The Truth About Databases, and Why You Should Create One Today

 

Trust me, I never thought I would be able to make my own database.

There was a time when ordinary mortals weren't allowed to touch databases. You had to hire specialized experts who could manipulate the data.

But there's nothing mystical about a database. It's just a collection of information that's organized-- "structured data" if you want to sound fancy.

Many online communities have a need to present (or collect) structured data that doesn't easily fit within the format of a blog post, forum topic, or other community content.

That's why we included a simple Database module in Hoop.la, and now even marketers can be database creators.

I'm writing this article today to offer some inspiration to spark your own adventures in database-making.

Five Uses for a Database in an Online Community

  1. Recipes - Create fields for ingredients, directions, and images, and you've got a fantastic way to let your members share a new type of content. You can restrict viewing access to registered members only if you want another enticement for visitors to become members.
  2. Member/customer stories - Add fields for video upload, an open WYSIWYG field for some storytelling, and their email address, and you've got user-generated content to use in other formats. Set it up so that only your admin team can see the submissions, if you want to keep it private.
  3. Reviews - Think about movies, restaurants, travel experiences, the sky's the limit. Ask your reviewers to submit a series of images, a review paragraph, and a date. Use a "trending content" widget to highlight the most popular reviews.
  4. Business directory - Allow local businesses to submit listings to your site. They could include a site URL, media, a description, even a PDF. Restrict posting privileges to only premium members, and you've got another enticement for your paid membership program.
  5. Catalog - Display the product, an item number, a description, and a product sheet. All of the data is searchable, including uploaded files, and each field in the record becomes an individual search parameter, so your members can easily sort to the item they're looking for.



These are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of uses for the database module. It would be great to see some of your creative ideas too.

Please share in the comments!

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Comments (5)

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Hey @Bradley Blinn! I hope others will chime in here with their ideas too. The current customer sites I've seen using the feature are private, so I can't link to them here.

We don't have an open demo to show off the databases feature, but if you (or any other customer) want to get a walkthrough, just let me know and I'm happy to set that up for you. We could also brainstorm some ideas specific to your community if you like! 

I would love to see sites that are using this database feature.  Does socialstrata have an demo sites set up for viewing?  Anyo e Willi g to post a link k to their site featuring this database feature?  Look forward to seeing a few sites in action. I'd like to Garner ideas and inspiration into the capabilities of this feature.  - Bradley

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