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Matt

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Matt last won the day on May 17

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About Matt

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    Chief Software Architect

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    Cambs, UK!
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  1. A successful community only needs three core elements to flourish and begin producing results. Your community will require some care and effort to flourish, but with the right strategies in place, you'll ensure that the value your community produces continues to increase as time goes by. Let's take a look at the three elements that make for a successful community. Content Content is the life-blood of any community. Content is what is posted by your members, and by your team. In the early days, you'll need to seed discussions and respond to customers posts regularly. It's important to demonstrate that you're actively involved with the community and encouraging others to post and extend discussions. Over time, user-generated content will begin to propel your community forwards. A great way to bring in new users is to write valuable articles using Pages, or the Blog apps. Writing about issues relevant to your community can help position you as an expert and will be shared widely by your community. You don't have to be an expert writer to create articles. There are free apps such as Grammarly to help polish your prose. A great way to quickly generate new content is to quote other news sources and offer your own commentary. For example, if your community is based around TV shows, right now you could easily create a new article for your site based on Game of Thrones by quoting a small part of two or three existing articles denouncing how the quality of writing on Game of Thrones has slipped and offer your contrasting thoughts. Just remember to link back to the original article and check the source site to make sure they are happy for this to happen. HubSpot has a great article on how to quote without stealing. Traffic To really start building your community, you need a steady flow of visitors from outside sources. The content you create will drive traffic into your community, but it sometimes needs a helping hand. Content from inside established communities can drive millions of impressions a month from search engines. It's worth making sure you're making good use of the built-in SEO tools. We recently performed a thorough review of how Invision Community optimises for SEO including adding features such as lazy loading. It is also a good idea to put your community link in your email signature, and share it widely via social media. A good number of our successful community owners have created a Facebook page, and a Twitter account for their community and share their best content over those social channels. Email is still a very powerful tool for creating an audience. We send out a monthly newsletter here at Invision Community, and articles we share with it are viewed at least four times as much as other articles. Engagement Once you have a steady stream of visitors consuming content on your site, you need to engage them to convert them from a casual visitor to a registered member, and then beyond. The first step is to get your visitor to register. While we recommend you make many forums open for guest viewing, we do recommend that you ask for guests to register before posting. We recently added a new feature called 'Post Before Registering' that allows guests to reply and sign-up in one simple activation flow. Most members initially join for selfish reasons. Perhaps they have a broken iPhone and want to ask for help. Or perhaps they came to ask how to fix a code problem. Generally speaking, they do not join out of altruism and a strong desire to help others. To convert a one-time poster to a regular contributor can take some work. Ensuring the default notifications include email when a new post is made will help encourage the poster to return. You can also tag the member in other discussions you feel may be interesting to them. We recently added a few new engagement features that also showcases other interesting content in notification based emails. Taking the time to welcome the member, and showing them how to access the best from your community can go a long way to making your site stand out. Taking the time to focus on these three core elements will help your community grow and prosper. You may not see overnight results, but over time you will start to see a huge difference in visitors, registrations and returning members. That wraps it up for this article. We'd love to know your thoughts on our suggestions and any strategies that you've used in the past that have worked well.
  2. As Andy said, the blog application is really about collaborative blogging whereas we are just blogging for ourselves. What would be your top 5 blog features on a wish list?
  3. Have you ever found yourself muttering "there has to be an easier way" when managing your community? If you have, it's likely that you are not the first person to think that. Invision Community has been refined over nearly two decades, and in that time we've received a lot of feedback from clients running very large and busy sites. We love a short cut, especially when it makes our clients lives easier. There's plenty of time-saving features throughout Invision Community, and here are five of the best. Saved Actions If you routinely perform the same actions to a topic, such as replying before closing it or moving the topic to a different forum, then saved actions will save you a lot of time. Let's look at a practical example. You have a forum where your members can suggest new features for your product. You might choose to move some of these suggestions to another forum to shortlist them for inclusion in a future version, or to discuss further. You also may like to reply thanking the member for their idea, but it's not feasible at this time. Here you would set up two saved actions, one that replies and moves the topic to a specific forum, and one that replies to the topic and closes it for further commenting. Your saved actions are accessible via the moderation menu You and your moderating team can select these saved actions quickly when reading a topic to perform multiple moderation steps in one go. RSS Feeds If your community regularly discusses topics that feature in the latest news, then you can quickly seed these discussions using the RSS feed import tool. Not only can you import almost any public RSS feed into your community, but you also have control over how these topics are displayed, to whom they are attributed to and how the link back to the source article looks. RSS feed import is an often overlooked but handy tool at starting productive discussions without the need to source and post them manually. iCal Feeds The iCal feed can be considered as the sister feature to the RSS Feed Import tool. It works in a very similar way in that it can accept almost any public iCal feed and import events into your community's calendar. This is especially useful if you maintain an event stream outside of the community, but wish to share those events with your members in a native way, or perhaps you already have a calendar product used by your organisation. Using the iCal feed tool to populate your community calendar with key dates relevant to your community can be achieved very quickly. Auto-moderation Moderating a busy community can be a time-consuming task. Trying to review new posts and topics to ensure they meet your community standards as they come in can be daunting. Fortunately, Invision Community has an ace up its sleeve. Auto-moderation allows you to use the power of your community to identify and remove content that does not meet your community standards. The administrator sets up a threshold so that when a specific number of reports for that content item is crossed, the content is hidden. Auto-moderation has a lot of options to configure which we covered in this blog article recently. Group promotion Ensuring your members feel valued and rewarded for their contributions is key to member retention and keeping engagement high. A simple way to reward long term regular contributors is to elevate their permissions. This can mean that they have access to otherwise hidden areas, or they get more allowances in terms of upload space and fewer restrictions. To do this manually would take a significant amount of time. Thankfully, Invision Community has a feature called Group Promotion. This tool allows the administrator to set up specific thresholds such as post count, or time since joining which then move the member into a new group when triggered. This all happens automatically. Just set it up and let it run! We spoke about Group Promotion recently, take a look here to learn more about this feature. How many of you are already using these features, and which ones did we miss off our list? I'd love to know.
  4. Sales figures mean nothing sadly. There's little point investing a lot of energy into a system that does not work on one of the top two phone platforms. I think we're on Web 5.0 by now. I would agree, other than push notifications which require an app for iOS.
  5. For push notifications on iPhone, you need an app downloadable from the App Store. There's no way to push notifications to iPhones in any other way.
  6. It could be that we're using a CDN for images which doesn't match the domain. Thanks for letting us know, we'll take a look.
  7. PHP is rightly getting a little more fussy about type.
  8. Just do an is_array() check before the count().
  9. Invision Community is used by some of the world's biggest game brands, proudly enabling gamers to connect with the creators of their favourite titles. These sites attract millions of visitors between them and thousands of posts are added daily because of their high profile. But what if you're just starting out, how do you convert casual visitors to members, and what's the best way to set up your community? I got talking to new customer Darrell, interestingly named Mr. Fierce God on our community. While you may expect that this portrays a fire and brimstone hothead, you'd be wrong as Darrell is one of the nicest people you'll meet. Darrell runs the Fierce Gaming Network and I was impressed by the way he's set up his site and wanted to share my thoughts on what he's done well. The first thing I noticed is that the forum index is not the home page for the site. For a gaming community that wants to focus on more than just user conversations, this is a good move. Let's break it down. A. The home page has multiple points of entry, and the sidebar menu unobtrusively offers short-cuts to various parts of the community. B. We have a large call to action to either login or register. This box also explains the benefits of registration clearly and enforces that registration is a very quick process. One optimisation that may be worth looking at here is to add the "Sign in with Facebook / Microsoft" buttons on the box to persuade even more to register right away. C. Fierce Gaming Network also makes great use of Clubs to segment their audience to specific software titles. Re-using instantly recognisable artwork as the club cover image will entice fans of those games to visit. Scrolling down a little shows the "Member of the month". As humans, we are drawn to faces instantly, and this humanises the site and "unmasks" some of the popular members, making the site less intimidating. Moving down a little more we see the "Our Picks" section which highlights the best content from the community. Our Picks is a great way to get visitors to engage with your content. Good use of cover images draws attention and makes it clear the kind of content you're going to read. Darrell makes great use of several lnvision Community apps to build the site, and has set it up well. New users get to the site see handpicked content, fellow members and the benefits of joining all in one place. It's a great start and I look forward to seeing Darrell's site succeed. Are you using Invision Community to build custom homepages for your community? Share them in the comments below.
  10. I noticed something new in the chiller cabinet at the petrol station after filling yesterday. Bottles of Grape Fanta sitting alongside the more mundane and pedestrian drinks such as Coke Zero and Pepsi Max. I grabbed two bottles. After draining one in record time, I googled around to see where I could get more of this delicious nectar, and it discovered that it's a new flavour being launched in the UK. The really interesting thing was that Coca Cola used data stored in the self service machines that offer different flavours (such as those at cinemas) to determine which new flavours to bring to the market. Grape was the second most popular flavour after regular orange, so the company knew they had a market ready for premixed bottles. In a world where we fear what Big Tech does with our data, it's easy to forget that data has a valid use in your business. It's why we make it clear that with Invision Community, you own your data. We just look after it for you. This gives you the freedom to discover new trends within your business and use them to drive sales.
  11. Well, we could write a book on it, but generally. Your community > The Web Make it searchable by allowing guest read access in most areas Produce high quality articles / reviews / content that people want to consume and share Consider Facebook/Google ads to drive traffic to a specific landing page (not the community index) The web > Your community Make visitors feel welcome, make it easy for them to add content (post before registering), make it easy for them to return (enable email notifications), make it easy to read more content (use blocks to encourage content discovery) Your community > increase engagement Reward members with gamification, take the time to talk to members, get to know them, make the interface as simple to use as possible, make sure key areas work well on mobile phones, etc. Do those things are you're in the 10% of people that will succeed.
  12. I'm glad it got you thinking. If you have a built in store, then you could consider creating a sales page in Pages, that links to the product in Commerce and go into more detail on it, and use that Pages page to market it externally. I just had a quick look at your site too, I really like it. Featuring members of the month well, nice articles featured on the front page and using Our Picks to showcase your best content.
  13. BTW, you can have free subscriptions in 4.4.
  14. Two headlines caught my eye today as they appeared side by side in my newsfeed. On first glance, they seemed contradictory. The first was that the UK lost nearly 2,500 shops and stores last year and the second is that discount fashion retailer Primark has just invested £70m in a new store in Birmingham. This new store covers 161,000 sq ft over five floors and features a Disney-themed cafe, a beauty studio, a gents hairdresser and a Harry Potter themed section. If the UK is closing thousands of stores, and a recent department store has just fallen into administration why would a brand invest £70m in a new store? The answer is that they are not building a store, they are building an experience. It's clearly not enough to just stack products and open the doors anymore. You have to offer more to entice people in through the doors. This is why Toys R Us failed in the end. I maintain that if they had reduced shelf space and installed soft play, cafes and product demonstration areas, they would have had a chance at turning around their failing business. Primark has learned from other's mistakes. With themed "shops in shops" and child-friendly cafes, they are offering more than discount clothes. It is exactly the same as your community. Offering a space to facilitate conversation is often not enough unless you dominate your niche. Are you known for well thought out reviews? Perhaps you write valuable articles that get people to your site. Or you might be focusing on building an audience with a photo competition as Helen from The Dogly Mail has. What are you doing to encourage more people through your doors?
  15. We saw an issue where someone had a paid subscription, but had entered "0" into the renewals cost box believing it would mean "no renewals" but it confused Commerce, so we just made it clearer that if you do not want renewals, toggle the yes/no field, and not just enter 0.
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