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Why we ditched wordpress & switched to xenForo [ & xenPorta ]

TheBigK

Well-known member
#1
I've been contacted by several webmasters about our experience of ditching Wordpress & switching over to full-blown xenForo powered website. Until a few months ago, we used to have WordPress in site's root and xenForo in /community/ directory. We switched over too 100% xenForo setup and I've become a happier webmaster since then.

The Problem:

I was a fan of WordPress and had convinced myself that our site needed a full-blown content management system (CMS). We had the setup for several years until I began finding a solution to integrate everything. Our users demanded that the comments made on WordPress posts didn't add to the overall points and they had no way to 'login' from WordPress. We tried the integration addons available and they are great - but we still could not achieve 100% integration that we wanted viz. Uniform look all over, Uniform User Experience, Login from WordPress, Comments Sync (addon solved this problem), Listing latest threads & resources in the sidebar, Uniform advertising management etc. The biggest problem of all was this: we were essentially creating content at two different places.

The Fix:

I was skeptical about using xenPorta because I thought it won't replace WordPress. I however decided to give it a try and found that all the features I was regularly using were addressed by xenPorta. All I needed was an 'article like look' & ability to define permissions to who can create content for our front page [We've a news blog and only dedicated authors are authorized to create content]. Everything else was optional.

Finally, I decided to make a switch - and in the process took a *very tough* decision of saying goodbye to all the backlinks (we had super cool backlinks from all the amazing sites). Jake Bunce confirmed that there was no way to setup 301s to the imported articles [ thanks to the URL structure we had on WordPress]. We imported ~4000+ articles to a separate forum on xenForo and it took only a few minutes to achieve a uniform look all over the site. We still use a default xF theme with a few customizations; so everything was a cakewalk.

Life After The Switch:

Even after losing so many back-links, our traffic remained unaffected and I'm no longer bothered about SEO, URLs, Technical Problems, Plugin Upgrades, Integration Issues, User Permissions et al. I can concentrate on creating content, interacting with members and growing business. We were able to launch a few totally cool initiatives and life's been awesome.

Hope:

I really hope that KAM will decide on launching an official CMS that gels with xenForo, just like xenPorta. Even if they don't, xenPorta has a great future.

I'm all open to questions you may have.

PS: I didn't proof-read the post. Ignore any typos/grammar mistakes.
 

craigiri

Well-known member
#2
Thanks for this note.....

I think I'd like to do something like this with my hobby site.....it has only about 60 articles in WP

In my case, I write almost all the stuff, so we would only have a couple authors.

How were you able to import the images along with the WP articles?
 

Jaxel

Well-known member
#3
I'm glad XenPorta worked out well for you...

I released XenPorta FOUR DAYS after the release of XenForo. It's a hacky piece of **** that I put together before I really knew anything about XenForo, OOD, MVC or any of that stuff that makes XenForo so great. It works, but I'm not happy with it.

One of these days, I will get around to rewriting it.
 

3rd AnGle

Well-known member
#4
I'm glad XenPorta worked out well for you...

I released XenPorta FOUR DAYS after the release of XenForo. It's a hacky piece of **** that I put together before I really knew anything about XenForo, OOD, MVC or any of that stuff that makes XenForo so great. It works, but I'm not happy with it.

One of these days, I will get around to rewriting it.
you are damn good..
 

Gazhyde

Well-known member
#5
That was an interesting read (y) I've been thinking of moving away from Wordpress but have quite a lot of useful content on it.
Jake Bunce confirmed that there was no way to setup 301s to the imported articles [ thanks to the URL structure we had on WordPress].
What URL structure were you using?
 

DRE

Well-known member
#6
Sounds great. I only use Xenporta for it's raw html widget and it's XenMedio widget. After XMG 1.3 by @Chris Deeming comes out I won't be using XenPorta or XenMedio ever again. Jaxel be doing some weird stuff to some of his widgets and they aren't flexible enough like the widgets in BD Widget by @xfrocks is. All I need now is for Rigel to do Featured Blogs and I'm good to go. http://xfaddons.com/threads/featured-blogs-slider-with-ratings.189/
 

RDR

Well-known member
#7
I'd be interested in hearing how you moved the structure around to replace WP w/ xenporta - did you move your xF install to root and then use rewrites/routes to get forum stuff back to the "community" structure?
 

TheBigK

Well-known member
#8
What URL structure were you using?
We were using /%post_title%/ , - that'd create cleanest of the URLs viz. /this-is-thread-title/.

@DRE : I'm not sure how XMG would replace xenPorta. I'd definitely want enhanced compatibility with other extremely popular add-ons like WidgetFramework and others.

@Jaxel - I thank you for creating xenPorta. It'd however be really nice of you if you could tell us what's your plan for the rewrite of xenPorta and what's coming? I'm specifically interested in knowing what features you're planning for the add-on.

I'd be interested in hearing how you moved the structure around to replace WP w/ xenporta - did you move your xF install to root and then use rewrites/routes to get forum stuff back to the "community" structure?
Frankly speaking - it's all computer science wizardry of @Jake Bunce. He created a test installation of vBulletin 4, imported all our WordPress posts to it and then imported all those posts into our xenForo forum.

Once the import was done; we removed WordPress, & moved xenForo to site's root. With xF running in site's root, we installed xenPorta; switched forum home to /community/ and set the index to xenPorta. It isn't very difficult once you have xenForo running in site's root.
 

TheBigK

Well-known member
#10
The only reason, and I mean ONLY reason, I haven't ditched Wordpress and switched to XenPorta is review schema (rich snippets).
Regular rich snippets have been working fine for us; all you need to do is associate your Google+ profile to your posts; and switch to using your real name instead of a username.
 

DRE

Well-known member
#11
We were using /%post_title%/ , - that'd create cleanest of the URLs viz. /this-is-thread-title/.

@DRE : I'm not sure how XMG would replace xenPorta. I'd definitely want enhanced compatibility with other extremely popular add-ons like WidgetFramework and others.

@Jaxel - I thank you for creating xenPorta. It'd however be really nice of you if you could tell us what's your plan for the rewrite of xenPorta and what's coming? I'm specifically interested in knowing what features you're planning for the add-on.


Frankly speaking - it's all computer science wizardry of @Jake Bunce. He created a test installation of vBulletin 4, imported all our WordPress posts to it and then imported all those posts into our xenForo forum.

Once the import was done; we removed WordPress, & moved xenForo to site's root. With xF running in site's root, we installed xenPorta; switched forum home to /community/ and set the index to xenPorta. It isn't very difficult once you have xenForo running in site's root.
XMG is for replacing XMP
 

Moshe1010

Well-known member
#15
The main reason why I'm not changing to XenPorta is lack of integrating images on the sides of the text. We use this a lot, and it makes the articles much more engaging (especially long articles with +3-5K words).
 

TheBigK

Well-known member
#16
The main reason why I'm not changing to XenPorta is lack of integrating images on the sides of the text. We use this a lot, and it makes the articles much more engaging (especially long articles with +3-5K words).
Yeah, that's one limitation of xenForo; however there's a BB Code add-on available that lets you do much more with overall text formatting. I'm not using it because I don't need it; I however hope to see it getting added to xF core.