Forum metrics to monitor your forum

Forum statistics

What forum metrics do you use? How do you monitor the health and growth of your forum? There are many ways to do this and everyone has their preferences.

I use a spreadsheet and for each month monitor:

  1. Number of new members (I want to see growth each month; but do not get too excited as up to half of them can be profile spammers; so look more closely at 4 & 5 below).
  2. Number of new posts (I want to see growth each month).
  3. Number of new threads (I want to see growth each month).
  4. The number of posts divided by number of threads (I like to see this growth as there are more posts made per thread).
  5. The number of posts divided by number of members (I like to see this grow as an indication of posts made per member).
  6. Forum Statistics from the beginning: number of posts per day; average threads per day
    average replies per thread (I want to see growth each month).
  7. Adsense, eBay, advertising sales and other revenue.
  8. Google analytics on traffic and main keywords (what trends are happening?)
  9. Yahoo! Explorer and Google Webmaster for the number of backlinks (a steady growth in link building is aimed for).
  10. Google Webmaster for the number of pages in the sitemap.xml that are indexed (more deep links via Linkvana are needed to get all pages indexed).
  11. Google, Yahoo! and Bing ranking for main keywords (though I more concerned with the long tail search engine traffic; also keep in mind that the search engines geotarget their search results).
  12. SEOMoz’s mozRank and mozTrust (I use these instead of Google’s PR).
  13. The number of Twitter followers.

What I don’t do:

  1. I do not pay attention to Google’s PR (I use the SEOMoz tools instead).
  2. I do not pay attention to the Alexa ranking (unless I want a bit of amusement!).
  3. I do not pay attention to competing forums (I just make sure the statistics for my forums are showing growth and look healthy. I find what others do was too much of a distraction).

It is one think to collect the information, its another to act on it. Once all the data is collected, its then a matter of going over it. Are there any weak areas that can be strengthened? What else can be done? Priorities for the next month are noted and worked on.

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