My colleague Hawk and I recently launched a weekly breakdown of communities.
If you’re not feeling brave, there are some relatively simple things you can check here.
1) The concept. Is it about the brand or based clearly round a problem people know they have, an opportunity they believe exists, or a passion they want to learn more about? Is there any evidence that this is a strong common interest? Are lots of people talking about it elsewhere?
2) The user experience. Is the user experience positive? Is content easy to read? Does it contrast well with the background? Are there long, block, paragraphs? Can the copy easily be scanned? What is the font / font size? Do the CTAs stand out? What is the line length?
3) The CTA. Is there a clear call to action for new visitors and/or existing members? Is this based around solving a problem, seizing an opportunity, learning something interesting, social inclusion (exclusivity)?
4) SEO. What are the title tags/meta description? Is the title tag optimised for what the audience might search for (and less than 60 characters)? Is the meta-description likely to be clicked?
5) Registration form. Does this only ask for the email address, username, and password? Is there any unnecessary copy that could be removed? Is social sign on well implemented? Is the design clear and present? Are there any unnecessary clicks required here?
6) Post-registration page. Are you immediately taken to a page that is likely to drive you to make an immediate post? Do you receive a notification or a special message tailored solely to someone who has just joined? Is it clear what the next immediate action is?
7) Welcome/confirmation message. Does this give you a consistent message to take the next action? Is it clear here what the next step is? What do you want people to do right now? Are there multiple CTAs inserted here?
8) Removing unnecessary/unpopular pages. Are there pages that are rarely visited or have limited content? Can we remove them and condense activity a little further?
9) Topic categories. Are these based around problems that people want to solve, unique passions, or opportunities that people want to seize? Can we combine/merge any of these?
10) Landing page / homepage. Can you easily see what’s new, what’s popular or who’s new and who’s popular? Is there a good menu of discussions to appeal to a broad type of member each time they visit? Is it easy to see the most popular discussions of all time?
11) Priming. Is there any negative or unintentional priming here in choice of words, images or anything else we might want to tweak?
12) Tone of discussions. Is the tone of discussions reflective of the type of community you’re trying to create? Is it fun and sarcastic? Positive and constructive? Serious and substantive? Do most posts and responses reflect that tone of discussions? Are all discussions receiving a good, quick, response?
13) Messages from community manager / Automation messages. Do messages from the community manager feel personalised and unique to me? Are they designed to either build a relationship or get me to take an immediate action? Do they avoid any cliches ‘thank you for joining….’ Does the automated email journal apply a motivational principle to encourage participation? Does it indoctrinate me better into the culture of the community?
14) Newsletter. Is this automated or cultivated? Does it only contain value or does it simply fill spaces regardless of quality? Does the newsletter remind people about the community or increase the perceived value of the community?
15) Social status. Is there a clear sense of community? Do people seem familiar with each other? Do they reference the history of the group? Do they seem emotionally on the same page? Do they have influence over what happens within the group?
16) Brand interaction. Does the brand participate well? Do they respond to discussions about themselves personally and with genuine care? Do they act like real people? Do they solicit opinions? Do they give exclusive information / previews to members first?
17) Integration. Is the community well integrated with the rest of the company? Are discussions clearly linked from various areas of the content. Is the community highly visible?
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but hopefully it’s a few simple things to consider if you review your own community.
If you want us to review it, share the link here.