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Rikki

Invision Community Team
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  1. Thanks
    Rikki got a reaction from media for an entry, How to lock down and keep your community secure   
    Making security considerations a key part of your community setup and maintenance can save you from many future headaches.
    You've worked hard to get your community moving. Don't make yourself an easy target and undo that work.
    Here’s our current advice to our customers.
     
    1. Enable HTTPS
    HTTPS is fast becoming the standard way to serve websites. In 2016, more than 50% of web requests were served under HTTPS for the first time. Chrome and Firefox now explicitly warn users on login forms that aren’t sending data over HTTPS, and it’s not hard to imagine that in the near future all insecure pages will receive the warning.
    HTTPS simply means that website data is served over a secure connection and can’t be read or tampered with by a ‘middle man’ hacker. You can identify a site using HTTPS because the address in your browser will show ‘https://’ (instead of http://), and normally a lock icon or the word ‘secure’.
    Invision Community supports HTTPS by default simply by changing your base URL configuration to include HTTPS. Of course your web host will need to support it as well and our Invision Community Cloud services support it by default. Contact support if you have any questions.
    Recommendation: Set up HTTPS for your entire community to prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks.

    2. Set up Two Factor Authentication
    Invision Community supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA for short), and we highly recommend making use of this feature for your users, but especially for your administrator staff.
    2FA is a system that requires both a user’s password and a special code (displayed by a phone app) that changes every few seconds. The idea is simple: if a user’s password is somehow compromised, a hacker still wouldn’t be able to log in to the account because they would not have the current code number.
    You may already be familiar with 2FA from other services you use. Apple’s iCloud, Facebook and Google all offer it, as do thousands of banks and other security-conscious businesses.
    Invision Community supports 2FA via the Google Authenticator app (available for iOS and Android) or the Authy service, which is able to send codes to users via text message or phone call. You can also fall back to security questions instead of codes.
    You can configure which members groups can use 2FA, as well as requiring certain groups to use it. 
    Recommendation: Require any staff with access to the Admin Control Panel or moderation functions to use 2FA, to ensure that no damage can be done should their account passwords be discovered. Allow members to use 2FA at their discretion.
     
    3. Configure password requirements
    The password strength feature displays a strength meter to users as they type a new password, showing them approximately how secure it is, as well as some tips for choosing a good password.
    While you can leave this feature as a simple recommendation for users, it’s also possible to require them to choose a password that reaches to a certain strength on the meter. 
    Recommendation: Require users to choose at least a ‘Strong’ password.
     
    4. Use Admin restrictions
    It’s very common that many different staff members need access to the Admin Control Panel depending on the role. You may have design staff, billing staff, community managers, and so on, all with particular tasks they would like to achieve.
    Invision Community can help improve the security of your Admin Control Panel by allowing you to restrict the functions available to each administrator, granting them access to only the tools needed to do their job. 
    Recommendation: Audit your community’s administrator accounts and applying restrictions where it makes sense to do so.
     
    5. Stay up to date
    It’s important to ensure you’re always running the latest release of Invision Community. With each release, we add new security features, audit code and fix any issues reported through responsible disclosure. Falling behind can therefore make your community a tempting target for potential hackers.
    Your Invision Community Admin Control Panel will let you know when a new release is available, and you can also check out our Release page to track releases.
    For our Enterprise customers, we’ll automatically apply updates for you shortly after release as part of your plan. For our self-hosted and Cloud customers, you can easily apply new updates via the Admin Control Panel with a couple of clicks.
    Our Invision Community Cloud contains all best practices for security. However, if you are self-hosted, be sure to work with your web host to ensure your server is setup properly. Ensuring that server software, firewalls, and access controls are in place is very important as an insecure server can be your worst enemy.
    Recommendation: Aim to install latest updates as soon as feasible.
     
    6. IP address restrictions
    For organizations where staff are centrally-based in one location, or are required to use a VPN, you can improve your community security by restricting access to the Admin Control Panel to the IP addresses your staff will be using. This is a server-level feature, so contact your IT team to have this facility set up your installation. Enterprise customers who wish to utilize IP restrictions should contact our Managed Support team, while Cloud customers can submit a support ticket to have this set up.
    Recommendation: Where staff all access the community from a small number of IP addresses, restrict Admin Control Panel access to those IPs. 

    Summary
    Don’t leave security as an afterthought. Invision Community includes a range of tools to help you ensure your data and members protected, as well as industry-standard protections ‘under the hood’. Make use of these features, and they’ll help ensure the wellbeing of your site.
    As always, if you have any questions or need advice, our support team are on hand to assist you.
  2. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from niKee for an entry, How to lock down and keep your community secure   
    Making security considerations a key part of your community setup and maintenance can save you from many future headaches.
    You've worked hard to get your community moving. Don't make yourself an easy target and undo that work.
    Here’s our current advice to our customers.
     
    1. Enable HTTPS
    HTTPS is fast becoming the standard way to serve websites. In 2016, more than 50% of web requests were served under HTTPS for the first time. Chrome and Firefox now explicitly warn users on login forms that aren’t sending data over HTTPS, and it’s not hard to imagine that in the near future all insecure pages will receive the warning.
    HTTPS simply means that website data is served over a secure connection and can’t be read or tampered with by a ‘middle man’ hacker. You can identify a site using HTTPS because the address in your browser will show ‘https://’ (instead of http://), and normally a lock icon or the word ‘secure’.
    Invision Community supports HTTPS by default simply by changing your base URL configuration to include HTTPS. Of course your web host will need to support it as well and our Invision Community Cloud services support it by default. Contact support if you have any questions.
    Recommendation: Set up HTTPS for your entire community to prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks.

    2. Set up Two Factor Authentication
    Invision Community supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA for short), and we highly recommend making use of this feature for your users, but especially for your administrator staff.
    2FA is a system that requires both a user’s password and a special code (displayed by a phone app) that changes every few seconds. The idea is simple: if a user’s password is somehow compromised, a hacker still wouldn’t be able to log in to the account because they would not have the current code number.
    You may already be familiar with 2FA from other services you use. Apple’s iCloud, Facebook and Google all offer it, as do thousands of banks and other security-conscious businesses.
    Invision Community supports 2FA via the Google Authenticator app (available for iOS and Android) or the Authy service, which is able to send codes to users via text message or phone call. You can also fall back to security questions instead of codes.
    You can configure which members groups can use 2FA, as well as requiring certain groups to use it. 
    Recommendation: Require any staff with access to the Admin Control Panel or moderation functions to use 2FA, to ensure that no damage can be done should their account passwords be discovered. Allow members to use 2FA at their discretion.
     
    3. Configure password requirements
    The password strength feature displays a strength meter to users as they type a new password, showing them approximately how secure it is, as well as some tips for choosing a good password.
    While you can leave this feature as a simple recommendation for users, it’s also possible to require them to choose a password that reaches to a certain strength on the meter. 
    Recommendation: Require users to choose at least a ‘Strong’ password.
     
    4. Use Admin restrictions
    It’s very common that many different staff members need access to the Admin Control Panel depending on the role. You may have design staff, billing staff, community managers, and so on, all with particular tasks they would like to achieve.
    Invision Community can help improve the security of your Admin Control Panel by allowing you to restrict the functions available to each administrator, granting them access to only the tools needed to do their job. 
    Recommendation: Audit your community’s administrator accounts and applying restrictions where it makes sense to do so.
     
    5. Stay up to date
    It’s important to ensure you’re always running the latest release of Invision Community. With each release, we add new security features, audit code and fix any issues reported through responsible disclosure. Falling behind can therefore make your community a tempting target for potential hackers.
    Your Invision Community Admin Control Panel will let you know when a new release is available, and you can also check out our Release page to track releases.
    For our Enterprise customers, we’ll automatically apply updates for you shortly after release as part of your plan. For our self-hosted and Cloud customers, you can easily apply new updates via the Admin Control Panel with a couple of clicks.
    Our Invision Community Cloud contains all best practices for security. However, if you are self-hosted, be sure to work with your web host to ensure your server is setup properly. Ensuring that server software, firewalls, and access controls are in place is very important as an insecure server can be your worst enemy.
    Recommendation: Aim to install latest updates as soon as feasible.
     
    6. IP address restrictions
    For organizations where staff are centrally-based in one location, or are required to use a VPN, you can improve your community security by restricting access to the Admin Control Panel to the IP addresses your staff will be using. This is a server-level feature, so contact your IT team to have this facility set up your installation. Enterprise customers who wish to utilize IP restrictions should contact our Managed Support team, while Cloud customers can submit a support ticket to have this set up.
    Recommendation: Where staff all access the community from a small number of IP addresses, restrict Admin Control Panel access to those IPs. 

    Summary
    Don’t leave security as an afterthought. Invision Community includes a range of tools to help you ensure your data and members protected, as well as industry-standard protections ‘under the hood’. Make use of these features, and they’ll help ensure the wellbeing of your site.
    As always, if you have any questions or need advice, our support team are on hand to assist you.
  3. Thanks
    Rikki got a reaction from Nebthtet for an entry, How to lock down and keep your community secure   
    Making security considerations a key part of your community setup and maintenance can save you from many future headaches.
    You've worked hard to get your community moving. Don't make yourself an easy target and undo that work.
    Here’s our current advice to our customers.
     
    1. Enable HTTPS
    HTTPS is fast becoming the standard way to serve websites. In 2016, more than 50% of web requests were served under HTTPS for the first time. Chrome and Firefox now explicitly warn users on login forms that aren’t sending data over HTTPS, and it’s not hard to imagine that in the near future all insecure pages will receive the warning.
    HTTPS simply means that website data is served over a secure connection and can’t be read or tampered with by a ‘middle man’ hacker. You can identify a site using HTTPS because the address in your browser will show ‘https://’ (instead of http://), and normally a lock icon or the word ‘secure’.
    Invision Community supports HTTPS by default simply by changing your base URL configuration to include HTTPS. Of course your web host will need to support it as well and our Invision Community Cloud services support it by default. Contact support if you have any questions.
    Recommendation: Set up HTTPS for your entire community to prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks.

    2. Set up Two Factor Authentication
    Invision Community supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA for short), and we highly recommend making use of this feature for your users, but especially for your administrator staff.
    2FA is a system that requires both a user’s password and a special code (displayed by a phone app) that changes every few seconds. The idea is simple: if a user’s password is somehow compromised, a hacker still wouldn’t be able to log in to the account because they would not have the current code number.
    You may already be familiar with 2FA from other services you use. Apple’s iCloud, Facebook and Google all offer it, as do thousands of banks and other security-conscious businesses.
    Invision Community supports 2FA via the Google Authenticator app (available for iOS and Android) or the Authy service, which is able to send codes to users via text message or phone call. You can also fall back to security questions instead of codes.
    You can configure which members groups can use 2FA, as well as requiring certain groups to use it. 
    Recommendation: Require any staff with access to the Admin Control Panel or moderation functions to use 2FA, to ensure that no damage can be done should their account passwords be discovered. Allow members to use 2FA at their discretion.
     
    3. Configure password requirements
    The password strength feature displays a strength meter to users as they type a new password, showing them approximately how secure it is, as well as some tips for choosing a good password.
    While you can leave this feature as a simple recommendation for users, it’s also possible to require them to choose a password that reaches to a certain strength on the meter. 
    Recommendation: Require users to choose at least a ‘Strong’ password.
     
    4. Use Admin restrictions
    It’s very common that many different staff members need access to the Admin Control Panel depending on the role. You may have design staff, billing staff, community managers, and so on, all with particular tasks they would like to achieve.
    Invision Community can help improve the security of your Admin Control Panel by allowing you to restrict the functions available to each administrator, granting them access to only the tools needed to do their job. 
    Recommendation: Audit your community’s administrator accounts and applying restrictions where it makes sense to do so.
     
    5. Stay up to date
    It’s important to ensure you’re always running the latest release of Invision Community. With each release, we add new security features, audit code and fix any issues reported through responsible disclosure. Falling behind can therefore make your community a tempting target for potential hackers.
    Your Invision Community Admin Control Panel will let you know when a new release is available, and you can also check out our Release page to track releases.
    For our Enterprise customers, we’ll automatically apply updates for you shortly after release as part of your plan. For our self-hosted and Cloud customers, you can easily apply new updates via the Admin Control Panel with a couple of clicks.
    Our Invision Community Cloud contains all best practices for security. However, if you are self-hosted, be sure to work with your web host to ensure your server is setup properly. Ensuring that server software, firewalls, and access controls are in place is very important as an insecure server can be your worst enemy.
    Recommendation: Aim to install latest updates as soon as feasible.
     
    6. IP address restrictions
    For organizations where staff are centrally-based in one location, or are required to use a VPN, you can improve your community security by restricting access to the Admin Control Panel to the IP addresses your staff will be using. This is a server-level feature, so contact your IT team to have this facility set up your installation. Enterprise customers who wish to utilize IP restrictions should contact our Managed Support team, while Cloud customers can submit a support ticket to have this set up.
    Recommendation: Where staff all access the community from a small number of IP addresses, restrict Admin Control Panel access to those IPs. 

    Summary
    Don’t leave security as an afterthought. Invision Community includes a range of tools to help you ensure your data and members protected, as well as industry-standard protections ‘under the hood’. Make use of these features, and they’ll help ensure the wellbeing of your site.
    As always, if you have any questions or need advice, our support team are on hand to assist you.
  4. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from Ioannis D for an entry, How to lock down and keep your community secure   
    Making security considerations a key part of your community setup and maintenance can save you from many future headaches.
    You've worked hard to get your community moving. Don't make yourself an easy target and undo that work.
    Here’s our current advice to our customers.
     
    1. Enable HTTPS
    HTTPS is fast becoming the standard way to serve websites. In 2016, more than 50% of web requests were served under HTTPS for the first time. Chrome and Firefox now explicitly warn users on login forms that aren’t sending data over HTTPS, and it’s not hard to imagine that in the near future all insecure pages will receive the warning.
    HTTPS simply means that website data is served over a secure connection and can’t be read or tampered with by a ‘middle man’ hacker. You can identify a site using HTTPS because the address in your browser will show ‘https://’ (instead of http://), and normally a lock icon or the word ‘secure’.
    Invision Community supports HTTPS by default simply by changing your base URL configuration to include HTTPS. Of course your web host will need to support it as well and our Invision Community Cloud services support it by default. Contact support if you have any questions.
    Recommendation: Set up HTTPS for your entire community to prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks.

    2. Set up Two Factor Authentication
    Invision Community supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA for short), and we highly recommend making use of this feature for your users, but especially for your administrator staff.
    2FA is a system that requires both a user’s password and a special code (displayed by a phone app) that changes every few seconds. The idea is simple: if a user’s password is somehow compromised, a hacker still wouldn’t be able to log in to the account because they would not have the current code number.
    You may already be familiar with 2FA from other services you use. Apple’s iCloud, Facebook and Google all offer it, as do thousands of banks and other security-conscious businesses.
    Invision Community supports 2FA via the Google Authenticator app (available for iOS and Android) or the Authy service, which is able to send codes to users via text message or phone call. You can also fall back to security questions instead of codes.
    You can configure which members groups can use 2FA, as well as requiring certain groups to use it. 
    Recommendation: Require any staff with access to the Admin Control Panel or moderation functions to use 2FA, to ensure that no damage can be done should their account passwords be discovered. Allow members to use 2FA at their discretion.
     
    3. Configure password requirements
    The password strength feature displays a strength meter to users as they type a new password, showing them approximately how secure it is, as well as some tips for choosing a good password.
    While you can leave this feature as a simple recommendation for users, it’s also possible to require them to choose a password that reaches to a certain strength on the meter. 
    Recommendation: Require users to choose at least a ‘Strong’ password.
     
    4. Use Admin restrictions
    It’s very common that many different staff members need access to the Admin Control Panel depending on the role. You may have design staff, billing staff, community managers, and so on, all with particular tasks they would like to achieve.
    Invision Community can help improve the security of your Admin Control Panel by allowing you to restrict the functions available to each administrator, granting them access to only the tools needed to do their job. 
    Recommendation: Audit your community’s administrator accounts and applying restrictions where it makes sense to do so.
     
    5. Stay up to date
    It’s important to ensure you’re always running the latest release of Invision Community. With each release, we add new security features, audit code and fix any issues reported through responsible disclosure. Falling behind can therefore make your community a tempting target for potential hackers.
    Your Invision Community Admin Control Panel will let you know when a new release is available, and you can also check out our Release page to track releases.
    For our Enterprise customers, we’ll automatically apply updates for you shortly after release as part of your plan. For our self-hosted and Cloud customers, you can easily apply new updates via the Admin Control Panel with a couple of clicks.
    Our Invision Community Cloud contains all best practices for security. However, if you are self-hosted, be sure to work with your web host to ensure your server is setup properly. Ensuring that server software, firewalls, and access controls are in place is very important as an insecure server can be your worst enemy.
    Recommendation: Aim to install latest updates as soon as feasible.
     
    6. IP address restrictions
    For organizations where staff are centrally-based in one location, or are required to use a VPN, you can improve your community security by restricting access to the Admin Control Panel to the IP addresses your staff will be using. This is a server-level feature, so contact your IT team to have this facility set up your installation. Enterprise customers who wish to utilize IP restrictions should contact our Managed Support team, while Cloud customers can submit a support ticket to have this set up.
    Recommendation: Where staff all access the community from a small number of IP addresses, restrict Admin Control Panel access to those IPs. 

    Summary
    Don’t leave security as an afterthought. Invision Community includes a range of tools to help you ensure your data and members protected, as well as industry-standard protections ‘under the hood’. Make use of these features, and they’ll help ensure the wellbeing of your site.
    As always, if you have any questions or need advice, our support team are on hand to assist you.
  5. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from Tom S. for an entry, How to lock down and keep your community secure   
    Making security considerations a key part of your community setup and maintenance can save you from many future headaches.
    You've worked hard to get your community moving. Don't make yourself an easy target and undo that work.
    Here’s our current advice to our customers.
     
    1. Enable HTTPS
    HTTPS is fast becoming the standard way to serve websites. In 2016, more than 50% of web requests were served under HTTPS for the first time. Chrome and Firefox now explicitly warn users on login forms that aren’t sending data over HTTPS, and it’s not hard to imagine that in the near future all insecure pages will receive the warning.
    HTTPS simply means that website data is served over a secure connection and can’t be read or tampered with by a ‘middle man’ hacker. You can identify a site using HTTPS because the address in your browser will show ‘https://’ (instead of http://), and normally a lock icon or the word ‘secure’.
    Invision Community supports HTTPS by default simply by changing your base URL configuration to include HTTPS. Of course your web host will need to support it as well and our Invision Community Cloud services support it by default. Contact support if you have any questions.
    Recommendation: Set up HTTPS for your entire community to prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks.

    2. Set up Two Factor Authentication
    Invision Community supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA for short), and we highly recommend making use of this feature for your users, but especially for your administrator staff.
    2FA is a system that requires both a user’s password and a special code (displayed by a phone app) that changes every few seconds. The idea is simple: if a user’s password is somehow compromised, a hacker still wouldn’t be able to log in to the account because they would not have the current code number.
    You may already be familiar with 2FA from other services you use. Apple’s iCloud, Facebook and Google all offer it, as do thousands of banks and other security-conscious businesses.
    Invision Community supports 2FA via the Google Authenticator app (available for iOS and Android) or the Authy service, which is able to send codes to users via text message or phone call. You can also fall back to security questions instead of codes.
    You can configure which members groups can use 2FA, as well as requiring certain groups to use it. 
    Recommendation: Require any staff with access to the Admin Control Panel or moderation functions to use 2FA, to ensure that no damage can be done should their account passwords be discovered. Allow members to use 2FA at their discretion.
     
    3. Configure password requirements
    The password strength feature displays a strength meter to users as they type a new password, showing them approximately how secure it is, as well as some tips for choosing a good password.
    While you can leave this feature as a simple recommendation for users, it’s also possible to require them to choose a password that reaches to a certain strength on the meter. 
    Recommendation: Require users to choose at least a ‘Strong’ password.
     
    4. Use Admin restrictions
    It’s very common that many different staff members need access to the Admin Control Panel depending on the role. You may have design staff, billing staff, community managers, and so on, all with particular tasks they would like to achieve.
    Invision Community can help improve the security of your Admin Control Panel by allowing you to restrict the functions available to each administrator, granting them access to only the tools needed to do their job. 
    Recommendation: Audit your community’s administrator accounts and applying restrictions where it makes sense to do so.
     
    5. Stay up to date
    It’s important to ensure you’re always running the latest release of Invision Community. With each release, we add new security features, audit code and fix any issues reported through responsible disclosure. Falling behind can therefore make your community a tempting target for potential hackers.
    Your Invision Community Admin Control Panel will let you know when a new release is available, and you can also check out our Release page to track releases.
    For our Enterprise customers, we’ll automatically apply updates for you shortly after release as part of your plan. For our self-hosted and Cloud customers, you can easily apply new updates via the Admin Control Panel with a couple of clicks.
    Our Invision Community Cloud contains all best practices for security. However, if you are self-hosted, be sure to work with your web host to ensure your server is setup properly. Ensuring that server software, firewalls, and access controls are in place is very important as an insecure server can be your worst enemy.
    Recommendation: Aim to install latest updates as soon as feasible.
     
    6. IP address restrictions
    For organizations where staff are centrally-based in one location, or are required to use a VPN, you can improve your community security by restricting access to the Admin Control Panel to the IP addresses your staff will be using. This is a server-level feature, so contact your IT team to have this facility set up your installation. Enterprise customers who wish to utilize IP restrictions should contact our Managed Support team, while Cloud customers can submit a support ticket to have this set up.
    Recommendation: Where staff all access the community from a small number of IP addresses, restrict Admin Control Panel access to those IPs. 

    Summary
    Don’t leave security as an afterthought. Invision Community includes a range of tools to help you ensure your data and members protected, as well as industry-standard protections ‘under the hood’. Make use of these features, and they’ll help ensure the wellbeing of your site.
    As always, if you have any questions or need advice, our support team are on hand to assist you.
  6. Thanks
    Rikki got a reaction from AndyF for an entry, How to lock down and keep your community secure   
    Making security considerations a key part of your community setup and maintenance can save you from many future headaches.
    You've worked hard to get your community moving. Don't make yourself an easy target and undo that work.
    Here’s our current advice to our customers.
     
    1. Enable HTTPS
    HTTPS is fast becoming the standard way to serve websites. In 2016, more than 50% of web requests were served under HTTPS for the first time. Chrome and Firefox now explicitly warn users on login forms that aren’t sending data over HTTPS, and it’s not hard to imagine that in the near future all insecure pages will receive the warning.
    HTTPS simply means that website data is served over a secure connection and can’t be read or tampered with by a ‘middle man’ hacker. You can identify a site using HTTPS because the address in your browser will show ‘https://’ (instead of http://), and normally a lock icon or the word ‘secure’.
    Invision Community supports HTTPS by default simply by changing your base URL configuration to include HTTPS. Of course your web host will need to support it as well and our Invision Community Cloud services support it by default. Contact support if you have any questions.
    Recommendation: Set up HTTPS for your entire community to prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks.

    2. Set up Two Factor Authentication
    Invision Community supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA for short), and we highly recommend making use of this feature for your users, but especially for your administrator staff.
    2FA is a system that requires both a user’s password and a special code (displayed by a phone app) that changes every few seconds. The idea is simple: if a user’s password is somehow compromised, a hacker still wouldn’t be able to log in to the account because they would not have the current code number.
    You may already be familiar with 2FA from other services you use. Apple’s iCloud, Facebook and Google all offer it, as do thousands of banks and other security-conscious businesses.
    Invision Community supports 2FA via the Google Authenticator app (available for iOS and Android) or the Authy service, which is able to send codes to users via text message or phone call. You can also fall back to security questions instead of codes.
    You can configure which members groups can use 2FA, as well as requiring certain groups to use it. 
    Recommendation: Require any staff with access to the Admin Control Panel or moderation functions to use 2FA, to ensure that no damage can be done should their account passwords be discovered. Allow members to use 2FA at their discretion.
     
    3. Configure password requirements
    The password strength feature displays a strength meter to users as they type a new password, showing them approximately how secure it is, as well as some tips for choosing a good password.
    While you can leave this feature as a simple recommendation for users, it’s also possible to require them to choose a password that reaches to a certain strength on the meter. 
    Recommendation: Require users to choose at least a ‘Strong’ password.
     
    4. Use Admin restrictions
    It’s very common that many different staff members need access to the Admin Control Panel depending on the role. You may have design staff, billing staff, community managers, and so on, all with particular tasks they would like to achieve.
    Invision Community can help improve the security of your Admin Control Panel by allowing you to restrict the functions available to each administrator, granting them access to only the tools needed to do their job. 
    Recommendation: Audit your community’s administrator accounts and applying restrictions where it makes sense to do so.
     
    5. Stay up to date
    It’s important to ensure you’re always running the latest release of Invision Community. With each release, we add new security features, audit code and fix any issues reported through responsible disclosure. Falling behind can therefore make your community a tempting target for potential hackers.
    Your Invision Community Admin Control Panel will let you know when a new release is available, and you can also check out our Release page to track releases.
    For our Enterprise customers, we’ll automatically apply updates for you shortly after release as part of your plan. For our self-hosted and Cloud customers, you can easily apply new updates via the Admin Control Panel with a couple of clicks.
    Our Invision Community Cloud contains all best practices for security. However, if you are self-hosted, be sure to work with your web host to ensure your server is setup properly. Ensuring that server software, firewalls, and access controls are in place is very important as an insecure server can be your worst enemy.
    Recommendation: Aim to install latest updates as soon as feasible.
     
    6. IP address restrictions
    For organizations where staff are centrally-based in one location, or are required to use a VPN, you can improve your community security by restricting access to the Admin Control Panel to the IP addresses your staff will be using. This is a server-level feature, so contact your IT team to have this facility set up your installation. Enterprise customers who wish to utilize IP restrictions should contact our Managed Support team, while Cloud customers can submit a support ticket to have this set up.
    Recommendation: Where staff all access the community from a small number of IP addresses, restrict Admin Control Panel access to those IPs. 

    Summary
    Don’t leave security as an afterthought. Invision Community includes a range of tools to help you ensure your data and members protected, as well as industry-standard protections ‘under the hood’. Make use of these features, and they’ll help ensure the wellbeing of your site.
    As always, if you have any questions or need advice, our support team are on hand to assist you.
  7. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from AlexWright for an entry, How to lock down and keep your community secure   
    Making security considerations a key part of your community setup and maintenance can save you from many future headaches.
    You've worked hard to get your community moving. Don't make yourself an easy target and undo that work.
    Here’s our current advice to our customers.
     
    1. Enable HTTPS
    HTTPS is fast becoming the standard way to serve websites. In 2016, more than 50% of web requests were served under HTTPS for the first time. Chrome and Firefox now explicitly warn users on login forms that aren’t sending data over HTTPS, and it’s not hard to imagine that in the near future all insecure pages will receive the warning.
    HTTPS simply means that website data is served over a secure connection and can’t be read or tampered with by a ‘middle man’ hacker. You can identify a site using HTTPS because the address in your browser will show ‘https://’ (instead of http://), and normally a lock icon or the word ‘secure’.
    Invision Community supports HTTPS by default simply by changing your base URL configuration to include HTTPS. Of course your web host will need to support it as well and our Invision Community Cloud services support it by default. Contact support if you have any questions.
    Recommendation: Set up HTTPS for your entire community to prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks.

    2. Set up Two Factor Authentication
    Invision Community supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA for short), and we highly recommend making use of this feature for your users, but especially for your administrator staff.
    2FA is a system that requires both a user’s password and a special code (displayed by a phone app) that changes every few seconds. The idea is simple: if a user’s password is somehow compromised, a hacker still wouldn’t be able to log in to the account because they would not have the current code number.
    You may already be familiar with 2FA from other services you use. Apple’s iCloud, Facebook and Google all offer it, as do thousands of banks and other security-conscious businesses.
    Invision Community supports 2FA via the Google Authenticator app (available for iOS and Android) or the Authy service, which is able to send codes to users via text message or phone call. You can also fall back to security questions instead of codes.
    You can configure which members groups can use 2FA, as well as requiring certain groups to use it. 
    Recommendation: Require any staff with access to the Admin Control Panel or moderation functions to use 2FA, to ensure that no damage can be done should their account passwords be discovered. Allow members to use 2FA at their discretion.
     
    3. Configure password requirements
    The password strength feature displays a strength meter to users as they type a new password, showing them approximately how secure it is, as well as some tips for choosing a good password.
    While you can leave this feature as a simple recommendation for users, it’s also possible to require them to choose a password that reaches to a certain strength on the meter. 
    Recommendation: Require users to choose at least a ‘Strong’ password.
     
    4. Use Admin restrictions
    It’s very common that many different staff members need access to the Admin Control Panel depending on the role. You may have design staff, billing staff, community managers, and so on, all with particular tasks they would like to achieve.
    Invision Community can help improve the security of your Admin Control Panel by allowing you to restrict the functions available to each administrator, granting them access to only the tools needed to do their job. 
    Recommendation: Audit your community’s administrator accounts and applying restrictions where it makes sense to do so.
     
    5. Stay up to date
    It’s important to ensure you’re always running the latest release of Invision Community. With each release, we add new security features, audit code and fix any issues reported through responsible disclosure. Falling behind can therefore make your community a tempting target for potential hackers.
    Your Invision Community Admin Control Panel will let you know when a new release is available, and you can also check out our Release page to track releases.
    For our Enterprise customers, we’ll automatically apply updates for you shortly after release as part of your plan. For our self-hosted and Cloud customers, you can easily apply new updates via the Admin Control Panel with a couple of clicks.
    Our Invision Community Cloud contains all best practices for security. However, if you are self-hosted, be sure to work with your web host to ensure your server is setup properly. Ensuring that server software, firewalls, and access controls are in place is very important as an insecure server can be your worst enemy.
    Recommendation: Aim to install latest updates as soon as feasible.
     
    6. IP address restrictions
    For organizations where staff are centrally-based in one location, or are required to use a VPN, you can improve your community security by restricting access to the Admin Control Panel to the IP addresses your staff will be using. This is a server-level feature, so contact your IT team to have this facility set up your installation. Enterprise customers who wish to utilize IP restrictions should contact our Managed Support team, while Cloud customers can submit a support ticket to have this set up.
    Recommendation: Where staff all access the community from a small number of IP addresses, restrict Admin Control Panel access to those IPs. 

    Summary
    Don’t leave security as an afterthought. Invision Community includes a range of tools to help you ensure your data and members protected, as well as industry-standard protections ‘under the hood’. Make use of these features, and they’ll help ensure the wellbeing of your site.
    As always, if you have any questions or need advice, our support team are on hand to assist you.
  8. Thanks
    Rikki got a reaction from DawPi for an entry, How to lock down and keep your community secure   
    Making security considerations a key part of your community setup and maintenance can save you from many future headaches.
    You've worked hard to get your community moving. Don't make yourself an easy target and undo that work.
    Here’s our current advice to our customers.
     
    1. Enable HTTPS
    HTTPS is fast becoming the standard way to serve websites. In 2016, more than 50% of web requests were served under HTTPS for the first time. Chrome and Firefox now explicitly warn users on login forms that aren’t sending data over HTTPS, and it’s not hard to imagine that in the near future all insecure pages will receive the warning.
    HTTPS simply means that website data is served over a secure connection and can’t be read or tampered with by a ‘middle man’ hacker. You can identify a site using HTTPS because the address in your browser will show ‘https://’ (instead of http://), and normally a lock icon or the word ‘secure’.
    Invision Community supports HTTPS by default simply by changing your base URL configuration to include HTTPS. Of course your web host will need to support it as well and our Invision Community Cloud services support it by default. Contact support if you have any questions.
    Recommendation: Set up HTTPS for your entire community to prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks.

    2. Set up Two Factor Authentication
    Invision Community supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA for short), and we highly recommend making use of this feature for your users, but especially for your administrator staff.
    2FA is a system that requires both a user’s password and a special code (displayed by a phone app) that changes every few seconds. The idea is simple: if a user’s password is somehow compromised, a hacker still wouldn’t be able to log in to the account because they would not have the current code number.
    You may already be familiar with 2FA from other services you use. Apple’s iCloud, Facebook and Google all offer it, as do thousands of banks and other security-conscious businesses.
    Invision Community supports 2FA via the Google Authenticator app (available for iOS and Android) or the Authy service, which is able to send codes to users via text message or phone call. You can also fall back to security questions instead of codes.
    You can configure which members groups can use 2FA, as well as requiring certain groups to use it. 
    Recommendation: Require any staff with access to the Admin Control Panel or moderation functions to use 2FA, to ensure that no damage can be done should their account passwords be discovered. Allow members to use 2FA at their discretion.
     
    3. Configure password requirements
    The password strength feature displays a strength meter to users as they type a new password, showing them approximately how secure it is, as well as some tips for choosing a good password.
    While you can leave this feature as a simple recommendation for users, it’s also possible to require them to choose a password that reaches to a certain strength on the meter. 
    Recommendation: Require users to choose at least a ‘Strong’ password.
     
    4. Use Admin restrictions
    It’s very common that many different staff members need access to the Admin Control Panel depending on the role. You may have design staff, billing staff, community managers, and so on, all with particular tasks they would like to achieve.
    Invision Community can help improve the security of your Admin Control Panel by allowing you to restrict the functions available to each administrator, granting them access to only the tools needed to do their job. 
    Recommendation: Audit your community’s administrator accounts and applying restrictions where it makes sense to do so.
     
    5. Stay up to date
    It’s important to ensure you’re always running the latest release of Invision Community. With each release, we add new security features, audit code and fix any issues reported through responsible disclosure. Falling behind can therefore make your community a tempting target for potential hackers.
    Your Invision Community Admin Control Panel will let you know when a new release is available, and you can also check out our Release page to track releases.
    For our Enterprise customers, we’ll automatically apply updates for you shortly after release as part of your plan. For our self-hosted and Cloud customers, you can easily apply new updates via the Admin Control Panel with a couple of clicks.
    Our Invision Community Cloud contains all best practices for security. However, if you are self-hosted, be sure to work with your web host to ensure your server is setup properly. Ensuring that server software, firewalls, and access controls are in place is very important as an insecure server can be your worst enemy.
    Recommendation: Aim to install latest updates as soon as feasible.
     
    6. IP address restrictions
    For organizations where staff are centrally-based in one location, or are required to use a VPN, you can improve your community security by restricting access to the Admin Control Panel to the IP addresses your staff will be using. This is a server-level feature, so contact your IT team to have this facility set up your installation. Enterprise customers who wish to utilize IP restrictions should contact our Managed Support team, while Cloud customers can submit a support ticket to have this set up.
    Recommendation: Where staff all access the community from a small number of IP addresses, restrict Admin Control Panel access to those IPs. 

    Summary
    Don’t leave security as an afterthought. Invision Community includes a range of tools to help you ensure your data and members protected, as well as industry-standard protections ‘under the hood’. Make use of these features, and they’ll help ensure the wellbeing of your site.
    As always, if you have any questions or need advice, our support team are on hand to assist you.
  9. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from Meddysong for an entry, How to lock down and keep your community secure   
    Making security considerations a key part of your community setup and maintenance can save you from many future headaches.
    You've worked hard to get your community moving. Don't make yourself an easy target and undo that work.
    Here’s our current advice to our customers.
     
    1. Enable HTTPS
    HTTPS is fast becoming the standard way to serve websites. In 2016, more than 50% of web requests were served under HTTPS for the first time. Chrome and Firefox now explicitly warn users on login forms that aren’t sending data over HTTPS, and it’s not hard to imagine that in the near future all insecure pages will receive the warning.
    HTTPS simply means that website data is served over a secure connection and can’t be read or tampered with by a ‘middle man’ hacker. You can identify a site using HTTPS because the address in your browser will show ‘https://’ (instead of http://), and normally a lock icon or the word ‘secure’.
    Invision Community supports HTTPS by default simply by changing your base URL configuration to include HTTPS. Of course your web host will need to support it as well and our Invision Community Cloud services support it by default. Contact support if you have any questions.
    Recommendation: Set up HTTPS for your entire community to prevent ‘man in the middle’ attacks.

    2. Set up Two Factor Authentication
    Invision Community supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA for short), and we highly recommend making use of this feature for your users, but especially for your administrator staff.
    2FA is a system that requires both a user’s password and a special code (displayed by a phone app) that changes every few seconds. The idea is simple: if a user’s password is somehow compromised, a hacker still wouldn’t be able to log in to the account because they would not have the current code number.
    You may already be familiar with 2FA from other services you use. Apple’s iCloud, Facebook and Google all offer it, as do thousands of banks and other security-conscious businesses.
    Invision Community supports 2FA via the Google Authenticator app (available for iOS and Android) or the Authy service, which is able to send codes to users via text message or phone call. You can also fall back to security questions instead of codes.
    You can configure which members groups can use 2FA, as well as requiring certain groups to use it. 
    Recommendation: Require any staff with access to the Admin Control Panel or moderation functions to use 2FA, to ensure that no damage can be done should their account passwords be discovered. Allow members to use 2FA at their discretion.
     
    3. Configure password requirements
    The password strength feature displays a strength meter to users as they type a new password, showing them approximately how secure it is, as well as some tips for choosing a good password.
    While you can leave this feature as a simple recommendation for users, it’s also possible to require them to choose a password that reaches to a certain strength on the meter. 
    Recommendation: Require users to choose at least a ‘Strong’ password.
     
    4. Use Admin restrictions
    It’s very common that many different staff members need access to the Admin Control Panel depending on the role. You may have design staff, billing staff, community managers, and so on, all with particular tasks they would like to achieve.
    Invision Community can help improve the security of your Admin Control Panel by allowing you to restrict the functions available to each administrator, granting them access to only the tools needed to do their job. 
    Recommendation: Audit your community’s administrator accounts and applying restrictions where it makes sense to do so.
     
    5. Stay up to date
    It’s important to ensure you’re always running the latest release of Invision Community. With each release, we add new security features, audit code and fix any issues reported through responsible disclosure. Falling behind can therefore make your community a tempting target for potential hackers.
    Your Invision Community Admin Control Panel will let you know when a new release is available, and you can also check out our Release page to track releases.
    For our Enterprise customers, we’ll automatically apply updates for you shortly after release as part of your plan. For our self-hosted and Cloud customers, you can easily apply new updates via the Admin Control Panel with a couple of clicks.
    Our Invision Community Cloud contains all best practices for security. However, if you are self-hosted, be sure to work with your web host to ensure your server is setup properly. Ensuring that server software, firewalls, and access controls are in place is very important as an insecure server can be your worst enemy.
    Recommendation: Aim to install latest updates as soon as feasible.
     
    6. IP address restrictions
    For organizations where staff are centrally-based in one location, or are required to use a VPN, you can improve your community security by restricting access to the Admin Control Panel to the IP addresses your staff will be using. This is a server-level feature, so contact your IT team to have this facility set up your installation. Enterprise customers who wish to utilize IP restrictions should contact our Managed Support team, while Cloud customers can submit a support ticket to have this set up.
    Recommendation: Where staff all access the community from a small number of IP addresses, restrict Admin Control Panel access to those IPs. 

    Summary
    Don’t leave security as an afterthought. Invision Community includes a range of tools to help you ensure your data and members protected, as well as industry-standard protections ‘under the hood’. Make use of these features, and they’ll help ensure the wellbeing of your site.
    As always, if you have any questions or need advice, our support team are on hand to assist you.
  10. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from mark007 for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  11. Thanks
    Rikki got a reaction from Leon Bollerup for an entry, New: Clubs   
    This entry is about our IPS Community Suite 4.2 release.
    We are happy to introduce the next major feature that will be available in IPS Community Suite 4.2 - Clubs.
    Clubs are a brand new way of supporting sub-communities within your site. Many people have requested social group functionality in the past and Clubs are our implementation of this concept. Let's take a look at a few screenshots, and then go over what they are capable of doing.

    The Club directory

    A Club homepage

    Club member listing

    Example of content within a club (topics, in this case)
    There's a lot to digest there! Let's go over the basic functionality.
     
    Club Types
    Four types of club are available:
    Public clubs
    Clubs that anyone can see and participate in without joining. Open club
    Clubs that anyone can see and join. Closed club
    Clubs that anyone can see in the directory, but joining must be approved by a Club Leader or Club Moderator. Non-club-members who view the club will only see the member list - not the recent activity or content areas. Private club
    Clubs that do not show in public, and users must be invited by a Club Leader or Club Moderator As the site admin, you can of course configure which club types can be created and by whom. You could, for example, allow members to create public and open clubs, but allow a "VIP" group to also create Closed and Private clubs.

    Admin configuration option for Club creations
     
    Club Users
    Each club has three levels of user:
    Leader
    A leader has all of the permissions of a moderator, and can add other moderators. They can also add content areas (see below). The club owner is automatically a leader. Moderators
    Moderators, as the name implies, have the ability to moderate content posted within the club. As the site administrator, you can define which moderator tools can be used. You could, for example, prevent any content being deleted from clubs, but allow it to be hidden. Moderators can also remove members from a club. Users
    Anyone else that joins the club.
    Defining the moderator permissions available to club moderators
    Your site administrator and moderators, with the appropriate permissions, are able to moderator content in any Club regardless of whether they are a member of it. 
    Clubs can be created by any user who has permission. As you would expect, this is controlled by our regular permission settings.
    For closed clubs, there's an approval process. Users can request to join and the request must be approved by a leader. Leaders get a notification when a user requests to join; the user gets a notification when their request is approved or denied.

    Approving and declining join requests
     
    Club Content
    Club Leaders can add a variety of content areas to their club - forums, calendars, blogs and so on. It's important to note that these content areas are fully functional just as if they existed as a top-level admin created area. They will appear in search results, activity streams, users can follow them, embed links to them, and so on. If a user has permission to see a forum (for example) within a club it will behave exactly like other forums they see - and the same for all other kinds of content.
    Each content area a leader adds can have a custom title, and will appear in the club navigation. This means, for example, that you can have multiple forums within a club, and give each a different name.

    Adding content areas to a club
     
    Club Custom Fields
    Clubs also support custom fields. Custom fields are defined by the site administrator and can be filled in by Club Owners. The values they enter are shown (along with the club description) on the club homepage.

    Custom fields in a club
    On the Club Directory page, users can filter by the custom club fields.

    Filtering clubs
     
    Club Locations
    Clubs have built-in support for Google Maps, allowing users to specify a physical location for their club. Let's say you run a community for car enthusiasts; each club might be tied to a particular region's meetup. The Club Owner specifies the location when setting up the club, and clubs are then shown on map on the directory page:

    Club locations
    And within a club, the location is shown too:

     
    Club Display
    We offer two ways to display club headers within the club - the standard way, shown in the screenshots you've seen up to this point, but we also have a sidebar option. This is something the admin sets globally for the site, rather than per-club. This is useful where your site design doesn't facilitate another horizontal banner taking up valuable screen real-estate; moving the club banner to the sidebar alleviates this pressure on vertical space.

    Sidebar club style
    Using Clubs in Other Ways
    There's a lot of scope for using clubs beyond allowing users to create their own groups. You do not even have to call them "clubs" if that does not suit your use case. For example, on a company intranet you could rename Clubs to "Departments", and create a private group for each of your main roles. This would allow each department to have its own community, with its own forums, gallery, file sharing and so on, private and separate from other departments.
    Similarly, they'd also work well in situations where you as the site admin want to create entire micro-communities. Take for example a video game publisher. Using Clubs, they could create a micro-community for each of their games, complete with forums, galleries and so forth, and then set the Clubs directory as their overall community homepage. Immediately, they have a setup that hasn't until now been possible out-of-the-box with IPS Community Suite.
     
    We expect our clients will come up with some really innovative uses for the new Club functionality, and we can't wait to see what you do. We'd love to hear your feedback - let us know what you think in the comments.
  12. Thanks
    Rikki got a reaction from LiquidFractal for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  13. Thanks
    Rikki got a reaction from shahed for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  14. Thanks
    Rikki got a reaction from sabrond for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  15. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from Durango for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  16. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from sobrenome for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  17. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from Netherlord for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  18. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from Cyboman for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  19. Thanks
    Rikki got a reaction from SammyS for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  20. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from Ioannis D for an entry, Top tips for optimizing your community's SEO   
    Unlike a regular website, where you write content for each page, target keywords and optimize text, a forum community's content is predominantly written by users. They don't know or care about your site's SEO and just want to interact with other users or find answers to their questions.
    To keep your community moving forward, Invision Community implements many best-practice SEO techniques and approaches for you automatically, without you needing to lift a finger.
    Even still, there are a few additional steps you can take to potentially help your site rank better.
     
    How Invision Community helps you automatically
    Invision Community does a lot of automatic SEO for you behind the scenes to help your site rank better or to help search engines understand your content. Some of those include:
    Sitemap generation
    A sitemap file helps search engines to locate pages within your site. This helps search engines find pages so they will be crawled quicker. Invision Community automatically generates a sitemap for you that points to all of your content URLs, and submits it to Google. JSON-LD
    Another way a site can help search engines is by providing metadata about a page. For example, if the page contains a review, additional data can be supplied to the search engine with rating count, average, and so on. There are dozens of items that can be described in this way, and doing so can mean your results in search engines display this additional data. This makes results more useful to users, potentially leading them to click on your result versus another. It can also help search engines understand your content better. Canonical URLs
    Search engines can penalize your site in situations where the same content can have multiple URLs. With software that generates pages dynamically, such as a community, this can happen frequently because there are URLs to get the last read post, the latest post, the first post and so on, all ultimately pointing to the same topic page. Invision Community takes care of this for you by setting a canonical URL for every page, telling the search engine which is the definitive URL it should use. Semantic markup
    The HTML markup used to generate a page is possibly the most important factor impacting SEO. Each HTML tag has a specific meaning (e.g. H1 is an important title) and allows search engines to determine the structure of the page. It's therefore important that tags are used correctly and in the appropriate context - known as semantic markup. Invision Community has been built with semantic markup principles in mind right from the start. Responsive theme
    Google has been transitioning to a mobile-first approach when crawling sites and it's likely this does or will factor into its PageRank system. Now more than ever it is important that your community offers a genuine mobile experience. Invision Community achieves this by supporting responsiveness - where the theme adapts depending on size of the screen being used - by default.  
    What you can do to improve ranking
    Let search engines see your content
    One of the most important things you can do to help with SEO might seem obvious, but we've seen many people unwittingly neglect it: ensure that search engines can see your content!
    It's tempting to lock down your community so that users have to log in before being able to see your content, and for some communities this might be necessary. However, a search engine can only see content accessible to guests, and so by locking your community down a search engine won't be able to see very much at all, and your pages won't show in search results.
    Wherever possible, we suggest allowing guests to read your content, though you can require registration to reply.
    Enable HTTPS
    Even ignoring SEO this is a good idea, because it's more secure for your users and browsers are increasingly alerting users about sites that don't use HTTPS, showing them as insecure.
    In terms of SEO, research has shown a correlation between between sites using HTTPS and their ranking position, and in 2014 Google indicated that HTTPS would be a “ranking signal” going forward. Given the other benefits of HTTPS, it would therefore be wise to enable it across your community.
    Ensure your site loads fast
    A fast-loading site is very important for rankings, and so you should do what you can to keep your community running quickly. This includes:
    Enable guest caching
    Invision Community includes a built-in caching system for pages viewed by guests, ensuring they don't have to be re-generated for every page view. This can greatly speed up your site for guest users and therefore search engines. This is automatically configured on our Cloud services. Don't go overboard with plugins
    A few good plugins can set your community apart from others, but going overboard can significantly slow down your load times or clutter your interface. Be wary of image-heavy themes
    As with plugins, a great theme is a good thing to have, but try to avoid one with extensive use of very large images. Choose a good host
    Some website hosts are slower than others, so ensuring your host is up to scratch is important. Of course our Cloud services are a great solution here!  
    Use 301 Redirects if migrating
    If you're migrating from another community platform, your page URLs will change to reflect Invision Community's architecture. You can greatly improve SEO retention by using special redirects (known as 301 Redirects) to send users from your old URLs to the new. Search engines understand this method and will update their records.
    We include redirects in our free migration packages to help you retain your SEO standings after migrating to Invision Community.
    Write relevant content
    If your site targets a particular niche, you may see benefit in writing longer-form content as articles on a site blog. This kind of content ranks well and allows you to ensure keywords are used (versus content posted by members, which can be anything). You can also encourage further discussion of the article in the wider community, amplifying its benefit.
    For a site news page/blog, our Pages app can be used to build an articles section for this purpose.
    Use social media profiles to your benefit
    You should register social media profiles for your site on the popular platforms and make them a part of your presence. These sites rank very highly of course, and so if your social profiles can also rank highly for your name, they can be a good way of directing traffic to your site.
    Use the ‘About' section of the profile to write an interesting blurb about what your site offers. Create eye-catching header images and profile photos to use on the profiles too. Cross-link each social profile to the others (and back to your site, of course). Finally, link to your social profiles from your site too. Invision Community allows you to easily do this and insert icons in your header or footer.
    Beyond that, you can also use social media to your advantage by cross-linking some of your best content to it. We'll go into more detail on how best to leverage social media in a future article, but the new Promote functionality in Invision Community is a great way of achieving this.
     
    Summing Up
    As always, content is king when it comes to ranking, and that should be your most important focus. Fostering a vibrant community that creates and shares interesting content is key. You can then use SEO methods boosted by Invision Community features to expand your community's reach in search engines.
    If you have any SEO tips that have helped your site, we'd love to hear them. Share them in the comments below!
  21. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from Markus Jung for an entry, 6 reasons why you shouldn't just settle for a Facebook group community   
    Whether you run an existing community or are taking tentative first steps into setting up an online community forum around your brand, an important choice you need to make is between social networks like Facebook or having a community you own and control.
    Let's take a look at the benefits of an owned community versus a Facebook group - as well as how you can still use Facebook (and other social media platforms) to your advantage.
     
    You own your data
    The biggest point to consider when using Facebook groups is that you do not own your own data. Facebook owns it and does not even allow you direct access to it. If you decide later to move to a different platform, need to run reports to extract meaningful insights, or otherwise work with your community data: you are out of luck.
    In contrast, with an Invision Community, your data is your data. You can use it in any way that makes sense for your goals; be it analyzing trends, sending promotions to users, or generating reports and statistics. We never hold your data hostage and there's no fee to get it.
    Beyond owning the data, you also control how it's used and presented. Facebook is notorious for changing algorithms for when (or even if) people see your posts. When you run your own community the experience for your and your users is in your control.
     
    Branding opportunities
    This is a big one. An owned community gives you the tools you need to make your community a seamless part of your user's interaction with your business. This naturally includes your brand styles (your logo, colors, site navigation and so on) but also your community web address (URL). With an owned community, your URL will be easy to find - customers normally opt for something like forum.yourname.com or community.yourname.com. 
    Users will have more confidence that they're in the right place, and more closely associate your community and your message with your brand.
    Emails sent out by your owned community can also carry your branding, consistently reinforcing that connection between your business and your community.
    And, of course, when users share content from your community to Facebook and other social networks, they're sending users directly to your website where you have the opportunity to lead with your most important call to actions.
     
    More control over user experience
    All Facebook groups are, essentially, the same experience and yet your business needs almost certainly aren't the same as every other. One size doesn't necessarily fit all when it comes to community!
    When you control your own community, you have the ability to control your user's experience. Need to show specific types of data in specific places? You can do that (and more) with Invision Community's easy to use Blocks feature. Need to create a custom community application to serve as a resource center for product support? You can do that too.
    Another huge benefit of this control is that, unlike a Facebook Group, users won't be seeing ads and 'recommended content' from competing businesses and communities. With user attention being pulled in so many directions these days, the last thing your community needs is for users to leave because Facebook has suggested a competitor!
     
    No barriers to monetization
    Not all communities require a monetization strategy. In many cases, the community is part of a larger customer relationship strategy rather than a revenue-generating destination in its own right.
    But for those communities that do plan to monetize, options with a Facebook group are at best difficult to act upon, and at worst practically non-existent.
    In contrast, Invision Community gives you the opportunity to explore monetization strategies that work for you. These might include paid subscription plans (a particularly attractive option for fan club communities), traditional advertising through Google AdSense and other networks, or sponsorship deals with other businesses that might be relevant to your members. Invision Community has tools for each of these approaches built in, allowing you to start monetizing with minimum fuss.
     
    Fine-grained permission controls
    Facebook groups struggle to reflect the real-world roles that staff members play in your organization, limiting your choices to 'administrator' or 'moderator'. And the same is true of users, too - your options for recognizing different levels of user (such as VIPs, or brand ambassadors) are limited.
    Invision Community is different. Since you are creating and configuring each member group, you can precisely control who can see what, and how they are recognized within the community. You can even sync these roles via Single Sign-On (SSO) making setup and assigning users to groups painless.
    For staff groups, you can limit access to key community functions based on roles or responsibilities, ensuring access is granted on an as-needed basis only.
    For users, you can get creative and find a group structure that works best for your specific needs. For example, support communities often find that recognizing the most knowledgeable and helpful members with a new member group (complete with elevated permissions) is a great way of engaging users.
    And finally, with this control over access, it's very easy to create restricted areas of the community. Whether you want to create a private subforum that staff can use to coordinate tasks or a file repository that's only available to subscribers, Invision Community can achieve it.
     
    You can still reap the Facebook benefits
    Setting up your community within Facebook's walls might not be the best approach for you. That doesn't mean you should ignore Facebook, however. On the contrary, it's an influential platform and there's a very good chance your users are already using it.
    Invision Community offers a number of tools that allow you to benefit from Facebook while avoiding the drawbacks we discussed. We'll go into more detail on utilizing social media in a future article, but to summarize:
    Invision Community features social sign-in options, enabling users to register and log in using their existing social media accounts, substantially reducing onboarding friction. Content can promoted by staff back to your social network pages, automatically and on a schedule you decide. Invision Community supports automatic embedding of a wide number of social networks (and other services), allowing users to share their favorite Facebook and Twitter posts and spark a whole new conversation - but this time in your community.  
    Summary
    When you are creating an online community for your business or hobby it is important to think about your goals and future growth by choosing a platform that is there to work for your needs.
    When you establish your community on Facebook, you're helping to grow someone else's business (including, potentially, your competitors!) and hoping that some of those spoils fall to you. With an owned community, the rewards of your hard work belong to you and your business alone.
    Invision Community has been enabling users and businesses to communicate online since 2002, and we're proud of our reputation as a platform that puts control in your hands. Contact us if you'd like to discuss how we can help you too.
     
  22. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from Ryan Ashbrook for an entry, 6 reasons why you shouldn't just settle for a Facebook group community   
    Whether you run an existing community or are taking tentative first steps into setting up an online community forum around your brand, an important choice you need to make is between social networks like Facebook or having a community you own and control.
    Let's take a look at the benefits of an owned community versus a Facebook group - as well as how you can still use Facebook (and other social media platforms) to your advantage.
     
    You own your data
    The biggest point to consider when using Facebook groups is that you do not own your own data. Facebook owns it and does not even allow you direct access to it. If you decide later to move to a different platform, need to run reports to extract meaningful insights, or otherwise work with your community data: you are out of luck.
    In contrast, with an Invision Community, your data is your data. You can use it in any way that makes sense for your goals; be it analyzing trends, sending promotions to users, or generating reports and statistics. We never hold your data hostage and there's no fee to get it.
    Beyond owning the data, you also control how it's used and presented. Facebook is notorious for changing algorithms for when (or even if) people see your posts. When you run your own community the experience for your and your users is in your control.
     
    Branding opportunities
    This is a big one. An owned community gives you the tools you need to make your community a seamless part of your user's interaction with your business. This naturally includes your brand styles (your logo, colors, site navigation and so on) but also your community web address (URL). With an owned community, your URL will be easy to find - customers normally opt for something like forum.yourname.com or community.yourname.com. 
    Users will have more confidence that they're in the right place, and more closely associate your community and your message with your brand.
    Emails sent out by your owned community can also carry your branding, consistently reinforcing that connection between your business and your community.
    And, of course, when users share content from your community to Facebook and other social networks, they're sending users directly to your website where you have the opportunity to lead with your most important call to actions.
     
    More control over user experience
    All Facebook groups are, essentially, the same experience and yet your business needs almost certainly aren't the same as every other. One size doesn't necessarily fit all when it comes to community!
    When you control your own community, you have the ability to control your user's experience. Need to show specific types of data in specific places? You can do that (and more) with Invision Community's easy to use Blocks feature. Need to create a custom community application to serve as a resource center for product support? You can do that too.
    Another huge benefit of this control is that, unlike a Facebook Group, users won't be seeing ads and 'recommended content' from competing businesses and communities. With user attention being pulled in so many directions these days, the last thing your community needs is for users to leave because Facebook has suggested a competitor!
     
    No barriers to monetization
    Not all communities require a monetization strategy. In many cases, the community is part of a larger customer relationship strategy rather than a revenue-generating destination in its own right.
    But for those communities that do plan to monetize, options with a Facebook group are at best difficult to act upon, and at worst practically non-existent.
    In contrast, Invision Community gives you the opportunity to explore monetization strategies that work for you. These might include paid subscription plans (a particularly attractive option for fan club communities), traditional advertising through Google AdSense and other networks, or sponsorship deals with other businesses that might be relevant to your members. Invision Community has tools for each of these approaches built in, allowing you to start monetizing with minimum fuss.
     
    Fine-grained permission controls
    Facebook groups struggle to reflect the real-world roles that staff members play in your organization, limiting your choices to 'administrator' or 'moderator'. And the same is true of users, too - your options for recognizing different levels of user (such as VIPs, or brand ambassadors) are limited.
    Invision Community is different. Since you are creating and configuring each member group, you can precisely control who can see what, and how they are recognized within the community. You can even sync these roles via Single Sign-On (SSO) making setup and assigning users to groups painless.
    For staff groups, you can limit access to key community functions based on roles or responsibilities, ensuring access is granted on an as-needed basis only.
    For users, you can get creative and find a group structure that works best for your specific needs. For example, support communities often find that recognizing the most knowledgeable and helpful members with a new member group (complete with elevated permissions) is a great way of engaging users.
    And finally, with this control over access, it's very easy to create restricted areas of the community. Whether you want to create a private subforum that staff can use to coordinate tasks or a file repository that's only available to subscribers, Invision Community can achieve it.
     
    You can still reap the Facebook benefits
    Setting up your community within Facebook's walls might not be the best approach for you. That doesn't mean you should ignore Facebook, however. On the contrary, it's an influential platform and there's a very good chance your users are already using it.
    Invision Community offers a number of tools that allow you to benefit from Facebook while avoiding the drawbacks we discussed. We'll go into more detail on utilizing social media in a future article, but to summarize:
    Invision Community features social sign-in options, enabling users to register and log in using their existing social media accounts, substantially reducing onboarding friction. Content can promoted by staff back to your social network pages, automatically and on a schedule you decide. Invision Community supports automatic embedding of a wide number of social networks (and other services), allowing users to share their favorite Facebook and Twitter posts and spark a whole new conversation - but this time in your community.  
    Summary
    When you are creating an online community for your business or hobby it is important to think about your goals and future growth by choosing a platform that is there to work for your needs.
    When you establish your community on Facebook, you're helping to grow someone else's business (including, potentially, your competitors!) and hoping that some of those spoils fall to you. With an owned community, the rewards of your hard work belong to you and your business alone.
    Invision Community has been enabling users and businesses to communicate online since 2002, and we're proud of our reputation as a platform that puts control in your hands. Contact us if you'd like to discuss how we can help you too.
     
  23. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from mudcrutch for an entry, 6 reasons why you shouldn't just settle for a Facebook group community   
    Whether you run an existing community or are taking tentative first steps into setting up an online community forum around your brand, an important choice you need to make is between social networks like Facebook or having a community you own and control.
    Let's take a look at the benefits of an owned community versus a Facebook group - as well as how you can still use Facebook (and other social media platforms) to your advantage.
     
    You own your data
    The biggest point to consider when using Facebook groups is that you do not own your own data. Facebook owns it and does not even allow you direct access to it. If you decide later to move to a different platform, need to run reports to extract meaningful insights, or otherwise work with your community data: you are out of luck.
    In contrast, with an Invision Community, your data is your data. You can use it in any way that makes sense for your goals; be it analyzing trends, sending promotions to users, or generating reports and statistics. We never hold your data hostage and there's no fee to get it.
    Beyond owning the data, you also control how it's used and presented. Facebook is notorious for changing algorithms for when (or even if) people see your posts. When you run your own community the experience for your and your users is in your control.
     
    Branding opportunities
    This is a big one. An owned community gives you the tools you need to make your community a seamless part of your user's interaction with your business. This naturally includes your brand styles (your logo, colors, site navigation and so on) but also your community web address (URL). With an owned community, your URL will be easy to find - customers normally opt for something like forum.yourname.com or community.yourname.com. 
    Users will have more confidence that they're in the right place, and more closely associate your community and your message with your brand.
    Emails sent out by your owned community can also carry your branding, consistently reinforcing that connection between your business and your community.
    And, of course, when users share content from your community to Facebook and other social networks, they're sending users directly to your website where you have the opportunity to lead with your most important call to actions.
     
    More control over user experience
    All Facebook groups are, essentially, the same experience and yet your business needs almost certainly aren't the same as every other. One size doesn't necessarily fit all when it comes to community!
    When you control your own community, you have the ability to control your user's experience. Need to show specific types of data in specific places? You can do that (and more) with Invision Community's easy to use Blocks feature. Need to create a custom community application to serve as a resource center for product support? You can do that too.
    Another huge benefit of this control is that, unlike a Facebook Group, users won't be seeing ads and 'recommended content' from competing businesses and communities. With user attention being pulled in so many directions these days, the last thing your community needs is for users to leave because Facebook has suggested a competitor!
     
    No barriers to monetization
    Not all communities require a monetization strategy. In many cases, the community is part of a larger customer relationship strategy rather than a revenue-generating destination in its own right.
    But for those communities that do plan to monetize, options with a Facebook group are at best difficult to act upon, and at worst practically non-existent.
    In contrast, Invision Community gives you the opportunity to explore monetization strategies that work for you. These might include paid subscription plans (a particularly attractive option for fan club communities), traditional advertising through Google AdSense and other networks, or sponsorship deals with other businesses that might be relevant to your members. Invision Community has tools for each of these approaches built in, allowing you to start monetizing with minimum fuss.
     
    Fine-grained permission controls
    Facebook groups struggle to reflect the real-world roles that staff members play in your organization, limiting your choices to 'administrator' or 'moderator'. And the same is true of users, too - your options for recognizing different levels of user (such as VIPs, or brand ambassadors) are limited.
    Invision Community is different. Since you are creating and configuring each member group, you can precisely control who can see what, and how they are recognized within the community. You can even sync these roles via Single Sign-On (SSO) making setup and assigning users to groups painless.
    For staff groups, you can limit access to key community functions based on roles or responsibilities, ensuring access is granted on an as-needed basis only.
    For users, you can get creative and find a group structure that works best for your specific needs. For example, support communities often find that recognizing the most knowledgeable and helpful members with a new member group (complete with elevated permissions) is a great way of engaging users.
    And finally, with this control over access, it's very easy to create restricted areas of the community. Whether you want to create a private subforum that staff can use to coordinate tasks or a file repository that's only available to subscribers, Invision Community can achieve it.
     
    You can still reap the Facebook benefits
    Setting up your community within Facebook's walls might not be the best approach for you. That doesn't mean you should ignore Facebook, however. On the contrary, it's an influential platform and there's a very good chance your users are already using it.
    Invision Community offers a number of tools that allow you to benefit from Facebook while avoiding the drawbacks we discussed. We'll go into more detail on utilizing social media in a future article, but to summarize:
    Invision Community features social sign-in options, enabling users to register and log in using their existing social media accounts, substantially reducing onboarding friction. Content can promoted by staff back to your social network pages, automatically and on a schedule you decide. Invision Community supports automatic embedding of a wide number of social networks (and other services), allowing users to share their favorite Facebook and Twitter posts and spark a whole new conversation - but this time in your community.  
    Summary
    When you are creating an online community for your business or hobby it is important to think about your goals and future growth by choosing a platform that is there to work for your needs.
    When you establish your community on Facebook, you're helping to grow someone else's business (including, potentially, your competitors!) and hoping that some of those spoils fall to you. With an owned community, the rewards of your hard work belong to you and your business alone.
    Invision Community has been enabling users and businesses to communicate online since 2002, and we're proud of our reputation as a platform that puts control in your hands. Contact us if you'd like to discuss how we can help you too.
     
  24. Haha
    Rikki got a reaction from kysil for an entry, 6 reasons why you shouldn't just settle for a Facebook group community   
    Whether you run an existing community or are taking tentative first steps into setting up an online community forum around your brand, an important choice you need to make is between social networks like Facebook or having a community you own and control.
    Let's take a look at the benefits of an owned community versus a Facebook group - as well as how you can still use Facebook (and other social media platforms) to your advantage.
     
    You own your data
    The biggest point to consider when using Facebook groups is that you do not own your own data. Facebook owns it and does not even allow you direct access to it. If you decide later to move to a different platform, need to run reports to extract meaningful insights, or otherwise work with your community data: you are out of luck.
    In contrast, with an Invision Community, your data is your data. You can use it in any way that makes sense for your goals; be it analyzing trends, sending promotions to users, or generating reports and statistics. We never hold your data hostage and there's no fee to get it.
    Beyond owning the data, you also control how it's used and presented. Facebook is notorious for changing algorithms for when (or even if) people see your posts. When you run your own community the experience for your and your users is in your control.
     
    Branding opportunities
    This is a big one. An owned community gives you the tools you need to make your community a seamless part of your user's interaction with your business. This naturally includes your brand styles (your logo, colors, site navigation and so on) but also your community web address (URL). With an owned community, your URL will be easy to find - customers normally opt for something like forum.yourname.com or community.yourname.com. 
    Users will have more confidence that they're in the right place, and more closely associate your community and your message with your brand.
    Emails sent out by your owned community can also carry your branding, consistently reinforcing that connection between your business and your community.
    And, of course, when users share content from your community to Facebook and other social networks, they're sending users directly to your website where you have the opportunity to lead with your most important call to actions.
     
    More control over user experience
    All Facebook groups are, essentially, the same experience and yet your business needs almost certainly aren't the same as every other. One size doesn't necessarily fit all when it comes to community!
    When you control your own community, you have the ability to control your user's experience. Need to show specific types of data in specific places? You can do that (and more) with Invision Community's easy to use Blocks feature. Need to create a custom community application to serve as a resource center for product support? You can do that too.
    Another huge benefit of this control is that, unlike a Facebook Group, users won't be seeing ads and 'recommended content' from competing businesses and communities. With user attention being pulled in so many directions these days, the last thing your community needs is for users to leave because Facebook has suggested a competitor!
     
    No barriers to monetization
    Not all communities require a monetization strategy. In many cases, the community is part of a larger customer relationship strategy rather than a revenue-generating destination in its own right.
    But for those communities that do plan to monetize, options with a Facebook group are at best difficult to act upon, and at worst practically non-existent.
    In contrast, Invision Community gives you the opportunity to explore monetization strategies that work for you. These might include paid subscription plans (a particularly attractive option for fan club communities), traditional advertising through Google AdSense and other networks, or sponsorship deals with other businesses that might be relevant to your members. Invision Community has tools for each of these approaches built in, allowing you to start monetizing with minimum fuss.
     
    Fine-grained permission controls
    Facebook groups struggle to reflect the real-world roles that staff members play in your organization, limiting your choices to 'administrator' or 'moderator'. And the same is true of users, too - your options for recognizing different levels of user (such as VIPs, or brand ambassadors) are limited.
    Invision Community is different. Since you are creating and configuring each member group, you can precisely control who can see what, and how they are recognized within the community. You can even sync these roles via Single Sign-On (SSO) making setup and assigning users to groups painless.
    For staff groups, you can limit access to key community functions based on roles or responsibilities, ensuring access is granted on an as-needed basis only.
    For users, you can get creative and find a group structure that works best for your specific needs. For example, support communities often find that recognizing the most knowledgeable and helpful members with a new member group (complete with elevated permissions) is a great way of engaging users.
    And finally, with this control over access, it's very easy to create restricted areas of the community. Whether you want to create a private subforum that staff can use to coordinate tasks or a file repository that's only available to subscribers, Invision Community can achieve it.
     
    You can still reap the Facebook benefits
    Setting up your community within Facebook's walls might not be the best approach for you. That doesn't mean you should ignore Facebook, however. On the contrary, it's an influential platform and there's a very good chance your users are already using it.
    Invision Community offers a number of tools that allow you to benefit from Facebook while avoiding the drawbacks we discussed. We'll go into more detail on utilizing social media in a future article, but to summarize:
    Invision Community features social sign-in options, enabling users to register and log in using their existing social media accounts, substantially reducing onboarding friction. Content can promoted by staff back to your social network pages, automatically and on a schedule you decide. Invision Community supports automatic embedding of a wide number of social networks (and other services), allowing users to share their favorite Facebook and Twitter posts and spark a whole new conversation - but this time in your community.  
    Summary
    When you are creating an online community for your business or hobby it is important to think about your goals and future growth by choosing a platform that is there to work for your needs.
    When you establish your community on Facebook, you're helping to grow someone else's business (including, potentially, your competitors!) and hoping that some of those spoils fall to you. With an owned community, the rewards of your hard work belong to you and your business alone.
    Invision Community has been enabling users and businesses to communicate online since 2002, and we're proud of our reputation as a platform that puts control in your hands. Contact us if you'd like to discuss how we can help you too.
     
  25. Like
    Rikki got a reaction from Cyboman for an entry, 6 reasons why you shouldn't just settle for a Facebook group community   
    Whether you run an existing community or are taking tentative first steps into setting up an online community forum around your brand, an important choice you need to make is between social networks like Facebook or having a community you own and control.
    Let's take a look at the benefits of an owned community versus a Facebook group - as well as how you can still use Facebook (and other social media platforms) to your advantage.
     
    You own your data
    The biggest point to consider when using Facebook groups is that you do not own your own data. Facebook owns it and does not even allow you direct access to it. If you decide later to move to a different platform, need to run reports to extract meaningful insights, or otherwise work with your community data: you are out of luck.
    In contrast, with an Invision Community, your data is your data. You can use it in any way that makes sense for your goals; be it analyzing trends, sending promotions to users, or generating reports and statistics. We never hold your data hostage and there's no fee to get it.
    Beyond owning the data, you also control how it's used and presented. Facebook is notorious for changing algorithms for when (or even if) people see your posts. When you run your own community the experience for your and your users is in your control.
     
    Branding opportunities
    This is a big one. An owned community gives you the tools you need to make your community a seamless part of your user's interaction with your business. This naturally includes your brand styles (your logo, colors, site navigation and so on) but also your community web address (URL). With an owned community, your URL will be easy to find - customers normally opt for something like forum.yourname.com or community.yourname.com. 
    Users will have more confidence that they're in the right place, and more closely associate your community and your message with your brand.
    Emails sent out by your owned community can also carry your branding, consistently reinforcing that connection between your business and your community.
    And, of course, when users share content from your community to Facebook and other social networks, they're sending users directly to your website where you have the opportunity to lead with your most important call to actions.
     
    More control over user experience
    All Facebook groups are, essentially, the same experience and yet your business needs almost certainly aren't the same as every other. One size doesn't necessarily fit all when it comes to community!
    When you control your own community, you have the ability to control your user's experience. Need to show specific types of data in specific places? You can do that (and more) with Invision Community's easy to use Blocks feature. Need to create a custom community application to serve as a resource center for product support? You can do that too.
    Another huge benefit of this control is that, unlike a Facebook Group, users won't be seeing ads and 'recommended content' from competing businesses and communities. With user attention being pulled in so many directions these days, the last thing your community needs is for users to leave because Facebook has suggested a competitor!
     
    No barriers to monetization
    Not all communities require a monetization strategy. In many cases, the community is part of a larger customer relationship strategy rather than a revenue-generating destination in its own right.
    But for those communities that do plan to monetize, options with a Facebook group are at best difficult to act upon, and at worst practically non-existent.
    In contrast, Invision Community gives you the opportunity to explore monetization strategies that work for you. These might include paid subscription plans (a particularly attractive option for fan club communities), traditional advertising through Google AdSense and other networks, or sponsorship deals with other businesses that might be relevant to your members. Invision Community has tools for each of these approaches built in, allowing you to start monetizing with minimum fuss.
     
    Fine-grained permission controls
    Facebook groups struggle to reflect the real-world roles that staff members play in your organization, limiting your choices to 'administrator' or 'moderator'. And the same is true of users, too - your options for recognizing different levels of user (such as VIPs, or brand ambassadors) are limited.
    Invision Community is different. Since you are creating and configuring each member group, you can precisely control who can see what, and how they are recognized within the community. You can even sync these roles via Single Sign-On (SSO) making setup and assigning users to groups painless.
    For staff groups, you can limit access to key community functions based on roles or responsibilities, ensuring access is granted on an as-needed basis only.
    For users, you can get creative and find a group structure that works best for your specific needs. For example, support communities often find that recognizing the most knowledgeable and helpful members with a new member group (complete with elevated permissions) is a great way of engaging users.
    And finally, with this control over access, it's very easy to create restricted areas of the community. Whether you want to create a private subforum that staff can use to coordinate tasks or a file repository that's only available to subscribers, Invision Community can achieve it.
     
    You can still reap the Facebook benefits
    Setting up your community within Facebook's walls might not be the best approach for you. That doesn't mean you should ignore Facebook, however. On the contrary, it's an influential platform and there's a very good chance your users are already using it.
    Invision Community offers a number of tools that allow you to benefit from Facebook while avoiding the drawbacks we discussed. We'll go into more detail on utilizing social media in a future article, but to summarize:
    Invision Community features social sign-in options, enabling users to register and log in using their existing social media accounts, substantially reducing onboarding friction. Content can promoted by staff back to your social network pages, automatically and on a schedule you decide. Invision Community supports automatic embedding of a wide number of social networks (and other services), allowing users to share their favorite Facebook and Twitter posts and spark a whole new conversation - but this time in your community.  
    Summary
    When you are creating an online community for your business or hobby it is important to think about your goals and future growth by choosing a platform that is there to work for your needs.
    When you establish your community on Facebook, you're helping to grow someone else's business (including, potentially, your competitors!) and hoping that some of those spoils fall to you. With an owned community, the rewards of your hard work belong to you and your business alone.
    Invision Community has been enabling users and businesses to communicate online since 2002, and we're proud of our reputation as a platform that puts control in your hands. Contact us if you'd like to discuss how we can help you too.
     
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