There are many technologies available to website owners that help facilitate a greater sense of community among consumers/end-users. Chat, e-mail discussion lists, survey's and forums (weblogs too) are a great way to keep the users you have coming back for more and engaged in your site. While enhancing community experience is essential to your businesses bottom line, boosting membership numbers and website traffic is an equally important facet of developing a thriving online community. New users foster more dialogue which bring in more page views and that means more opportunity to expose your site visitors to advertising and special marketing offers. You may not realize it, but you have a greater network than you may be aware of - the colleagues of your colleagues.
What's one way to open up the lines of communication with the "greater network" of your users? Tell-a-Friend scripts work pretty well if you've developed a niche online community and you integrate the approach into locations of a website where people will be more inclined to use them. For example, you may want to offer a free ebook, white paper or demo account in which after they have registered they can notify their friends and colleagues that your service exists. As there is no greater recommendation than those that come from friends, you will position your offer at the forefront of a user’s email inbox with the greatest amount of legitimacy.
There are many resources available that you can use for free such as those provided by Bravenet or GeekVillage.