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Community activity has been WAY down since we switched over to our new proprietary platform and off of vBulletin just over a year ago. There was literally a night and day difference in activity from the day before the switch to the day after. I thought that it would just take some getting used to while we got all of the kinks worked out, but activity never picked back up and it's been slowly on the decline ever since.

What is it that made vBulletin so much better?! Is our platform just confusing to use??

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Last Post by Dani
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  • 3

    This is totally based upon my own opinion and is not to hit out at anyone, or, take favour in any other question based forum that may exist on the internet. * Boring at times, not very quick paced At times it can be, and, this seems to be mainly … Read More

  • 3
    Dani 1,638   4 Years Ago

    Working on integrating a live chat feature right now. Read More

  • 3
    Dani 1,638   4 Years Ago

    Sneak preview = http://www.daniweb.com/community-center/3/chat Read More

  • 2

    I don't think Daniweb can compete with the user base Q & A of stackoverflow. It's a very different beast. Here we get inundated with one post requests, homework questions and other crapola. That's probably why the answers aren't as succint as SO. I mean you can google something and … Read More

  • There are several types of posts that really annoy me. Note that when I say I'd like to delete, I generally do not. ##Please do my homework for me## I would be quite happy to delete these posts immediately so that they don't even appear on the thread lists. This … Read More

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Just some general observations I've had over the last few weeks:

When starting a new thread, the popup to share has always bothered me but mostly because I don't like pop-ups. This may also be bothersome to noobs who come here in so far as they may not come back to ask questions later. I don't know, just a thought.

There are a lot of Database questions that get asked here and I've always wondered why the database forum was in the Web Development drop down and not as its own dropdown for My, MS, Oracle, & others. I know that they are used for web development but that is not their only function in the tech world.

I still think this site looks, feels, and operates better than vBulletin and while you know there has been a drop since switching, I'm not sure that would be the only reason for such a drastic reduction here. Not to say that I know why that happened and you could be right, I just wonder if there are other reasons instead of the changeover.

Somehow (I think) daniweb needs to be shown on the first page of tech-question queries with Google and other search engines. I have no idea how that gets done though but that would definitely help.

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I still think this site looks, feels, and operates better than vBulletin and while you know there has been a drop since switching, I'm not sure that would be the only reason for such a drastic reduction here.

There was a night and day difference of over 50% from the day before we switched to the day after. Posts per day looks something like this:

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Somehow (I think) daniweb needs to be shown on the first page of tech-question queries with Google and other search engines. I have no idea how that gets done though but that would definitely help.

We used to be, but what happens is the less new content we generate, the harder it becomes to optimize for the search engines. Therefore, it's a vicious cycle of generating less content, so getting less traffic, so generating even less content, so getting even less traffic. The entire cycle started the day we switched to the new platform.

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Tags would help for search engines too right? What if, at thread creation time, you ran an algorithm that searched titles for keywords like PHP, HTML, Java, SQL, and so on to auto create tags for each thread? This could ensure tag creation for common words. Personally, I've been making an effort to create tags with new threads but I don't always and didn't in the past. Just an idea.

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Tags don't really help for search engines. Their primary purpose is to make it easier for humans to find content beyond the constraints of a pre-defined list of categories.

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Even still, that would be a gradual process. Literally the number of posts being contributed per HOUR changed by over 50% the moment switching to the new platform, and hasn't bounced back at all since.

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I've participated on a several forum type sites and I typically don't care for those with the "canned" look and feel of a forum. I gave up on them and stuck with MS for a while. In the past two months i've even stopped participating on the MS Technet forum which I use to heavily participate on.

I don't know what it is about the switch over that caused this drop for you, but I do like your site very much. I think its easy to use, and very aesthetic.

From a participation perpesptive, I wish you had more users asking more questions related to Network design, Microsoft Networking Services.

I hope you figure out a way to turn the participation back on track.

Could the switching over and dropping trend have been a coincidence?

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I don't understand the reason for the sudden drop in traffic. Personally, I find posting in the new system much easier than in vbulletin. I don't care for live preview but that doesn't really get in the way of anything. I very much dislike to facebook tie-in but, again, that is a personal thing. I consider facebook to be an immense and useless time sink and I resent it intruding on my web experience. For example, I frequently read articles on alternet.org and when you get halfway down the page, up pops a banner saying "LIKE ON FACEBOOK" or something similar. I find it intrusive, especially since it is completely unrelated to what I am doing. I know that on DaniWeb it only pops up when I start a thread but it still irks me. That's not to say I expect you to change it. It's just a personal quirk and it's my problem, not yours.

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Could the switching over and dropping trend have been a coincidence?

No, definitely not. It was literally a night and day difference as soon as we switched to the new system, down to the hour. Over time, less new content means less traffic which means even less now content, but there was definitely a strong catalyst.

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Well, if I could I would do something to increase traffic but I don't know what to do. I really like this site and hence don't want to see it fall into the abyss.

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I am curious: did the URL of these forums change too (when the platform change occurred)? I forgot what it was before, if it was different.

Almost all vBulletin or IPB forums I visit include the term "forum" in the URL. Whenever I search for a forum on a particular topic, it has become almost second nature for me to do a Google search specifically for forums. For example, if I want to find a forum whose theme is mathematics, I would do a Google search like the following:

mathematics inurl:forum

I don't like to spend a lot of time searching through non-relevant results, so like to make each search as specific as possible. I might also use the intitle tag, or some of the other advanced search operators too--anything to make results as applicable as possible.

Daniweb does not have the term "forum" in its URL, or title. If a new programmer goes on the Internet and searches for "programming forums", and perhaps uses the advanced search operator, I don't think Daniweb would come up.

Perhaps that is just me. But I thought I would throw that out there.

Edited by DavidB

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Another question just came to mind. Could that drop in posts, or attempted posts, be accounted for by automated spambots that search for vBulletin sites? Perhaps the change in platform removed Daniweb as a target for scripts seeking vBulletin sites--in which case, that is a good thing.

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That is very curious and worrying I guess. From a user POV I haven't noticed any issues.

I find it easier than the old vb system and has tonnes more functionality. But I guess if you're looking at it, the number of new posts will be made by newbies rather than veteran members.

Assuming the SEO rankings (google panda etc) are not a factor we'd need newbies to answer this question.

Edited by iamthwee

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Another question just came to mind. Could that drop in posts, or attempted posts, be accounted for by automated spambots that search for vBulletin sites? Perhaps the change in platform removed Daniweb as a target for scripts seeking vBulletin sites--in which case, that is a good thing.

That is a very good point. Those posts numbers could have been attributed to one post wonders, or spam bots. With the new custom system I'd imagine a large portion of spam bots wouldn't have been able to do their spam postings.

Not sure if this is a good thing from your POV. It's good for us, but if you trying to flog advertising and your customer's are looking over the traffic and posts per day they might not be so keen.

I don't know? It's a tough one.

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My guess would be spam bots too -- programmingforums.org is vBulletin based and gets about 10 new registerations an hour -- 99% of them are spam bots.

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I'd also wager that the majority of the traffic drop was spammers using vBulletin tools. But since you keep asking about the traffic drop, Dani, I'm guessing you have a way of rejecting that theory?

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I am curious: did the URL of these forums change too (when the platform change occurred)? I forgot what it was before, if it was different.

We haven't had 'forums' in our URL for a very long time now. Our URLs are slightly different in that they now include a slug of the thread title while they previously didn't, but all URLs are 301 redirected. I would have never thought to make the assumption that /forums/ is in the URL of a forum, personally.

Could that drop in posts, or attempted posts, be accounted for by automated spambots that search for vBulletin sites? Perhaps the change in platform removed Daniweb as a target for scripts seeking vBulletin sites--in which case, that is a good thing.

The change in platform definitely removed DaniWeb as a spam target. However, I'm comparing only non-deleted posts against non-deleted posts, and I don't believe a significant number slipped through the cracks of moderation to account for such an astounding difference.

But I guess if you're looking at it, the number of new posts will be made by newbies rather than veteran members.

The number of new threads being started has only slightly decreased (~20% drop). It's really the number of new posts that's been astoundingly dramatic (~60% drop). Then again, you can say that there are 2+ replies for every one thread being started on average, so that would make sense for an overall decrease in activity.

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The number of new threads being started has only slightly decreased (~20% drop). It's really the number of new posts that's been astoundingly dramatic (~60% drop). Then again, you can say that there are 2+ replies for every one thread being started on average, so that would make sense for an overall decrease in activity.

Have we come to the conclusion that the drop in traffic is actually logicially accounted for then?

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Well we know the drop in traffic is a direct result of an astounding decrease in activity as a result of the new system going live. What has yet to be determined is why that decrease happened (and is still happening). Even today, we're getting just a fraction of the amount of activity as in the past with similar traffic levels.

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We haven't had 'forums' in our URL for a very long time now

Wouldn't you be able to test that theory by including forum in say the Community Center URL's?

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URLs aren't something you want to mess with unless you absolutely have to, because they can be deteriment to SEO. Still, that wouldn't solve the issue as to why people are unable to post replies in the new system.

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With regard to the proliferation of pre-changeover posts - were they by new members (handful of posts) or by more seasoned members? Getting the profile of 'pre-change thread posters' may be useful. Were they mostly fly-byers?

Has the voting system put some of them off? Don't seem to get so much necroposting anymore - was this a significant amount pre-change?

Have spammers and sig stuffers been effectively eradicated compared to before? Is the moderation team more effective at doing this?

Are some seasoned members too quick to jump in and provide a 'de-facto' answer before others get a chance to join in and have a discussion? I've noticed that the php threads get pretty sharp responses from some old heads. I usually don't bother to contribute if I see a couple of names there, thinking, well, they'll sort it out.

I suppose a number of these things were true in the past too.

I agree though, when I search for soemthing I get 20 SO hits, and very little else these days. DW doesn't feature too much.

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I've noticed that the php threads get pretty sharp responses from some old heads

Circumstances are causing too much time on my hands, so am online more often than before. I can back off to see if it makes a difference.

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Not saying this is the case. Just raising the question! This must be happenning right across the site so I doubt it would be the major issue.

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Daniweb certainly doesn't show up as high in Google results for Java help as before. It used to be within the top 5 for many technically-specific searches, ie "jtable cell renderer background color" and now it is page 2 or more.

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I can back off to see if it makes a difference.

Noooooo!! Please don't. You're like one of our few saving graces these days.

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Don't think I've ever been called that before, lol. Was just saying if you thought it could help, I'd have no problem with it. I'll try being this active as long as I can, I have the time at the moment.

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A couple other ideas come to mind.

Daniweb still seems to be Firefox unfriendly. Could that be an issue?

Has Daniweb been mentioned in all the social media outlets? When I check Google Analytics, several Data Hub Partners are listed (17) in their Social Media section. Is Daniweb listed/mentioned in all these partner sites? (I have no idea if Google gives these sites more influence than others, but it can't hurt to cover all the bases.)

More Tutorials. When I search for answers to programming questions, very often the top results are tutorial pages on codeguru or similar sites. These tutorials are very useful, the information they provide is not time-sensitive, and they don't get buried deep in the forums as time goes by.

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