There are thousands, perhaps even more, of pastime activities, that people obsess over worldwide. A quick search on the topic is guaranteed to reveal hobbies you’ve never heard of before. Some of them, like cigar smoking, or model building, are usually enjoyed in solitude. Others, like RC vehicle racing, or various card and table games are inherently social. The Internet has become a meeting ground for enthusiasts, who link up on various websites to form online communities. If you’re reading this, you may already be an owner of such a site, or consider setting one up. In any case, keep on going, as I have some tips for you, on how you can elevate your hobby site to a new height.
I reckon that running a special interest website isn’t too bad of a business. First, you’re probably a fan yourself, otherwise, why would you dabble in a niche topic? Second, you attract high-quality visitors, interested in the subject matter and getting engaged on the site. Third, and perhaps the most important, you have an opportunity to convert these devotees to paying customers by including a simple store on your hobby site.
‘Yeah, sounds good, but how do I actually do it?’
Well, like I said before, there are thousands of hobbies out there, and millions of people practicing them, so there’s no single blueprint for success.
I do believe that you, as an expert in your niche market, will know your potential site visitors/customers best. However, there is one solution, that can be applied to and boost any hobby site, and that is social live chat.
Let me go ahead and give you four tips you’ll be able to execute after you add a live chat widget to your hobby site, and build upon them, adjusting your actions to the niche you operate in and finding new ways to use it, that are characteristic to your segment.
Create a community
Fostering an online community is arguably the most important goal of a hobby site, and group live chat can definitely support the process. Regardless of how niche is the interest your site is centered around, there must be other individuals sharing it, browsing the Web in search of a community they can join.
You, as a hobby site owner, have a chance to create a friendly space for these people, where they can interact and feel understood.
By installing social live chat, you let these enthusiast coming to your site interact with you and other visitors in real time. They can discuss matters related to the hobby in the public chat room, or hold private conversations for stronger bonding.
Position yourself as the leader
Now, the question you should ask yourself after establishing the community is ‘why stop there?’. I mean, why just provide the platform and let it run on a random course?
Running a hobby site, you should aspire to become a leader in your domain. People are looking for information online all the time. This is your chance to deliver it and develop a distinct voice by, for example, publishing a blog.
If you also have live chat installed, you essentially facilitate real time discussion, which can be an alternative to comments section people will appreciate.
Niche online communities seem to be more loyal and willing to engage on-site because, first off all, they’re genuinely interested in the subject, and second, there usually aren’t that many sites they could go to anyway. By having group live chat installed on your hobby site and being active in it, you increase your chances of capturing site visitors’ interest and eventually turning them into loyal followers and maybe even customers.
Draw more traffic to your hobby site
The two issues discussed above lead us to another important point, resulting from having live chat installed on your hobby site and growing an online community around it.
The amount of quality traffic is often how the success of a website is measured. I’ve already alluded a couple of times in this post to the fact that special interest sites have a considerable commercial potential, as evidenced by numerous hobby websites running online stores.
Thus, having an online community should generate more traffic, which in turn should translate into increased revenue – maybe you’re running ads on-site, maybe you have some partner program with another website, maybe you’re selling hobby-related goods? No? Maybe you should, then?
Live chat can support your ecommerce efforts by providing a channel for customers to ask questions when they’re in the middle of the buying process, for you to guide them and upsell, when an opportunity arises, and generally boost the conversion rate by being easily accessible to disperse doubts and adding a human touch to online shopping.
Enhance the experience
Now, this tip is a rather broad category, and my suggestion is only one particular example of how you can use social live chat on your hobby site to enhance the overall user experience. I’m sure you’ll know best what modification to make in order to meet your audience’s expectations.
Alright, so when I’m talking about enhanced experienced, I have things like various live streams or Q&A sessions on my mind.
You could live broadcast a panel discussion on a hot topic in your niche, present some new products or invite guests for question and answer sessions. To make these shows more interesting for site visitor, let them discuss events as they happen in group chat, or ask questions you can then answer on air.
This could also be an excellent opportunity to run a contest and strengthen the ties with your online community. Tools like Chatwee offer powerful moderation options to keep things clean on your hobby site, just in case there’s an occasional black sheep in the community, allowing you to block and ban users directly in the chat window.
Special interest sites often act as social hubs for people sharing common interest, who look for places they can meet and interact with like-minded individuals. As an owner of a hobby site, you can easily facilitate this and attract more people to your business by making social live chat available on your website.
By doing so, you get a chance to capture the attention of people interested in your niche market and make them follow you, by positioning yourself as an expert and a leader.
Live chat is an affordable and extremely easy to operate add on, that any hobby site can benefit from. You can sign up for Chatwee at no cost and with no strings attached whatsoever in the top right corner of this page, and keep using it for as long as you like if the free version will suit your needs.
Then, let me know how it works for you in the comments or on Twitter @Chatwee