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Cover page for guests (aka home page)

Discussion in 'XenForo Suggestions' started by Jake Bunce, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I had this idea after reading Brogan's post.

    This has been my experience too. No one uses the home page of my site (including me) because it isn't really a home page. Rather it is a cover page.

    It's the difference between content (home page) and presentation (cover page). This is an important distinction. It has been my experience that many people who say they want a home page or portal or CMS really just want a cover page.

    There is no sense over-complicating the solution when in reality people only want a cover page for presentation. Many people go through the trouble of installing portals and other addons to satisfy this want, often times breaking the forum into multiple directories. Yet after going through all of this trouble the reality is that no one uses the cover page because the real content is on the forum.

    At most, cover pages are a useful presentation for guests. Once a user is registered and logged in then they don't want to see the cover page.


    I suggest implementing a simple cover page in xenForo to act as the index for guests. The idea is to satisfy people's want for a cover page without inconveniencing regular users.

    index.php = if(guest) cover; else forumlist;
    index.php?cover = Home tab
    index.php?forumlist = Forum tab

    When installed in the web root this satisfies people's want to have the cover page be the index for the site. It could also satisfy people's sense for aesthetic URLs with respect to the "forums" route since everything can now reside in the web root for a typical forum site while still maintaining certain URL and file naming conventions to which people like to adhere.

    A simple page with summary content and a welcome message is fine. There is no need for a full CMS. And of course there needs to be an option to disable the cover and set your own Home link.
    Coop1979, Veer, Kintaro and 22 others like this.
  2. dieketzer

    dieketzer Well-Known Member

    overall i like the idea, at least the conditionals aspect of it, but i never liked the 'splash page' fad. its one rung up the ladder from the flash intro.
    i think what i like about jaxels portal is it pretty much functions as a configurable cover page.
  3. Tigratrus

    Tigratrus Well-Known Member

    Though if you promote threads for the RecentNews module and set it up right you can very easily turn XenPorta into quite an excellent homepage as well.

    I agree that many people confuse the two, but our experience over the last 3 years with trying different formats for the site index has shown that there are VERY significant SEO benefits to the high quality content focused homepage over a simple cover page.
    giorgino and FredC like this.
  4. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    It gets my vote.

    I use my 'home page' as a place for all the most important information that the members are interested in. Currently it's quite sparse due to only recently converting but over time I will add some more content to it.

    I consider the home page here on XenForo.com to be exactly the sort of thing Jake is talking about, just with the same forum header, footer and navbar; i.e. the same as a Page but outside the forum structure.

    Regarding XenPorta, that doesn't allow me to format the page in the way that I want though, so any sort of structured CMS is useless to me.

    Besides, for something as complex as that, I would really prefer it to be in the core rather than an add-on.
  5. Tigratrus

    Tigratrus Well-Known Member

    Fair enough.

    Out of curiosity, can you explain what sort of page format you couldn't make it support? Given the ease with which one can create custom modules for XenPorta and the general ease of CSS styling in XF itself we haven't hit any real layout roadblocks with it yet, and I'd appreciate hearing about your experience.

    I agree that I'd love to see it in the core, but the way it's growing to cover topic focused "Category" pages as well as the upcoming blogs solution, it's pretty dang compelling.
  6. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    To be fair, I haven't actually installed it but if I'm required to do a lot of edits to get the layout and styling as I want, then I might as well just do a page from scratch - the amount of work required is about the same.

    As I said, I don't want a lot of different modules so it's overkill for my requirements, but the biggest obstacle to me installing it is it's an add-on and I only ever install add-ons when there's absolutely no other alternative.
  7. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member

    Many thanks Jake, this is what I would really need urgently!

    I do exactly need a "Cover Page" for my "Private Community" (all Nav-Tabs, Breadcrumbs, Memberlist, Recent-Activity, etc. are hidden for guests).
    It needs to be just a simple page with an image, some text and also containing the big orange Sign-up-Button and the Login-Dropdown at the top.

    Currently I am using a "Notice" for this, but the trouble is that there are Browser-issues with the Notice on mobile when using Android.

    The other issue is that I am having a quite big image at the Notice and the Homepage-text is within a transparent "overlay" atop the image.
    This transparent overlay (RGBA background rule) seems to bring troubles with SEO regarding the Homepage-text.
    Previously I had the Homepage-text in the Sidebar, but since I removed the Sidebar from the Homepage (via "Widget Framework"-Addon) I see SEO-implications.

    I do hope we can get a simple "Cover Page" pretty soon, similar to the one which is used here at xenforo.com and can also put this "Cover Page" directly at the domain.com Homepage.

    Reference thread:

  8. sami simo

    sami simo Well-Known Member

    This simple feature will help me a lot.
  9. florencia

    florencia Active Member

    I also would like to have a cover page options as a core feature. Now if you crate a Homepage you have problems with the hierarchy in the breadcrumb because xenforo only supports the nav highlight and breadcrumb for pages but not for the index (homepage/cover page). Its confusing for the users to see a home/cover page and see the forum tab breadcrumb and highlighted nav :(. Maybe they will add this in the next releases. If you know of a cover page addon or solution please let us know.
  10. WCFA

    WCFA Active Member

    Seem this is a must have but has been not applied in 3 years, I for one think the software loses some presentation abilities by not having
    and option like this. It would alone resolve several issues missing in the software. that a simple page would solve.
    Ferdinand and florencia like this.
  11. Ferdinand

    Ferdinand Active Member

    Is it possible to implement this but also redirect first time visitors to this page as well, like what happens on linkedin?
  12. WCFA

    WCFA Active Member

    I think the problem is some commenting on it do not run website but forums.
    Portals are big business in the forum game that alone shows entrances are needed.
    It seem obvious this is not to be adapted for this software.
    My advice when you install XF, install it in a sub-directory. Then make any entrance you want and
    point it to the forums index file. I wish I had done that.
    A redirect may work, but can also be problematic in some cases like Tapatalk, and maybe Paypal.
    My advice is do not redirect but install it in the sub-directory. I am a website designer not a developer.
    I build sites, not forums. So for me I build and use the forum to compliment the site, not become it.
    Which is what allot do. Plan it out before install is the best idea find out what you want first.
    Its not XF fault they do not provide this, its up to the user to figure out how the site and software fits.

    There are just to many options and no one software can or will provide them all, best you can do is present the idea,
    switch, or find a work around.

  13. AndyB

    AndyB Well-Known Member

    Hi Jake,

    I'm sorry but I disagree with you in regards to having guests being taken to a different web page from logged in users. Many of my members visit my site not logged in and I provide them the same experience as if they were logged in, short of being able to post. Also I think it's very important that guests and logged in members land on the same page given a certain URL.

    I do agree with you that a Home page with a header and footer that provides a simple introduction to your forum is very much needed. Here's my request for such a feature:

  14. sinucello

    sinucello Well-Known Member

    yes, that would be nice. From time to time 90% of my visitors are temporarily looking for just one topic. It would be great if all guests would find what they are looking for on my homepage while the normal forum users keep seeing their forum overview.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
  15. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Tell them to bookmark the forum index.
  16. sinucello

    sinucello Well-Known Member

    those who have problems with it will answer the following to this suggestion:
    "what`s a bookmark?"
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
  17. Allan

    Allan Well-Known Member

    Nice Idea :)
  18. Amaury

    Amaury Well-Known Member

    Your favorites.

  19. sinucello

    sinucello Well-Known Member

    thanks, I know what bookmarks are. But some of my users don`t. I could explain it to the ones who are willing to learn and listen but would lose those who aren`t.
    So in some cases a different start page for users and guests would be better. Hence my suggestion here.
  20. WCFA

    WCFA Active Member

    I agree with the above, I have a group and people often do not know how to post pictures in XF.
    Not because its not clear its because people often do not know or care to learn new ways they just want to join
    up and get involved.
    Members come from all walks of life, unless you are a gamer or your site is a solid niche. Most people coming will vary.
    My site I have people age 18-75 and varied knowledge. I have geeks and techies, and people that hunt and peck when they type.
    And the super techies that want Tapatalk, and every editing, video, attachment smiley we can have. And then there are those who care less.
    Me I have been making websites since the 1990's, yet I do not have a smart phone, personally I think they are a waste of time and money.
    I tried one and said Nah. Yet I do what I do on my sites people say they text me and I laugh, as I do not have text either. :)
    Its a phone, umm you make calls on it hehe.

    Point is each site is going to vary based on what people need, a front page may be cool if people are not sure what
    Jabbabobbootcup.com does. I had an entrance and no one even cared, so for us we do not use one.

    People are different, side demands and needs will vary!:coffee:
    sinucello likes this.

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