Online Community Traffic - dummies

By Deborah Ng

Your members don’t show up at your online community out of the blue. Your traffic has to come from somewhere. Whether you led a social-media campaign to bring in new members or your community was found through a search engine, a variety of factors drive traffic to your community. Understanding what drives traffic helps you plan future content and campaigns.

Knowing where your visitors come from presents two challenges:

  • When most of your traffic is coming from a single source, your challenge is to continue having this source drive traffic. New campaigns, discussion topics, and promotions keep content from going stale, and the traffic continues to flow.

    Not stepping up your efforts simply because you feel that you have enough traffic from that one source means that you’re risking that traffic. Eventually, people get bored, and traffic drops off. Your challenge is to keep the same amount of traffic, if not more, flowing to your community.

  • When other sources of traffic aren’t sending enough people your way, your challenge is to work harder to get traffic from other sources. You may have to tailor campaigns to appeal to different social networks or community groups, or toss out or overhaul campaigns that aren’t bringing in good results. Spend time at your various sources of traffic to understand what drives your community and what doesn’t.

Pay attention to stats and especially note traffic patterns. A significant increase or decrease always has a reason, so take the time to investigate both.