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Old 03-17-2015, 04:02 PM   #1
XDCX
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Post I'm thinking about developing DealershipForum v2.0

I'm currently in the process of exploring my options for the development of the next version of DealershipForum - aka DealershipForum v2.0.

When I developed the forum in 2008 the software I selected, vBulletin, was the undisputed industry leader. Since that time, however, vBulletin had been sold-off and they're losing market share to other forum software offerings that are more robust.

While I still like the overall look and feel of DealershipForum v1.0 I try to remain objective and acknowledge the forum has some big shortcomings.

In my opinion, DF v1.0 fails in the following areas:

  • The forum is not mobile friendly - the site loads painfully slow on my smartphone and it's very difficult to read and navigate the site on a mobile device.
  • Adding pictures to the site is way too hard. While every thread doesn't need a picture I think photos make the site more engaging and they're more likely to generate traffic and registrations.
  • The forum has no integration with social media. While I'm not a big fan of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. one could argue that it's insane not to offer social media integration to expand the reach of the forum.
  • The forum does not scale well on all Internet browsers. While the site looks fine on Internet Explorer the world has moved away from IE and I know site doesn't always look right when viewed with other browsers or on an Apple device.
  • The forum could benefit from some advertising revenue. Personally, I hate most forum ads but my plan is to develop the site so members who are logged on don't see many adds but the people who just drop by as guests do.
I'm still early into the investigation phase and it's possible that DF v2.0 is still nothing but a pipedream. That said, I'm interested in hearing any input on features/changes you think would make DealershipForum a better site.
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Old 03-17-2015, 04:31 PM   #2
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I don't mind the current DF on mobile... smartphones are a lot more prevalent now than in the days when I was lurking in 2008-2013 until I actually joined!

I have no issues using the forum on mobile, but usually just reply via computer.
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Old 03-17-2015, 04:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mryan55 View Post
I don't mind the current DF on mobile... smartphones are a lot more prevalent now than in the days when I was lurking in 2008-2013 until I actually joined!

I have no issues using the forum on mobile, but usually just reply via computer.
That's interesting. On my smartphone when I'm using Verizon's 4G LTE the forum is so slow it's not even worth reading. When I use wifi on my phone the site loads OK but I still think it's somewhat difficult to read/navigate.

The software I'm looking at, Xenforo, automatically scales to the device. Based on the few forums I've looked at that use the Xenforo software it seems to work great.
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Old 03-17-2015, 04:47 PM   #4
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Default 100% of DF v1.0 would be transferred to DF v2.0

For those who may be concerned, 100% of the content that's here on DealershipForum v1.0 would be transferred to DealershipForum v2.0.

There are so many vBulletin sites that are moving to Xenforo software that there are tools that make the transfer of data pretty easy.
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by XDCX View Post
That's interesting. On my smartphone when I'm using Verizon's 4G LTE the forum is so slow it's not even worth reading. When I use wifi on my phone the site loads OK but I still think it's somewhat difficult to read/navigate.

The software I'm looking at, Xenforo, automatically scales to the device. Based on the few forums I've looked at that use the Xenforo software it seems to work great.
I'm not a Verizon customer, but AT&T LTE in Indianapolis and Detroit is speedy enough to read on your phone without much incident.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:23 AM   #6
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I have used the mobile safari web page. My biggest objection to viewing the site on mobile is the constant adjusting the page to see the small print. I use it only when I am away from a desktop, and not expecting to be back on one for days. I would think the vast majority of your "posting" participants are desk or lap top users while they are at their desks. If this is true, why is it important to cater to "tangent" viewers?
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 57years View Post
I have used the mobile safari web page. My biggest objection to viewing the site on mobile is the constant adjusting the page to see the small print. I use it only when I am away from a desktop, and not expecting to be back on one for days. I would think the vast majority of your "posting" participants are desk or lap top users while they are at their desks. If this is true, why is it important to cater to "tangent" viewers?
My guess is to try to get some advertising income. Goodness knows Xman puts lots of time into this site and he deserves some return. I know I really enjoy this connection to the car business and think I have made some good friends, even though I have never met them in person! Sure hope I can some day. So I'm all for it, especially if it will help out with keeping the site going.

Last edited by steve_biegler; 03-18-2015 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:32 AM   #8
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I do not disagree on iota with that. Thanks for pointing my square head to it.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 57years View Post
I have used the mobile safari web page. My biggest objection to viewing the site on mobile is the constant adjusting the page to see the small print. I use it only when I am away from a desktop, and not expecting to be back on one for days. I would think the vast majority of your "posting" participants are desk or lap top users while they are at their desks. If this is true, why is it important to cater to "tangent" viewers?
You make an excellent point.

In my experience with some other forums that I read I notice that I'm more inclined to read the forums on my smartphone and then reply to threads or create new ones when I'm on my desktop. The point of offering a better mobile experience is to keep potential members engaged so they'll be more likely to add content via their desktop at a later point.

There's one website that I frequent quite often, AndroidCentral.com, and I find that their main website is so clustered up that it's much easier to reply to existing threads using their App on my smartphone. I don't really want a separate App for DF but it could be an option at some point down the road.
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Old 03-18-2015, 11:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve_biegler View Post
My guess is to try to get some advertising income. Goodness knows Xman puts lots of time into this site and he deserves some return. I know I really enjoy this connection to the car business and think I have made some good friends, even though I have never met them in person! Sure hope I can some day. So I'm all for it, especially if it will help out with keeping the site going.
I have mixed thoughts regarding ads.

For the most part I hate web advertising and I don't want to drive members who add value to the site away. On the other hand, if there have been 40,000+ people who have viewed the thread about adding navigation to their 8.4 Uconnect Radio it would be nice to get some revenue from that traffic.
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:34 PM   #11
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I have mixed thoughts regarding ads.

For the most part I hate web advertising and I don't want to drive members who add value to the site away. On the other hand, if there have been 40,000+ people who have viewed the thread about adding navigation to their 8.4 Uconnect Radio it would be nice to get some revenue from that traffic.
I have no idea how much Google pays for display ads and such (I've only been on the other end as a buyer of display ads, and I'm sure Google keeps a fair amount of the spread) but I'm sure it would all add up over time!
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Old 03-25-2015, 12:54 PM   #12
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Angry I hate forum advertising....

I was surfing some forums the other day and they were super slow because each time you clicked on a thread a new page with advertisements would have to load and it seemed like it took forever.

Given my hatred of forum advertising, I don't think I could go that direction based on what I've experienced so far.

On a related note, I have contacted a Website Developer and I'm going to have him mock-up a version of DealershipForum using Xenforo to see if I like it. If you have some suggested improvements, now is a good time to share them - either in this thread or to me directly via PM.
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Old 01-18-2016, 02:13 PM   #13
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Default Back on the Front Burner....

Well, it's been almost a year and the idea of creating DealershipForum v2.0 is back on the front burner.

While there's no guarantee it will come to fruition I'm working with a design company to provide me with an estimate on what it would cost to convert DealershipForum from vBulletin to Xenforo for software.

If I make the software switch the forum will be much easier to browse on handheld devices and I can incorporate some changes I want to make when I'm creating DealershipForum v2.0.

One of my first steps will be updating the DealershipForum logo and getting an additional smaller logo that's suitable for Facebook and Twitter since logos that are the size of a postage stamp seem better suited for those sites.

As before, if you have input into what you'd like to see in DealershipForum v2.0 I'm receptive to your thoughts.
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:01 PM   #14
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I like this forum. Being a GM guy though, the content is low for me, but the insights on FCA is eye-opening.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:25 PM   #15
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I like this forum. Being a GM guy though, the content is low for me, but the insights on FCA is eye-opening.
I totally understand and agree.

My background is Chrysler so when I started the forum that was the OEM I focused on. I know the content level is low for a lot of the sections on the forum.

I've been reluctant to try and grow the forum for the past year or so because I felt pretty certain that I'd want to switch software. With the new software and a better mobile experience I can take another stab at marketing the forum and increasing both membership and content.
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