeting this page if you like it. We’re on Twitter @yourcommunity.

The great thing about this plugin is not only does it come with a bunch of preloaded sites and messages that you can easily customize, but it makes it easy to add a new one. Say your community is aimed toward women and you get a lot of traffic from kirtsy. You can easily add a special message and icon (with the icon template) directed at kirtsy visitors.

It’s super dynamic and flexible and that is what makes it awesome. It can help you to grow traffic by helping visitors to share your content by reminding them and offering them a link. The plugin’s author, Thaya Kareeson, did a great thing and wrote a tutorial explaining how to use WP Greet Box on your non-WordPress site (yes, this is the payoff!). This is what will allow you to run it on your community.

You will need to install WordPress and the plugin on WordPress and keep it up to date. “I don’t need a blog,” you might say. WordPress is so light and easy and quick to install that setting up an installation you won’t otherwise use, if you are receiving this type of traffic, is definitely worth taking a look at as a quick and easy way to grow said traffic. You can even tell WordPress to make it so that search engines don’t spider your blog.

I estimate that, if you know what you are doing (i.e. you can edit code and install WordPress), that you should be up and running in 1 to 2 hours, excluding any time spent customizing the template messages and/or adding new sites!

It’s worth noting that there may be a hack like this for your chosen forum or community software, so you may want to check that. If there is, you may also want to check if it works as well as WP Greet Box, which is pretty slick. I have the plugin installed here on ManagingCommunities.com. If you’d like to try it out, check out our Twitter page and click one of the blog post links.