Getting Started

You’re part of an awesome global community of admins using Discord to make fun, safe, and purposeful spaces for anyone who wants to participate!

But before you start welcoming members and sending emojis, it’s important to get your server set up to make it easy for new members to join, navigate, and start contributing straight away.

Curating Your Channel List

Whether you're using a pre-set server template or starting from scratch, you’ll probably want to get started by curating your channel list. 

The trick here is to keep things succinct and well organized. Too many channels or an overly complicated onboarding process can make your server feel intimidating and confusing, driving new members away.

Make Use of Channel Categories

Channel categories are a great way to organize your channels into easy-to-understand groups, like “Important,” “General Chat,” or “Memes.” This makes it easier for members to find the channels they're looking for and lets you sync channel permissions to entire categories.

Learn more about Discord permissions here.

Set Up Community Roles

In addition to moderator and admin roles, you’ll probably want to set up some community roles for fun and functionality. These might include EXP roles to recognize your most active members or letting members opt-in to specific roles (like getting announcements or specifying their interests or pronouns) using a self-assigning bot.

It’s also a good idea to take the time to properly set up roles with customized colors, icons, and assign each of them any relevant permissions. 

And, if you really want to make sure everybody gets involved, an overview of each role’s functions, purposes, and how to obtain them in a #roles-explained channel is a great idea.

Time to Open the Doors to Your Community 

Once you’re happy with the initial outline of your server, it’s time to enable Community

As soon as you’ve done this, the Community wizards will ensure your server meets all the requirements and get you up and running.

Turning on Community gives you access to features that'll help you engage and grow your server, like Server Insights. You'll also gain access to critical moderation tools like AutoMod to help your hardworking moderators keep your community clean and safe.

Say Hey as Soon as People Arrive  👋

As soon as new members land in your server, the first thing they’ll see is your Welcome Screen

It’s a good idea to use this space to include a description of your community and link some channels you want your new members to check out first.

When choosing these five channels, think about what new members might need to know first and where they can head to learn any key information. Ask yourself:

  • How can new members gain full access to the server if you are using a verification gate?
  • What do users need to know before beginning to participate?
  • How can users start participating in the server?

Users who feel overwhelmed after joining your server are less likely to stick around, so having a clear and informative welcome screen is a great idea to make new members feel comfortable.

Top Tip: Members may want to refer back to this information once they’ve joined, so consider creating a #welcome channel to give any additional direction and share your community mission or purpose statement. 

Screening New Members

The second onboarding tool you’ll gain access to is Membership Screening. This is an easy way to ensure your new members understand and agree to your community rules before they start participating in your server.

Additionally, if you want to manually screen members before they join, you’ll have the option to set up and review screening questions.

Top Tip: You’ll have a dedicated rules channel where you can dig deeper into more lengthy guidelines, so keep your screening section short and to the point.

TLDR: Keep Things Clear and Simple

In summary, keeping your server’s purpose clear and the structure of your server easy to navigate is key to retaining new members.

Even better, the easier it is for new members to understand your server and how to participate, the more likely they’ll be back to hang out day after day.

With thanks to NaviKing for all their help in writing this article.