Convert guests


Active member
Ok it's the old chestnut again. How do I convert guests to members successfully.

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.


Well-known member
There are various addons that allow you to limit guest views while allowing SE bots. Here is one example:
You would have to check how they handle the gallery.

@Liam W had an addon for Just in time registration. I see its deleted now, so this might require some custom development by Liam or another developer. But its more than worth it to optimize guest to member conversion. Especially when you have a lot of interesting content and a lack of members.


Active member
Thanks Alfa1 It is frustrating when you have hundreds of guests on line and 10 members but Facebook is buzzing with groups of people who you don't know talking about what the latest uploads are on your site ;)
I'm digging through the add ons but find it interesting that this isn't a native tool for xenforo. After all seeding tools would be a huge plus for new forum admins.


Active member
Well it seems that all the addons work in the forum through session or cookie control but nothing for the restriction of images. I'm reluctant to close down images to guests as I'm thinking this will stop the pictures from being indexed by the bots.

Anthony Parsons

Well-known member
Pretty sure there are add ons that limit all content to the first post... so you could use something like that. Not sure how you have things setup. You could also get someone to code a specific addon for you that allows bot access, yet restricts users to specific content until registered.

Anthony Parsons

Well-known member
Yes, sorry, I should have elaborated on that. There is a Google legal way to do this.

If you want to turn your site into a premium style content subscription site, whether registering for Google news or Google web search, there is whats called First Click Free which you can apply to your site, which allows Google full access to all your content and users see the full content on the first click from google, everything after they are hit with a register screen. Google will list a premium button next to your content.

This applies to all subscriber based content, and has for over a decade now. It is Googles recognition of allowing premium content to be spidered for sites that require registration, yet the user is being delivered still to the same page as what Google is spidering, thus they do not deem this approach as cloaking as is within the google guidelines for use.

Google acknowledge that you need to get users to your site so they register, so they allow this method to be used.

You can get someone to code an addon for this if you want your content indexed, yet want to force users into a registration model, especially if a paid subscriber model.

Q: Do I have to sign up to use First Click Free?
A: Please let us know about your decision to use First Click Free if you are using it for Google News. There's no need to inform us of the First Click Free status for Google Web Search.


Well-known member
That is tricky, what about a low res watermarked image for guests and when they register they have access to better quality images?

You also have to thread carefully that somebody doesn't try and make a better site simply because you limited it.

Maybe encourage guests to your Facebook page? At least that way you can promote to them directly by paid postings onto the page or what ever ideas you have.

I know some think fb is the devil but maybe an inclusive rather than exclusive method would work?

I obviously don't know anything based on the information here so you may be doing everything I've said..



Well-known member
the best way and i haven't figured out how to do it here , is after 150 or so words of the first post it puts a

.....Register now to read the rest

in place of the remainder of the post... you have to allow the first so many works so the register spam don't get on your search results