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vangogh
08-10-2010, 02:42 AM
Hey All,

Well we celebrated a birthday recently. The forum is now a few days past 2 years old. The anniversary also means I get to renew our license on the software. With version 4 vBulletin now offers a new licensing structure and what they call a publishing suite. It's the forum + the ability to write articles and blog posts.

They're trying to get people to upgrade to the full suite and I went ahead and did just that. When I have a chance (hopefully in a few weeks - no promises), I'll upgrade again. The forum itself won't change (other than maybe some bug fixes), but we'll have the ability to do a little more with the site.

If you want to see take a look at the vBulletin site (http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/forum.php), since they're using the suite now. Their site is set up a little differently. If you navigate back to their main domain (http://www.vbulletin.com/) there are some pages outside the forum software. If you click the Features tab you can see what comes with the suite (scroll down a little past midway).

I'll make sure that when you come to the main domain here it'll be the forum that will show. In fact at first I'm going to turn all the extras off so we're only running the forum just as we are and slowly turn some of the new features on. I'm going to need to figure out what's the best way to set things up.

Thought I'd ask what you think of the suite. Again check the vBulletin site (http://www.vbulletin.com/forum/) to see it live. The main additions are the Home and Blog tabs. I think the tracker is something specific to the vBulletin site.

My initial thought is to give out limited privileges to a select few people where the blogs are concerned.

I'm curious what you think. It'll be a bit different, but the forum itself should remain the same. This should be more about additions to what we have rather than changes to what we have. Do you like the additions? Do you not like them? Any thoughts at all?

Thanks.

Spider
08-10-2010, 10:01 AM
I'd like to tell you what I think but the font's too small to read! : )

vangogh
08-10-2010, 12:24 PM
Good one :)

KristineS
08-10-2010, 05:04 PM
I like the blog addition, but you knew I would. I think that could add a whole new dimension to the discussions. It will also allow us to go more in depth. I'm excited about it.

Chimpie
08-10-2010, 05:39 PM
Good luck with 4.0 Suite. I started using it but found it to be too hard for just a hobby site. I stuck with 3.8 and vBadvanced.

vB Blogs are great for SEO, but are only useful if members really put the effort to maintain and keep them up to date, just like regular blogs.

vangogh
08-11-2010, 12:13 AM
I'm not too worried about the technical aspects. It's what I do after all. Plus we're already using a good portion of the suite now since we're running the latest version of vBulletin. Yeah the blogs do need effort. I'm not planning on letting everyone have one. Most people won't be getting one, but I want to offer the opportunity to a select few who've been contributing here a lot and who I think are capable of the writing and helping promote the forum brand.

rcr
05-03-2012, 01:20 AM
I found this forum thread via a google search about whether vBulletin's Publishing Suite is worth the extra cost/effort.

Your initial posts seemed positive about the possibilities with Publishing Suite. However, I don't see the blog option present on your homepage now.. Did you decide against it? If so, why?

Update appreciated - Thanks!

vangogh
05-03-2012, 02:30 AM
I haven't turned it on yet, except for a few members a staff. I haven't decided against using it, though. It's more that this forum isn't my prime business and outside of the basics of keeping it running, it doesn't always get top priority. I'm hoping to find some time for it later in this year. It's as much to do with a lack of time to create the content that would go on the blogs and CMS as it is setting it all. Much of the Publishing Suite is set up behind the scenes.

Have you worked with vBulletin before as a standalone forum? If you have working with the CMS and blogs will feel similar. I'm not crazy about working with vBulletin in general. I think the system makes things much more complicated than they need to be, however it's not any more difficult to work with the blogs and CMS than it is the forum itself. Just a few more options on the admin side for the new features.

From what I understand vBulletin is trying to push everyone toward the suite and I would think in time it may be the only option for purchase. Whether or not you'll see any benefit will likely depend on what you want to do. If you click around on the vBulletin.com site you can see everything in action. Click on the CMS link on the home page and you'll see how it works. It's basically a way to add pages to the site. Similar for the blogs. You may have already checked out their site, but just in case I thought I would mention it.

The main reason you don't see it here does have more to do with things not related to the software itself, though I'm debating and even leaning toward setting up WordPress on the site to handle everything outside the blog. I work with WordPress all the time so it's much easier for me to use and customize. If I thought the forum plugins for WordPress (bbPress or SimplePress) were as feature rich as the vBulletin forum I'd probably switch the forum over too.

Are there any specific questions or concerns you have about the Publishing Suite? I'll be happy to answer any if I can.

rcr
05-04-2012, 02:16 PM
Thank you for your reply.

Given your perspective, I think I'll start with just the Forum, and not Publishing Suite. I don't want to create more maintenance/moderation for myself until I get a sense of my user base.

I've never worked with vBulletin before, and am interested in putting a forum on my website primarily because:
1) I have a lot of users who will use it
2) I'm hoping to get some SEO value

From my digging around, it seems like vBulletin used to be very valuable for SEO.. Even still, vBulletin forum content seems to appear on a lot of Google searches.

From what you know, is this still true? If SEO were a priority for you, would you still choose vBulletin, or do you think the free options like bbPress/SimplePress/phpBB/other are good enough?

Thanks again for your insight

vangogh
05-04-2012, 07:12 PM
If you've never worked with vBulletin then it might be better to start with just the forum. You can always upgrade to the Publishing Suite if you need to later. It might end up costing a little more that way, but it shouldn't be much more.

If your interested in SEO you'll want to get the vBSEO addon (http://www.vbseo.com/) for vBulletin. It will tweak a few things to make your forum more attractive to search engines. Forums won't just rank automatically though. They need content. The hardest part about getting a forum off the ground is going to be building the core group of members who'll post enough to keep the forum active. In the beginning you'll probably need to be the most active poster on your forum.

As far as the choice in forums for seo I don't think seo would be the reason I would choose one forum software over another. They can all be optimized. The Press forums should be well optimized out of the box since WordPress generally is. No software is going to automatically get you rankings though. There's more to it, though your software choice can make it easier or harder.

I'd pick forum software based on the features it has and how important you think they'll be for your members. I do find vBulletin more difficult to work with than it should be, but it's also the most feature rich forum and I don't think anything yet approaches all it can do.

If you're still not sure which software you want you should give several a look. You're a member here and we're using vBulletin so look around and see what you think. Join a forum that uses phpBB and another that used bbPress. Same for SimplePress. Other forum software include Invasion Board, Simple Machine Forum, and Vanilla. Each has a site that uses their own software so you could look around and join a few to get a more in-depth look.

Watchdog
05-13-2012, 06:05 PM
I have been thinking seriously about that switch - but with the sponsors I have I can't make too many changes but I'm ready to make the switch. Personally I have a huge industry that might like the blogging features.

I also maintain a couple licenses of older versions that I really like the simplicity of them. So I'm not sure if I'll upgrade them or buy a new suite :)

vangogh
05-14-2012, 12:13 PM
You mean making the switch to the Publishing Suite or switching away from vBulletin? I like the idea of the Publishing Suite, but I'm not crazy about how vBulletin does much of anything on the backend. I think they make everything more complicated than it needs to be. It's old software that probably could have used a complete rewrite at some point that it's never gotten so it still does a number of things in ways that few would ever consider doing now.

Watchdog
05-15-2012, 06:13 AM
Staying with the VB and adding or switching Publishing Suite . I started my other forum with post nuke and had the "add your news" feature but in reality it wasn't much of a hit. I find that people want to get their story out, but they don't want to do the work - So that will be part of the decision in making the switch or not. The jury's still out on this.

vangogh
05-15-2012, 11:34 PM
It's hard to know if the Publishing Suite would be the right move for you. It's not incredibly expensive, though it's not exactly cheap either. The blogging features were easy enough to set up. You'd have to be careful though. I wouldn't turn them on here for all accounts since I think it would just be a spam magnet. You'd probably want to turn it on only for select member groups and then create a group with blogging privileges. You can turn the privileges on and off per group which is nice.

The main CMS is more like a way to create pages outside the forum or blogs.