Community blogs are a great way to bring people together. By looking after all the 'technical' (though it's hardly that) side, you can provide people with the simplest and easiest of interfaces. Even the greatest technophobe can be up and blogging in minutes.
Why Community Blogs?
But why should you want to establish community blogs? Well that depends on what your community is. Here are some examples of organizations who could use community blogs:
business - your employees could be your community. Think branding - many companies talk the talk about being personal and close to their customers, about the human side of their business - and then you go to a website that is either extremely formal or has the manufactured quirkiness of an advertising agency. If you really want to show the personal element of your brand, let your employees blog.
business - this time, give your customers blogs. Let them talk about using your product or service. Many companies have evangelistic customers (think Apple) who would welcome the opportuntiy to get closer and broadcast their love of the product. And if they say it, it counts for more
schools and colleges - teachers, pupils and parents
public sector and charities - actually, the same thing as for business - employees and for charities, supporters
media - magazines, newspapers or journals
websites - what better way to keep people involved?
sports teams - allow the fans the opportunity to express themselves and forge a closer relationship
churches - the congregation is the community and they can blog about events and their spiritual feelings
and many more ...
How to Set Up Community Blogs
WP.MU Out-of-the-box solution for community blogsThere really is only one choice WordPress Multi User (WPMU), supported by the plugins from WP.MU. WP.MU have been providing community blogs for many years and are the company behind the tremendously successful edublogs.
[You can get an idea of the look and feel through my test site here: http://eduposts.com.]
What WP.MU provide is a complete out-of-the box solution, with plugins that extend the base WordPress install. Without the plugins you would have a very basic set up that is difficult to maintain. WP.MU provide over 60 plugins (don't worry, the installation is done for you) that cover everything from admin messages and internal communities to forums and a support system.
There are white-label videos that you can brand for your users and complete control over the look and feel of your online community.
I can strongly recommend WP.MU. Not only is the product excellent and rock-solid (powering hundreds of thousands of blogs), the service is first-class and there is an active user-community.