I'm part of Discord servers of all types: friend groups, game criticism, and tips for playing Final Fantasy 14. But Discord isn't just for individuals: lots of businesses build Discord communities for their brands.
Regardless of the purpose, many Discord servers have a process for greeting new members—including a welcome screen, welcome messages, and welcome channels. First impressions matter, so let's talk about how to create the best welcome experience for your Discord server.
Why should you set up a welcome process for your Discord community?
Many servers drop new members in their #general channel, and that works well enough for some folks. But if you want to nurture a community, you'll miss out on the chance to start newcomers off with an understanding of your goals.
While one of the main purposes of setting up a welcome experience is to help new members feel welcome, it also has these benefits:
It sets expectations for how community members should behave and treat each other. You'll have the opportunity to share rules on language to use and the kinds of interactions you want your community to have.
It gets the newcomer familiar with your channel structure. Let's say you have a channel called #nates-cool-zone where you share your latest pizza orders. Here's a place to explain what new members should do there.
It can teach a few Discord basics if folks are new to the app. For example, if you prefer members to spoiler tag certain content, newbies will learn about that feature.
How to set up your Discord welcome screen, channels, and messages
There are a few ways to create a welcome process for your server. Some of them become easier when you have a verified community server with special features granted by Discord. But if you have a private community, you can still create a comprehensive experience.
As you choose which things to do, think of your typical community member. What measures will guide them, and what will add too much friction to their first experience with your server?
1. Edit Discord's automatic welcome feature
Discord has a setting that sends a welcome message to a channel when someone new joins your server. It also lets you decide if members can click an option to reply to those messages with a sticker to say hi. You can change where the message goes (in the Overview section of Server Settings), but you can't control what this message says, so you might want to turn it off and create your own.
2. Create a Discord welcome channel or welcome screen
If you manually invite someone to your server, Discord sends them straight to the channel you clicked the Create Invite button next to. When someone joins through a general invite link or by finding your server in the public directory, they'll land in the channel at the top of your list.
Consider making this default channel your welcome channel to greet newcomers. This channel would offer space for current members to say hi or for you to introduce your server.
Community servers also have welcome screens with a message, channel recommendations, and rules that new members see on entry. But as you might guess from the Discord welcome screen example in the above image, the message has a 140-character limit. So it might make the most sense to use both the welcome screen and a channel with more details.
3. Set up bots that assign roles
You can use Zapier to automatically assign roles to someone who reacts to a message. That means you can have members assign themselves roles based on interests. Depending on how you set up your server, you can also have roles change the color of someone's name and give them access to certain channels.
With this process, you can create a self-serve channel curation process. Have people choose the roles that let them see the channels they want on their list.
Zapier is a no-code automation tool that lets you connect your apps into automated workflows, so that every person and every business can move forward at growth speed. Learn more about how it works.
4. Make a rules or general information channel
Give newbies an overview of your community with a rules or general information channel near the top of your server list.
Using the Zap mentioned above, you could even assign a role that grants access to the rest of your server's channels after someone reacts to a message listing your rules. This trick acts as an unofficial screening feature to ensure new members read your rules.
Already have a verified community? Use the rules screening feature to build this process into your server.
5. Build a Discord welcome bot
You can build a Discord bot without code to create custom Discord welcome messages. This works for more than just welcoming new people—think of it as an extra touch for any experience on your server.
What to include in your welcome experience
Since new Discord server members come across a few touch points when they join, think of the process as a "welcome experience" rather than a quick greeting. Here's some of the information you should include in that experience.
A tl;dr of your server
Explain your server's purpose in a sentence or two. Your community server's welcome screen is a great place for this info. The now-defunct music bot with a still-thriving community, Groovy, introduces its server in this Discord welcome message example:
But you can also include the summary in one of your intro channels with links to your site and socials. Here's how the German Learning and Discussion server summarizes its purpose in its #info channel:
Rules overview or link to rules channel
If you have a few server rules, you can include them in your welcome channel or server summary. You could also highlight your most important rules and direct new folks to your full list of rules. The official Fortnite server, for example, notes that it's open to users 13 and older in its #welcome channel but then links out for the rest:
Many large servers have a dedicated space for rules. Community servers can include rules in their welcome screens or have a built-in screening process. Meanwhile, regular servers can have a rule channel.
I help run a Discord server for a publication called Unwinnable. We have a pretty thorough rules list:
The VALORANT Discord server keeps its rules channel pretty clean:
Get your newcomers familiar with your channels. Explain your channel categories, note the most popular channels, and send people toward the channels they should visit first.
Discord's welcome screen for community servers lets you highlight a few channels. Like Jack in the Box, you can use creative descriptions to lead newbies to specific channels first:
For a full tour, you might use a dedicated channel or include a list in one of your info channels. An unofficial Animal Crossing: New Horizons server has a comprehensive directory in its server information channel:
If you decide to use bot-granted roles to manage channel access and organize members, your newcomers will need directions. Most servers include directions alongside the bot message in a bot-specific channel. Video game website Fanbyte outlines exactly how its role bot works on its server:
Introduction template for newcomers
If you have an intro channel, try creating a pinned message with a template newcomers can use to introduce themselves.
Still considering Discord for your business?
If you came across this article while figuring out what you can do with Discord for your business, here are a few more resources to review:
Discord suits certain industries and situations better than others, but if your business fits the bill, it gives you great opportunities to build a fulfilling community.