Guild = Corp = Guild = Alliance. These apply across the board to any game and any grouping:
1) KEEP YOUR WEBSITE UP TO DATE
This assumes you have a website. If you don’t, stop what you are doing now and go set one up. There’s enough free forum and web hosting sites that there is no excuse not to be able to close the loop on in game matters outside of the game, and give people a chance to bond even when not playing.
Now for the love of all that is holy, keep it updated. If you’re guild’s website still lists it guild House/Corp HQ/Primary Meeting Place as it was months ago and not what it is now, you can’t really blame people for not being more active in guild activities. It’s also infuriating to new recruits (noob and vet) to be researching a guild and have it make promises it can’t keep on its website. If you are offering an incentive for joining, when someone joins, you had better damn well have it wrapped on a silver platter and hand delivered within 24 hours of their joining. Don’t make them ask for it.
2) BE CLEAR ON YOUR OBJECTIVES
Follow these simple elementary school rules: who, what, when, where, why, and how. If you’re directive/missive/vision/orders do not include these basic things, you are wasting your breath because people are not on board with you. This includes planning raids, farming quests, moving corps, and yes, even identifying sections of your guild facilities/webpages/treasure troves.
Sub-rule: if you are not giving the guild any objectives, like on a weekly/monthly(with weekly updates) basis, why the hell are you leading a guild?
3) PUT TRAINING WHEELS ON YOUR NOOBS
Getting noobs going is like teaching a kid to ride a bike. You put training wheels on, not so you can be hands off, but because you can’t be hands on enough. Give them guidelines, daily advice, solicit feedback, schedule time to help them and train them. The first time my daughter went to her bike, I even had to tell her which leg to pick up first to get on the bike! So don’t assume anything. Its better to have an over-eager noob learn the hard way that he wasn’t listening well than to have a noob blaming you for their heinous death at the hands of that-which-you-can’t-be-bothered-with-anymore.
As they get better, you can take the wheels off, and be more hands off, until they get to the point where they are running around the neighborhood with confidence and clarity.
4) DON”T ASSOCIATE WITH WANKERS
If a guild member says someone is a wanker, don’t let them in. If someone sneaks in, kick them out. If they threaten to take x percentage of people or cash or mojo or whatever, let them, because those are people who are no longer loyal to you and things that are worth the price to get rid of that person. Guilds demand loyalty to function smoothly and if someone will not give you that loyalty, they do not need to be in that guild, no matter how talented they are or how badly they want to learn the game from a vet like you.
5) CREATE A STRUCTURED REWARD SYSTEM
Sure you can hand out items to that noob who you ran across at whatever station/quest hub/coach you happened to be passing through at. Nothing wrong with that. But if you are going to reward people for an op or a raid or a questing run or a guild event, make sure people know ahead of time, and that the reward is scaled to be equally incentive across all skill/character levels. Dropping a pile of cash on a noob is just as bad as not handing out enough at the top.
And not just loot. There should be forum titles, guild positions, ranks, goodies, awards, and whatever other shiny you can creatively come up with. It helps people feel like they belong to the vision you are building and have a place in the system. This is especially true if your guild is larger or wants to be larger, because it counteracts the lost feeling that those outside the social epicenter of the guild *will* be feeling.
Fun example – One guild I was in had a guy playing six time zones away. He overlapped a little, but most of the time was alone. They gave him recruiting privilages and some loot to spread around and a shiny badge/title/whatever and encouraged him to be a leader. He went from being the guy on the edge of leaving the guild to a big player who brought in a number of good people that helped cover the rest of the time cycle and improved the guilds presence and notoriety. That was pure win.
And before you ask – Yes, I have had leadership positions in guild before. Everything from being the Head Honcho to diplomat to recruiter and back again. So, no, I am not talking out of my ass. Go forth and get doing, or get to a guild/corp that is.