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Marc Stridgen

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  1. Marc Stridgen

    Creating a robots.txt file

    There are various reasons that you may wish to create a robots.txt file. This may be because you wish to block the indexing of certain pages by search engines, or even block a search engine altogether, amongst many other reasons. But did you know you can do this with the pages application? Creating a robots.txt file with the pages application can be helpful if you have no access to your server via ftp, such as on the cloud platform, and also gives you a quick location for you to edit these without the need to ever access the file directly. Creating the page In order to create you robots.txt file for the site, you need to create a new page within the following location in your ACP Pages -> Page Management -> Pages When creating a new page, choose the 'Manual HTML' option, which will allow you to manually create pages in code. When creating use 'robots.txt' as the page and file name Robots.txt example It is important to note in the above that we have deselected the "Use suite HTML wrapper" option. This is done so that we are directly creating just text on the page for search engine use, rather than surrounding with the wrapper from the rest of the site. Also, ensure this is not placed within another folder, and is instead at the root of your pages application. Adding content Adding content to your robots.txt file is then as simple as adding whatever you need to the contents tab. Here I have added a simple entry to tell googlebot not to index my site. robots.txt entry When saving, you must ensure you give permissions for guests to view that page, otherwise search engine bots will not be able to view the contents/rules you have in place. Upon saving you will see that the robots.txt file is available from yourSiteURLHere/index.php
  2. Marc Stridgen

    Social Media Promotion

    With the advent of social media such as the likes of facebook and twitter, this can provide great opportunity to promote your site to new potential members. Worldwide, facebook currently have close to 1.9 billion users active every month. Users talking to each other, and sharing interests at an unprecedented speed. Within the Invision Community application, we provide the tools you need to take advantage of the marketing opportunities that this can provide for you and your site, by the use of social promotion of content, straight to your facebook page, group, or twitter feeds. Setting up Social Media Promotion can be set up from the following location within your Admin CP System -> Site Promotion -> Social Media Promotion You can choose to set up multiple areas to promote to within this section, both internally and externally on social media. These include Facebook Pages Facebook Groups Twitter Feeds Our picks (internal promotion) Facebook Setup The first tab you will see within the setup pages is for setting up facebook. In order to use facebook promotion, you must first set up a facebook application, and allow the relevant permissions on that facebook application to promote content. You can do this by following the instructions in the following guide https://invisioncommunity.com/4guides/how-to-use-ips-community-suite/social-sign-in/43-and-above/facebook-r300/ Already have facebook login set up? In order to add permissions to a facebook application for the promoting of items, you have to have your application in developer mode. If you are happy to do this, then you can switch your facebook application to developer mode, and add the permissions as described in the facebook guide. However, this will prevent anyone from using facebook login while you set these up. In this scenario, you have 2 options. Option 1 would be to set up a test application. Within your facebook developer area, select your application, then select the dropdown in the top right. Here you can select 'Create Test App'. WARNING:- If you use this option, then only yourself will be able to promote, unless you add other facebook users who are connected to your site, as administrators for that facebook application, in the 'Roles' Section Option 2 would be to set up a completely new application, which you would do in the same manner of as you did originally. In either of these 2 scenarios, you would choose to use a different Facebook application for social promotion After setting up facebook promotion, you can then choose to promote to one or more groups or pages on facebook, by ticking the relevant boxes. Here we have chosen to submit to the 'Dragons' group. Choosing Pages/Groups If you wish to do so, you can also automatically add one or more hashtags to your promoted items Hashtags will automatically be added to promotions Twitter Setup As with the facebook item, selecting the 'Twitter Promotion' tab will first of all prompt you to set up a twitter login, if you havent already. Please see the following guide for information on how to set up a twitter application. https://invisioncommunity.com/4guides/how-to-use-ips-community-suite/social-sign-in/43-and-above/twitter-r303/ When promoting to twitter, you can set up as many hashtags to be sent alongside your promoted content as you wish. Due to the limitation on text you can use on a tweet, you can select what to do in the scenario that your limit is used. Twitter promotion setup Link Shortening To reduce space on your promotions, you can optionally make use of the external provider bitly, to shorten your links. In order to do this, you would need to set up a bitly account, and enter the access token for this. bitly setup Setting up this would give you shortened URLs on promotion. For example https://bit.ly/2IizDkN , which is a shortened link for our own site here. Scheduling When you are promoting content, you may not necessarily want content to be sent straight away, but instead always sent on schedules of your choosing. For example, many will send at times such as 13:10 as people will have just gone on lunch (so will be checking their social media). You can set up automatic schedule times from the Auto Schedule tab, which can then be used when promoting content. Scheduling Promotions Permissions Permissions for promoting content can be set up on a group by group basis, by checking the selection box within the groups you wish to allow to promote. You can read more about editing group settings within our group settings guide. However there will be times where you wish to add an individual to be able to promote. This can be done from the permissions tab within the promotion section, by adding the name of the person(s). Individuals able to promote Our Picks On the final tab, you can switch on the 'Our Pick' option. This is an internal promotion, that will promote to the 'Our Picks' page, as seen below. Our Picks Additionally, there is a block in which will show these, which you can select from the block manager, and place anywhere you wish on your site. Using Social Promotion Promoting an item Each item such as topic, gallery album, blog entry etc, has its own Promote button. You can see this in the top left of the page. Selecting this would allow you to promote to any of the items you have set up for social promotion, such as facebook, twitter, or my picks. Click to promote In addition to promoting content items, you may also wish to promote an individual comment or post. This can be done by selecting the 'Promote' button within the options menu Promoting an individual comment Once one of these buttons has been selected, you will be shown the promote page, where you will be given a preview of what is to be shared. Sharer Page From here you can customise the text that you are sharing if you wish to do so, along with upload new images for sharing with this. The system is smart enough to add images from the post automatically, so these can also be selected for use. Once you are done, you can either promote the item using the promote button, or can change the schedule for when this will be promoted. The auto schedule will use the times set up within your AdminCP in the Social Media Promotions setting. Scheduling Once promoted, you will then see this in the platforms you have chosen, as per below example. Promoted to Facebook Managing Promoted Content The status of promoted content can be seen by selecting your name in the top right, and selecting "Manage Promoted Items". From here you can see an icon showing where items have already been promoted, along with delete the items from the queue if needed (also deleting from the 'My Picks' page) Managing Promoted Items
  3. Marc Stridgen

    Team Talk: What would you do with $1,000,000?

    With a bit of effort, I recon I could spend it in a week. 😄
  4. Marc Stridgen

    Two Factor Authentication

    Increasing the security of your site, over the usual login layer, can be an important factor for many users. Whether this be for everyone, or just for the extra security of admin areas on your site. Two factor Authentication allows you to add an extra layer of security to your site, by allowing you to add another form of login, such as security questions, or even text message authentication. Overview All two factor authentication settings can be found within the following location in your ACP System -> Settings -> Two Factor Authentication There are 3 different methods of 2 factor authentication, each of which are discussed below. When one of these is set up by the user, it will prompt the user for one of these secondary items after they have logged in. 2 Factor on login The user can set up these items from their security settings in Account Settings -> Security settings. Here you can see I already have security questions set up. I can amend these using the option provided, or activate another if one is available. Account Settings Area When setting up these, the system will ask you any details required for you to set up that option. Here the system is asking us for 3 security questions. Question Setup Authentication Types In the default setup of the platform, there are 3 authentication types which you can allow (or even force) people to use on your site. These can all be seen within the following location of your ACP, and can be enabled by selecting the icon at the side of the relevant icon System -> Settings -> Two Factor Authentication Click to Enable/Disable Authy The Authy method of authentication will allow users to authenticate via text message, phonecall, or by the Authy app which can be downloaded to the users phone. In order to set up authy, you would need to get an API key from the authy site https://dashboard.authy.com/signin Once you have this, add the API key in the location provided, and set up which options you wish to use for this. Authy Settings Google Authenticator Google authenticator will allow people to authenticate on the site using the google authenticator application on mobile (downloadable from the app store/play store). The only settings for this are which groups that can use it. Other than this, it simply needs switching on. No other configuration is needed. When the user initially sets this up, they will be given a barcode to scan with the authenticate application. This will in turn, give a code to be entered into the site. Each time the user then enters the site, they will be asked for the code on their application, which will change every few seconds and is unique to that individual account Google Authentication Setup Security Questions Setting up security questions for use will allow the user to answer any of the questions you have set up in their settings, and then be prompted to provide that same answer to a random one of those questions on login. On the settings page, you can set whether or not you wish for this to be mandatory, along with how many questions you want them to set up. You will find on the questions tab, there are some pre-populated questions which are set up within the stock installation for your use. You can delete, edit, or add to these questions from this page Question Creation Settings On the main settings page for Two Factor Authentication, you will find many different options relating to how this will work on your site. This includes the ability to set up groups in which setting up 2 factor authentication is mandatory, which can often be an important security consideration where groups have more access. For example, you may wish for the administrators group to have to set up 2 factor authentication. In addition, here you can set up what prompts 2 factor authentication. So it may be that you want people to use this when logging into the ACP and changing passwords only, for example.
  5. Marc Stridgen

    How to create a homepage

    Creating a homepage for your site has many benefits including: Showing your best content first By using the "Our Picks" blocks, you can display your best content first. This content sets the tone for the site and will encourage engagement across your site. Display multiple areas of the suite Each application has its own feed blocks that can be used to display content on the home page. If your members use Gallery heavily, then showcase those photos on the homepage. If you use Calendar a lot to schedule events, then show event feeds. By displaying feeds to content is a great way to showcase all areas of your site on a single page. Reduce confusion For those of us that grew up with forums are used to viewing a list of categories and forums. We find it easy to scan the list of forums and dip into the ones that interest us. For those that are not so familiar, a homepage displaying easily accessible content reduces the confusion and invites true content discovery. Basic Homepage While the pages application can be as complex as you would like to make it, creation of a basic homepage can be quite simple to do, even if you are a beginner in using the platform. The following video shows how to create a basic application using the block manager Whilst creating your home page, and re-organising you site, you may also find the following guides helpful in obtaining more information about some of the items discussed in this video. Databases There may be times where you wish to add your own database driven content to your homepage. For example you may want to add some articles in there, which are not driven by any other area of your site, such as forums. For this you can use the databases part of our pages application. The following 2 guides discuss databases and how to create them within your ACP. Databases are added, and connected to only one page. In this example we would be using your home page. Note, this is not to be confused with being able to add feeds from a database, which you can do in various places around the site. You would add a database to your site once created, using the block manager. Once added, you can select the database you have created, as shown below Database Selection By default this would show the categories of your database, as you can see in the background of the above image. For our purposes, we only have one category named articles, and want these to show up on the page itself, rather than showing the category name. In order to do this, you would need to edit the database you have created, and change its 'Database index' setting so 'Show as Articles'. This would the give an article layout to your database. Database in article layout More advanced options For our more advanced users, pages can be created in the 'Manual HTML' style editor, which you would select instead of using the 'Page Builder' option, when creating a page. Manual HTML One important option here for advanced users, is the 'Use suite HTML wrapper' option. If this is selected, you would be creating HTML within the suite wrapper. So you would already have the standard site header, footer, CSS, includes etc. This can be helpful if you want to add content within the page itself. If you do not choose this option, then you would be responsible for the whole page, including the doctype, head, body etc. All html content for the HTML version of a page would be added to the content tab.
  6. Marc Stridgen

    Audits & Logs

    There will be various times in which it is important to be able to find out information about how something has happened on your site. This may be related to something that has happened to a user, something that has changed on your site, or even an issue that has occurred that you need more information on. Within the Invision community suite ,we provide various methods of logging. The various areas you can find these are discussed below. Moderator/Admin Logs Front end moderation Within most content items, you can find out what moderation tasks have been performed, by using the moderator log. These can be found by selecting the 'moderator log' option within the 'Moderator Tools' menu, as shown below. Moderator Tools Clicking on this will give you a history of every moderator action which has been performed on that particular content item. Moderator History If you have full edit history switched on, you can also see a full edit history for a given item, along with what it was edited from and to. In order to see this, you need to ensure that the following option is switched on 'System -> Settings -> Posting -> Edit Log -> Log all edits made to content and what was changed' Edit History ACP Moderation Log A more overall log of moderator actions or administator actions can be found within the ACP within the following locations. Members -> staff -> Moderators -> Moderator Logs Members -> staff -> Administrators -> Administrator Logs You will note that there is a Prune settings option at the top. Clicking on this will allow you to set when these items should be removed from the system, if you wish to do so. Moderator Logs Administrator logs refer more to items that have been changed within the admin area. For example changing a setting, adding a usergroup etc. Admin CP Login Logs Within the following location in the ACP, you can see Admin CP login logs. These can be helpful if you believe someone has been logging in to do something malicious, or you beelieve someone has been attempting to access your ACP that shouldnt be. A full log of all these actions, and whether successfull or not can be found here. Members -> Staff -> Administrators -> Admin CP Login Logs ACP Login Logs Member logs There are various reasons in which you may need to know what has happened to an individual member account. It may be that you wish to know about a purchase they believe they have made, or simply what device they are using to log into the system. Whatever the reason, you will find this information within every members profile in the ACP by selecting the individual members profile Members -> Members Account History System/Error logs Whilst using the software, you will inevitably have times where you or your members experience an issue with the site. This may be related to a problem on your server, a 3rd party item you have added, or many other reasons. Often you will be given limited information from your members, and so we have made it easy to track down the error or system messages that the user has received. There are 2 different types of logs for these Error Logs These are related to items which are expected, but would be shown to a user. For example a user would recieve a permission error if they do not have permission to enter a certain area of the site. these would be logged in this area. You can find these in the ACP at the following location System -> Support -> Support -> Error logs Error logs Errors classified as being above a certain 'level' will be notified to you via email. Clicking on the settings button will allow you to set which of these you wish to recieve, or even which you whether or not you wish to log at all Error Levels System Logs System logs are those which are related to the internal system itself. If you see an error on the front end which relates to a 3rd party item crashing for example, this is where you would be likely to see it. You can find these here System -> Support -> Support -> System logs This is how you would hope to see your system log on most occasions. If there are items that are showing in here, then they likely need to be addressed. Empty System Log
  7. Marc Stridgen

    Promoting Members

    There are often rules on sites in which people will use to promote members to another group. For example, you may have a rule on your site which states when a member reaches a 1000 posts, you would add them to an advanced member group. Within the Invision Community platform, you can do this automatically, based on rules which you provide to the system. Group Promotion Rules You would set up group promotion rules within the following area of the ACP Members -> Members -> Group Promotions From here you can add any number of criteria in which to use for promoting members. In this example I have set up to move members who have done 1000 posts . Whilst the example below is quite simple, you can see from the options available, you can set up some quite complex options, should you wish to do so. Promotion Criteria Once 1000 posts is reached, it would move them to my 'Advanced Member' group Promotion Action Restrictions The rules you set up within the group promotions area apply to all members, other than the following: If a member meets the criteria for more than one rule, the last shown in the list will be used. For example, if you have a rule to promote members after they have made 10 posts, and another after 100 posts, you should make sure the 100 post rule is below the 10 post rule in this list. If a member purchases a product which moves them into a group, these rules will not apply to them. Users who are in a group which has been set up to be excluded from group promotions, would not be promoted automatically by the system.
  8. Marc Stridgen

    Profile Completion

    Completing forms can be a tedious job for anyone, however an important area when capturing data for your members. Filling in a large form to register on a site can be somewhat of a turn off to potential members. Invision Community Suite provides the facility for you to get your members signed up quickly, whilst also giving you the ability to capture any data that you need, by way of profile completion tasks. What is it? Profile completion allows potential members to sign up to your site, filling in the minimal amount of data necessary for registration on your site. It will capture only the display name, email, and password details. Any other information you need to capture from the user can then be prompted to be entered after the member has already registered, by way of 'Profile Completion'. These can be either optional, or mandatory items. So you can prevent people from using the site if you require information prior to use. Quick Registration Setting up Before setting up any profile completion sections, you need to ensure that you are using the 'Quick Registration' form. You can switch to this from the following location in your ACP System -> Settings -> Login & Registration -> Registration Once you have done this, you can create new profile completion steps from your custom profile fields. If you have not yet created the profile fields that you need, we would recommend taking a look at our custom profile fields guide before continuing. Profile completion steps are set up from the following location within your ACP Members -> Member Setting -> Profiles -> Profile Completion Clicking to 'Create New' will allow you to create a profile completion step. Each step can contain one of more profile items to be completed by the user on that step, and can also be stated to be required or not. The below example creates a simple profile completion step asking the user to tell you a little more about themselves. Profile Completion ACP You can set up as many of these steps as you would like the user to be shown on the front end. These will then be shown one per page to the user in the profile completion section User Side When there are items left to fill in on a users profile, the profile completion bar will be shown to that user, along with the percentage they have currently completed. This bar is dismissible by the user if they wish, in which case they would then need to complete any profile items from the profile itself. They can click on "Complete my profile" to continue to the next step shown, and complete each item. Profile Completion Bar Mandatory fields You will notice on the 'Complete my profile' section that there is a 'Skip this step' button at the bottom. This will only be displayed if the items are not required to be completed by the user. If there are any steps which are required, they will not have this selection, and the profile completion screen will always show until the required information is completed. The screenshot below shows that you are currently on a non-mandatory step which can be skipped. However step 2 is mandatory and has not yet been completed. Therefor you will notice there are no menu items that the user can select, and they see nothing on the site other than the profile completion section until they have populated any required elements. Profile Completion
  9. Marc Stridgen

    Donations

    Donations can be a quick an easy way to generate revenue toward the running costs of your site. Within the Invision Community software, we provide the ability to create donation goals. For example, you may wish to set a goal of "Running costs" with the total running costs for your site, and people can then donate toward that goal. Donation Goals You can set up a donation goal within the following area of your ACP Commerce -> Payments -> Donations -> Goals Goal Setup Here you can set the amount of your goal along with a description to show your users on what the goal is for. You can set up as many of these as you like. These will then be listed on the main goals page Goals List Donating Your users can then donate toward these goals from the donations page on the front end of your site. This appears by default as a submenu item under the store link. Users can click to donate to any of the items they wish Main Donations Page In addition to the main donations page, we also provide a block that you can add from the block manager, making it simple to draw attention to your goals from wherever you wish on your site. Donation Blocks
  10. Marc Stridgen

    RSS feeds

    RSS feeds are a way in which people can subscribe to your site using news readers. These allow for content on your site to be promoted easily with online RSS readers, and keep users engaged that use readers to give them news and information from various sites. The IPS Community suite shows RSS links in various areas of the site by default, and also allows for easy set of your own customised feeds. Built In Feeds Within each section of your site, you will see an RSS feed link in the bottom left. This provides an RSS feed link to the content within that area, which can then be consumed by the reader. In the example below, you can see it shows the latest topics from the News Forum, which we are currently browsing. Section RSS Links In addition to the links in each section, you will also see these within each of your activity streams. Creating new streams on your site can be a simple way of showing both the content on your site, and within a feed. Activity Feed Link Custom Feeds If you wish to build your own feeds to show within the main RSS link in the bottom left, you can do this from your ACP in the following location System -> Content Discovery -> RSS Feeds When creating a new feed, you can choose which sections you wish to 'feed' into this new RSS feed. Here we have created a feed named 'Test Feed', which shows information only from a specific calendar. Feed Creation
  11. Marc Stridgen

    Using The Block Manager

    Within the IPS Community Suite, you are provided with the ability to add items to your pages by way of a 'Block Manager'. This drag/drop facility allows you to quickly add items to create a sidebar, or add items to the top and bottom of your page. This facility is also used within our pages application to facilitate the easy creation of new pages. Adding Blocks Adding blocks to your pages is a simple process. When logged in as a member of staff with the moderator permission "Can use sidebar", you will see a tab sticking out from the left of the site. Clicking on this will open the block manager, and reveal available areas of the site where you can place your blocks. This is shown in the gif image below Block Manager Usage Editing Blocks Some blocks that you add to the page will have their own configuration to them. Where this is the case, you will see an edit button where you can add further configuration. Clicking edit reveals setup options In this example, we are using the topic feed. As you can see from the image below, you can configure many of these blocks to very specific needs. For example, you may want a block named "News" which is fed from your news forum. This would easily done with the topic feed block. Topic Feed Config
  12. Marc Stridgen

    Selling Subscriptions

    The Commerce application, give you the ability to sell subscriptions to your users. This may be to give a higher status to your users, give access to more sections, change uaergroups or anything else you decide within the product. These can become an important revenue stream for your community, and promote social engagement though the ability to give multiple tiers to your community. Creating Creating a new subscription item can be done from the following location within your ACP Commerce -> Subscriptions -> Subscription Plans From here you can see any subscriptions which already exist, along with how many active and interactive subscribers are currently using that package (with revenue, of course). You can edit any of these by selecting the pencil icon, and even add a subscriber manually to that package using the + icon (note manually added members would not be paying for that subscription). Clicking on 'Create new' in the top right, will give you the setup screen for a new subscription. Here you will see a variety of options you can use for that particular subscription, including the renewal periods (if required), any benefits the subscriber gains by changing or adding to that members group, and other payment options such as the payment and tax methods to be used. Settings Within the following location in your ACP, there are various settings which apply to the subscription system over all. Commerce -> Subscriptions -> Subscription Plans -> Settings From here you can set overall options for upgrading/downgrading on the subscriptions you have set up, such as whether or not to charge a difference, prorate, or not charge at all for a change. You can also set up protected groups which would not be affected by any group changes, which can be helpful to ensure that moderators and admins groups are not amended. If you click on any of the numbers in the main Subscriptions page, you can also get a list of subscribers which are currently set up on the system. Purchasing Users can purchase a subscription from the front end, by visiting the subscriptions section. These can also be shown on registration if set up within the subscription settings, or even shown anywhere on your site with a block available within the block manager. Users can change their subscription at any time fro the upgrade/downgrade/cancel buttons provided within the subscriptions screen. They will be asked to confirm this, and also shown any changes to costs which may occur.
  13. Marc Stridgen

    Support Feedback

    Over the weekend we would only usually deal with urgent support queries, resulting in a site being offline. Whilst we will attend to some other items (I see your original ticket was actually responded to on the Saturday itself), switching over domains would only generally be done during the week. Your ticket will certainly be dealt with at some point today. It may surprise you actually that our standards of service actually state that depending on the nature of the request, can be up to 2 business days, but usually within 2 hours. During the week however, we do tend to attend to most items in less than the 2 hours, often within minutes. So please do not feel that this is the general support times in which you would come to expect during business hours, as this certainly would not be the case. Of course, if you do ever have any problems, please do shout up.
  14. Marc Stridgen

    Feedback for support staff regarding themes

    We like to be kept on our toes ?
  15. Marc Stridgen

    Feedback for support staff regarding themes

    Hi ehren, I completely agree with what you have said there, however the process your describe is actually the process that is already in place. Of course we ourselves would like to ensure our customers receive the best possible service. The general support process with items such as these would be to test items with all 3rd party items disabled, usually through use of the support tools. In cases where it is then only happening with a specific item enabled, we would of course direct to the relevant party. With the above said however, we are of course people, and mistakes can be made. If you do find any of this nature, please feel free to drop me a message and I will take a look. I'd like to think that we get it right most of the time, but anything where we can improve, we're more than willing to do so.
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