Tuesday, January 16, 2007

lParents Forum - lurkers vs posters

Time4Learning has it's own parents forum. I frequently feel unsure whether it is worth the effort to maintain it. I feel that despite us having thousands of members, the traffic on the forum is disappointing.

So, I'm trying to figure our more about forums.

1. Is there a typical percentage or lurkers versus posters? I'm going to try and figure out over a period of time how many "visitors (or maybe "views") there were versus how many "posters" (or posts). For instance, from questions and answers, I see:

Topics Replies Author Views
Sound and work completed 9 Donna 231
Just registered.... ??? 1 wendolynleah 20
Printable Scope and Sequence -Need your input 5 T4Lwebgirl 304
I just want to look at the assignments ahead of time 4 momcarole 198
Time For Learning Works 3 stephaniejl 254
Peedy Parrot 1 Donna 27
Homeschool Glossary & "Welcome to Homeschooling&quo 0 JohnEdelson 66

2. Keeping track of posts & threads just to see progress. For instance, I see that as of right now:
Questions & Answers - 71 threads, 245 posts
General Chat - 62, 175
Home School Questions - 42, 145
Special Education -4, 13

3. Links - How does Google "feel" about forums? Do the forum links to our site help? Since it is highly dynamic content, maybe they love it and count it's links to my site and it's posts very highly? Or maybe, since our site points to the forum and the forum points to our site, it's heavily discounted as reciprocal links.

4. Is the forum set up right from either a user, member, visitor, or seach engine point of view? Probably not since new Time4Learning members must separately register with the forum so this is clumsy to begin with. Also, the categories might not make sense since the difference between the categories might not be clear and one, special needs, get very little traffic. Maybe new categories such as: Introductions, Homeschooling Users, Enrichment Users might work better.

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