Sure, you\u2019re active in social media, but as a responsible small business owner you know that it\u2019s your site and your own community where you should be building your home base. This is where you direct people you meet in other outlets and it\u2019s where you\u2019re trying to form the real conversations and conversions, because this is the only site that you control. But how do you know that it\u2019s working? What metrics should you measure to be confident that you\u2019re growing a healthy community, while also pinpointing areas for improvement? To help you get started, below are five areas I\u2019d recommend keeping an eye on to help you benchmark and improve your on-site community. 1. Increase in Subscribers I state this first because it\u2019s the obvious benchmark that many of us will immediately look at. And while the actual number of people reading your blog or joining your community at any given moment doesn\u2019t particularly account for much, what is important is the growth. It\u2019s important that you\u2019re able to chart the positive growth of your following over time as you put out content and engage more with your community. As long as this number is growing and doesn\u2019t appear stagnant (or worse,\u00a0\u00a0 dropping), it\u2019s a good sign that people are invested in what you\u2019re doing and that you\u2019re on the right track. 2. Increase in Conversations A healthy community will see an increase in not only the number of subscribers over time, but also the community\u2019s conversational level. More specifically: number of active threads number of unique commenters number of active commenters number of people\u00a0 you\u2019ve identified as brand evangelists These numbers will give you a good understanding of the health of your community because they show engagement, rather than just warm bodies. You\u2019ll start to see what percentage of your community is really tuned into what you\u2019re doing, what they\u2019re interested in talking about, and what people you can count on to help you start and field conversations. 3. Share of Buzz Another metric to keep an eye on is your share of buzz in your niche and how that number is (or is not) growing over time. Basically, is your authority and perceived expertise growing as a result of what you\u2019re building on site? For example, how many people are talking about your community \u2013 either about the services that you offer or the content you\u2019re putting out? How visible are you in your space and how does your visibility measure up against that of your competitors? Who is \u2019s talking about you? How often is your content being shared? In a world where share of buzz often means social authority, this is a pretty big health indicator for your community and something you\u2019ll want to watch. 4. Sentiment More important than simply knowing you\u2019re being talked about is knowing the sentiment behind that conversation and how it\u2019s evolving over time. What\u2019s the ratio of positive/neutral/negative mentions? How many times are people recommending your product or service to others? Do people come to your defense when others say things that don\u2019t put your company in the best light? Are you growing an army of evangelists or are people lukewarm about your brand? These are all things to monitor to help you understand how your community is evolving and whether what you\u2019re doing on-site is helping you off-site. 5. Increase in Conversions All of the above will help you determine the health of your community, but increase in conversions is what really tells you whether or not you\u2019re adding dollars to your bank account. Look at referrals generated as a result of your blogging, the number of customers who are also community members, and customer loyalty from community conversions \u2013 how many times do they buy/refer? While conversations and engagement are nice, they don\u2019t mean much unless they\u2019re eventually turning into more money for your business. Those are five metrics I recommend small business owners take a look at to understand the health of their community. What have I missed?