Odd how this, from the design perspective, chimes with the discussion over at Mike Shatzkin’s blog yesterday and my thinking about Niche Veritcals.
Step one would be “Attract a large number of potential users”. Without doubt the best way to do this is with good content. Content precedes design.
Only when you have a good audience should you start thinking about how best to serve it and turn it into a community. Unfortunately it’s very rare that we get emails saying “Guys I’ve got over 2,000 people hitting my cricket site every week, commenting, emailing me, and I’d like to build an network to support this“.