You can't design an online community, at least, not on purpose and not all at once. Your visitors will march to their own beat, and that's just how it should be.
What you can do is start by borrowing the kind of design patterns that have worked well in the past to craft a site that's half way there, poised to age well, and open to finishing itself thanks to the input and experiences of its users.
Communities happen in a series of unsung "it's alive" moments over a good long period of time. Getting it started is one thing — it requires as much intangibles as skill — but maintaining a relationship with it over the long haul is another thing — it's all about momentum.
Get in touch with us to talk about it more. Email email@example.com.
By John Gladding, offers some good tough questions to ask yourself before you dive in.
By Tara Hunt, gives you 10 good rules to be involved and get right.
Captures a bellwether moment when a community rose up together to make a statement and the company listened.