Five Things That Cause A Low Participation Rate On Forums

Whenever we see a forum with an abysmal participation rate, we cringe. It makes us feel embarrassed because it indicates missed opportunities for serendipitous flukes. In the screen cap below, you can see the percentage of registered users is 1.73%. That is not a number to be proud of. We prefer to see the PR in the 10-20% range. While it gets more difficult to maintain a high PR as a site grows in popularity. For a site with 500 users on the site at once, a PR of less than 2% is downright abysmal.

A low Participation Rate has many causes. Some common culprits:

  1. Hidden sign up button.
  2. Confused by user interface.
  3. User is concerned he or she will get a prompt reply.
  4. User is not confident he or she will get an accurate or helpful reply.
  5. User is afraid he or she will be rejected for being dumb.

These causes typically fall into two groups: it’s either too hard to participate or the user lacks sufficient motivation to participate.

With Ninja Post, our goal is to address both of these issues. First, by making the forum software impossibly easy to use. And second, by taking steps to create a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere with regards to community management. For sites lucky enough to have tons of traffic we believe strongly in doing everything in our power to draw as many users as possible into the conversation.

One Response to Five Things That Cause A Low Participation Rate On Forums

  1. Pingback: Why does the Participation Rate matter? (Hint: It’s all about the Network) | Forum Software

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