All of our stats are heading in the right direction, except questions per day, which seems to be dropping. Is this a normal lull after new sites launch as traffic builds, or is there something else?
Is this even something to be concerned about?
It's too early too tell. Right now our stats are:
5.8 questions per day
15 questions per day on average is a healthy beta, 5 questions or fewer per day needs some work. A healthy site generates lots of good content to make sure users keep coming back.
90% answered is a healthy beta, 80% answered needs some work. In the beta it's especially important that when new visitors ask questions they usually get a good answer.
85 avid users, 626 total users
Every site needs a solid group of core users to assist in moderating the site. We recommend:
4.1 answer ratio
2.5 answers per question is good, only 1 answer per question needs some work. In a healthy site, questions receive multiple answers and the best answer is voted to the top.
1,500 visits per day is good, 500 visits per day needs some work. A great site benefits people outside the community. Eventually, 90% of a site's traffic should come from search engines.
Yes, we could use more questions per day, more visits, and more users. But the stats are only measuring quantity, and at the end of the day quantity & volume is the least of our concerns. We've all taken notice of the recent decision to close six betas, sad news indeed, but quantity and volume wasn't the primary reason the sites were closed. Or, to be a bit more exact, quality is what keeps a beta alive, even if it's as small (or even smaller) than the betas that were closed.
The one stat that hints towards the quality of the site, is our 4.1 answers per question ratio. Although 2.5 is given as a good ratio, 4.1 is not necessarily better, as it can be interpreted as a tendency to allow too many bikeshed questions to survive long enough. 20 days into beta and there are already three Meta questions regarding the site's quality:
I think we should be concentrating on the overall quality of the site, and forget about the stats, at least for now. We are going to get our first crop of moderators soon (don't know when, soon was the answer when I asked), and they will have access to quite a few more stats and more importantly a direct line with Stack Exchange. Not to say that regular users shouldn't care for the site's stats, we should and it's great that you do, but right now it's still too early to make sense of them, the site isn't yet a month old.
Whether a site will survive beta or not is not an exact science, and ideally we shouldn't even think about it. But let's face it, the site is already starting to smell a bit, and not in a nice way. The crowd over at Skeptics goes at extreme lengths to back each answer with solid references to validate or refute even the most idiotic claims, yet our Meta is slowly filling up with people whining because they find it unthinkable that their non-constructive questions or opinion heavy answers are unsuitable for a (supposedly) high signal low noise professional Q&A site.
We may get more questions, more visits, more users, I certainly hope we do, but if we don't we could still justify the site's existence if we maintain relatively high quality standards. The only thing that's certain, though, is that > 15 questions per day won't mean much if people get the same kind of answers they would get at Yahoo! Answers.
I've bookmarked a discussion on the Assembly that you might find interesting, in short:
No, I don't think we're running out of questions. The Workplace is a very broad category, and there are plenty of good questions out there that haven't been asked yet.
Workplace questions are about an environment, not a specific activity (like Programming, Cooking, Gaming, etc), so unless you work in a career-related job, you're less likely to encounter questions about it on a regular basis.
The key to getting more questions-per-day is to get more users to the site. Everyone's workplace life is a bit different, and the more users we get, the more questions will get asked.
When the site first launched, the users that committed to the site probably asked the questions they had, so the questions per day was fairly high, and is probably averaging out now. Give the site some time to get new users (or go out there and advertise the site to new users), and the questions per day will go up again.
I wouldn't worry about this stat too much unless the questions per day fall below 2, since all six recently closed sites had a questions per day average of less than 2. With no questions to answer, site activity dies down and the users that answer start to leave.