Discord has shifted from being designed for gamers to becoming more like Reddit; having multiple servers for every conceivable topic. Building a community on Discord can be a lot of hard work but is ultimately very rewarding. Some very talented, entertaining and fun people are using Discord and are a few clicks away from meeting. If you're prepared to take on all the joys and hardships of owning a server on Discord, read on.
Name your Server Well:
First thing you need to do is to create a server with a name that immediately draws interest. Try not to create a server with too general a theme, focus on a niche and tell your potential members a lot about the server just in the name. Some nice names for active Discord communities are "The Programmer's Hangout", "WeC0de" and "Laptop Hacking Coffee"—on one of which, I'm an administrator. Names like "cool server" or "we like code" aren't especially creative and thus not effective names.
Create a Good Logo:
This is something you can do later but you should eventually create your own logo. Branding is a huge part of marketing and will help differentiate you from other similar servers. Have someone create you a logo or create one yourself. Some people will be very happy to create you a logo in exchange for exposure or a staff position.
Know Your Audience:
You need to know the kind of people that might be interested in your server and how to suit their needs for greater retention. You have to be aware of how to make your server the most enjoyable for the type of users you want and be on the lookout for users you do not want. If you're creating an programming community, you're going to want to enforce rules such as a ban on illegal material related to blackhat hacking and selfbots to make sure your server doesn't get deleted for violating Discord's Terms of Service.
Any server related to fandoms or dating will almost instantly become a toxic waste dump, so if that's your thing, you'd better have some serious safeguards in place.
Create a Channel for all necessary topics:
Create a bunch of channels for information and general use. Having rules and announcement channels is now common place and very important to keeping your server under control. Don't make too many channels; make enough to cover the main focusses of your community. The bigger your server gets, the less general your channels should be in regards to topic.
Create solid permissions for channels:
As your server grows and grows, you'll might want to make sure which channels can be accessed by normal users and by staff. I've seen some servers that have so many members and so many different topics that you must assign roles to gain access to the channels that are interesting to a particular user. It might be a good idea to seperate regular members from verified members—verified by whatever system you have in place.
Invite Good Bots:
Bots provide tools for server administrators and users alike. You'll need a bot that can wipe out multiple messages in the event of a raid, manage permissions, play music, and possibly one to entertain users with fun commands. A good way to keep bot users off your server is to have all users verify themselves with the help of a role bot. Mee6 is an incredible bot for beginners.
For more specific needs, it might be a fun experience to create your own Discord bot. The process is not difficult by any means and can be done in most programming languages thanks to many libraries made by the Discord community. Some of the better choices are using Python (Discord.py), Node.js (Discord.js) or C# (Discord.NET). There are also libraries for C++, Closure, PHP, Ruby and many others.
It's better not to watch YouTube videos for tutorials when it comes to Discord bots. Many are out of date and no longer work. Read the documentation for your library of choice.
Moderators will help share the load of managing your server as it grows. Having a distinction between administrators and moderators is also important. Less trust is needed to make a moderator, and thus you can hire more of them from your community. Don't give moderators too many abilities, but enough to keep your server safe.
By hire, I do not mean necessarily pay them. Find people who want to be a mod and give them responsibility that they can handle. Many people using Discord are kids, so don't be a fascist dictator to them.
Register your server on promotion sites:
Getting your server registered with Disboard or DiscordServers is crucial to getting your server out into the public eye and thankfully, so easy that you could have it done in under 5 minutes. Give your server relevant tags and a proper description to maximize the amount of exposure your community will get in a search. You will gain a lot of new members by doing this.
Configure your server properly:
If you want to avoid spammers, you'll tweak a few server settings. In most cases, it's better if random members cannot direct message each other. Spammers will often send advertisements random users to get around moderation; deal with that. Suppressing notifications that aren't mentions can help avoid this insanity. Finally, you can also require new users to be registered to Discord for longer than 5 minutes or require phone verification for the ultimate spam bot protection.
Share your Server Invite Link on Reddit:
I have a friend who created a server and had hundreds of people join within the first couple days because of promoting their server on Reddit. If Reddit approves of your server (or really anything that you do), you've got it made. Don't spam your invite link though, that will help make sure people avoid your server.
There's obviously more that you can do to promote and manage your server and that's all up to what you specifically need. Most of what you need to have a successful server is having a positive image while advertising and good moderation to keep your community enjoyable. No one wants to join a toxic server, so make sure to keep it clean. I wish you safe travels and happy hacking!