Tools for hosting your community
Value their time, just like how you value your own. If you seeking help that you think would not take more than an hour or two, Be upfront if you don't have any budget. If you have minimal budget, give a range. If you have tight deadline, set a budget and move forward with experts.
Create community around your niche
Your store sells bedsheet or streetwear. But you (and your blog) sells the lifestyle.
Slack is without a doubt, one of the most popular communication (chat) tools out there. One thing to note is that, Slack has The official Shopify Partners are using Slack: https://shopifypartners.slack.com/
A lot of external apps integration. A lot of people are already on Slack, so adding one more can be more convenient compared to using totally new platform like Discord or Gitter (especially having to install them on mobile phone as well).
There's a searchable history limit; up to the latest 10,000 messages. This is a big deal if you have lots and lots of members (For example Designers Hangout Slack has around 15,000 members and it's invite-only).
Discord are very popular but for gaming communities, mostly. But some communities like Reactiflux, which have around 25,000 members are on Discord. This means if you're using tools like GatsbyJS, higher chances you'll get community member to help you out through it's Discord channel in Reactiflux Discord.
I believe it's totally free without any limitation on it's functionality.
Not as popular as Slack in terms of adoption. Most of the time, you'll have to use it together with Slack, rather than without.
I would say Spectrum is experiencing growth and gaining popularity
Discourse has the perfect balance between real-time vs. passive communication platform. It's an open source discussion platform, and mostly use as forum (though you can use it as a commenting platform for your blog as well).
- Wide range of integrations including with Slack!
- Free to self-hosting it.
- Very good features that are very thoughtful for how modern forum should work.
- If you're not technical or have no time/patient to deal with technology, well it's not really free.
- Again, if you're not a technical designer, it can be challenging to style and design it to your taste.