Community Website Templates: How to Choose the Perfect Fit for Your Brand
Community website templates make it much easier to get up and running. This post dives into the nuances of these templates, highlighting their versatility, and exploring how they can elevate your online presence.
The concept of community has evolved beyond physical gatherings to online spaces where individuals connect, collaborate, and share ideas with each other and brands. And these types of online interactions bring many benefits to companies.
Community website templates make it much easier to get up and running — especially when your community has a specific objective, like having a job board or forum. This is because templates only require minimal experience and a few hours to create — offering a streamlined approach to building an online community that drives results for your brand. Ultimately, this is made possible because the templates are built on feature-rich community software platforms.
This post dives into the nuances of these templates, highlighting their versatility, exploring how they can elevate your online presence while reinforcing what makes your brand unique — and most importantly how to avoid the mistake of choosing the wrong one.
Let’s get started.
What is a community website?
At its core, a community website is designed to host spaces that facilitate discussions, collaboration on projects, customer support, and more among groups of users, be it customers or tech professionals. These spaces are live, ongoing, and both organic and interactive.
It’s important to note they are different from generic website templates. This is because community website templates come with advanced features that allow for the categorization of topics, moderation tools, advanced customization, analytics, integration capabilities, and more — thanks to the community software platform they are built on.
In essence, a community website bridges the gap between businesses and their audience. It transforms passive consumers into active participants, fostering a sense of belonging and community. It's a goldmine for insights, allowing businesses to ultimately align their products more closely with user needs and preferences.
Community website templates, often seen as mere shortcuts, deliver numerous benefits:
1. Easy to set up and low maintenance
Let's explore how templates can make setting up your online community’s spaces easy and require minimal resources to maintain:
Automatic updates: Some templates will allow you to set up automatic updates. This means you won’t need to worry about any vulnerabilities or bugs that may occur by not updating your template to the latest version.
No coding required: Pre-designed no-code community website templates mean you don't need to know how to code or hire a developer to build or make any changes to your community.
Quick start: Templates offer a plug-and-play approach that allows brands to launch their community after making as few or as many changes as needed.
User-friendly dashboards: Simplified dashboards make managing content and monitoring user activity straightforward and ultimately results-driven.
2. Improved search visibility
The right template can enhance your community's ranking on search engines, ensuring it reaches a wider audience effectively:
SEO-friendly URL structure: These types of templates often come with SEO-friendly URL structures, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your online community. In addition, these URLs offer a better experience as they let users know what they can expect to see when they click the link to your community.
Meta descriptions: Easily write relevant meta descriptions that improve click-through rates from search engine results pages (SERPs).
Mobile responsiveness: Search engines favor mobile-friendly communities that wrap and adapt to the device they’re being viewed on, from desktops to mobiles.
3. Accelerated time-to-market
When launching your online community for the first time, every moment counts. Let's look at the ways templates can speed up your time to market:
Tested and reliable: Templates have usually undergone rigorous testing for bugs and other issues. This ensures that you'll start with a stable platform, reducing the time spent on troubleshooting and issues that often pop up.
Documentation and support: Many templates come with comprehensive documentation and support, enabling quicker resolutions to any challenges that need resolving.
Scalability: If your community grows unexpectedly, a good template will have the features needed to scale — ensuring you won’t have the headache that comes with searching for a different platform.
Streamlined onboarding processes: Templates often provide high-quality onboarding tools and tutorials that make sure staff have the training they need to implement your community.
4. Improved brand image
A community is an extension of your brand. This means its design and functionality will significantly impact how current and potential customers perceive your company. Here’s how:
Professional design: High-quality templates offer sleek and modern designs that reflect a brand's professionalism and commitment to its customers’ experience. In addition, they follow UI and UX best practices that enhance the community members’ experience and lead to better engagement.
Community empowerment: Community website templates often feature tools that allow members to create, share, and highlight their own content or achievements. This allows brands to showcase their appreciation and trust in their community, further solidifying their positive image.
Customization: The ability to customize and personalize templates ensures that the community space aligns with your brand's unique aesthetic and vibe across all platforms.
Types of community website templates
Here’s a comprehensive guide to the variety of templates you can choose from — ensuring you find the perfect fit for your brand.
Ideation and feedback templates
Feature request template
A feature request template is designed to serve as a place where community members can submit their ideas, suggestions, or any other type of feedback they believe would enhance the experience of your product or service.
But this template is not just about collecting feedback — it's about organization and prioritization. With potentially hundreds of ideas pouring in, feature request templates offer an easy way to sift through them — so they can be prioritized based on feasibility and impact.
Ultimately, this type of template can replace a feature request solution and allows companies to ensure that the new product features they invest in are not just top-down — but also influenced by the genuine needs and desires of their user base.
The key components of a feature request template include:
Feedback submission: An intuitive interface where members can detail their feedback, providing as much context as necessary.
Upvoting: Allows members to upvote ideas they resonate with, giving companies a sense of what's popular or in demand.
Status updates: Keep your community informed about the progress of their feedback and suggestions, whether they're under review, accepted, in development, or implemented with status updates.
A roadmap template provides companies with a place to visually showcase their strategic plans, including upcoming projects and key milestones. But it's not just a projection of what's to come — it's a narrative, telling the story of where the company is headed and how it plans to get there.
This helps close the feedback loop. Essentially, the feature request space collects user feedback, and then the roadmap template lets them know you’re working on it and when they can expect to see it implemented.
Moreover, this allows companies to foster transparency and signal that they value their community's input and are clear about its future direction.
Key functionalities that come with a roadmap template include:
Visual timelines: A visual representation of the planned direction of a company over time, allowing users to dive deeper into both long and short-term goals for more information.
Label roadmap items: Label your upcoming features and other technical considerations correctly to ensure your community members understand how your brand will evolve. These types of labels can include New Features, Improvement, and more.
User feedback: Allow community members to provide their insights or concerns about upcoming changes by commenting and upvoting.
Milestone markers: Highlighting significant achievements and celebrating progress.
Product updates template
A product update template is crafted to showcase product changes. But this isn’t just about announcing what's new, it's about ensuring clarity, fostering engagement, inviting feedback, and closing the feedback loop — an essential process when a community of dedicated users is keenly watching your brand’s every step.
Ultimately, this type of template comes with functionalities that empower your users to make the most of the product and use its new features or improvements that they might otherwise miss.
Key features of a product update template include:
Clear announcements: A dedicated space to highlight the updates, whether it's a new feature, bug fix, or enhancement.
Detailed descriptions: Elaborate on the specifics of the update, ensuring users understand how their experience will be affected.
Visual elements: Screenshots, videos, or infographics that visually represent the changes, aiding in better comprehension.
Feedback: Allow users to share their initial reactions, suggestions, or concerns regarding the update.
User guides & tutorials: Accompanying resources that guide users on how to utilize the new features or adjustments, ensuring they make the most of the update.
Customer support templates
Help center template
A community website template for customer support (also known as a help center template) is designed to be a comprehensive hub for all things support-related. It's often the first port of call for users seeking answers, guidance, or troubleshooting tips. Instead of sifting through forums or waiting for email responses, users can leverage a self-service portal to access a well-organized repository of information tailored to assist them.
Ultimately, when a brand uses this template, it will experience a reduction in the volume of incoming support tickets and also enhance the overall customer experience by providing self-service support.
Key aspects of a help center template include:
Knowledge base: A structured collection of articles, guides, and FAQs that address common queries and challenges.
Search functionality: An intuitive search bar that allows users to quickly find relevant articles or other solutions based on their keywords or phrases.
Feedback loop: A means for users to provide feedback on articles, indicating if they were helpful or if more information is needed. This helps in refining the content over time.
Multimedia integration: The inclusion of different types of media like videos, infographics, and more that can sometimes explain solutions better than text alone.
A Q&A template is structured to facilitate a space where users can ask questions — and receive answers from community members and company employees alike. And when users have a place where they can receive help from their peers, it fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty. They're also more likely to return the favor, creating a cycle of support and ultimately increasing retention.
This template can replace your Q&A software. It is more than just a space for queries and answers — it ignites, recognizes, and harnesses the collective wisdom of your community. Let’s take a look at its key features:
Voting: Allows community members to upvote questions and answers, ensuring that the most relevant or popular content rises to the top.
Best answers pinned to the top: Highlight the most accurate or helpful answer by pinning it to the top of a post.
Categorization: Questions can be categorized based on whether the question is new, unanswered, or answered.
Request answer: Use past insights to suggest the right users to answer a question a member has posted.
A resources template provides a structured place where resources can be uploaded, categorized, and accessed with ease. Whether it's a tutorial video, a research document, or an insightful article, the template ensures that members can find and engage with content relevant to their needs.
Additionally, it’s a great community website template for large enterprises because it houses all resources in one place — ensuring updates, revisions, and content audits are significantly more manageable. It also provides members with a single point of access, reducing confusion and enhancing their experience.
This community website template features include:
Document uploads: Whether it's PDFs, documents, spreadsheets, or presentations, this template ensures easy uploads and efficient organization.
Video management: Facilitates the addition of videos, with features like thumbnail previews, playback controls, and categorization.
Podcast integration: Link to the account that hosts your podcasts, like Spotify and Apple.
Photo galleries: Enables the creation of organized photo galleries, with features like tagging, categorization, and high-resolution viewing.
Advanced search filters: Users can effortlessly find resources based on author, upload date, and more.
In the diverse realm of online communities, a membership template stands out as an essential tool for communities that thrive on both free and premium memberships. Whether it's about nurturing a base of email subscribers with regular updates or offering exclusive content to premium members, these templates cater to a wide spectrum of membership needs — ultimately recognizing the value of every member.
The membership template provides:
Diverse membership levels: From free email subscribers getting regular updates to premium tiers with exclusive benefits.
Payment gateways: Seamless integration with popular payment solutions for secure transactions for premium memberships.
Automated renewals & subscriptions: Automated processes for renewing premium memberships and managing free subscriptions, like email sign-ups.
Member dashboards: A personalized space for all members to manage their preferences, access content, and interact with the community.
Promotional features: Tools to create special offers, discounts, or trials to convert free members to premium ones.
Security and privacy: Ensuring that all member data, from email addresses to payment details are stored securely.
In the world of online communities, forums stand as one of the oldest and most effective spaces for fostering discussions, sharing knowledge, and building a sense of camaraderie among members.
Catering to this need is a community website template for forums, which is specifically designed to support and enhance the dynamics of discussion-heavy communities — from tech support forums to online beauty communities. Their structure allows members to start discussions, reply to threads, and engage in meaningful conversations, and more.
Here are the features that make forum templates a preferred choice for many communities:
Threaded discussions: Organized structure posts and subsequent replies, ensuring clarity in conversations.
Moderation tools: Equipped with features to monitor, edit, or remove content so discussions remain respectful and adhere to community guidelines.
Search functionality: Allows members to easily find topics or discussions they’re interested in.
User profiles: View the activities, achievements, and interests of other members in the forum.
Private messaging: Facilitates one-on-one conversations between members, fostering deeper connections.
Notification systems: Keep members updated on replies, mentions, or new topics in their areas of interest.
Tagging & categorization: Organize discussions by themes or subjects, making navigation simpler.
Polls & surveys: Allows for community-driven decision-making by gathering the opinions of members on specific topics.
In online communities, events — whether virtual or physical — play a key role in bringing members together. To streamline the creation, organization, and promotion of these events, templates provide the tools needed so brands can present dates and times, manage registrations, and facilitate interactions before, during, and after the event. These types of tools not only significantly boost attendance — but improve the user experience.
Here’s the feature set you can expect to come along with an events template:
Event calendars: A visual representation of upcoming events, allowing members to plan their participation in advance.
Registration & ticketing: Allow members to register and RSVP to events.
Virtual event integration: Direct integration with webinar or virtual meeting platforms for easy access.
Venue details & maps: For physical events, detailed venue information, and directions.
Notification & reminders: Automated alerts to remind members of upcoming events they've shown interest in.
Job board template
Online communities have emerged as popular spaces for talent acquisition, networking, and career development. Catering to this specific need is the job board template.
It provides a structured place where companies can list job openings that potential candidates can explore and apply for. Additionally, it allows companies to tap into a pool of potential candidates who are already engaged and interested in the field. On top of that, brands can use this template to position the company as an employer of choice within their industry.
The features that make a job board template a valuable asset:
Job posting: Allows employers to list open positions with detailed descriptions, requirements, and benefits.
Resume submissions: Provides the ability for job seekers to submit their resumes and cover letters directly to potential employers.
Company profile: Dedicated sections for companies to showcase their culture, values, team, and other unique selling points.
Job alerts: Automated notifications for job seekers about new listings that match their preferences or skill sets.
Advanced search filters: Enables job seekers to narrow down opportunities based on location, job type, salary range, and more.
Gaming community template
In the gaming world online communities help enhance the player experience by providing a space where players feel connected not just to the game, but to a larger community of like-minded enthusiasts.
Gaming community templates recognize these unique needs — allowing and encouraging gamers to connect, share, and immerse themselves in their passion by discussing strategies, sharing gameplay experiences, showcasing achievements, and even engaging in friendly competitions.
The feature-rich list that gaming community templates provide:
Game forums: Dedicated sections for different games or game modes, facilitating focused discussions.
Achievement showcases: Allows players to flaunt their in-game achievements, badges, or high scores.
Game guides & tutorials: Repositories where seasoned players can share guides, tips, and tricks.
Player profiles: Personalized profile showcasing a player's gaming history, achievements, and preferences.
Event calendars: For announcing in-game events, tournaments, or updates.
Leaderboards: Dynamic boards showcasing top players based on different metrics.
Multi-platform support: Ensuring community websites are accessible across PC, Mac OS, and mobile devices.
Key features to consider
Let’s take a look at the key factors for you to consider when choosing a community website template. Keep in mind that some of the features mentioned below come with the platform that the templates are built into.
User interface: UI features focus on the look and feel of your community, this includes aesthetics like colors, text, buttons, and elements that encourage users to explore. Ultimately, a well-designed UI should be intuitive, and frictionless, and provide your members with a good experience while interacting with your online community.
Customizability: A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work for online communities. Platforms should offer customizable themes, layout options, and widget integrations, allowing brands to create a community that aligns with their vision and matches other digital properties like their social network.
Scalability: As communities grow, there's an influx of content, members, and interactions. A community website template should be designed with features that can handle this growth so the user experience remains smooth.
Security: Security and privacy standards should be prioritized. This means going beyond basic encryption to providing regular vulnerability assessments, two-factor authentication options, and more.
Analytics: Comprehensive analytics that track user demographics, engagement metrics, popular content, and more. This data aids your brand in understanding what's working, what's not, and where to steer future strategies.
Mobile responsiveness: With many users accessing platforms via mobile, a mobile-responsive design ensures that your community is readable on all devices.
Multi-language support: For global communities, multi-language support is vital. This feature should allow for real-time translation, localized content, and even region-specific community events or discussions.
Gamification: Gamification tools, such as point systems, achievement badges, and leaderboards, can drive engagement. They incentivize participation, reward active members, and introduce a competitive yet friendly element.
API access: Using a community website template that’s created on a platform that offers API support and access will allow you to build custom apps that automate workflows and monitor data changes from your chosen applications and systems.
Content moderation: Automated filters for inappropriate content, member reporting systems, and easy-to-use moderation dashboards help maintain a respectful and positive community atmosphere.
Member management: This encompasses features like member directories, role assignments, activity tracking, and more. Effective member management ensures the community remains organized and members feel valued.
The success of your online community hinges not just on the enthusiasm of its members, but also on the templates that help create it. This is because the right template isn't just a design choice — it’s tailored to your current and potential customers’ unique needs — allowing you to create spaces where members feel valued, their voices are heard, and a place where they can connect, share, and grow. You can find both free and premium community website templates — which makes choosing the right platform essential to finding the right one for your brand.
We recommend trying Bettermode — an all-in-one community platform that provides all of the community website templates discussed in this post. Sign up here.
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