Discourse vs Vanilla Forums vs Xenforo: Who Makes The Best Forum Software

rocky victory Discourse vs Vanilla Forums vs Xenforo: Who Makes The Best Forum Software

This is not an attack on Discourse or Xenforo. It’s not  even really a comparison of Vanilla vs Discourse vs Xenforo. Rather I’d like to talk more about Vanilla Forums and the mistakes I see in the comparisons others make when they compare it to other forum solutions.

State of the Market

The reality of the community software market is that most of the makers of forum software offer ugly products. The traditional or legacy software is bloated, ugly and not a pleasure to use. As an administrator or owner of these forums there are tons of features and plugins you need to setup, because it doesn’t just work. You can lose days trying to figure things out and stay on-top of bug reports and patches so you don’t get hacked. Of all the old, legacy products, the only one I see that has any sense of looking half way decent is Xenforo and lots of other users are seeing that too. I think the ditch vBulletin band-wagon is really growing and they are getting a fair share of disillusioned self- hosting forum owners.

In terms of the next-generation of forum or community software, I think the field is really a battle between two. Discourse is a newer product, but like Vanilla Forums  it pushes forums into a more modern framework. More and more I am seeing people asking, should they go with Discourse or Vanilla Forums. Unfortunately, it seems the discussion about Vanilla Forums is usually based on an old pre-conceived notion of how Vanilla was. Today I hope to set the record straight for those looking to compare and invite you to ask you questions if you have any.

Read more…

Print This Post Print This Post
Saturday, November 16th, 2013 at 10:17

Your Forum Is Ugly

ugly Your Forum Is Ugly
I didn’t have the heart to tell you, but your forum is ugly. Your members might not tell you because they’ve gotten used to the ugly table format that plagues the internet. As you go about your merry way, your traffic might ok, but new sign-ups keep going down and old members are starting to disappear. You can keep scratching your head –or you can maybe accept that one of the reasons is your forum is ugly and no one wants to be there.

A look at modern forum software usability
Sometimes modern forums gets criticized for looking to much like a social network. Some even make comparisons to Facebook. It’s an opinion for modern forums makers to embrace. How can 1.2 billion customers using Facebook be wrong? Let’s forget comparisons, though and look at facts. Modern forums make it easy for people to join a community with social logins and integrations. Forums should not be afraid to embrace Facebook and Twitter. People are also tired of creating more accounts, so why not give them an option to use a service they already use? Modern forum software has gamification features that make it fun to participate, and reward those that create good content. Last but not least, modern forums just make the community easy to use. I know it’s hard to accept, but it’s not 1995 anymore. People don’t want to figure out how to use your forum. They want something intuitive, easy to use and connect with others.

Read more…

Print This Post Print This Post
Saturday, November 16th, 2013 at 08:12

Why Semiconductor Companies Need A Community

This article originally appeared on Medium,

The Electronic Component industry, especially the makers of semiconductors and high end boards are missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with engineers. That’s right as you read this you are missing out.

Actually that’s not true. Some manufacturers and suppliers have realized the opportunity. Lucky for you, they are still using old legacy forum software. This keeps them stuck in a one-sided conversation perpetuating the old way of doing things. It’s probably why they think it is not a worthy venture to spend time on or the main reason you have shied away from creating a community of your own. With the old school bloated solutions they are using, I can’t blame them or you for thinking this way.

Read more…

Print This Post Print This Post
Monday, September 16th, 2013 at 15:51

My New WordPress Commenting System

My New Job at Vanilla Forums

Two weeks ago I started at Vanilla Forums as their Marketing Manager. If you are not aware, Vanilla Forums is an amazing open source forum software company located in Montreal. Now that I work with it every day, I don’t think the word “forum software” really does Vanilla Forums justice. When I think forums, like most I  think of the bloatware like vBulletin, Simple Machines or Invision Power Boards. Vanilla Forums is much lighter. It’s actually more like a community software, but stripped down to what one needs to make a community work: Simple to administer for the owner and fun for it’s users to participate. Add in something the cool kids call “Gamification” and the fact it has native support for mobile devices, you have a real winner.

Read more…

Print This Post Print This Post
Thursday, August 15th, 2013 at 20:31

Introducing A New Day – A Personal Note

So I am back. Did you ever think it would be that long? By nature I am a writer. I need to express myself. The truth is the original impetus of this blog was to share with you the news of the day for online marketing and the latest developments affecting SMBD, Part-time webmasters and DIYers. At the time it was a relatively new idea to focus on SMB marketing. The truth is the amount of news coming out made it near impossible to keep up. I felt enormous guilt and pressure to keep up. I kept meaning to write posts on this or that, and by the time I got around to it the news was so old, my site would be another rehash of what was happening you could get elsewhere. In short, what I came to realize is that I would need to quit my job and write this blog full time in order to keep up. This was (and still is) not doable. Not with a mortgage or car payments, at least. And to be honest, this blog was never about money. It was always a way for me to give back and to share what I learnt and take you along for the journey. I really had to rethink why I was here and what I was writing about. I am still not 100% sure, but I have started a new job where I am working even closer with businesses and customers. This has led a re-ignition of my passion for sharing and it has led to my writing muscle getting back. I figure this blog will be more personal this time. Not to tell you so much about a cat, or what I ate for dinner, but about strategy — and real ideas. I would also be remiss to not also state it might be heavy on communities and social media, because let’s face it, that’s what I do all day. Anyway, suffice to say, there are changes are afoot and I am back icon smile Introducing A New Day   A Personal Note If you have a question or just want to say hello, don’t be shy to hit me up via the contact form.

Print This Post Print This Post
Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 at 22:45