New year, new us? Well, not really but the arrival of a new year often provides opportunities to look back and reflect. That’s why we are kicking off the new year by compiling and sharing the blog posts from 2017 that were most popular with our readers. We look forward to providing you with new and useful content for online communities in 2018!

A lot has happened in one year… the most impressive feat was the first release of Open Social! After rigorous testing, we took a chance and shared our product with you. Since then, we’ve been lucky enough to work on amazing projects with the UNDP, Pachamama Alliance, and other great customers. We’ve worked hard at improving Open Social, adding features such as private messaging and providing opportunities to customize your online community.

We enjoyed every step of the way. To round off our 2017 review, here are our top blog posts of 2017 and what you can learn from each of them!

Installing Open Social with Composer

 

Installing Open Social with composer
Installing Open Social on to your computer.

 

Open Social is an online community tool that we released this year. Since it’s ‘fresh out of the oven’, we explained how to install and manage your Open Social sites using composer.

In order to start, you need GIT, Drush and Composer installed on your computer. You also need to decide how to host your site (we provide some suggestions!). From there on, you can head over to Packagist to download Open Social. You’ll find video instructions and further detailed advice about installing open Social onto your local machine. Dive into our guide and explore the best practices for individual installations!

Advantages of Using Atomic Design for Open Social

 

Atomic design visual
A collection of 'atoms' such as various icons and labels.

 

Frank, one of our developers, explains the advantages of an atomic design for web developers. This methodology is used to create web designs. The terminology ‘atomic’ design is an analogy from biochemistry; it’s all about “atoms”, “molecules” and “organisms”. This method requires you to first create elements and then put them together to make sense for the user. The advantages of this method are plentiful. For example, it makes components reusable and consistent.

Atomic design is here to stay. Breaking down big projects into templates, organisms, and molecules is an efficient way of working. Frank can teach you more!

6 Dos and Don'ts for Community Building

 

Community building can be hard. Don't give up!
Community building is hard and can take years. Don't give up!

 

Calling all community managers! Evelien, our community consultant, provides tips and tricks on how to best manage your community. Building a community from scratch and even just maintaining it can be a tough job. The advice spans over topics such as becoming a thought leader and to not always assume things, aka test what you can!

Evelien reminds us in this post that we need to keep calm and carry on learning, testing, creating, and listening to our users to get to that next level! 

Advantages of a Component Library

 

Component Library visual
Example of text styles in the component library.

 

Bas, our graphic designer, expanded on the topic of atomic design and outlined the benefits of using an atomic design-based component library. A component library is set up in the same way a front-end developer would theme a website. Bas explains concepts such as elements and components to teach you how to best design a full webpage. For example; an element is a button (atom). A component is a complete part of the software or website like a footer or teaser (molecule or organism).

A component library helps make your designs future proof. It consolidates the front-end code while comprehensively documenting the visual language, such as color palettes and fonts. Read more for further explanations!

How to Boost Engagement in Your Community

 

Use a content calendar to boost engagement
Use content calendars to boost engagement!

 

An online community thrives on user engagement. It’s no surprise then, that this blog post was one of our most successful ones. As Feverbee points out in their excellent explanation of the community lifecycle, it takes a while before users start engaging and actively contributing to your community. In order to kick-start the activity, try planning your content, asking open-ended questions, and rewarding engagement.

This post contains a lot more advice for community managers. Although there is a lot you can do, these tips will surely put you on the right path.

Here’s to You!

Thank you to all of our readers, customers, and supporters that have allowed us to thrive and grow this past year. It’s been great to contribute to the online community world. Each year we seem to be a little more hopeful for what the next year will hold. So here we are, hoping that 2018 will be even better for everyone!

 

 

Let us know in the comments what kind of content you’d like to see from us this year! Which ‘best of's’, ‘how to's’ or lists would be helpful for you?

Further Reading

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