5 Common Pitfalls of Welcoming Members

A post on how Dots helped Splice with their Discord onboarding process and create a more engaged community!
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Onboarding has to be customised towards the needs of each particular discord community. There’s not just one right way of welcoming a new member to your community.

However, there are a lot of wrong ways to go about onboarding.

We will examine the five most common categories of onboarding mistakes, and how you can avoid making them. These apply whether you're using an off-the-shelf welcome bot or a custom solution.

Don’t Overwhelm them!

Walls of Text

When writing his book ‘A Brief History of Time’, Stephen Hawking was warned by his editor that every equation added to the book, would halve the readership and lead to lesser sales.

Similarly, each paragraph of text presented to a new member during the start of Onboarding increases the odds that they either don’t read anything and skip the entire process, or even worse - leave the server altogether.

This applies to lengthy community introductions as well as long codes of conduct. For the former, keep the intro brief and let the member discover what the community is about organically. A separate channel with the longer code of conduct should suffice for the later.

Too Many Channels

A server having too many channels is another major contributor to the feeling of initial information overload. 🤯

However, there are workarounds to help with this problem. Collapsable channel categories make the server easier to navigate. The thread feature in Discord is another option that’s very infrequently used. Instead of having a channel for each conversation, threads can be created, keeping numbers manageable. They can be auto-archived after a particular time period.

Finally, we can use role selection during onboarding to only show certain channels to members depending on their interests. However, role selection has its own set of possible pitfalls. More on them later.

Complicated verification flows:

If you are a large community, spam is an issue. Captcha bots can be helpful, but too often the verification flows are very complicated.

Lack of Personalization

Nothing’s worse than a generic ‘hey username. Welcome to the community. You are member #41512’. The message sounds more like a prison warden talking to a new inmate than a community welcoming a member.

Approach discord onboarding like how you would go about meeting someone for the first time.

First tell them about yourself. What the community is about, who the members are and people (admins) to get in touch with in case of any questions or issues. Then ask them about why they’re here. Even a couple of questions in the onboarding flow goes a long way into a member feeling cared about.

An example of a pleasant welcome message

More importantly, take the time to personally welcome each new member. Even if that just means you saying hi.

A good community is built by a leader who is interested about members and goes the extra mile to look at what else they're interested in. A nice touch would be to tag someone else in that commuity who can serve as a good guide to the new member with “hey xyz has similar interest, wanted you both to connect".

A personal welcome goes a long way

And finally, keep the flow within the server!

A common mistake we see in onboarding flows is when the member is taken out of the server to a different window. There are two problems with this: one, the navigating away from and returning back to the original server is potentially confusing. Secondly, it is distracting. When you have someone alt-tab, there’s a chance something else grabs their attention. In both cases, we end up with cases when the user leaves the flow and never completes it.

There are two major culprits when it comes to the flow moving away of server:

Messages via DM

Sometimes when you join, a welcome message is sent via DM (Direct message in discord). In others, a verification message or the entire onboarding process happens through DMs.

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, the fact that members may have DMs turned off from non-friends compounds the issue.

External websites Captcha

For member verification - either via Captcha or for crypto discords where users are authenticated through their wallet, a lot of servers use links that take a member to another browser window when clicked.

Since a lot of the links are third-party links, making sure that the flow returns back to onboarding process is not entirely within our control. So the onus is usually on the user to navigate back. Some of the these services are also ad-supported, making it potentially confusing with multiple things on the screen looking to grab the users attention.

In both cases, it is preferable to keep the onboarding within the server and not switch them to another window. A private onboarding channel particular to the member onboarding is a good solution that doesn’t spam the rest of the community with messages.

We hope this list proved useful to you. If you think we’ve missed out any onboarding gaffes that you frequently see, let us know in the comments below!

If you’re interested in looking at Onboarding done right, check out our twitter thread on Scrimba’s flow here. It’s part of a series of onboarding flow takedowns, listing things done right as well as how they can be improved.

Also join our discord server to say hi and see what else we’re working on.

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