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Average % of Forum users that lurk?
Alphawolf




msg:338747
 7:27 pm on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Brett, or anyone who runs a public forum:

Is there a standard % of chronic lurkers?

I launched a client Forum a couple days ago and based upon Registered Users/Introduction posts and overall posts the lurk factor is quite high.

It's a pretty friendly, fun and peppy feeling Forum, and people have commented how easy it is to use so I'm not sure what those lurkers are up to.

BTW, I know others would like a Forum for Forums here on WebmasterWorld.

How about it, Brett?

Regards,

AW

 

Jenstar




msg:338748
 7:38 pm on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

BTW, I know others would like a Forum for Forums here on WebmasterWorld.

I agree :)

Whenever you launch a new forum, the lurk factor tends to be high for the first month or two, especially if people are trying to determine what focus/angle the boards will take. Others are waiting to see who else joins - in some online communities, many will follow certain people to other boards, deciding if that person thinks that a particular new forum is worthy, they will sign up to.

Since your forum has only been up a couple days, I wouldn't worry about those lurkers for another few weeks, then you can start taking pro-active measures. Fun ways to encourage de-lurking include a "post the most" kind of contest with prizes, a "roll call" and a specific thread or board for "post your intro" or "introduce yourself".

And some of those lurkers are actually people who have registered, but haven't signed in - I see that a lot on my own communities, especially if they are surfing from work where they don't use the "sign in automatically on each visit" feature.

Alphawolf




msg:338749
 8:09 pm on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Howdy Jenstar,

Since your forum has only been up a couple days, I wouldn't worry about those lurkers for another few weeks, then you can start taking pro-active measures. Fun ways to encourage de-lurking include a "post the most" kind of contest with prizes, a "roll call" and a specific thread or board for "post your intro" or "introduce yourself".

Good points. :) I created a forum for Introductions on how the people got started in the service my client performs. Out of 414 registered users only 22 have replied. But each one is an .htm page with GREAT content for my client.

I saw a post from my client to a new user and he was basically kissing her rear end. She praised the Forum and what a good step it was for my client's company. He smoochied her up. :)

When I asked why, he told me she was like the Mother hen of the MAIN Web Forum for my client's industry. People respect her...online at least.

Yeah- I saw some people comment how they were happy when others kept the same username so they "knew" who they were.

Launching a Forum is much more satisfying than launching a website! My client has a Poll for Initial Impressions of the Forum.

I am at 93% with "Wow, this looks really good!"

Interaction is cool. ;)

Now- only is Freshbot would visit a few times. I have the GoogleBait out but he ain't bitin'. :(

Regards,

AW

Jenstar




msg:338750
 8:22 pm on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

414 registered users in only a few days is quite impressive :)

It is so true about that Mother Hen syndrome. You get one of those Mother Hen's to be a regular visitor and poster, and all the others will soon follow ;) And the moment you get one, your odds of becoming one of the top communities in your niche has just increased dramatically.

I don't know if you use volunteer moderators, but if this Mother Hen is interested in being a volunteer, that will also increase the odds of her sticking around and becoming one of the top posters and leaders of the forums. Moderator status is often an ego-boost in communities, and shows that someone believes you are important. And others who see Mother Hen is a moderator, will likely stick around as well. You don't have to give admin access, but even a moderator of one board is good.

Being able to keep the same usernames is good - it creates that instant recognition, and one person will register that particular username on every community she is a member of.

Another way to encourage de-lurking is to utilize a newsletter, if this site has one. Putting a link to a few of the top discussions each week/month is a great way to make others curious about the forums and want to visit. And again, be sure to include the original poster's name in the newsletter, especially if it happens to be Mother Hen ;)

Alphawolf




msg:338751
 12:05 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

414 registered users in only a few days is quite impressive.

2 days. <G>

I don't know if you use volunteer moderators, but if this Mother Hen is interested in being a volunteer, that will also increase the odds of her sticking around and becoming one of the top posters and leaders of the forums. Moderator status is often an ego-boost in communities, and shows that someone believes you are important. And others who see Mother Hen is a moderator, will likely stick around as well. You don't have to give admin access, but even a moderator of one board is good.

Yep. Already did that. Getting users to create content is great by itself. Getting users to Moderate the content is even better. :)

Another way to encourage de-lurking is to utilize a newsletter, if this site has one. Putting a link to a few of the top discussions each week/month is a great way to make others curious about the forums and want to visit. And again, be sure to include the original poster's name in the newsletter, especially if it happens to be Mother Hen ;)

Great idea. My client has started to inquire about bulk e-mail solutions. He has a database of tens of thousands of people. He can e-mail them though a system he uses, but they charge a penny per user and it's a slow system.

Any suggestions? These people are already members of his service, so it's not spam.

Thanks. Hey, I just noticed we joined WW the same time. No idea what it means, but I think that makes us related here or somethin'. :)

Hey- good news...same client is now #5 on 3 Google DC's for their big phrase. Guess I learned some stuff here since December. :)

Regards,

AW

Jenstar




msg:338752
 12:25 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yep. Already did that.

Sure hope we're not in the same industry and you just poached one of my Mother Hens ;)

Getting users to create content is great by itself.

Be sure that your forums are spiderable too, this can create a lot of incoming traffic, even on obscure topics.

Any suggestions? These people are already members of his service, so it's not spam.

The thread sending 100,000 opt-in subscribers a newsletter [webmasterworld.com] can probably help you out for the newsletter. There are probably people who are reading this thread drooling over the fact your client has never sent a newsletter ;)

Hey- good news...same client is now #5 on 3 Google DC's for their big phrase. Guess I learned some stuff here since December.

Yep, really hope we're not in the same industry ;)

RoadRash




msg:338753
 12:33 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have 6300 registered users on my website, of those 1405 have never posted! An additional 1352 members have alteat one post, but less then 5.

My community is on a topic, that once it is covered or discussed theres really not much of a reason to talk about it again. This is probably why my forum is searched over 5000+ times daily, but only gets ~70 new threads and 800+ new posts a day.

Oh well, I do have 29,833 content threads that are indexable *grin*, all have PR 5 (index is PR6). Now if i could just get googlebot to spend a few weeks indexing all the pages...

Alphawolf




msg:338754
 1:13 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Be sure that your forums are spiderable too, this can create a lot of incoming traffic, even on obscure topics.

I based my forum software on that requirement. Very happy with the choice, but will see what Google and the rest think of it...hopefully soon.

The thread sending 100,000 opt-in subscribers a newsletter can probably help you out for the newsletter. There are probably people who are reading this thread drooling over the fact your client has never sent a newsletter

It was somewhat helpful. I stikied Hypergeek to see if he found a solution.

Yep, really hope we're not in the same industry

Me too. Better to join forces if so than fight it out, IMO.

Thanks for the tips- I stole them and took all the credit. ;)

AW

Alphawolf




msg:338755
 1:23 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

have 6300 registered users on my website, of those 1405 have never posted! An additional 1352 members have alteat one post, but less then 5.

So, essentially a 1/3rd lurk factor...

My community is on a topic, that once it is covered or discussed theres really not much of a reason to talk about it again. This is probably why my forum is searched over 5000+ times daily, but only gets ~70 new threads and 800+ new posts a day.

Ah. So, you have a lot of moochers who just use your bandwidth, eh? Hopefully some lurkers are Bloggers and provide some link pop.

Oh well, I do have 29,833 content threads that are indexable *grin*, all have PR 5 (index is PR6). Now if i could just get googlebot to spend a few weeks indexing all the pages...

SWEET

AW

Jenstar




msg:338756
 1:29 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

So, essentially a 1/3rd lurk factor...

I have slightly under a 1/4 lurk factor.

rogerd




msg:338757
 2:18 am on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't have any really useful lurk stats to contribute, particularly since many lurkers may not register at all if the forum permits open browsing.

I'd guess the lurk factor might be higher in a new forum while people get comfortable. Then again, an established forum will draw more SE traffic and hence more new visitors/lurkers.

Even the milieu of the forum may make a difference. If the tone is friendly and welcoming, you'll draw more new posters from the lurking masses. I recall one newsgroup I participated in occasionally where there were some real experts; unfortunately, they could be quite intimidating and regularly flamed new posters if the question had been answered before. My guess is that many more people read those threads than dared to post. ;)

One other reason for a gap between users and posters: On one large forum I run as many as 10% of the registrants use an inoperative e-mail address, and never get their initial password. The software for that forum doesn't have a verification step, so these non-posters hang around until purge-time.

rogerd




msg:338758
 2:04 pm on Jun 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

After thinking about this a bit, what would really be quite interesting is a histogram-type graph of posting activity. Lurker vs. non-lurker is a clear break, but certainly there are near-lurkers (posted once or twice), low volume posters, etc., on up to rcjordan-level posters. No doubt every forum has a mix, but it would be interesting to compare the graphs for different fora and see if the successful ones share any common characteristics.

I think having a number of high-volume posters is essential to a vibrant forum. These posters have a low threshold of resistance to adding their thoughts. Hence, they will be far more likely to keep conversations going and to reply to newbie questions than participants who wait for narrowly-defined opportunities to speak their mind.

Alphawolf




msg:338759
 7:13 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just wanted to add:

Currently, 559 Registered users have made 229 posts in 11 forums. There are currently 81 topics.

Encouraged my client to invite another Mother Hen to be a Moderator. She accepted and between the two Mother Hens it's a well run forum.

They both really enjoy the Forum too. The posts between these two ladies alone are pages of awesome content.

Checked logs and after a long dry spell of no GoogleBot, (since 19th) their site was hit hard last night by GoogleBot 47 times.

More in one night than the entire previous month. Bots were crawling around 15 minutes in some cases... :)

Hope they picked up some good stuff. Now, when Google will index some of the forum pages...not even GoogleGuy has a clue. ;)

However, the content is really good stuff...

Created for the people by the people and moderated by a couple of the top Mother Hens.

Zero problems thus far with spam or people making stupid posts.

This is going to be a bigger success than previously thought by anyone...including myself!

Very much hooked on the Forum to be used as a superb marketing tool. The users love it as a great resource and get a sense of community surrounded by the branding of my client site.

Any Search Engine benefit is a really nice bonus since the reaction has been so positive from the users:

Initial Impressions?

Wow, this looks really good! 95% (42)
It's a forum - they are all the same. 4% (2)
This is not to my liking. 0% (0)

Total Votes : 44

Sorry for tootin' my own horn here...just a very satisfying thing to see people talk about something I made. A website just sorta sits there and rarely does one get feedback much less detailed posts on specifics.

If ya can't tell, I'm a happy camper. :)

OK- I have to get back to work...

Regards,

AW

sajjid




msg:338760
 2:01 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

my forum is about 9 weeks old now and have 1100 members but lurker are in high numbers its like 20 members online and 60 guests at all times i try to encouage users to take part some do others just lurk member rate is growing at the rate of about 70 a day posts are about 150 a day.

** if any of you guys with forum having problem with search engines let me know i will tell you how you can achive that because i know search engines have problem indexing the very long url forums have but there is a way around that without cheating i have tested this on my forum and works so far i ahd most of the big SE index my site plus fresh bot comes round at least twice in not three times a month. send me stick if you runing vBulletin board only please.

rossH




msg:338761
 3:49 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Alphawolf if you're still on this thread would you mind saying what software you did eventually choose for your forum?

peewhy




msg:338762
 4:49 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think their should be a forum for fora :)

StanBo




msg:338763
 11:51 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

From my experience for a stabilized business-related community the ratio is about 10 lurkers per active poster. People on such boards tend to listen to gurus wisdom rather than showing their own degree of understanding :)

peewhy




msg:338764
 11:54 am on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

People on such boards tend to listen to gurus wisdom rather than showing their own degree of understanding

I wish I could do that, I just can't keep my trap shut!

rogerd




msg:338765
 1:54 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know others would like a Forum for Forums here on WebmasterWorld

I think their should be a forum for fora

The word is that it's going to happen... Stay tuned...

trillianjedi




msg:338766
 2:33 pm on Jul 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry for tootin' my own horn here...

Go for it Alphawolf - always nice to hear the success stories.

Let us know what software you're using and keep us posted.

TJ

Alphawolf




msg:338767
 12:23 am on Jul 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wow. Sorry folks...haven't checked here in a while.

I went with ASPplayground Advanced Edition. It's still classic ASP, but will be ASP.NET soon.

Forum is doing really well- 689 Registered users have made 332 posts in 11 forums. There are currently 101 topics.

No problems at all with Spam or bad users. I think we started it off right and got two "Mother Hens" to set the standards.

The site was hit by GoogleBot 179 times one night.

:)

No new pages index yet though. :(

We added a Live Chat that only registered members may join in using thier Forum username/password.

May encourage some lurking guests to join and participate.

Very rewarding stuff. Curious to see how many pages get indexed by Google and when they get around to indexing the pages.

Yes- a forum for fora would be cool. :)

AW

rogerd




msg:338768
 3:54 am on Jul 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

689 Registered users have made 332 posts

That's an interesting stat right there, AW - about .5 posts per registered user. Do you have to register to browse your forum?

Alphawolf




msg:338769
 4:38 am on Jul 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

That's an interesting stat right there, AW - about .5 posts per registered user. Do you have to register to browse your forum?

Nope. Guests can read all they want. BOTs are treated as Guests so the entire forum is open to Guests.

The Chat drew in people to register. Chat was a big hit. Now 705 registered users.

Good for 10 days. Hmm...8 actually from when we went live.

Now that every Forum is populated and it's very active with posts and polls and the Live Chat just added today for Registered members only- it will pick up steam.

Interesting Stat:

# of Unique Members who posted: 93

So 1/7th are very active posters...probably much less-actually. 6 out of 7 are very active lurkers. :)

Oh- SQL DB size is 8.13 MB, but we have Online User tracking enabled...that adds to the log part of the DB and is about 50% of the total DB size.

I forgot the initial size of the DB. IIRC, I think *just* under 6MB before we went live.

Regards,

AW

[edited by: Alphawolf at 5:08 am (utc) on July 3, 2003]

Alphawolf




msg:338770
 5:05 am on Jul 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just dug into some stats for anyone interested in that sort of thing. Who here isn't? ;)

It was a static site with just 24 pages prior to the forum add on...

This is all based on 1st week Forum went live:

===============================================
The total number of visits during the selected week is 19,678.

The average number of visits during a week is 4,432.67.
=====================================

So, 400% increase in visits 1st week we went live. Perhaps a spike from initial announcement though.

Of course Page Views went crazy:

==========================================
The total number of page views during the selected week is 76,207.

The average number of page views during a week is 5,089.61.
==========================================

And...bandwidth up 300%, but changed hosting plan that increased bandwidth 200% and the site never came remotely close to using it all:

==========================================
The total amount of bandwidth transferred during the selected week is 1001.29 MB.

The average amount of bandwidth transferred during a week is 309.25 MB.
========================================

Repeat visitors:

========================================
The total number of repeat visitors during the selected week is 15,691.

The total number of visitors during the selected week is 19,678.

79.74% of visitors during the selected week are repeat visitors.

The average number of repeat visitors during a week is 2,891.33.
==========================================

What's funny is that one of his competitors is his #10 Referring site because they have a message board of sorts too.

So, I bet "our" forum is a good referrer for other companies too.

Interesting...to see the effects of adding a Forum.

Regards,

AW

Alphawolf




msg:338771
 7:30 pm on Jul 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, checked Google and bingo.

A static 27 page website now has:

Results 191 - 197 of about 346. Google didn't count right. It end at 197 pages indexed.

About 2 dozen phrases ranking very high Page 1 thanks to the Forum.

This can easily be cultivated into a SERP generator.

Exceeding my expectations by a good bit...

AW

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