Minimum Traffic Requirements For A Successful Forum

Yesterday we discussed the Empty Restaurant Problem. So what are the minimum traffic requirements to launch a successful forum?

We have found that about 100 visitors per day are needed from Day 1 to safely guarantee a healthy forum.

Number of Forum Visitors Likelihood of Success
0-25 Very Low
26-50 Medium
50-100 High
100+ Very High

Bear in mind the economics of user participation are brutal: the click-through rate from a site’s landing page to its forum is likely to be 10-20%. Therefore, a site would need 500-1,000 visits per day to its main site to ensure healthy activity on its forum.

The above traffic requirements are only guidelines; general rules of thumb based on our experience. Some obvious exceptions include:

  • A small community with many “power users”, each of whom posts often.
  • A company’s “Help Desk” forum to solve customers’ questions.
  • A site that covers a very specific niche for which few, if any other forums exist.

It is easy to underestimate the volume of traffic needed to launch a successful forum. For sites with very little traffic it might make sense to wait until traction improves. However, by taking steps to maximize the click-through rate and getting power users to contribute, even sites with modest traction can launch successful forums.

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