As a great community manager, you regularly review the visual layout and effectiveness of your community (especially if you are using a SAAS platform like Lithium's which offers new & improved functionality on a monthly basis!). And, if you have a support community, you also look at the experience on your brand's complementary "help" or "support" pages on the main domain... or if more sales focused, on product reviews and/or shopping pages. There are many goals, but they mostly boil down to conversion/engagement of one type or another; using online content, participating in peer-to-peer discussions or content curation, sales, etc.
The majority of your time is focused on engaging with those community members that actively participate (and rightly so!), interacting with each other and your brand, making their journey through your ranking structure. And of course your SuperUsers who contribute a vast amount to the health and interaction in your community are a big part of the community's success. However, you should also regularly review the behaviors and consider the needs of your silent majority, those first-time and repeat visitors who are not registered.
The traditional 90-9-1 distribution is often used as a starting point for the conversation around just how many visitors typically participate in a community. And whatever your specific numbers are, it is a fact that the majority of visitors do not register.
Why should you care about your largest audience when they choose not to interact?
I'll make a confession; when I worked for an enterprise company and we *finally* received budget and approval for a redesign of our community, I fell into the same trap. Initially I focused on the home page, excitedly thinking through all the great content, features and interaction we would improve, especially for our active members. Through a web analytics review, we found that >75% of visitors were coming to the community from organic search (Google mostly) and landing directly on a thread page, deep into our site. Wow! Actually pretty obvious, right? Now how important is that thread and article page?
Put yourself in their shoes - I am a new or infrequent visitor, I don't bookmark your community, but now and then I need an answer or some advice; I use web search, and I land deep into your community experience. What does this page look like, how does it help me do what I need to get done?
Have a look at a few of these metrics and see what it tells you:
What discoveries have you made, or what other thoughts come to mind on this subject?
Photo by statixc, provided under a Creative Commons license
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