What is an Online Community Portal and how to drive Online Community Engagement

community portal

Online Community Portal: Definition

An online community portal is defined as an all-in-one solution to create an engaged online community. The online community member portal is an extension of your brand. With this platform, community members feel a sense of familiarity when they come to the portal.

With QuestionPro’s online community portal, you can customize the platform to suit the needs of your brand, the look, and feel. This helps to bring in new members while also keeping your current highly active members. Think about a platform where members can virtually meet up, talk, have meeting etc.

In an interview with German media, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook recently discussed the core reason behind his inspiration to create the world’s first cross-continental social media platform. The reason is very different from what is often portrayed in Hollywood and another media buzz – Mark shared that while using Google during his Harvard days, he came to know that there were quite a few websites that provided information about topics but there were none where individuals could share knowledge. That’s how the concept of Facebook came into being – an online community portal for idea sharing!

A community is thus, a platform where various respondents come together to discuss and opine on various subject matters. This way, all the members can be engaged in what the organization’s doing and the organization can get real-time inputs on what they’re doing well and what can be improved.

An online community portal is a centralized online platform to engage with your selected community members and derive powerful insights based on their feedback and opinion on issues. This can be achieved using multiple  qualitative and quantitative market research methods such as surveys, ideaboard, topics and discussions, polls etc.

Every ambitious and customer-centric organization looks forward to improving their products and services. By qualifying individuals to share their thoughts on an online community web portal, an organization can conduct research on different activities. These days, sharp-witted organizations rely on an online community portal to get a finer understanding of the audience and to push all the endeavors towards market research of upcoming products/services.

Online Community Portal Example

Below is an example of a customized online community portal gateway using QuestionPro Communities.

community portal home
Creating a uniform branded community web portal for your members builds user trust on your brand. By using our centralized all-in-one online community portal that helps you create an engaged online community, you can raise the bar for your brand. Adding a landing page that the members go to after they signup or login, allows you to enhance your brand that can engage your community or get more members on board.

Keeping a community engaged and increasing the community size is one of the key targets of community managers across the board. Here is how an online community portal can help achieve these metrics:

  • Real insights and idea sharing: A web portal for communities is a focused online platform where selected community members can share ideas and insights in real-time. The community admin decides which topic is to be discussed and requires member opinions, keeping the discussions focused on the subject.
  • Collect information using the associated tools: By using the various engagement tools like quick polls, topics, discussions, and ideation, an organization can collect extra information for the respondents which the other non-portal communities might not be able to offer. The members can also be rewarded with gift points or coupons upon responding using this online portal.  
  • The power of online equality: One of the best aspects of anything being online is the equality of access and ability to voice opinion more freely. While distance and virtual presence are sometimes associated with disengagement among people, in case of an online community web portal, this distance helps give each member the freedom to express without concerns.

community portal dashboard

  • This web portal can thus give you a peek into the community members’ thoughts that can be used for the betterment of your brand.

Online Community Portals: Types and Uses

Online Community Portals have changed the face of the internet. Whether it is customer community or employee community. Countless platforms for someone who wants to discuss or put forth their views about Education-schools, colleges and teachers, healthcare, finance, information technology etc.

These online community portals have attracted loyal customers because of the compelling content that is available on these portals. Another important reason for people to visit these portals is that effective communication is facilitated and brands can do business on a one-on-basis with the customers in a more personalized and convenient way.

Following are types of community portal and their uses:

1. Education Community Portals

Whether you are seeking advice for yourself or your children or someone who wants to pursue a certain curriculum or is simply wanting to know more about the education system, Universities etc. these portals have members who can share detailed information.

Education community portals are further segregated into:

  • School Community Portals
  • University Community Portals

In the continued efforts of schools and Universities to enhance communication with students and their families, many schools and Universities have introduced student portals which acts as a continuous information system for the parents.

These portals are capable of providing you with great and parents are encouraged to use these systems to stay updated with related information about their children.

The following information can be obtained on these portals:

  • Student contact information
  • Daily attendance
  • Student Schedules
  • Assignments
  • Behavioral referrals 

2. Healthcare Community Portals

With the dynamic and breathtaking breakthrough in the medical industry and increasing complexities of the diseases healthcare sectors have decided to promote community portals to help anyone who wishes to seek information related to healthcare medicines or transplantation for themselves or their loved ones.

This web-based tool allows individuals from any part of the globe in different healthcare-related organizations to join the communities with shared interests and goals to work together regardless of their location.

Millions are taking advantage from the information shared on these portals, whether its a medical discovery or a life-saving drug, most of the important information is readily available on these portals. Clinic/hospital information, Doctor information etc can be found with ease.

3. Banking and Financial Services Community Portals

Moving complex documents for approval processes, seeking information regarding various types of loans and mortgages, advice related to financial services and more, these portals help anyone who in search for an answer related to banking and financial services.

These portals have members with expertise in the field who can help others with document acquisition, approvals, foreclosure of mortgage payments etc. These portals not only helps customers but also business by helping them understand:

  • The importance of a seamless customer service
  • Creating modern websites and mobile apps to help customer login easily and obtain the desired information.
  • Designing a robust process to develop a business that fulfills customer needs and created customer loyalty.
  • Extending functionality and designing the cutting-edge system to protect customer information.

4. Information Technology, Software Community Portals

Humans have been storing, retrieving, manipulating and communicating information since the stone age, in the form of pictures and scriptures. With the advent of technology and the digital revolution, every communication can be encrypted to prevent unauthorized access.

These portals have discussion groups related to software and other associated topics. Anyone who wishes to seek information can login to these portals and get an updated information about the latest technology and related activities.

How to create and configure your online web portal with QuestionPro Communities?

The editing process of the web portal is straightforward. Login to the QuestionPro account, go to Communities>> Content>> Portal.  To have the new theme for your online community portal:

Content - community portal

Usually, the portal pages are mentioned in the footer of the page. This can also be shown on the main tab by using the Old them and turning on the “Main Tab” option.

Main tab content - community web portal

The community owner can customize the landing page, sign up page, they can also edit the content of the home page making it more specific to the target audience, they can set rewards for the members from the portal, change the privacy policy for the users etc. from the portal page.

Learn more: Community survey software & platform

Key features – Community Web Portal with QuestionPro Communities

Community web portal topics

  • A conventional non-portal community will not give you the details that the tools of an online community portal like quick polls, discussions, ideation, and topics offer.
  • These tools are a source of added information that can help your brand in ways that you could have never imagined.
  • Redemption of reward points and many other features are at the disposal of your community members.
  • In the topics and ideation tools, members can openly share their views about a particular subject and the other community members can join in this discussion.
  • You can actually pay attention to your community members with this organic setup where conversations just flow and give you the desired inputs.
  • An organization can offer various reward points that the members can redeem from the web portal. These points are fundamental in keeping members engaged.