Back in April, Mark blogged about why Vanilla is called Vanilla. When you get started with Vanilla, you start with something plain and simple - a blank canvas. You then build it up the way you want it. Whether your objective is to provide better customer service or provide a online home for enthusiasts, your community should let your brand and your personality shine through.
Here are five ways to give your community a distinct personality:
1. Add a Favicon and page titles. The faveicon is a 16x16 image that people will see in browser tabs and browser bookmarks.
The favicon, page and banner titles can be edited in your Dashboard under Appearance>Banner. Page titles will show up on browser tabs and will help search engines find you!
2. Customize your Badges. Community members get badges for positive contribution. Changing the badge image and description is easy. Click on edit next to the badge in the Dashboard and upload your own 100 x 100 px image. You can also create new badges that your admins and moderators can manually award.
3. Be creative with Ranks. Members earn Ranks by accumulating reputation points. Ranks are a mark of status and can also be tied to abilities. Give Ranks fun names and if you know how to edit CSS, you can create a CSS class that formats comments from members of each Rank differently.
4. Customize Reactions. Vanilla has about a dozen Reactions that you can enable. The labels on these Reactions can be changed to something in your community's vernacular. Note that these changes can only be done through a customer support request.
5. Customize your theme. Perhaps the most impactful thing you can do to with Vanilla is customize the theme. In your Dashboard, you can enter your own CSS that overrides the default and you can also modify some of the HTML. A custom theme that uses the same graphical assets, fonts and colours as your website will make your Vanilla community look like a seamless extension of your website and protect the visual integrity of your brand.