Such a simple question!
Your answer will probably be something along the lines of; fine, doing well, growing, etc.
Well, you may be right. So! Let's ask some more specific questions...
- Is your community doing better than last month?
- Is your community healthier?
- Are members happier?
- Are you showing an increased Return On Investment (ROI)?
- Has your community grown?
- Do your members feel a stronger sense of community this quarter than last quarter?
Now, let's make this more personal. How are You doing as a community manager?
Can you answer these questions? More to the point, can you answer these questions empirically? And even if you can, do you know what you should do with the data?
If you answered No to any of these questions, you should read: Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities.
I'm not a shill, my post history will show that I'm an actual forum owner. But, this book has significantly changed the way I approach the management of my community, and I feel that it would be criminal not to make sure that every forum owner knows that it exists.
My goal of this post is not to sell a book, it's to start a discussion about Community Metrics. How to empirically answer these questions for communities that run the xenForo platform. Some of these questions can be answered with existing metrics, some will require new approaches. This has been easily the BEST forum platform community I've ever joined. There's simply no comparison. I hope that we can have an excellent discussion on how to get the most out of this platform for our communities.
*The intro to this post is taken from the first chapter of the book. It's an incredible resource.