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Do you feel a front end (cms or other) is needed to build a strong community?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by -GR-, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. -GR-

    -GR- Well-Known Member

    I have been thinking a lot lately on what to do with the next project that I am working on. I did have XenForo as the root of the site but then I changed it to where Wordpress is the index and Xenforo is in /forum. After having my main site with vb4 and the cms I don't know if I really want to go to that extreme to build up a site.

    So with that being said what are your thoughts on the necessity of having a front end to a website? Do you feel sites that are just forums do just as well as a site with a front end and forums as a sub section?
  2. Shelley

    Shelley Well-Known Member

    I don't feel that it's essential though I do feel that a cms will come in the future. At this time the choice people have is nice with wordpress, portals posted in the add-ons area and custom coded frontends.

    My own preference is I have never felt the need for a front end for my website and went with just a forum though I may evaluate that mindset in the future once I start up my site again.
  3. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Well-Known Member

    I usually have one, using WP now with XenForo, used vbAdvanced when I was using vb, even with vb4. It's a landing page for the visitors/guests who don't know much about you and gives you a chance to highlight what/who you are. But once a visitor/guest starts visiting more than one time, they hardly ever look at the portal again. They go straight for the forum so the front is wasted on them.

    You have to decide what you are using it for and why it's important or not important.
  4. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

    I think it depends on the site and its purpose. There really is no need for an "entry" page, if you don't offer anything there that visitors will find useful.
  5. Edrondol

    Edrondol Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's essential for building a community, but I feel you need something there to bring in traffic to add to the community.
  6. -GR-

    -GR- Well-Known Member

    My main site we have articles and new ones are added all the time so it does give a decent placeholder for the articles instead of getting buried in the forums or having a bunch of sticky posts. I just can't foresee doing articles on the other projects like we do on the main site which is why I am thinking worrying about having a cms is just going to cause more work for me.

    I was amazed at visitor focus and the lack of members noticing changes. We made our Christmas theme the default last night and only one person mentioned it LOL. It is true though once visitors find the forum, that is the page they bookmark and rarely see the front section of the site anymore.

    I just worry about having too many features becomes overly complicated especially depending on who your viewers are that it drives them away.
  7. AnthonyCea

    AnthonyCea Well-Known Member

    Most avid users of forums want to see the forum index, not a bunch of space holders for ads with a box showing the latest threads on the forum.

    Sitepoint as an example, once they added all their landing pages and pop up ads the forum died, if you have to fish around to find a tiny link to the forum index page on a series of CMS pages, I think you have wasted a potential members time.
  8. -GR-

    -GR- Well-Known Member

    I know one of my downfalls with our main site is we have a manuals/downloads section which requires a person to be registered to be able to download. I would say 70% of the members that we get are ones that register just to download a manual and then you never hear from them again. I have been contemplating making the manuals section only viewable by members so we don't get the nonparticipating registrations anymore or at least cut the percentage down.
  9. AnthonyCea

    AnthonyCea Well-Known Member

    There is nothing wrong with that approach, you do get people who register to provide their email address and this is the major value that most marketers look for, a large email database, but you should put in your TOS that you will occasionally send promotional emails to the list, possibly from partners and so on, you know the routine.
  10. -GR-

    -GR- Well-Known Member

    I don't think I could ever send an email to members from a 3rd party source. We do send out our own newsletter and site updates maybe once a month. I am anxious with the new XF site to see how it does with the simplicity. I just need to decide whether or not to have the front end up or not.

    On a side note I am guessing it was already brought to someone's attention that something is breaking the css here on Xenforo? There is a big blue box to the left just under the quick reply.
  11. dutchbb

    dutchbb Well-Known Member

    Depends on what you want to do really. Forums set as main page can work, many examples can be found.
  12. Peggy

    Peggy Well-Known Member

    It's not essential, but nice, depending on the forum.
  13. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

    Screen shot? It may be the facebook Like button (but you have to be logged in to facebook to see it).
  14. Peggy

    Peggy Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen it.
  15. -GR-

    -GR- Well-Known Member

    Your wish is my command:


    I am using firefox 3.6 something.
  16. -GR-

    -GR- Well-Known Member

    I do think it is probably the facebook like button because I don't have facebook connected to my profile on here.
  17. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

    Yeap, I think that's what it is. I'm connected and it shows the "Recommend: Be the first of your friends to recommend this" button.
  18. -GR-

    -GR- Well-Known Member

    I just figured something out that is really weird. When I am on the site through my work connection it shows the blue box almost like sonicwall is blocking it, if I connect via vpn and go on the site it shows the facebook button so it isn't a bug. It is my work's connection somehow. Surprisingly though facebook isn't blocked here at work because it is one of the sites that the plant manager uses along with eBay. LOL
  19. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

    ah yeah, I didn't even think about firewalls or something like that blocking it.

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