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Facebook thoughts, Homepage thoughts

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by tonmo, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. tonmo

    tonmo Active Member

    It's interesting how the "front door" of Facebook and Twitter are useless unless you login (and of course, stay logged in). i.e., if you simply go to Facebook.com and you're not logged in, there's nothing to do but sign up or login. If you ARE logged in, of course you get your feed, and from then on, that's your experience.

    Meanwhile, if you're not logged in but you know the URL of a specific page, or conduct a Google search and get hits on "public" messages (open content), you can consume that content. For example, do a search for "octopus site:facebook.com" in Incognito mode in chrome (no cookies/not logged in) and you'll get results.

    So, it's not TOTALLY closed. Just the front door is closed.

    I was just considering making my homepage the Recent Activity feed, since it's an all-encompassing list of things going on. But then I realized, at least by default, that feed isn't visible to unregistered users... and it probably shouldn't be. Which got me to thinking... what if I made my xenforo-based site behave in a similar way to FB? Registration is free, and in my case you can get further perks with a Supporter upgrade... but from the onset, when you come to the front door, you have to register to get started. Use "remember me" to maintain a personalized experience.

    Forum content, articles, etc. would be open for everyone to enjoy, with some exceptions. There are certain things (like member lists, and Activity Feeds) that are only available to registered members.

    I am guessing robots.txt could be optimized to ensure search engines are able to find all the publicly-available content... but coming in through the root domain would not be very satisfying UNLESS you are a registered user.

  2. jauburn

    jauburn Well-Known Member

    I like the idea. How would accomplish this, settings-wise, in the admincp?
  3. Jeremy P

    Jeremy P Well-Known Member

    @tonmo The Recent Activity feed is available to guests, they just won't be able to see anything in it that they don't have permission to view.

    Anyways, it's an interesting idea. I don't think any combination of settings in the ACP will currently cause XF to behave this way.
  4. The Forum Heroes

    The Forum Heroes Well-Known Member

    I would think a custom page as the index would work well. <if guest> show custom login template </else> show recent activity template </if>
    tonmo likes this.
  5. tonmo

    tonmo Active Member

    That's exactly what I was thinking - I just need to learn how to do that so it works :) I will be giving it a try.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
  6. tonmo

    tonmo Active Member

    Actually, I think this will be quite easy:

    1) create a link forum which goes to Recent Activity page, and in the node tree, make that your homepage. Make the necessary edits in options to equate Recent Activity to your homepage. (Tab title "Home", etc.).

    2) update the Phrases language for login_required. Change it from "You must be logged in to do that." to something much more warm and friendly :). Change the red background where that message displays to something green and more inviting :). Change the title of that page from "Error" to your site name.

    Flip the script!
  7. tonmo

    tonmo Active Member

    so far so good but am having issues with tab selection (Members is higlighted, I want Home to be highlighted). I have Nodes as Tabs add-on, not sure if it is helping or not but playing with various parameters/options.
  8. n00bsaibot

    n00bsaibot Active Member

    I also like the idea of a static front page with a brief forum description and registration/login link. But keep reading dynamic front page is better for SEO. Any thoughts on this?
  9. RoldanLT

    RoldanLT Well-Known Member

    Why not just use something like this?
  10. tonmo

    tonmo Active Member

    Agreed, I've since dropped the link forum, and am just using the method above as part of item 1). However, I am struggling with getting a Home tab which displays as highlighted when visiting my "front door"... Currently, the "members" tab is highlighted. So, I'm looking into what it might take to create a Custom Page that simply shows the Recent Activity content (kind of like a duplicate page, but gives me more control over the highlighted tab...). I could add further customizations that way, too.

    Item 2) is useful in presenting a more positive guest experience... the current treatment is an Error treatment. It's more user-friendly to instead welcome folks to the site, since by design, guests can't access that page's content. I want them to register... and to me, the most useful home page info for a registered user is the activity feed, so they can see what's up.

    I also want to add the "post status updates" form to this page but one thing at a time...
  11. tonmo

    tonmo Active Member

    @Mike Edge, I have been doing a lot of searching and you seem to have worked with this in the past (e.g., https://xenforo.com/community/threads/update-your-status-in-recent-activity.58369/). Though input from anyone here is welcome!

    I'm struggling.

    I have the guest part working fine:


    ...but for registered members, I cannot get the Tab to highlight. I even have the Nodes with Tabs add-on, but that only works with new nodes that the user can create. All I want to do is to have the /recent-activity page light up the Home tab instead of the Members tab. Is there a simple manual edit for this?


    I even have unique secondary links under the Home tab (which is where Nodes with Tabs comes in handy vs. just setting the Home Page Url in general board settings), but unless that tab can be highlighted, they're not going to show.

    Stuck, so appreciate any help.
  12. tonmo

    tonmo Active Member

    Google WMT didn't take well to this. It would not verify my site for whatever reasons. As a result I have done a few things:
    - moved forum to root
    - forum index is where root domain resolves. Logo too.
    - "home" tab goes to the recent activity page as described above.

    Still a little goofy but until I can get a useful, dynamic landing page without a lot of strange redirects (and without add ons), this seems best bet, for now.

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