Numerous online communities of practice have emerged, in both formal and informal settings, to meet the professional needs of diverse groups throughout the world. While some of these communities fail, many become self-sustaining in their ability to meet the needs of their members. Using current research and theory relating to the creation of online communities, this paper describes the development o f a generic model to guide the design and development of sustained, engaging, supportive and collaborative communities. The paper illustrates the way a website built for the professional development and support of beginning primary teachers can be used as a model to meet the professional needs of different cohorts of beginning and experienced practitioners. The paper describes the theoretical foundations of the approach, the features of the site in detail, and example applications of the model.