Starting at data can be useful, but a far more useful practice is to ask members if you can watch them visit the community and ask questions as they do.
- At what time do they typically visit the community?
- What triggers the visit? Do they remember to visit or is it a newsletter/email?
- Do they visit the homepage or a bookmarked page?
- When they visit the homepage, what catches their eye first? What are they likely to click on?
- What do they do after the 1st click?
- How long do they stick around for? What catches their eye about the posts they click on?
- Why do they respond/visit some posts and not others?
- Why do they not visit some areas/features of the community?
You might see the extent to what you think draws people to visit and engage in a community differs from how they typically do.
Past insights with clients have led us to change our outbound newsletters, change how we tag discussions and which discussions we use, create morning ‘one-click’ digests.
Always do this before any platform/user experience overhaul. Changes which seem insignificant to you can be huge to a regular visitor.
p.s. If you can’t do this in person, why not ask if members wouldn’t mind sharing their screen and guiding you through it?