92% of my users prefer IPS over Xenforo

R0binHood

Habitué
Joined
Nov 23, 2011
Messages
1,411
you will see a fantastic professional complete site that there is no way you could even think about doing something this good with Xenforo.
Hmm, yeah, debatable depending on what professional features you're talking about.

The site looks good, and I honestly don't want to bash it, but it's definitely not magnificent at very first initial glance. Or rather the large amount of extra features are still let down by some basic stuff.

The side menu seems pretty tiny and not designed brilliantly and consistently with regards to the style and design of the rest of the site. it still looks like a bolt on. The site is also 100% width which makes if very difficult to read on large screens.

Forgetting anything fancy and extra, the core forum experience still isn't amazing. The proportions feel very off. Massive huge post boxes that mean a ton of scrolling for small snippets of text for every post. Then when you quote and try to reply to text the editor is a bloated mess of quoted content. I'm not sure how much of this is core IPS stuff vs add on stuff.

Don't get me wrong, there's some really cool aspects. I love the fact that I can even begin to compose a reply and quote posts as a guest, that's amazing. But then it's a bunch of strange highlighting and content boxes. If you try and move any text or rearrange it it gets even worse with weird highlighting boxes and other menus appearing as you try to format and arrange your post. It's not good.

Then you have the maps on the user profiles, that's so cool! You even have a neat zoom feature on first load, that's an amazing feature for a community where geo location in important, but it's dwarfed by the basic UI and UX failings. I can't even find a basic new posts view where I only see one entry for every thread that has had recent activity. If there's a thread in the recent discovery view that has 5 new replies in quick succession, that's 5 entries with no content, who cares?! I only need one link to the thread, not 5 entries with no content and separate links to each post.

I'm very frustrated with the the lack of progress with many features on XF, and it's far from perfect, but at least they nail a lot of the core stuff, and the editor. Aspects which still seem to be lacking on some of the IPS sites I see.
 

Dubbed Navigator

Adherent
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
320
If you look at my site now www.recreationalflying.com you will see a fantastic professional complete site that there is no way you could even think about doing something this good with Xenforo.
IMO, without bashing your site as its clearly had a lot of work put in - i'm not seeing anything there that couldn't be done with XF.

Did you create the landing page yourself? admittedly page creation is arguably easier with IPS, but using Jaxels portal for example, comes out with very similar results.

How have users reacted to the layout of your site? its a little unusual.
 

pierce

Habitué
Joined
Apr 10, 2016
Messages
1,171
If only I had a Ferrari id be a professional driver.
If only I had a big giant DSLR and lens I'd be a professional photographer.
If only I had better pots I'd be a professional chef.

I admire your passion for your site but to ignore somebody like https://www.talkbass.com/ which is xenforo and say it's not possible to do X on y.. if you love ips awesome if you love xenforo awesome if you love editing manual html files awesome
 

whitetigergrowl

Aspirant
Joined
Aug 11, 2006
Messages
49
Yep, and this is the damage I did:View attachment 53278

Now I have to try and find a way to rescue my site.
It looks like you were doing good using Xenforo. It was steady, consistent and overall doing well. You switched to IPS and things nose dived then started to recover when you made the decision to go back to Xenforo. They started to recover and for some reason you switched back to IPS where they nosedived again.

It seems more like you switching to IPS is actually hurting your forum more than helping it. Now that could be because of user dissatisfaction of you switching, re-direct issues, people not liking the new forum software, etc etc, but it seems like you actually do better under Xenforo.

I like both IPS and Xenforo. But in your case I'm not entirely sold that you will recover on IPS judging from how things keep trending for you.

The site seemed to rebound quicker after you switched back to Xenforo and do better in general than at any point you switched to IPS. I'm not sold switching to IPS was a good move for you. Time will tell I guess.

First stay on one platform not switch so much. The dips can be articles or topics not found because of the switching.
This. But also people hate change. I used to be the same way.

"Look, Vbulletin has some cool features IPS doesn't. Gotta switch!"

Months later, "Look, IPS is blowing Vbulletin away with this new update! Gotta switch!"

Moving from one forum software to another is generally quick and easy these days. And it's easy as an owner to lose touch with what people actually want and get sucked into the WOW factor of forum updates.

But people hate change. They may agree the forum has cooler stuff now, but never use most of it, or can't figure out how to use most of it. And on top of that it'll jack up your site indexing which may make it harder to find your site or it's content when someone does a google search.
-----------------------------

Honestly, as much as I love IPS, it's obvious you moving to it was probably not good overall for your site and there is no guarantee you will recover from this. Most regular people don't know the difference between Xenforo, IPB, or Vbulletin and could care less. So if you poll them, I'll guarantee most have no clue what you're talking about even if they seem to respond otherwise.

Judging from your graph, you should never have moved from Xenforo and after your last move to IPS and quick recovery when switching back to Xenforo, should have stayed still IMO rather than for some unknown reason moving back to IPS.

IPS has some great staff and good forum software with some great features. I fully support them. But I'm seeing some dents in the shiny armor I hope they step back, look closer at, and consider fixing.

Xenforo is doing well because of its simplicity, ease of use, and more social stance. IPS I think has stagnated on a few of those fronts but I think that may be with whoever their primary clientele are and who they are aiming at. Not so much because they can't or won't do it.

If you're a sports car dealership you aren't going to aim at the Ford Escort market.

You'll never hear me diss on IPS unless they really screw up. They really are a good group with great software. But it doesn't work for everyone. And you're an example of that unless you can prove me wrong. But your graph isn't lying.

Every time you switch to IPS your numbers keep going down with very slow upward movement. And I'm certain part of that is because you're using IPS and your members aren't all that happy with it, and because you need to do better re-directs to your forum coming from Xenforo.

I've noticed for years people seem to not be as active overall on forums with IPS and I'm not sure why. I think it comes down to their impression of it, how it looks, and it's user interface.

It just doesn't I think for some people feel as welcoming. I dunno. That's just my impression and from my experience.
 
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ibaker

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
Messages
150
Well I was told to give it time and my site would recover, "it will take 6-9 months" and other comforting statements that my site will get back to what it was. In its prime it was getting between 2,500 and 3,000 unique visitors per day but then came a competitor using Facebook for the quick and easy posting so I went full on site to offer more than just the interactive forum of facebook. To do this I needed a full blown web site software solution which IPS is compared to Xenforo.

Give it time they said, well here it is after 6 months and still completely flat, no gradual increase, now sudden lift in numbers, the site has so much more now with the IPS database feature and many addons like Classifieds etc. How much more time does one have to give? If there was a slow and gradual increase I would be happy and go along with "Give it time" but I no longer have faith in either IPS OR Xenforo compared to the all mighty, all conquering Facebook

1.jpg
 

vij

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 9, 2012
Messages
118
Well I was told to give it time and my site would recover, "it will take 6-9 months" and other comforting statements that my site will get back to what it was. In its prime it was getting between 2,500 and 3,000 unique visitors per day but then came a competitor using Facebook for the quick and easy posting so I went full on site to offer more than just the interactive forum of facebook. To do this I needed a full blown web site software solution which IPS is compared to Xenforo.

Give it time they said, well here it is after 6 months and still completely flat, no gradual increase, now sudden lift in numbers, the site has so much more now with the IPS database feature and many addons like Classifieds etc. How much more time does one have to give? If there was a slow and gradual increase I would be happy and go along with "Give it time" but I no longer have faith in either IPS OR Xenforo compared to the all mighty, all conquering Facebook

View attachment 53584
Its neither XF nor IPS. You just got Google punched. Many forums have lost traffic from Google over the past year.
 

Dubbed Navigator

Adherent
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
320
Well I was told to give it time and my site would recover, "it will take 6-9 months" and other comforting statements that my site will get back to what it was. In its prime it was getting between 2,500 and 3,000 unique visitors per day but then came a competitor using Facebook for the quick and easy posting so I went full on site to offer more than just the interactive forum of facebook. To do this I needed a full blown web site software solution which IPS is compared to Xenforo.

Give it time they said, well here it is after 6 months and still completely flat, no gradual increase, now sudden lift in numbers, the site has so much more now with the IPS database feature and many addons like Classifieds etc. How much more time does one have to give? If there was a slow and gradual increase I would be happy and go along with "Give it time" but I no longer have faith in either IPS OR Xenforo compared to the all mighty, all conquering Facebook

View attachment 53584

What exactly is it about the software that you believe to have benefited your users in a way that would tempt them in to returning, and new users to sign up?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, and I fully admit I havent looked at every post in this thread, but it feels to me like you have changed the software back and forth, and are hoping to "just" see an increase.

What strategy changes did you implement?
 

vij

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 9, 2012
Messages
118
I think ibaker is focussed on creating a complete recreational flying website (bells whistles and sparkles) and hopes that it would lead people in. It's not a bad approach at all.
 

Matt M

Director Development at Invision Community
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
269
Well I was told to give it time and my site would recover, "it will take 6-9 months" and other comforting statements that my site will get back to what it was. In its prime it was getting between 2,500 and 3,000 unique visitors per day but then came a competitor using Facebook for the quick and easy posting so I went full on site to offer more than just the interactive forum of facebook. To do this I needed a full blown web site software solution which IPS is compared to Xenforo.

Give it time they said, well here it is after 6 months and still completely flat, no gradual increase, now sudden lift in numbers, the site has so much more now with the IPS database feature and many addons like Classifieds etc. How much more time does one have to give? If there was a slow and gradual increase I would be happy and go along with "Give it time" but I no longer have faith in either IPS OR Xenforo compared to the all mighty, all conquering Facebook

View attachment 53584
That looks fairly solid actually. I've seen Google Search Data from sites that have always run the same version of Invision Community see a drop and then stability.

Google updates its algorithms every few months and some sites win and some sites lose. The biggest change for Google is that it is less interested in sending people to your site. It wants to keep uses on Google for as long as possible, which is why it is pushing for you to give all your content to Google via AMP and provide rich text snippets so Google to show your content in cards on the site. This change has seen then drop the number of pages indexed (especially 'thin' pages like profiles, forum listings and so on). Google will only tend to index new content (and then drop it later) or heavy visited content (and then drop it later when it becomes less visited).

The hey days of Google slurping up every single page of your site and actively trying to drive traffic to your site is gone.

Don't obsess over it, and do not base any strategic decision on a few charts.

Focus on building a quality engaging site and promote it yourself over social media and any other relevant channels to your niche.
 

haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,365
Agree with the sentiment in the last few responses.

You have a site approaching its 20th birthday - and have added a suite of new features in recent months.

Now's the time to approach it as a new site - because it is!
  • Advertisements. Word of mouth. Etc.
  • User-engagement to introduce the new features & the benefits they bring.
  • Constant tweaks - no matter how small - to perfect the user journeys through these new features.
  • Re-approach the site YOURSELF as if you've never seen it before. Are users invited to window shop all these new features as guests? Can they even tell they exist? Or are you just relying on your 11px font menu on the left side to do all the work for you?
  • What about the tens of thousands of people over the last 2 decades who already know about your site, and either never signed up in the first place or left long ago. They "know" your site - right? Wrong! You have so much new functionality! But how do they know?
  • Newsletters to trickle out the new features - don't open a fire-hose all at once.

What a cool opportunity you yourself have to approach your decades old site in a fresh, new, exciting way.

You can't just dump a truck full of features on top of what was there then sit back & "wait" for traffic. Now is the time for some ultra-active administration!
 
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haqzore

Devotee
Joined
Dec 6, 2012
Messages
2,365
Here's a good example - one of the first thing a visitors eyes are drawn to:

Capture.PNG

What a waste of space. A forum on VB 1.0 could have the exact same message and it'd be no less accurate.
 
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DigNap15

Adherent
Joined
Sep 14, 2019
Messages
276
Here's a good example - one of the first thing a visitors eyes are drawn to:

View attachment 53585

What a waste of space. A forum on VB 1.0 could have the exact same message and it'd be no less accurate.
Surely that is good.
It shows newbies what the site is about.
I need something like that on my fourm
 

Ramses

Adherent
Joined
Nov 22, 2005
Messages
326
If you look at my site now www.recreationalflying.com you will see a fantastic professional complete site that there is no way you could even think about doing something this good with Xenforo.
Wait. So you went XF -> IPS -> XF -> and IPS again?
That was posted when he was on IPS, he has since moved back to Xenforo
He changes the forum software like others their pants. If I would do this on my site, my members will be gone for sure. The positive, if you gave up your site, you still could get a job as a conversion specialist at XF or IPS ibaker
 
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