Just a quick rundown of our set up and any ideas or advice would be great.
We have a historical website with about 30,000 images and a growing forum of history that has not been in the public domain before. It is a local site geographically so the members base is obviously limited.
We have a members base of about 8k but since the site was closed down (because of constant security issues with PhotoPost) for three years, a lot of the members have since changed emails and our work to build up membership is back on.
Right we have a lot of content, both pictorial and written and I know this information is very valuable. But here's the thing. Our site is free to use. We don't and wont employ a paid subscription, yet as everything on the site is available for all to see, there is little of no incentive to join. That makes it difficult to market the site as we won't have direct access to guests through email and push notifications (which I really, really want to see in Xenforo). If I block access to guests on the forums and gallery then search engines would also be blocked and that would work against us. Is there anyway to restrict guests whist allowing bots full access?
I'm particularly concerned how any restriction would fair on the gallery indexing.