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Moving vanillaforums.org

LincLinc Vanilla's Bard (and Lead Developer)Detroit Vanilla Staff
edited December 2016 in General Banter

In 2017, we're planning to move vanillaforums.org onto our standard .com naming scheme (e.g. open.vanillaforums.com or opensource.vanillaforums.com). We'll have 1:1 redirects in place for all discussions, categories, and addons. Links and bookmarks shouldn't break at all.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. We still see a great deal of confusion from folks not being able to disambiguate between .org and .com.
  2. We'll no longer need a disambiguation page on the open source site.
  3. Combining domains should give us all a nice search engine boost from un-splitting our content.

We modeled our .com / .org split on the WordPress project. Unfortunately, it just isn't working out for us very well as currently executed. We repeatedly hear thru both our support and sales channels that people think they are looking at cloud and are actually on this site, and vice versa. We hope a clear subdomain will make this easier to understand.

Additionally, neither .org nor our "marketing" site on vanillaforums.com is getting the weight they deserve while our sites are divided. We're not even following our own advice that we give to customers, which is to put your community on a subdomain of your main site and make sure they are linked in Google Webmaster Tools et. al. It makes a lot of sense to combine "SEO juice" between a site and community, including ours. A successful marking team means a successful sales team, which means we get to hire more developers to move the product forward for everyone. And everyone wants Vanilla to show up first when folks want a new forum! :chuffed:

This arrangement also absolves us from needing the "disambiguation" page currently sitting on our homepage, which is a really nice bonus. At first, the homepage will simply default to the discussions list. In time, I hope that'll grow into a really nice resource for the community as we build widgets for it to help folks find the various pieces of our open source efforts.

We don't have a firm timeline for this yet, but I expect it to happen sometime in the first 3 months of 2017. I just wanted to give everyone a heads up on the plans so you're not surprised, and you understand that it wasn't some executive ploy to undermine the community. :glasses: We've been thinking about these issues for a few years and have decided it's pretty good win for both open source and marketing to reshuffle things.

phreakSwennetRodSloanPc_Advice_Adrianjackmaessenhgtonight

Comments

  • phreakphreak VanillaSkins.com - #1 Themeshop for Vanilla MVP
    edited December 2016

    Good ideas to strengthen Vanilla's appearance and understanding. From a SEO perspective that should show a lot of impact.

    Also a mobile page for the addon repository would make sense from a marketing perspective. It's often the 2nd page visited to grasp how active and enhanceable a software is. On the other hand I for example check it quiet often to find new addons. Your page analytics may show if other visitors are using the repository like that.

    LincPc_Advice_
  • TimTim Operations Vanilla Staff

    Hi folks,

    This will be happening sooner than expected! We'd like to time the .org move to coincide with the launch of our new website, which means the it will be happening tomorrow! :open_mouth:

    I'll be monitoring the state of things to ensure that everything continues to work and that redirects are in place.

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

  • whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... Moderator

    Good luck with that!

    Linc
  • TimTim Operations Vanilla Staff

    Hi all,

    This change has now been completed. I advise you to update your bookmarks to "https://open.vanillaforums.com" in order to avoid being redirected.

    Let me know if anything isn't working as you expect!

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

    lvezR_Jhgtonight
  • ThemeSteamThemeSteam I love VanillaForums New
    edited December 2016

    Hi,

    I feel the open source community will be weak for a while, maybe forever.

    For example in wordpress.org, themes & plugins links directly seen. But here we only have a link on a page regarding "Open Source Community". That page link is in footer not header or where it's easy on the eyes.

    OSC will lost new users and its growing because they can't see or find it directly. OSC is no longer an independent site, now it's a small section .

    I think VanillaForums is going to be fully commercial (unofficial & quietly)
    Of course I have respect the owners ;) It's just my initial feelings ...

    Regards

  • LincLinc Vanilla's Bard (and Lead Developer) Detroit Vanilla Staff
    edited December 2016

    @ThemeSteam said:
    I think VanillaForums is going to be fully commercial (unofficial & quietly)

    I've watched people say conspiratorial things about WordPress every month for as long as Vanilla has existed. Cynicism is easy.

    We've always been "fully commercial"; so has WordPress. The idea that open source and commercial software are self-exclusionary is very old, and has never been as untrue as today. If you think like that, I won't be the one to sway you.

    @ThemeSteam said:
    For example in wordpress.org, themes & plugins links directly seen. But here we only have a link on a page regarding "Open Source Community"

    https://github.com/vanilla/community

    @ThemeSteam said:
    It's just my initial feelings ...

    It's rather disingenuous to casually throw aspersions and then shrug in your closing like maybe you didn't really mean it.

    Tim
  • K17K17 Français / FRENCH - http://forums.kraftgame.eu/ La Rochelle ✭✭

    @ThemeSteam said :
    I feel the open source community will be weak for a while, maybe forever.

    I think not but

    @ThemeSteam said :
    But here we only have a link on a page regarding "Open Source Community". That page link is in footer not header or where it's easy on the eyes.

    The open source community is, in my opinion, really hard to find on VF.com.
    I would ask to staff: Why can't Open Source and Hosted Vanilla be at the same "place", presented at the same level, like just two options, on the whole site ?
    (It's a real question, I think there is a reason, but I don't know why ^^)

    ThemeSteam
  • LincLinc Vanilla's Bard (and Lead Developer) Detroit Vanilla Staff
    edited December 2016

    @K17 said:
    Why can't Open Source and Hosted Vanilla be at the same "place", presented at the same level, like just two options, on the whole site ?

    When someone arrives on the company site, there are a number of carefully designed elements to "convert" visitors into paying customers. It's all carefully tracked and calibrated, and internal goals to be met. Introducing an easy way to veer off that path hurts the company. Muddying the water at a critical step in the buying process is marketing suicide.

    We're definitely not obfuscating our open source presence, and we're confident that folks setting out to find open source can absolutely find it reliably. There's a clear path to Open Source from the footer navigation. But if a business buyer lands on that site, we absolutely need them to clearly proceed to the cloud product with zero obstacles or extra decisions.

    K17AaronWebstey
  • K17K17 Français / FRENCH - http://forums.kraftgame.eu/ La Rochelle ✭✭

    @Linc thanks for the answer :)
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year :chuffed:

    Linc
  • LincLinc Vanilla's Bard (and Lead Developer) Detroit Vanilla Staff
  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    I recommend that people add this to their config.php so the Garden VanillaURLs go to the right place. Some plugins use this... My themes all use the footer link back to here...

    $Configuration['Garden']['VanillaUrl']  = 'http://open.vanillaforums.com';
    $Configuration['Garden']['UpdateCheckUrl'] = 'http://open.vanillaforums.com/addons/update';
    $Configuration['Garden']['AddonUrl']  = 'http://open.vanillaforums.com/addons';
    
    ThemeSteam
  • LincLinc Vanilla's Bard (and Lead Developer) Detroit Vanilla Staff

    @vrijvlinder said:
    I recommend that people add this to their config.php

    They will go to the right place by virtue of the 301 redirects in place, and the origin will update gracefully in the next minor release. I do not recommend manually adding this to your config.php in the meantime because you'll forget and one day it could break if we change domains one day.

    ThemeSteam
  • vrijvlindervrijvlinder Papillon-Sauvage MVP

    @Linc said:
    They will go to the right place by virtue of the 301 redirects in place, and the origin will update gracefully in the next minor release. I do not recommend manually adding this to your config.php in the meantime because you'll forget and one day it could break if we change domains one day.

    They do break because at this time the config-defaults get redirected to the payed version if you click vanillaforums.org via the link at the bottom of the page Which does not redirect as you expect.

    Yes once the update is done it will be fixed. But meanwhile people need to either remove the links or fix them accordingly. Otherwise redirects are not guaranteed. I tried on mobile ad was take to the .com site not the open one.. maybe check this ?

    ThemeSteam
  • LincLinc Vanilla's Bard (and Lead Developer) Detroit Vanilla Staff
    edited December 2016

    If you want to update footer links in the meantime, go for it. It's the other two I'm concerned about getting manually set.

    We redirected the homepage of .org to the new disambiguation page since that's what it was before. Everything else is 1:1 to open.vanillaforums.com.

    I've made a PR. https://github.com/vanilla/vanilla/pull/4963

    vrijvlinderThemeSteam
  • phreakphreak VanillaSkins.com - #1 Themeshop for Vanilla MVP
    edited December 2016

    @Linc: Would it be possible to link the addon repository in the sliding navigation of the mobile theme. There is no way to go there now via mobile but I and I guess others check news in repository that way.

    If I'm right than the plugin repository isn't linked from the start page. I understand the difference you would like to make between the commercial and the OS version but software gets very attractive when it shows off it's expendability and integrations, or?

  • LincLinc Vanilla's Bard (and Lead Developer) Detroit Vanilla Staff

    @phreak said:
    @Linc: Would it be possible to link the addon repository in the sliding navigation of the mobile theme. There is no way to go there now via mobile but I and I guess others check news in repository that way.

    The GitHub repo, or the directory on this site? I filed the latter as an issue a few days ago: https://github.com/vanilla/community/issues/120

    ThemeSteam
  • phreakphreak VanillaSkins.com - #1 Themeshop for Vanilla MVP
    edited December 2016

    The latter. Just saw I mentioned that already. Sorry, I am on to many playgrounds sometimes. Ok thanx!

  • phreakphreak VanillaSkins.com - #1 Themeshop for Vanilla MVP
    edited December 2016

    vanillaforums.org links now to the .com page. From my knowledge Google is smart enough to detect this technique of trying to raise SEO for the frontpage and will not value that. Wouldn't it be better to forward it to https://open.vanillaforums.com and advertise the hosted service here with a little bit more enforcement > in the Navigation.

    It's likely you will loose relevant search keyword positions through this:

    ThemeSteam
  • TimTim Operations Vanilla Staff

    @phreak we've already seen significant SEO improvements since making this change, I think Google is cool with it.

    Vanilla Forums Senior Developer [GitHub, Twitter, About.me]

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