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Travelstories.gr

Discussion in 'Forum Showcase and Critiques' started by Dakis, May 5, 2013.

  1. Dakis

    Dakis Well-Known Member

    I know I know, it's in Greek, but it is the largest travel forum in the country, 18,000 members, nearly half a million posts, 200,000 visits per month. Started in phpbb, converted to vbulletin 3 after 1 year, and now, after 6 years, to xenforo + Wordpress.

    Wordpress site: www.travelstories.gr
    Community: www.travelstories.gr/community

    XenForo fully responsive skin design by Miner (www.minerskinz.com) - requested to match the wp design - did an excellent job as you can see. The WP menus are ugly at this point, looking for some CSS magic to copy the forum menu styling, but other than that, the site's up.

    ALL vb stuff converted with zero problems (except vbalbums > xfuseralbums) and all redirections are now set up and working great.

    I would never have thought I'd manage to convert my site that had so many customizations to xenforo in such a short time.

    Thanks also to Chris Deeming for helping out with his awesome work building me some custom add-ons, and to my friend Arny for his advice. :)
     
  2. ArnyVee

    ArnyVee Well-Known Member

    Congratulations my friend!

    It's been a LONG time coming and I'm glad that the move has finally been made :D
     
    Miner and Dakis like this.
  3. Dakis

    Dakis Well-Known Member

    I smell wdb... :ROFLMAO:
     
    ArnyVee likes this.
  4. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    Congrats Dakis :)
     
    ArnyVee and Dakis like this.
  5. Dakis

    Dakis Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to post an update here to share my experience, as www.travelstories.gr no longer has wordpress installed. I have removed it after 6 months of having it and trying to make it work. The issues I had were:

    1) No reliable bridge that works 100%. I tried the available commercial scripts and they wouldn't work for my case (usernames in greek, usernames with spaces etc)

    2) having a completely separate system for the content turned out to be a huge mistake, as users continued supplying content in the forum as before, and I had to manually convert the "useful" content to wordpress, which was time consuming, very frustrating, and at the end was giving a home page with rare updates.

    3) lack of time on my side to use wordpress for other uses (such as creating a destinations directory or a hotels directory)

    4) not unified user experience, as the site had two different menus that were very clear to frequent users, but very confusing for first time or unfrequent users.

    Anyhow, I have removed wordpress in November and the site has been running XenPorta every since. I can now publish anything I want from the forums either with a click of a button either automatically by pulling stuff from specific forums, and this has given back a homepage that gets updates more frequently, and also provides a unified user experience throughout the site.

    The funny thing is, I haven't seen any massive changes in my Analytics trends, in none of these steps. Moving from vb > xenForo I didn't notice any real change (except for pageviews drop which was expected with xenForo's handling of pages), putting in wordpress i didn't see anything incredible either, and taking it out the same thing.

    It seems the forum's content google power is just too strong perhaps? (I'm getting more than 75% of my visits from google).

    One thing I *have* lost over the past couple of years is the bounce rate which has risen from below 45% to more than 60% and this is something I'm struggling with.

    I am now in research of the best tool to create a travel-encyclopedia of sorts, that will allow my members to create "items" in destinations, such as hotels, restaurants, etc (like a catalogue or directory), to make it easier to find information for every destination in the world. It seems my options are the following:

    http://xenforo.com/community/resources/xenzine-articles.1979/

    http://xenforo.com/community/resources/surreyforum-xenkingdir-link-business-directory-directory.134/

    http://xenforo.com/community/resources/showcase.1208/

    Any suggestions on the above or other ideas? What I want to do is create the destinations (cities) and have categories of items in there (hotels, restaurants, etc) and the users will post items for each one of these categories, and other users can rate them.

    I know the site is in Greek so I'm not expecting a lot of feedback but it would be great if I could get the community's help in the above situation :)
     
    Robert F Schmitz likes this.

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