How did you get users for your q&a site?

I am seeding the site with questions and answers, but there's only so much of that you can really do.

How long was it and how much seeding did you do before you got real users contributing?

How many users do you need before the site feels active and self-sustaining?

asked 20 May '11, 00:27

helloworld's gravatar image

accept rate: 33%

Your questions are about getting a bigger market - and aren't really OSQA specific. You may be better off asking this question on a site where specialists in online markets hang out. If you've got a specific target audience for your Q&A site, then you'd need a tailored approach for them.

FWIW, the rule of thumb from forums is that for survival, you need at least 50 frequent contributors, at least 250 occasional contributors, and a thousand lurkers. I don't know how that translates to Q&A sites, but it may well be similar; maybe fewer lurkers are needed; maybe more occasional contributors.


answered 20 May '11, 02:49

Andrew_S's gravatar image

Andrew_S ♦
accept rate: 22%

My advice is to find all the authority bloggers and frequent forum posters on other sites in your niche and invite them to your site as trusted advisers. Set them up as moderators and then drive traffic to your site through SEO, social bookmarking, etc.

I would also look at google's keywords tool and look at all the trending searches for your niche. You can then take these keywords and use them to seed Q&A's on your site. This will help with your organic search results.

Set up a Facebook fan page for your site and place a like button in either the announcement bar or side box.

Set up a twitter feed and start following the authority figures in your niche. Start tweeting useful articles for you niche or set up a blog, write your own articles and tweet them.

This will take time so be patient. Remember, build your site with new content every day. Google loves sites that update with new and regular content.

Good luck!


answered 20 May '11, 17:44

Mark%20Welden%20Smith's gravatar image

Mark Welden ...
accept rate: 0%

edited 21 May '11, 02:34

Thanks for removing the grey/black hat stuff

(21 May '11, 06:03) Andrew_S ♦

No worries. I know that those sort of tactics are not to everyone's taste. :)

(21 May '11, 12:59) Mark Welden ...

People are less inclined to give direct answers as to how they've built their community as that's the secret to success. But here's the opinion of a professional digital marketer (me!):

To get the most predictable results, you can:

  1. Digital Marketing (Google adwords, GDN, Youtube videos, positioning marketing, twitter search for people asking your questions).
  2. Leverage an existing community for an existing business or community and build a Q&A forum around it.

answered 22 Mar '12, 07:38

CameronBurns's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

As someone who is trying to get a smaller internal OSQA site off the ground (second attempt), I'm going to try a different method this time, based off of other successes we've had.

The first time around, I tried having a few folks seeding the site with questions, and tried to get people interested in the site just because of activity. The server ended up getting repurposed...in no small part because of a lack of activity on the site.

My target audience is a NOC and helpdesk initially, and 50-100 people total within the next year. Our initial goal is to prevent people from duplicating internet and vendor research (and individual troubleshooting for common, recurring problems), and long-term, it's also to gather input and wisdom on a wider variety of topics.

This time around, I'm working with my core users (the helpdesk) and showing them how I can use the site to record the question (issue) I had, and the answer. I showed them how it was keyword-associated, and how the answer could be improved. I showed them how it could wind up in a wiki...

I think that our situation is common...there are lots of cruddy knowledgebase products out there, and a wiki alone just doesn't cut it. If you're in the same situation, then maybe gearing up a set of core users who can make it obvious how its useful to other soon-to-be users.

I think you need three things at the outset:

  1. A reason for the site to exist (a compelling use-case)
  2. A core set of users who want to use it, regardless of whether anyone else does
  3. Evangelism...those core users need to think it's a good enough idea to actively push it to others

Only time will tell if I'm right, but in the other web products we use that have taken off, that's been the triad of success.


answered 22 Mar '12, 22:18

adrianstovall's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

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Asked: 20 May '11, 00:27

Seen: 2,331 times

Last updated: 23 Nov '13, 06:01

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