Communities walk a fine line when they are trying to get people to register for their site. On one hand, community managers and sponsors want to know as much as possible about each member as possible. On the other hand, most people are reluctant to part with their data or do not have the patience to complete a long registration form or submit to an arduous process.
The bottom line is that you don’t want your registration process to stop people from joining your community or start out their community experience on the wrong foot.
Some of the easiest registrations include just an email address and password. While that is simple for the enduser, it does not provide much in the way of member demographics.
In the community I used to manage, we started out with a very onerous registration process. Prospective members had to complete 15 required fields and after pressing the enter button, we would send them a confirmation email with a registration code. Many members never received their registration code and others were stymied by the process which limited our conversion numbers.
In the end, we knew that we had to change the process and eliminated the confirmation code part of the process. We also streamlined the required fields to the following:
- First name
- Last name
- Email address
- Company name
- User name
Additionally, we had a section of the registration page that was clearly labeled as optional. The registration fields in this section included: company industry, address, phone number, job title, years of experience, role, topics of interest, and professional memberships. About 50% of new members filled out some or all of the optional fields.
We also explained why we were collecting the information in the optional fields which probably helped with our conversion rates:
We would like you to complete some or all of these fields when you register, but they are optional. These fields help us to better understand our members and serve you better. You can also re-visit your profile and update or review your profile at a later date (using the View/Edit Profile link in the top right corner).
Finally, here are some simple tips for community registration:
- Keep your community registration “simple and easy”
- Look at the process for many different communities and incorporate the best ideas into your process
- Examine and re-examine your registration process from a new member standpoint
- Use drop-down boxes or check boxes to simplify and standardize input wherever possible
What data do you collect during registration for your community? Are you happy with your process?