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esquire

Pages URL Flexibility & SEO + Usability Questions

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It's not possible to put apps into subdomains.

You can already remove the "r", I've mentioned this a few times already.

Create_New_Article_-_IPS_Social_Suite_1A

I don't know what you mean about "apply categories to database items" other than to say that you can create categories and put items in them.

Edited by Matt

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It's not possible to put apps into subdomains.

You can already remove the "r", I've mentioned this about a dozen times already.

I don't know what you mean about "apply categories to database items" other than to say that you can create categories and put items in them.

Thanks for the answer about subdomains. Anyone who wishes can contact me privately regarding my SEO concerns about it. 

(1) The "r" in the URL: The number of the record and title should be autogenerated. The above (1) requires the user to enter a private URL for every article/record, and (2) it is also only available to admins. I want IPS4 to handle it like any other piece of content, e.g. user creates a record and the Forums generates a url /topics/12345-title-goes-here . A database produces a record in reverse /pagename/title-goes-here-12345 or even just the same way as topics as /databasename/12345-title-goes-here  but without the r. 

(2) No Categories for Database Items: There are two ways to create "database" items. The first gives you an ability to create categories which are a core part of IPS. A user goes to "Create" a new Article using the Create button on the front end and you can see the categories available. An article is created and categories appear in the sidebar. Breadcrumbs are generated. Wonderful. BUT this requires the categories be included in the URL.

Now I can do that another way. I can create the same database stored flat. I can create a "categories" field and do the exact same thing. However, those categories will not be integrated within the IPS front end anywhere as per above.  See below how "categories" are provided for every database that is dependent upon the URL but NOT for items which don't use it and are just flat records.

IPS-CMS-Pages.thumb.jpg.1a5998a224ce6080

There is absolutely no need to have categories in the URL. If record ID 5 "Another article that now has stuff in it" is in the category "Google" then that can be determined in a database lookup. That's the way all the other CMS' work as they don't use the URL to determine the category tree. I created the same article that doesn't rely on the URL category tree but this custom field for categories is unconnected to all the working parts of IPS. So now this "record" that I created is in a category -- but what can I do with it? Display it on a page? I don't want that. If this is a database of video files then I'd want to have users easily upload a video file, be told to choose a category and have IPS take care of the rest of creating a category tree, breadcrumbs, etc.

IPS-Custom-Field.thumb.jpg.786a422c7fa27

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There is absolutely no need to have categories in the URL.

Just let it go. You have made your point and everybody gets it. Repeating it 20 times won’t make it better. 

Every CMS maker has to make structural decisions about how the data is stored and accessed on the front end. The WordPress team has made certain decisions for their software, and IPS has made different decisions for IP.Content/Pages. Personally, I get both URL structuring approached and depending on what you want to do, one might work better than the other. Your attempts to make it look like there is just one right way to do it, are not convincing. 

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Just let it go. You have made your point and everybody gets it. Repeating it 20 times won’t make it better. 

Every CMS maker has to make structural decisions about how the data is stored and accessed on the front end. The WordPress team has made certain decisions for their software, and IPS has made different decisions for IP.Content/Pages. Personally, I get both URL structuring approached and depending on what you want to do, one might work better than the other. Your attempts to make it look like there is just one right way to do it, are not convincing. 

Who gets it? You can cry about some rain on this parade but I don't see anyone refuting the substance or sense of anything I said. It's just the same handful of customers liking posts who actually could figure out IP.C and make it work for their site. How odd is it that IPS4 cannot even be used to run this site??? The IPS4 application is in the community subdomain, meaning that Invision needs to have something else to manage the root www and everything above it. It's very clear you don't understand what I'm doing and the repercussions. I'm trying to get things to work the same way many very active sites do with features like image and video galleries, stores, support, etc. and the SEO concerns that you may not be aware. So what happens if IPS 4 presents a very difficult to implement solution for many active sites, which includes existing and potential customers?

Rather than KISS and nail the basic things every content manager does, I'm finding Pages the same unnecessarily complicated "static page manager" with a CMS tacked on like IP.C was before. The forum should be full with support questions. I'm frustrated in trying to figure out what can be done, if anything, after the team decided not to discuss very important issues like these with customers (who actually manage large communities using software) during the years of IPS4 development. 

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Who gets it? You can cry about some rain on this parade but I don't see anyone refuting the substance or sense of anything I said.

​No one is refuting that what you want is possible way to do it. But your arguments are completely personal and not in the name of a vast majority of the users of this software – and your arguments are one-sided. You exaggerate the effects and need of what you want, and you ignore the possible benefits of doing it another way. For example: even though SEO seams to be crucial to you, you ignore that category slugs can help with SEO. You say you would rather use subdomains, but again: that’s a personal choice and not an “industry-standard” as you would like it to appear. 

Also keep in mind that Pages isn’t in the drawing board stage. IP.Content is used on thousands of sites already and people (like myself) make good use of the category slugs. The IP.Content users would go nuts if Pages would be changed in the way you want it and category URLs would be removed. Such structural decisions are made when the software is set up for the first time. Pages does it like IP.Content and it is unlikely that 4.0 or 4.x will bring the changes you want. You might rather put your energy in finding ways to deal with the current structure or find another software. 

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Also keep in mind that Pages isn’t in the drawing board stage. IP.Content is used on thousands of sites already and people (like myself) make good use of the category slugs. The IP.Content users would go nuts if Pages would be changed in the way you want it and category URLs would be removed. Such structural decisions are made when the software is set up for the first time. Pages does it like IP.Content and it is unlikely that 4.0 or 4.x will bring the changes you want. You might rather put your energy in finding ways to deal with the current structure or find another software. 

Yes. We had to consider existing customers when writing Pages. We did consider using full hierarchical URLs in the rest of the suite but decided against it as it would cause a lot of 301 redirects for existing customers post upgrade.

Again, I must ask you to keep in mind that Pages is one component in the suite that must live alongside the rest of the applications. I understand your very eloquent points, Esquire, I'm just not convinced that you are 100% correct and that it's worth drastically reworking the entire structure of Pages (and potentially infuriating thousands of customers) just to maybe get some minor SEO advantage (or maybe not, or maybe only until algorithms are changed). I think most people would expect category slugs to appear in the FURL when using categories. If we get an overwhelming number of replies pointing otherwise we will of course look into alternatives. But at this point in time you are the only person who seems very passionate about this.

How odd is it that IPS4 cannot even be used to run this site???

We are using it on this site. It powers the community documentation, the community projects, the community bug tracker and the community feature plans. For security reasons we separate the client area to a different domain and server. 

Edited by Matt

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​No one is refuting that what you want is possible way to do it. But your arguments are completely personal and not in the name of a vast majority of the users of this software – and your arguments are one-sided. You exaggerate the effects and need of what you want, and you ignore the possible benefits of doing it another way. For example: even though SEO seams to be crucial to you, you ignore that category slugs can help with SEO. You say you would rather use subdomains, but again: that’s a personal choice and not an “industry-standard” as you would like it to appear. 

Using a subdomain versus a subdirectory involves several strategic choices that aren't just personal taste. I have no time to discuss it here but I suggest you and anyone else who wants to understand the implications invest a good amount of time among very good webmastering and SEO forums.

Also keep in mind that Pages isn’t in the drawing board stage. IP.Content is used on thousands of sites already and people (like myself) make good use of the category slugs. The IP.Content users would go nuts if Pages would be changed in the way you want it and category URLs would be removed. Such structural decisions are made when the software is set up for the first time. Pages does it like IP.Content and it is unlikely that 4.0 or 4.x will bring the changes you want. You might rather put your energy in finding ways to deal with the current structure or find another software. ​

Yes. We had to consider existing customers when writing Pages. We did consider using full hierarchical URLs in the rest of the suite but decided against it as it would cause a lot of 301 redirects for existing customers post upgrade.

Again, I must ask you to keep in mind that Pages is one component in the suite that must live alongside the rest of the applications. I understand your very eloquent points, Esquire, I'm just not convinced that you are 100% correct and that it's worth drastically reworking the entire structure of Pages (and potentially infuriating thousands of customers) just to maybe get some SEO advantage (or maybe not, or maybe only until algorithms are changed). I think most people would expect category slugs to appear in the FURL when using categories. If we get an overwhelming number of replies pointing otherwise we will of course look into alternatives. But at this point in time you are the only person who seems very passionate about this.

I'm passionate about SEO and webmastering because of how much time I've spent in certain places learning why excellent webmasters make the choices that they do. You don't have to be convinced of anything I'm saying. Please don't change the status codes as I recommended for the redirects. Keep all the content above the root, whether it's a store, a thin directory, rich cultivated content, crappy user generated content, whatever. These are all just personal choices, like whether to make your site's dominant color blue or green. Perhaps you're right about all these things. I do wonder whether customers who use IP.C would consider redirecting their URLs to something conventional, especially the numerous instances I see that look like this: /_/ which is a dead giveaway of IP.C. So we're worried about consistency of URLs but not as much about community features like Friends, Best Answer, etc. OK.

I often hear that only a small percentage of customers are in the forum. How many of those here would even know about the optimal set up of stores, directories, etc.? By the time the rest use IPS4, it will be far too late to consider anything we're discussing and even more than it is now. We'll see what happens. Honestly and sincerely, I am really much appreciative of your detailed responses, which help me to set expectations of what will probably not be incorporated and understand the types of sites to which I feel IPS4 may be best suited.

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Using a subdomain versus a subdirectory involves several strategic choices that aren't just personal taste.

​Sure they are. You might want books.yourdomain.com, I might prefer mydomain.com/books/science-fiction/ for various reasons. It’s as simple as that. 

 

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​Sure they are. You might want books.yourdomain.com, I might prefer mydomain.com/books/science-fiction/ for various reasons. It’s as simple as that. 

​Yeah, that must be all there is to managing URLs and content structure for large sites with thriving communities with various types of content and needs that evolve.

Guys, it has been real. Looking forward to seeing and best of luck with the release. 

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Esquire, you seem to enjoy pulling in lots of different 'threads' to weave a narrative that simply isn't accurate.

For example, you throw in "Please don't change the status codes as I recommended for the redirects" although this has nothing to do with this discussion. For the record, we felt this was valid feedback and did change the redirect code.

You toss in "I see that look like this: /_/ which is a dead giveaway of IP.C. So we're worried about consistency of URLs" but we no longer do that, and you know we no longer do that because I've told you personally at least half a dozen times.

You have good feedback. We might not agree with it, and we may not action all of it, but it doesn't mean that you need to try and convince others that we're either unable to listen or unwilling to listen.

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You toss in "I see that look like this: /_/ which is a dead giveaway of IP.C. So we're worried about consistency of URLs" but we no longer do that, and you know we no longer do that because I've told you personally at least half a dozen times.

You have good feedback. We might not agree with it, and we may not action all of it, but it doesn't mean that you need to try and convince others that we're either unable to listen or unwilling to listen.

​Matt - my apologies on my frustration. I've spent a great deal of time here recently and fighting many skeptics (not talking about you) about very basic things and it is exhausting. I'm totally fine with a difference in opinion. But I don't hear answers to real issues. After raising the issues in 2012, the first time anyone was willing to discuss IPS 4 was after the release of the beta.

Forget about SEO and URL structure including keywords in categories. Pages gives me no way to reorganize content without causing major disruption by 301 redirecting every record, article, wiki entry, etc. that I move. For those who aren't following, imagine you have 90 forums and decide it's too many. You want to reorganize all those Topics by putting them into 50 forums with subforums, etc. You can do that in forums without a problem. But if you did this with Pages, it would mean every Topic in 40 forums would require 301 redirection and keeping track of every change indefinitely in your database!! (Without even discussing SEO impact.) Small site owners who don't have much or any community UGC of articles have few problems so they scream how great it is. But if you have an active community, reorganization of wikis, article databases, content databases, etc. is a regular occurrence and this becomes a major issue as a site grows. So I'm willing to accept Pages takes a different approach than mine -- how does a site owner of an active community manage what I describe?

EDIT: I'm guessing that this issue isn't seen as as a concern since I'm the only user in the community raising it. I accept that. I'll have to consider this into the decision whether to move certain sites that may require this type of flexibility that I'm accustomed when running communities. Thank you for your responses.

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I do remember that some time last year potential URL structures for IPS4 were discussed in some detail on this site. Many users (including me) requested a full hierarchical structure for the suite. It would appear that that is now an option for Pages, and from my personal perspective that is a good thing. :thumbsup:

I hope that this will be extended to the rest of the suite as I personally would like to use a fully hierarchical structure in all applications and I think that there should be consistency across the suite. I hope that this will be an option at some point, and I'm prepared to take the SE hit that this would likely cause in the short term.

I like what I've seen done with Pages both on this site and Ralf H's. What is critical for Pages though, once it is Gold, will be thorough documentation to help users understand how Pages actually works (including what is happening in the 'background'), together with detailed guidance on actually creating different 'types' of Pages.

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… I've spent a great deal of time here recently and fighting many skeptics (not talking about you) about very basic things and it is exhausting.  Small site owners who don't have much or any community UGC of articles have few problems so they scream how great it is. …​ Yeah, that must be all there is to managing URLs and content structure for large sites with thriving communities with various types of content and needs that evolve …

​It might also be this snobbish, know-it-all way of talking that make these discussions so frustrating for everyone. Neither Matt nor I are in general opposition to you and we haven't said that you don’t raise good points about how the software could possibly work or in which directions it could be improved. It’s the way you oversell it, that makes it so frustrating. You talk like the way you want it, is the one and only right way to do it — which it simply isn’t. And you ignore every point that doesn’t support your opinion. But there isn’t just one way to run a community or to set up an URL structure — especially with software made for thousands of users with different skill levels. If you wouldn’t be so ignorant about other people’s opinion and knowledge, that could have actually been a very fruitful discussion about the future of this software. 

And regarding myself: I get the feeling you have briefly looked at my brand new site, started from scratch and opened just a few weeks ago, and now you think you can dismiss everything I say, because “what does he know”. But in fact I work as professional web designer sind 1999 and run online communities since 2001. But you don’t know me and therefore you shouldn’t treat others in such a condescending way just based on your assumptions. And you also shouldn’t treat others condescending because they have a different opinion or a different experience. In you last post you said “ I'm totally fine with a difference in opinion.” I have yet to see this. The three pages of this topic don’t support that very well. 

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​It might also be this snobbish, know-it-all way of talking that make these discussions so frustrating for everyone. Neither Matt nor I are in general opposition to you and we haven't said that you don’t raise good points about how the software could possible work or in which directions it could be improved. It’s the way you oversell it, that makes it so frustrating. You talk like the way you want it, is the one and only right way to do it — which it simply isn’t. And you ignore every point that doesn’t support your opinion. But there isn’t just one way to run a community or to set up an URL structure — especially with software made for thousands of users with different skill levels. If you wouldn’t be so ignorant about other people’s opinion and knowledge, that could have actually been a very fruitful discussion about the future of this software. 

And regarding myself: I get the feeling you have briefly looked at my brand new site, started from scratch and opened just a few weeks ago, and now you think you can dismiss everything I say, because “what does he know”. But in fact I work as professional web designer sind 1999 and run online communities since 2001. But you don’t know me and therefore you shouldn’t treat others in such a condescending way just based on your assumptions. And you also shouldn’t treat others condescending because they have a different opinion or a different experience. In you last post you said “ I'm totally fine with a difference in opinion.” I have yet to see this. The three pages of this topic don’t support that very well. 

​Raif... I like your site. I sincerely think your content is great and you make it look attractive. While I have great respect for your design skills and the time you've spent running communities, I am guessing you spend far more time there and indulging in typography and design than you do dealing with SEO and webmastering issues. And that's cool. Can't be on top of everything. I'm a novice when it comes to typography among other areas. And if I spoke on those topics, I'd probably reveal that I am missing some fundamentals. I've been doing the online thing for a little while too, including dealing with these specific types of issues. I'm sure you'd be surprised if I elaborated about what that means and my sources. But feel free to assume that I'm just ignorant or "snobbish" about what other professionals in my area might consider "best practices" or sometimes facts about the way things seem to work inherently.

I just read @NewRockRabbit's desire to apply categories and subcategories to his whole site. He seems to believe the SEO hit will be minor and short term. Seriously, good luck with that. Could work out for you. But personally, I wouldn't risk even the thought of doing it. I'm not going to discuss any of this further here. People are welcome to PM me. Once IPS4 is released, used on live sites and more visible, I'm guessing that much of what I've mentioned will be discussed elsewhere. You won't be able to control what you like and don't like to hear. Thanks for lively conversation.

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..... Esquire, if the subcategories in the URL is such a huge deal, hire someone to mod them out. The same structure was in place in 3.x, and it wasn't a problem to remove them via hook(I know, I did it....).

​Marcher - Your insanely great crumbies addon helped make sense of 3.x installs for me. Based upon this, I'll investigate if categories can be removed from the URL as well as the "r" which seems superfluous, since Pages are unique and connected to one specific database. I'm a little worried about unsupported URLs but I guess we'll cross that bridge assuming we cross this one. I'm not as confident about subdomains for the apps but will have someone look as well. Thanks.

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I've been doing the online thing for a little while too, including dealing with these specific types of issues. I'm sure you'd be surprised if I elaborated about what that means and my sources.

​That’s just an argument from authority — and once more a condescending way to talk. You can claim more experience or suggest the existence of “sources” which back your opinion up all day long. It doesn’t impress me and doesn’t prove anything. What would convince me are simply good arguments and a willingness to consider the needs and opinions of other users of that software and to consider such aspects as compatibility with existing installations. If you would have made your case in this way, I would have been the first to wholeheartedly agree.  

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​That’s just an argument from authority — and once more a condescending way to talk. You can claim more experience or suggest the existence of “sources” which back your opinion up all day long. It doesn’t impress me and doesn’t prove anything. What would convince me are simply good arguments and a willingness to consider the needs and opinions of other users of that software and to consider such aspects as compatibility with existing installations. If you would have made your case in this way, I would have been the first to wholeheartedly agree.  

​Have to login to use the support system to finish helping the guys with some bugs I discovered.... so I'll answer.

1. Some people know what I do and there is good reason I've kept it confidential for now. I'll leave it at that. ;)

2. Condescending is the person who keeps telling all of us that they must be convinced or something clearly isn't true. As I said, perhaps you should expand your horizons and get other opinions from and engage in discussions with people who have done webmastering for a long time. My goal here was to try to foster open minded, high level discussion, hoping we can help make IPS4 the best software suite it can be. The need to work this hard is frustrating and discouraging to me.

3. OK, I'll be less gentle and politically correct than I've been before. Outside of this shrinking room, it's pretty clear who does and doesn't know what they are talking about on certain subjects. Just because you've driven a car for 20 years doesn't mean you know anything at all about race car driving. I suggest you broaden your horizons and visit some practice tracks. Congratulations. You're now in the pole position here.

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As I said, perhaps you should expand your horizons and get other opinions from and engage in discussions with people who have done webmastering for a long time. … I suggest you broaden your horizons …

That’s why I take part in these discussions. And I am happy to be proven wrong — because that’s the point where I have learned something. Please don’t suggest I am not open to other opinions. It’s just not true. 

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You toss in "I see that look like this: /_/ which is a dead giveaway of IP.C

 

Wow, I remember the hardcore flack I took over this and trying to get it removed and certain members telling me I knew nothing and now guess what... It's been removed...  I love it....

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That’s why I take part in these discussions. And I am happy to be proven wrong — because that’s the point where I have learned something. Please don’t suggest I am not open to other opinions. It’s just not true. 

Then invest time elsewhere at forums dedicated to discussing these topics.  Arrogant and condescending is expecting others to summarize years of participation elsewhere and provide a detailed, 2,500 word essay complete with sources, footnotes and examples of why some things don't work. At those places you'll see real world examples of the effects of some of the things I've discussed. And I've already given you logical and common sense reasons why most every CMS/Wiki I know doesn't require categorization of content 100% dependent upon URL structure and without any options

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… expecting others to summarize years of participation elsewhere and provide a detailed, 2,500 word essay complete with sources, footnotes and examples of why some things don't work.

I don’t expect that and have never said anything like that. 

At those places you'll see real world examples of the effects of some of the things I've discussed. And I've already given you logical and common sense reasons why most every CMS/Wiki I know doesn't require categorization of content 100% dependent upon URL structure and without any options

​Maybe the misunderstanding is that you think I object to this. I never have and I clearly stated several times that I understand where you are coming from in this discussion and I understand why other CMS makers have chosen certain URL structures. And I don’t doubt that you might run large sites where using a sub-domain for apps/categories and using no category slugs might be the best possible choices – e.g. in regards to SEO and changing category structures over time. You explained that very well. I agree to that. It’s convincing. Without 2,500 words. I am open to convincing arguments – I understand them – I agree with them. 

I just object to how you treat this ONE way of doing it on certain sites as being the ONE way IPS must do it or offer it. You can brag about your secret identity, but after all you are one of thousands of IPS clients which all have equal voices and very different requirements. The requirements you have might not be relevant to others, or might even conflict with them. And that’s what IPS needs to consider – and what you should consider in this discussion. That’s what I am trying to point out. Nothing more.  

This topic has now more than 1,000 views, but interestingly not a single IPS user so far has joined you and stated that he/she also needs the URL structure in the way you suggest it. Isn’t that telling?

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I just object to how you treat this ONE way of doing it on certain sites as being the ONE way IPS must do it or offer it.

The moment someone provides any constructive criticism to IPS design decisions, your seem to react in a defensive posture and concentration on the issue is limited. I have never said IPS must do things one way - ever. I am objecting to IPS offering only ONE way of doing things and not providing any options for common and popular conventions.  If you want to make every category on your site dependent on your URL structure -- go for it!!!! It's your site. IPS firmly believes the new system is "better." In certain critical areas (URLs, Friends, Best Answer Forums, User Level and Award Systems), I respectfully disagree and think that these decisions seem like they were made without having all the critical facts in the decision making room as to why some conventions are very popular and widely accepted. I'm sure that hearing feedback now is probably not desirable but it's the earliest opportunity we were given.

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I am objecting to IPS offering only ONE way of doing things and not providing any options for common and popular conventions.

While I understand your frustration, I doubt that is likely to change. They provide the default URL structure. The rest is up to the modding community.

The kind of modifications you want would be devastating for most existing IPC sites in SEO, assuming that 0 conflicts arise in urls due to custom record slug use.  Thus, the default does rather need to accommodate that, and having the option to change it, if present at all, should be a power setting.

You would not believe the number of admins that dink around with their URL structure then come crying when their rank drops like a stone. The average end-user does need considered as well as upgraders. I do believe IPS has done that, and what you see is the result.

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The moment someone provides any constructive criticism to IPS design decisions, your seem to react in a defensive posture …

​No, I don’t. Why would I? I benefit from the software getting better. So why would I object to constructive criticism? That doesn’t make any sense.

I am objecting to IPS offering only ONE way of doing things and not providing any options for common and popular conventions.  

​Yes, one can always wish for more options. That’s understandable. But you got your official answer already:

I think most people would expect category slugs to appear in the FURL when using categories. If we get an overwhelming number of replies pointing otherwise we will of course look into alternatives. But at this point in time you are the only person who seems very passionate about this.

​Frustrated repetitions of your point of view in bold and with exclamations marks(!!!!) are maybe not the best expression of “constructive criticism”. ;-)

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