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:
- 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).
- Number of new posts (I want to see growth each month).
- Number of new threads (I want to see growth each month).
- The number of posts divided by number of threads (I like to see this growth as there are more posts made per thread).
- The number of posts divided by number of members (I like to see this grow as an indication of posts made per member).
- 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).
- Adsense, eBay, advertising sales and other revenue.
- Google analytics on traffic and main keywords (what trends are happening?)
- Yahoo! Explorer and Google Webmaster for the number of backlinks (a steady growth in link building is aimed for).
- 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).
- 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).
- SEOMoz’s mozRank and mozTrust (I use these instead of Google’s PR).
- The number of Twitter followers.
What I don’t do:
- I do not pay attention to Google’s PR (I use the SEOMoz tools instead).
- I do not pay attention to the Alexa ranking (unless I want a bit of amusement!).
- 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.