Why Is Today Not Your Community’s Busiest Day Ever?

February 21, 2014Comments Off on Why Is Today Not Your Community’s Busiest Day Ever?

Think about that question.

Why is today not the most active today in your community's history? 

If it's the weekend, that's ok. People tend to visit the community less at the weekend.

If today is a national holiday, that's also understandable. 

And if the most active day was a week or even a month ago, that's not a big problem. All communities are subject to random fluctuations of activity. 

But if it's longer than that, something's up. You either have:

  • Fewer members participating.
  • Fewer contributions from participating members. 

Both of these will have some explanation. These explanations, in our experience, are usually one of the following:

  • Members are moving to a new community/platform. Perhaps a new community has arisen and is stealing members, or the activity is moving elsewhere to new platforms. 
  • The topic has become less interesting/evolving. You can use a Google Trends search to check this. Are people searching for related terms less? Or is the topic itself evolving into something else? If you were running a community about netbooks and ignored the tablets, you're probably not going to survive for long.
  • Your management of the community has become worse. Perhaps you're more passive, not intiating as many discussions, or not trying as hard. Maybe a big part of the community was driven by you participating and responding to discussions?
  • Growth has plummeted. Your turnover rate has changed. Less members are visiting the site or converting into regular participants. Something is driving them away. It might be worse SEO results or in-groups preventing newcomers feeling involved. 

Using various data points, we can identify the problem very quickly. Once you identify the problem, it's a relatively easy fix. 

You could argue, you once had one outstanding day. You hosted a major successful event, for example. If that's the case, then why not host more successful events? Why not post similar popular content? Why not have related discussions? 

The problem is most people don't pay attention to this very simple (sometimes too simple) metric. The longer ago your busiest day ever was, the closer you are to a dead community. Don't let that happen. 

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