Your community’s highest registration rates (the % of newcomers who register) will usually be within the first few months of your community’s launch.
This is when the people are most likely to join a community sign up. This is when you’re reaching your biggest supporters. This is when people are hearing about the community for the first time.
(You will typically find most of these registrations come from repeat visitors)
As the months progress, this conversion rate naturally drops. Your biggest supporters are already members. Most of the repeat traffic has already decided whether or not they will join the community.
This should level out quickly. Here’s a real world example:
If the conversion rate is dropping (and you’re not changing anything), don’t freak out. This is natural.
You can have a small impact here but you can’t usually fight the broad trend. Don’t let your boss or anyone else demand you turn this around. It’s not going to happen.
At this stage check the rate of decline is slowing (i.e. the rate of decline should never be speeding up). As we see from the same community below, the rate of decline drops quickly and hovers around null with fewer deviations over time.
It’s only now the decline has leveled out that you can really begin testing changes effectively.
Remember, too, that your target audience aren’t the people that know you well. This group has already joined (or decided not to). Your target audience are people visiting your site and learning about you for the very first time. A big chunk of this audience might be entirely new to the topic.
This is really important. Initially, your messaging should target people most familiar with your brand/the topic. Once that decline levels out, you need to switch this to people new to your company or your topic.
What are their fears and concerns? How (specifically) can your community solve them?
As you begin testing different messaging, placements, and what you show newcomers you should see the conversion rate rise gradually to new plateaus.