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12 Months On - VB to XF

Anthony Parsons

Well-known member
#1
I went and had a look around for statistics on how things have faired in regards to postings from VB software to XF software.

I used VB for just over 5 years. The last 12 months of that was VB4.x. In that total time, my forum had gotten a total of 180,000 posts. (the stats I got was from the wayback machines earliest stats, being Feb this year, 187,000, so about 180,000 two and bit months prior in December when I converted over).

12 months after converting to XF, my postings have now just surpassed 300,000.

I'm no mathematician, but I have noticed the difference in user interaction with the site significantly changing from VB to XF software, and the stats don't lie. That's around 120,000 posts in one year using XF, compared to 180,000 posts in just over 5 years using VB software.

Toss into that equation, my search traffic took a huge hit and recovery for six+ months changing software, nevertheless, user interaction still skyrocketed for repeat visitors.

The figures are now heading towards 15,000 monthly posts... I've never seen user interaction like this in over 6 years with my main site, until XF software.

So whilst one could compare XF to VB3.x for performance, which they are close from what I have measured. This is where things break apart from decade old software to current trends in software design. VB3.x never enticed users to post like XF software does.

When I changed, I anticipated 250,000 posts by the end of this year with XF software, factoring in the like-ability of the ajax inline posting, editing, alert features, streams, etc... well and truly surpassed my expectations, as my search engine traffic has only recently surpassed my traffic when at the end December 2010, converting from VB4.x to XF.

My return visitors and user interaction is what's showing the significant growth, and the numbers don't lie. Search traffic has pretty much tapered back out and slowly growing on the posting ratio (new content > search referrals).

So I now have an adequate comparison to VB3.x software, none of which ever showed such user excitement to interact with the site and other members via its software, compared to XF.
 

Anthony Parsons

Well-known member
#4
I believe I could accurately kill a couple of threads in this forum about "Are forums dead?" Or such titles...

XF has possibly rejuvenated and then spanked forum software usage, in an age where Facebook and such social networks reign supreme. As XF tends to mimic many of the current social media trends, and interacts so well with them, it has actually restored and surpassed my own faith in what future lay ahead for forum software.

I can only see anyone in the forum software game now wanting to copy, or try to replicate, what XF have just done.
 

3dsoft

Active member
#8
Thank you for the link. :) I somehow cannot answer your private message.
Your VB site had user blogs. What did your users say when you switched to xenforo without the blog feature?
 

steven s

Well-known member
#11
Good to see the positive results.
On one of my sites I help with I'm seeing the opposite.
I don't have access to our google analytics and am waiting to have it upgraded to 1.1 so I could use xf's statistics module.

Prior to July we were using vB3. In July we were down while doing the conversion to drupal and using drupal as a forum.
In Nov we launched xenforo. I suspect that we lost a lot of people with drupal and they still haven't returned but they trend is starting to go up.
And on the bright side, the quality of posts are up. Less complaining and more members helping other members.

XF does make a difference. :)

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lazer

Well-known member
#13
Enjoyed reading that, thanks Anthony :)

As a "pre-converter" I read something like this:
Toss into that equation, my search traffic took a huge hit and recovery for six+ months changing software, nevertheless, user interaction still skyrocketed for repeat visitors.
...and it makes me somewhat reticent to actually make the switch from VB3 -> XF. As a vBSEO user (and with most posts indexed to Google page 1/2 in minutes), I am worried that all my lovely search engine "juice" would be wiped out by the move...I take it you set up all the redirects and didn't start "fresh" with the URL structures, right?
 

principia

Well-known member
#14
Enjoyed reading that, thanks Anthony :)

As a "pre-converter" I read something like this:

...and it makes me somewhat reticent to actually make the switch from VB3 -> XF. As a vBSEO user (and with most posts indexed to Google page 1/2 in minutes), I am worried that all my lovely search engine "juice" would be wiped out by the move...I take it you set up all the redirects and didn't start "fresh" with the URL structures, right?
You do not need any SEO, XF is doing this from the start on. Google love it, and it will not take long to index your side :)
 

3dsoft

Active member
#16
When switching forum software you will always loose traffic. And after comparing a lot of different forums, I think that VB is still being loved by Google the most. But this does not mean, that users love VB boards more than others.

I would probably migrate from IP.Board to Xenforo taking into account of loosing some traffic within the first six months but it is impossible for my users & me to go without a matching gallery and blog application.
 

Anthony Parsons

Well-known member
#17
Your VB site had user blogs. What did your users say when you switched to xenforo without the blog feature?
They didn't like it, but they lived with it. Within a month they had forgotten all about them.
I take it you set up all the redirects and didn't start "fresh" with the URL structures, right?
Actually, I whilst I did have redirects there to use, I decided not to use them and converted over to XF with fresh URL's. It took six months to pretty much recover from that experiment, losing down to around half daily visitors. Again though, with lesser traffic, switching to XF increased returning visitors and increased member interaction in posting.
I think that VB is still being loved by Google the most.
I haven't seen any evidence to substantiate that from my own testing.

XF pages are lighter and more SE friendly than VB3.x or VB4.x pages... look at a page in raw format at the order for content being fed to SE's... takes quite a while to for an SE to reach real page content in VB software, compared with XF software, where menu's and most fluff is reordered to be listed last on the page.

SE's will always value a page that gets straight to the content over a page it must fight through in order to get at the content. All the nonsense menus and such being fed first, also affects what a page is deemed to represent.

VB's presence in Google is purely because its been around a lot longer. From what I'm reading on this forum with big boards progressively in the works to convert over, some already have, VB's influence will only deteriorate in presence as XF's rises. With the significant performance difference in using XF, equating directly to running costs of servers, it is in the interest of big board owners to get current with a better performing software that increases their profit margin and encourages user interaction vs. one that is expensive to run due to high server loads and has no real incentives in the software to encourage users posting and returning beyond the content scope itself.

People love Facebook because its fast and has addictive qualities of constantly checking new alerts, etc. XF has taken that exact model and put it into forum software... hence the enormous growth in forum usage using XF.
 

lazer

Well-known member
#18
Actually, I whilst I did have redirects there to use, I decided not to use them and converted over to XF with fresh URL's. It took six months to pretty much recover from that experiment, losing down to around half daily visitors. Again though, with lesser traffic, switching to XF increased returning visitors and increased member interaction in posting.
Ahhh - then that sets my mind a bit more at ease, thank you. :)
 

TheBigK

Well-known member
#19
Enjoyed reading that, thanks Anthony :)

As a "pre-converter" I read something like this:

...and it makes me somewhat reticent to actually make the switch from VB3 -> XF. As a vBSEO user (and with most posts indexed to Google page 1/2 in minutes), I am worried that all my lovely search engine "juice" would be wiped out by the move...I take it you set up all the redirects and didn't start "fresh" with the URL structures, right?
We converted our established XF+VBSEO forum. I had the same questions. Yes, VBSEO does a good job. But with redirects in place everything should recover within 2 months. However, I'll only know once I'm through that 2 month cycle. BUT ...

Users LOVE IT! The posting has skyrocketed to the limits I never believed. I do have redirects in place and which has only dropped the traffic to 60% of what we had and it's constantly improving. Average time on the site is up and I can't ask for more.

By the way, I decided to follow DigitalPoints' advise and didn't submit a sitemap to Google. Google is still indexing our content within a minute or two at max (and remember we're still in the re-indexing mode); which is absolutely fantastic.

I think taking a traffic hit for 2-3 months is worth if users love it. We aren't regretting the move. In fact, everyone's enjoying it.
 

TheBigK

Well-known member
#20
Forgot to add about performance:-

Database errors, security threats and spammers are all gone. I can now focus on interacting with members and building the community. This is amazing! The site loads faster than ever before and Google's indexing it. What else do you want?