A Guide to Guild-Leading
Imagine this: You’re browsing through the guild board, trying to get members to your guild, and you constantly see ads for amazing guilds with hundreds of members. You’re jealous beyond belief, and you want your guild to be like that, right? Well, now it can be. Just follow these fifteen simple tips, and you’ll be on your way to guild-leading success in no time.
Don’t be afraid to ask your council members to do something. That’s what they signed up for when they applied to be on the council. Plus, if you want a great guild, you can’t do everything yourself. It’s just too stressful on you. And another bonus, if people know that they have things to do that will help their guild, they’re bound to be a lot more active.
2. Welcome People
Pay attention to the people who Neomail to ask questions about your guild and the people you advertise to. If/when they join, be sure to welcome them in a Neomail right away. This lets them know that you care about them being in your guild, that they’re not just another number in the member count. A good idea is to send them a Neomail saying, “Hi. Thanks for joining. This is what you need to do now that you’ve joined. Thanks again for deciding on (your guild name here).”
3. Be Active
It may seem obvious, but it’s a commonly made mistake. If the leader of the guild isn’t active, then the members won’t be. I, personally, tried to get on every day when I was leader of a guild. Then again, I realize that you all have perfectly good lives outside of Neopets, so don’t make your guild all that you do. But if you’re going to take a day or two off, post something on the homepage letting them know that you’re going to be gone, or people will start to wonder whether you’ve left the earth.
4. Private = Good
Making your guild private is a good idea for three reasons. First, you have more control over the members you let into your guild. You can make them fill out a kind of application and only let active members in. Second, it makes sure that nobody can steal your custom layout if you have one. And finally, private guilds tend to attract great members that will be great for your guild. In short, private is good.
5. Choose Your Council Carefully
Think of it like this. If a person is your council member, they are going to be one of the people that are in charge of more than a normal member, end up leading some events and will most likely be asked a lot of questions by new/prospective members. That being said, who would you rather have: the new player who hasn’t figured quite out her social graces yet, or an experienced player that knows what she’s doing? Choose who you want, but the better one, in my opinion, is clear.
6. Keep Your Members Busy
A bored member is a member that is as good as gone. The members of your guild need to always have something to do. This is why it is my suggestion to stuff your guild with as many activities as you can. Tournaments, activity pages, challenges and other activities are great ideas. Just remember to keep it within the rules, meaning no prizes.
7. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
This is another common mistake. The leader makes a webbie, activity page, adoption agency, newspaper, yearbook, wishing well, and about two dozen other pages/ideas and implements them all at the same time, then wonders why on earth they aren’t able to keep up with keeping them current. They bit off more than they could chew. Way more. It’s okay to put in all these ideas, but do them over a period of time. Put in one, two or three pages at a time, and don’t put in more until you get into a routine of keeping them current. And if you want to put them all in at once, don’t do as many. This is also where delegating comes in handy. Put in as many as you want and have other people update them for you.
8. Take Time on Your Layout
Take the time to learn how to make a custom layout. It helps so much. Premade layouts put people off, and even customs that have a credit on the bottom are a little bit of a repellent as well. The first thought that goes through most people’s heads when they see this goes something along the lines of, “If they can’t even make a layout or take the time to ask somebody for one, how can they be a good guild?” Not a good sign. Plus, if you make your own layout, it looks exactly like you want it too, you know where you got the coding, so you can make tons of changes without being accused of stealing a layout.
9. Consider a Guild Helper
It may seem like a desperate move, but it works. I asked a guild helper to join my first guild when I had trouble getting it off the ground, and it worked great. Within two days, she helped me get 1000 posts and 20 active members that stayed with the guild all the way until I passed it on to somebody else about five months later. They are a great resource. One day, I hope to be one myself. It sounds satisfying to be able to help others get guilds off the ground.
10. Be Original
Come up with new ideas. Browse the guild board and see what other people are doing a lot of, and do something completely new. It will spark people’s interest and they’ll come flocking to see just what it is that you’re offering. Plus, adding brand new things will keep your current members on their toes and guessing. You want that, because if they’re constantly surprised, they’ll stay interested and probably stay for a long time.
11. Don’t Take Things Personally
If you do, you will slowly fall into a pit of constantly worrying about whether you’re the problem with your guild. You are not the only reason that somebody either chooses not to join or leaves your guild. You may be a small part of it, but the guild as a whole is the reason, not you personally. Once you figure this out, you will be able to deal with failed advertising attempts much better and move on much more quickly, letting you get more done.
This one, too, is a little bit obvious. If you don’t advertise your guild, then nobody will ever hear about it unless that group of two or three faithful members advertises. But if you didn’t advertise, you won’t even have those. There are some tricks to advertising, though. Don’t just come up with a premade and paste it everywhere. Even if it’s amazing, it’s impersonal, and prospective members don’t want that. Even if you do it to one person, people reading the boards will see it, and, thinking you don’t follow their guidelines, ignore you. If you use a premade, make it seem hand-written, use your name and their name, and always tweak it a little to truthfully fit their personal wants and requirements. Using this method is a great way to get you a lot more members. It may take longer, but in the end, it’s worth it.
13. Make a Plan
Plan everything out. Write down plans of action, the pages you need to make, members that have done what, so on and so forth. I had a WordPad document that was about twenty pages long with all of the stuff I kept track of in my last successful guild, and it seemed to help me a lot. The find option in documents comes in handy here. If you need to find the info on a certain member, just use the find button and type in their username. The info on a certain activity? Type in the activity’s name and it finds it. It works great. Also, keep track of all the Neopoints related info you may need later. I promise it will come in handy.
14. Focus Around a Theme
Even if it’s themeless, have some sort of central idea. One of my more moderately successful guilds was a themeless guild called Sea of Faces. It was themeless, but revolved around underwater layouts and activities. Having a central theme gives you a little bit of a limit on what you can include and keeps you to a good limit. Plus, it helps spark some creative juices, for some reason, and you can find ways to make almost any part of your guild revolve around this theme.
15. Have Fun!
A good rule of thumb: if you aren’t having fun doing the activities and daily participation in your guild, then your members aren’t. Do things that you think are fun and things suggested to you by members. This way you attract people who are more like you and keep the members who are unlike you happy too. And if you simply can’t have fun in the guild, give ownership to your co-ownie and move on.
Well, there you have it. Fifteen, nearly foolproof ways to make your guild successful. So, don’t be afraid to go out there and have the awesome experience of owning your own guild. It’s one you’ll love having. The next time you see an ad for an amazing guild on the boards, don’t be jealous. Just hold your head high and know that the bright and shining future of your guild will look something like that.
Thanks to all the amazing and successful guilds I've been in that have helped inspire the ideas for this article.