Thanks for trying Discourse!
@jingying, here are some tips for launching a successful discussion community:
What is the “elevator pitch” for your community?
The first thing people will ask: what is this place? How would you describe your community to someone you just met in a 60 second elevator ride? Make sure that’s visible on your home page, as a banner or pinned topic.
Build some interesting discussions to launch with
What comes up often in your internal emails? Are there common themes that tend to come up again and again with your fans, customers, users, patrons, subscribers? Try moving those discussions out of private email silos into your public (or private) discussion area.
If you find a cool link you want to discuss, quickly start a new topic by pasting a link into the topic title. Try it!
Have some open-ended getting to know you topics for people to share their opinions, experiences, stories, or pictures. An “introduce yourself” topic is always fun, and you should go first!
What topics do you want your community to create? Imagine what a model user you would love to see on your site would do – and then try doing that yourself. Create multiple accounts if you need to; post example topics and reply to them so visitors can browse the existing conversations to discover what your community is about.
Get the right people in the room
Send personal invitations to your staff, power users, or friends, to log in early and reply to your initial topics to generate activity. Send one-click email invites via your invite page. You can also send bulk invites to many email addresses at once.
Generously like any and every post you enjoy! What type of content gets liked is a major part of your community’s culture. Set an example by frequently liking posts in the early days of your forum. Seeing liked posts also encourages people to reciprocate in kind, and come back for more.
Actively seek the help of power users and early adopters in your community. There’s a built in feedback category for discussing organization and governance. Let your most avid users have a say in what your community does, how the site works, and what your community becomes.
How do people find your community?
Where can you place links to your community so that people will naturally discover it? In the header or footer of your website? Where else?
Promote your community. Add a note to your mailing lists or email newsletters, put up a notice on your website, or make a blog entry about your new community.
What rewards, perks, contests, or incentives can you give people for signing up, for posting, for replying? Check your user directory to see engagement statistics, and shower your best users with attention to encourage them.
For additional advice, see our blog post on how to build engaging Discourse communities.
Good luck! Building a community takes patience and persistence. If we can help, email firstname.lastname@example.org any time.