Jump to content

Welcome back>

This is the new Invision Focus!

RSS BOT

+Members
  • Content Count

    87
  • Joined

  • Last visited

    Never

Followers

No followers

Information

Group

+Members

Content Count

87

Birthday

Unknown

Last visited

Never

Joined

  1. Ever since Invision Community 4.x was launched you have been asking for the ability to categorize blogs in your community. We heard you loud and clear, but sometimes when a feature sounds straightforward, it requires some re-engineering of the framework. Because users in your community can create both blog entries and their own blogs to hold these entries, this was one of those areas. Starting with Invision Community 4.5 I’m pleased to announce that it is now possible for blog authors to categorize their blog entries and it's now possible for administrators to categorize blogs. Blog Entry Categories When creating a new blog entry, your members will now be able to create a new category for the entry or choose an existing one that had been created previously. Choosing your category when creating a new blog entry When a reader then visits the blog they can choose to display only those categories that interest them. Filtering by category Blog Categories Running a community where users can create their own blogs, you don’t only need to make sure individual pieces of content are categorized correctly, you also need to make sure the blogs themselves have a logical place. Well guess what? Now you can! As an admin you can now set up predefined categories in the control panel and Blog authors can then choose which one to create their new blog in. Managing blog categories We realize some of you have been waiting a long time to see these changes so we hope you enjoy this and everything else to come in Invision Community 4.5! View the full article
  2. On behalf of the Invision Community staff and company, I'd like to wish our clients and community warm blessings and gratitude for the New Year. We're proud to be the community platform of choice for you and your organization over the past year (or decade!), empowering you and your users with the space to debate, discuss, investigate, solve, innovate and celebrate a shared sense of purpose. The ability to positively touch and connect with the lives of others regardless of location is one of the most transformative benefits of the modern web -- and there's never been a greater demand or need for online communities to connect members in an authentic, branded experience. Your community is the gift that keeps on giving, and we're delighted to be a part of it. Here's a round-up of the 2019's most visited, most commented, and most clicked-on articles from the Invision Community Blog: Invision Community managers use tools like Saved Actions and Auto Moderation to work smarter with 5 of the best time saving features Avoid the Engagement Trap, a never-ending race that measures all the wrong metrics in a community The crowd goes wild in the teaser announcement of the forthcoming mobile apps for iOS and Android Go back in a time machine with a Decade in Review - a celebration and testament to the enduring power of community. Once again, may the magic and wonder of the holiday season stay with you throughout the year! View the full article
  3. When the clocks strike midnight on New Year's Eve, we will enter the third decade of producing Invision Community. A lot has changed since we set up in 2002. Our team has grown and our product matured. In a world where online startups explode and die within a few years, we're something of an anomaly. We still have the same love and passion for creating the very best tools to build a community, and we have always ensured that Invision Community is in touch with modern demands. This decade has seen Invision Community go from strength to strength. In 2010 we were one of many forum systems catering to smaller niche audiences. In 2019 we're powering discussion for many international and well-known brands. Online habits may have changed in this time, and social media may have swallowed up smaller informal communities, but the need for independent community platforms remains strong. 2020 will see us release 4.5 which will bring another round of essential updates to existing features and a fresh batch of new features. But first, let us climb inside our Delorean, rewind the clock to 2010 and start from the beginning. As the sun rose on 2010, Bruno Mars was singing about parts of the human face in "Just the way you are", Katy Perry irritated Microsoft Word's spellchecker with "California Gurls", and CeeLo Green was trying to "Forget you" (at least in the radio edit). Christopher Nolan's boggled all our minds with Inception, James Franco lost the ability to clap in 127 Hours, and Colin Firth stammered his way through The Kings Speech. Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad to a collective snort, moderate derision and questions over just how useful a giant iPhone will be. President Obama, just a year into office warns of "Snowmageddon" that eventually dumps up to 40 inches of snow on the east coast of the United States. We lost comedy legend Leslie Nielsen (we'd never dream of calling him Shirley), and we gained a small child named Ryan who in just nine years would be earning $29,000,000 by opening boxes of toys on YouTube. 62% of us were using Internet Explorer to the chagrin of most web developers who wished that Chrome's 5% market share was more significant. Facebook celebrated its sixth year by reaching 400 million users (a far cry from the 2.5 billion it currently has). Twitter, just four years old hits 30 million monthly active users (and none of them talked about fake news). And how about Invision Community? 2010 We hit 2010 running by releasing numerous updates on IP.Board v3.1, including finally using long-established web standards, and share features now that "social networking is all the craze these days" noting that "friends and colleagues often share similar interests, after all." How innocent we all were in 2010. IP.Board 3.0 Back then, each product had its own name and release cycle. IP.Gallery's new features included being able to rotate images by 90 degrees. Honestly, people used to go crazy for this stuff. In May, we released a brand new application called "IP.Commerce". A few months later we renamed it "IP.Nexus" and years later, it was changed back to "Commerce". Naming things is hard. The announcement contained exquisite details such as "It's hard to say when it'll be available" and "we don't know how much it will cost". We were so sure that it would be accepted positively, we removed the ability to post comments to the blog entry. As summer turned to autumn and the end of the year loomed large, we released news about a significant update to Gallery called "IP.Gallery 4.0" which pre-dates Invision Community 4 and confused customers for years (so IP.Board 3 works with IP.Gallery 4, but IP.Board 4 works with Gallery 4?). Numbering things is hard too. The last blog entry was about an app called 'IP.SEO' that I had utterly forgotten existed. It was written by Dan who once locked Lindy out of his own datacenter, but we don't talk about that. I don't even remember this website 2011 Charles opens the year by managing expectations for IP.Board 3.2 by outlining our three key goals (promotion, usability and modernization). The last one was us removing the "back to top" button and then spending the next eight years explaining why we removed it. Our spam monitoring service processed 300,000 requests in the first two weeks of 2011. 30% of these requests were deemed to be spam and blocked (0.1% was probably an administrator registering 50 fake accounts before being banned from their own site). I posted about "exciting new technology" in our new "WYSIWYG" editor (although what you see is sometimes close to what you get) would be more appropriate but slightly less catchy. We spent the next eight years explaining why no one uses BBCode anymore to almost everybody. Brandon closed out the year with a blog promising "new toys" for IP.Content 2.3 (now called Pages, keep up!) which promises a "who's online" widget and a "shared media field" that was not only complicated to explain, but also use. IP.Board 3.2 in all its glory 2012 We start the year with news on IP.Board 3.3. This release was to feature essential updates such as the "Remember me?" checkbox on the login form and emoticons in signatures. Despite being constantly told that we don't take SEO seriously, we round up the latest serious SEO changes including tags, soft 404s and micro schema. We also celebrated our tenth year in business. Something terrible must have happened to one of our competitors because we asked if you'd like to switch to IPS. The year ends with IP.Board 3.4 being released for beta testing. This being a rare year where we release two major versions in less than 12 months. 2013 Brandon has eight coffees and tries to explain what it's like to be a developer: "us developers are a strange bunch. We have a lot of crazy thoughts that just don't make sense to anyone else. Our brains are wired differently. We get from point A to point B by going around point Z and bouncing off point M first.", he closes the blog entry by urging you to ignore us. The big news is that work on 4.0 is officially underway! Don't get too excited, releasing two major versions in 2012 clearly fatigued us as "IPS Community Suite 4.0" is not released until June 2015, over two years later. 4.0 was our first complete rewrite in years. We threw out all our stable and tested code and started over with an empty editor. It was a vast undertaking that consumed us completely. The result was worth it as we had a new modern framework that still serves us today. But we're getting ahead of ourselves a little. Back in 2013, Mark talks about trees. Not the kind you find laying around in forests, but rather the programmatic type. It's just a way for Mark to show off how beautiful his code is. IP.Board 3.4 still gets many updates (along with IP.Gallery, IP.Blog, IP.Content, IP.Downloads and IP.Address (ok that last one was made up)). We spend the year talking about various new things in 4.0, including a new-new editor and various special features (and no one noticed we started calling it "IPS Social Suite 4.0" - it just rolls off the tongue!) I introduce the new theme engine for 4.0, and this time, my code is not deleted by Mark (true story). 2014 We didn't know it at the time, but 2014 was not the year that IPS Social Community Suite 4.0 (naming things is hard) will be released. Still, Rikki talks enthusiastically about "extending JS controllers and mixins" a way of coding so complex, to this day you can count the number of people who truly understand it on one of Rikki's fingers because it's only Rikki that understands it. Determined not to be outdone in the confusing customers' stakes, I go on about how important it is to convert your database to UTF-8 when upgrading from 3.0. As 2014 neared its inevitable end, we did manage to put up a pre-release testing site and release Beta 1 a release so unstable; it makes the current political climate look absolutely peachy. IPS Community Suite 4.0 (Preview) 2015 Finally, the year that 4.0 is to be released! We released six betas and a few release candidates before nervously hovering over the 'release' button (actually it's a collection of git commands and 'to the letter' instructions I ignore). After a year of training customers to call our forthcoming release "IPS Social Suite 4.0," we release it as "IPS Community Suite 4.0". Lindy writes a lengthy blog article that sounds like a cross between a technical discussion of the Brother 8987-A printer and an award acceptance speech. Quite frankly, after nearly two years of development, we're just relieved to have finally released it. The year is spent refining and fixing 4.0 and culminates in the news of 4.1, where we add activity streams and a menu manager. We also talk about the new-new-new editor. December 16th marks the time that IP.Board 3.4 officially dies as we declare it "end of life" and no longer support it. That shiny new release we were excited to talk about in 2012 is finally put out to pasture. The last we heard, IP.Board 3.4 moved to a farm and is doing well. 2016 Now that IP.Board 3.4 is end of life; we do the sensible thing and make a few minor IP.Board 3.4 releases to improve security. IPS Social.. sorry, Community Suite hits version 4.1.17 (confusing Lindy) before the year is done with many new improvements, including embeds, warning notes and the new leaderboard. We're still mostly undecided what to call the product, so we avoid trying in all our blog entries. In fact, looking back, it's quite remarkable how often we changed the name of our product. You'd be forgiven for thinking that it was a robust and well-considered attempt to prevent Google from serving up relevant search results and to confuse potential customers. We find time to update our own website and introduce a new developer's area. 2017 Barely 16 days into the new year, and we release news of the two-factor authentication feature added to IPS Community Social Invision IP.Board Suite 4.1.18. When spring has sprung, Charles drops the news that we're working on 4.2, the main feature being a screenshot of the Admin CP log in. We promise that you will love it and that it will be released mid-2017. Updates come thick and fast. Calendar event reminders, content messages, recommended replies, letter profile photos device management and delayed deletes all make the blog. Still not convinced that people take us seriously when we say we're committed to SEO, we post about more SEO improvements. This time, we talk about implementing JSON-LD, rich snippets, pagination tags and more. We also squeeze another one in about the new-new-new-new editor. We overhaul our own blog (using Pages because that's how we roll) and I start a hilarious series of blog entries where I troll our own team. Everyone including me loses interest early on in 2019. During April, we do the sensible thing and change the name of our product once more. IPS Community/Social Suite 4.1 is out, and Invision Community 4.2 is in. Just to recap: IBForums > IPB > IP.Board > IPS Social Suite > IPS Community Suite > Invision Community. You're welcome search engines! As promised, we release Invision Community 4.2 around the middle of the year. Well done, everyone! We finally hit a release date! As is now tradition, we end the year with news of our next big release Invision Community 4.3 (and tease the new emoji feature). We also calm nerves about Europe's endless fascination with regulation (it's this kind of joke that caused Brexit you know) and wrote up a guide on GDPR. 2018 Phew. We're almost there, dear reader. If you skimmed through most of the blog to this point and expected me to finish with a bang, you'll be disappointed. We start 2018 at full speed releasing feature news on Invision Community 4.3 including emoji, OAuth, community moderation, REST API, subscription manager, announcements and more. Oh and we hit our sweet sixteenth birthday in February! We release Invision Community 4.3 in April to rapturous applause after a short beta testing period. We all agree that 4.3 was a great stable release which instantly makes the developers nervous. Towards the end of the year, we announce that work has begun on Invision Community 4.4. We talk about new features such as GIPHY integration, AdminCP notifications, Post Before Registering, Commerce Updates and more. Still not sure if we care about SEO? Well, how about another blog entry on SEO? The only thing missing this year is a new update on our editor. 2019 And we arrive back home in 2019. A week into January and I pull the massive twist that we're using Invision Community 4.4 on our own community. It's not quite up there with "Bruce Willis is a ghost" though. In March we write up a case study on The Trevor Space, an LGBTQ charity set up to prevent suicide and to provide crisis intervention. TrevorSpace commends Invision Community for allowing anonymity online which isn't possible with social media. Rikki drops a bombshell in September when he announces that we're actively working on native iOS and Android apps for Invision Community. Apparently mobile is a thing now. November starts a series of blog entries talking about our new upcoming release, Invision Community 4.5. We talk about the Admin CP overhaul, Club Pages, RSS Feed Improvements and Club improvements. And here we are. Right up to date. This decade may have only taken us from IP.Board 3.1 to Invision Community 4.5, but it really has seen a massive change in the company we are, and the industry we are in. We have seen the inception, rise and stumble of social media. While it's true that forums are no longer the preserve of Star Trek fans obsessing over continuity errors and informal communities have been absorbed by Facebook and friends, spaces that you completely own to host discussions are still very much in demand. Invision "Chameleon" Community in 2019 Over the past year or so we've seen a sustained rise in the demand for independent communities. Brands especially like that you own your data and can use it to gain insights into customer habits. Just this year, we've launched communities for LEGO, HTC, Sage, Mattel, Gibson Guitars, Squarespace, and many more. We are constantly evolving Invision Community (assuming we stick with that name) to be at the very centre of your online presence. We have tools to add discussion comments to any page of your site, to embed widgets with a few lines of code. We want to showcase your community throughout your site by adding multiple touchpoints to take your customers on a journey with you. Our native apps will offer new and exciting ways to interact with a community via new interfaces. As we move into our third decade, I can only see a resurgence for independent communities as we tire of the crushing intrusion of social media. We give away so much of our attention, time and information for very little reward. We have never been more divisive and fiercely tribal. It's time to come back together to discuss a topic with care and thoughtfulness. It's time to allow our personalities to take a back seat and let considered discussion live again. And we'll be here doing what we have always done; creating the very best community platform possible. I'd love to know when you joined us on this crazy ride. Was it before or after 2010? View the full article
  4. Almost every single day, we receive feedback on our popular clubs feature. Some of the requests are big in scope, and some a little smaller. Following on from our previous blog entry for Club Pages, we’re pleased to announce a collection of smaller, but no less useful improvements. Improved Map Display The Clubs location map better shows where local clubs are A small but useful change to the clubs map means the view is now centered and zoomed around available clubs. Previously the map would show a world view even if all of the clubs were located in a concentrated geographical area. Member Tab A commitment to privacy always influences our development decisions, and this is true in clubs as well as other areas. It is now possible to set who can view the club member list on a per club basis. Clubs can be set to show the member list to everyone, only to club members or only to club leaders and moderators. You can now decide who can see your club Club Widgets A common request for clubs is that widgets should be able to display content from within clubs. With 4.5, this is now possible and allows you to better bring attention to your club content from anywhere in your community. Content widgets can now show club specific content Some people wanted to control where widgets would show more finely. This wasn’t previously possible, but now it is. When adding widgets to a page, you can now set whether you want it to appear everywhere, everywhere except clubs, or only in clubs. Join Requests Club leaders can invite members who they believe will enjoy their content to join. Likewise, members can request to join a club that is not open for all to join instantly. For a site with a lot of clubs, this could mean that you are invited to many clubs or find that your pending request goes unnoticed. Your member can quickly manage their pending invites Members can now cancel pending requests themselves quickly and easily from the Club homepage. Clubs are becoming an increasingly popular part of Invision Community and really helps foster a sense of involvement. We are always interested and surprised by the variety of ways this feature is being used. Let us know how you’re using clubs in the comments and keep the great suggestions coming! View the full article
  5. Invision Community has supported member referrals via the Commerce app since Commerce was called Nexus all those years ago. Community owners have been able to see at a glance who is spreading the word and members have received the kudos associated with a growing referral count in return. When planning Invision Community 4.5 we saw that this feature had the potential to be so much more… So what have we done to improve it? See Who Was Referred In addition to seeing a count of referrals, it’s now possible for both admins and members to see who they referred. If Commerce is enabled admins can also see how much commission (if any) was earned. The new referral settings page shows links, code snippets and who you've referred Member Promotion Seeing a rising count of who has been referred gives members a great feeling of community involvement but wouldn’t it be great if you could reward your members in other ways too? Referral counts now work as a member filter when using the group promotion feature. You can now automatically promote members that have referred more than a specific number of members to another user group and give them access to exclusive content. This still works alongside paid subscriptions so be another method for members not willing or able to pay for subscriptions to get access. Integration With Sharing If the feature is enabled, any time a link is shared via the built-in share links, referrals will be tracked. This occurs automatically without the member needing to think about it. It’s now easier than ever to see who your superfans are and who is bringing new people to the community. Blocks As well as the default share links we have added a new sidebar block that can be added anywhere across your community. This prominent call to action can be added on pages you think are most likely to result in recommendations. The new "Invite a friend" widget Given that referral capabilities have been expanded into many more areas outside of Commerce we decided that this should now be available as a core feature. Earning commission on sales as a result of referrals will still, of course, require Commerce to be installed. We hope that these are welcome improvements and they help you encourage more members to participate in your community. View the full article
  6. You'd be forgiven for thinking that RSS feeds belong in some bygone era of the web where Netscape was king and getting online meant listening to your modem scream at your phone line. There's certainly a lot of newer web technologies to share data, but the venerable RSS feed still has a place. Invision Community has supported RSS feed importing and exporting for a very long time now; however, it has been restricted to just Forums and Blogs. Importing an RSS feed is a simple way to populate content on your community. It's even a great way to share content to and from your site without creating blocks or writing custom code. Invision Community 4.5 now centralizes RSS feed importing, so it is available for Forums, Blogs and Pages. You can now choose to import an RSS feed to any Pages database. Better yet, there is now full support for image enclosures. RSS feeds have a special tag to note that the feed entry has an attached image. Lots of RSS feeds use this, such as the NASA Image Of The Day feed. Until now, this image has just been silently discarded. Now, it is imported as an attachment (so it can be moved around in the post or Pages entry). If the Pages database you are importing to has record images enabled, you can optionally import the enclosure as a record image which some template sets can use as a header image, just as our blog here does. But what about exporting enclosures? Happily, Invision Community 4.5 can now export the main content image of an item as an enclosure. This certainly makes the Gallery RSS feed export a lot more useful! While these updates are not revolutionary, they certainly make RSS feed importing and exporting much more useful. We've been asked to support RSS feed importing into Pages for quite a while now. What do you think of these changes? What will you import into your Pages databases? View the full article
  7. RSS BOT

    4.5: Club Pages

    Without a doubt, clubs is one of the most popular features added to Invision Community in recent times. Invision Community clubs allows you to run sub-communities on your site. We've seen clubs used in many ways, including managing geographically local groups and clan groups for large gaming sites. This popularity drives us to keep incrementally improving the feature set for clubs, and Invision Community 4.5 is no different. One thing that was raised many times was a way for club owners and leaders to create simple pages with general information members need. Happily, in Invision Community 4.5, this feature now exists (and more!) In addition to the title and visual editor that allows full formatting of the page content, there is an additional visibility setting which allows owners and leaders to define which types of members can view the page. This is perfect for showing a page that is only visible to non-members which informs them how to join the club. Likewise, it is a great way to display moderation guidelines to the club moderators only. Of course, owners and leaders will always be able to see all pages added to a club. Additionally, once a page is added to a club, a tab will be added alongside others, and the page can be re-arranged just like the rest. Using this, owners and leaders can create an alternative unique index page for the club. default-view.mp4 This is just one of many club improvements finished for Invision Community 4.5. We'll be talking about these in a future blog! View the full article
  8. Invision Community has come a long way over the past five years. We've added many new features and invigorated the front-end user experience to keep it current and in-line with modern interfaces. One area that has remained largely the same is the Admin Control Panel. When we released Invision Community 4.0 back in 2014, the Admin Control Panel was updated but has stayed relatively dormant since. But that's all about to change with the upcoming release of Invision Community 4.5! The Admin Control Panel in 4.5 has received a substantial update, resulting in a modern color scheme and a clean, minimalistic design. We felt that a lighter, more open design allowed the content more space and to feel less crowded. The dark grays have been replaced with shades of blue and aqua which closely reflects Invision Community's new branding, while other colors have been lightened and saturated. Along with the new color scheme, the overall layout of the ACP has intentionally been kept similar to the existing version, resulting in a design that feels surprisingly familiar yet refreshingly new at the same time. We hope you've enjoyed this small sneak peek into Invision Community 4.5 and we look forward to introducing you to some more new features in the upcoming weeks! View the full article
  9. The engagement trap is a race to community activity for the sake of activity. It's usually measured by simple aggregate numbers like the total number of posts, topics, likes, or members. Many community managers and webmasters enjoy spouting engagement numbers. It's an easy number to brag about. It's an easy number to find. It's also, unfortunately, a terrible metric to measure. Engagement metrics are exhausting since you're aiming for higher-and-higher goals, which grow into unreasonable levels over time. It's misleading, because it's not indicative of information exchanges or quality resources. And it's ultimately harmful, because it encourages participation in socially-charged conversation that are ever more entertaining, more controversial, and more extreme. You don't want members to chat. You want members to learn, to advocate, to innovate, to educate, to support, to problem solve, and to enlighten. Engagement metrics are marketing numbers used to measure audience size and a currency of the attention economy where you're the product. It's an entirely wrong metric for online communities where the goal is not how big you can get, but on how you can help your members. Your Metrics & Your Strategy There's a famous management quote from Peter Drucker that says, "what gets measured gets managed." What you want to measure, and therefore manage and improve, is a reflection of your community strategy and your objectives. Here are some ideas of what you could measure: The number of questions or feedback requests that were answered in high-value boards of functional content The number of educational resources that were added to a certain category The number of new topics that were posted in a growing section The selection of special keywords or tags that you want to track The number of informative reactions that were given out in a certain period The participation of high-value experts in your community Segment Your Community Not all parts of your community should be treated equally, especially if you have a large and dynamic community with several apps and categories. Your community may have a mix of one or more of the following: Educational and functional-value boards Social and member-based forums and boards New sections that are growing Mature sections that have leveled off Different content types and reactions Different groups of members Instead of evaluating your community as one entity, segment your community. This allows you to hyper-focus your attention and grow specific areas that match with specific objectives. For example, I always measure the number of new topics in boards that are educational and informative, since they're high-value functional content. I don't pay attention to mature sections that have reached saturation, but I aggressively track new sections. Measurement & Analysis Invision Community ships with a powerful set of Statistics in the ACP that cover every application. I personally spend more time in Statistics than any other part of the ACP, because it gives me the data and research to inform my decision making. It helps me focus my attention on the sections that matter the most to my community strategy and reveals unexpected insights. The ACP won't have all of the fine-grained filtering or data reporting that you may need. Maintain your own recording, even if it needs to be manual. Conclusion Trying to boost engagement is a race that you'll never win. It has nothing to do with your community strategy; it doesn't measure the value you give and receive from your audience; and it can push you to drive empty traffic with unintended consequences. Independent communities that focus on the hard, difficult work of offering communities of indispensable value will always find growth. It will be the right kind of growth, in the right areas of your community, with the right audience. That's a race that will meaningfully empower your members and your community to the finish line. What are the most important metrics that you measure? Or are you in the engagement trap? Share in the comments below and see how other IPS clients can help. Are you looking to start a successful community powered by the statistics and content management of a modern community platform? Get in touch with IPS, Inc. for a discussion and product demo. View the full article
  10. If you're reading this blog, then it's likely you already have a community and have been running it for some time. I'm going to go further and say that you've done all the right things; you've set it up correctly and themed it, so it matches your site. Once you have built your community and watched it spring into life, it's easy to think that you have done all you need to do. However, there are three simple things that you're probably not doing that is curbing your potential growth. Promote your community No matter how well you have set up your community, if you're not regularly promoting it, then you are limiting your potential audience. Look for ways to promote your community to a new audience. If you regularly write blog posts or a newsletter for your existing customers, then make sure you write about your community and encourage people to join. If you have a presence on social media, then share links regularly. Even adding a link to your community in your existing email signature will catch a few more clicks. Get creative! One community owner I know went through Apple's rigorous verification process to post quality articles from their site to Apple's News app. Why not sign up to HARO (Help A Reporter Out). This is a free email sent daily that contains requests from reporters looking for sources to quote in articles. The email is broken up into sections so that you can find relevant stories for your niche. It's a very simple way to get quoted in other publications with a link back to your site. Think about how you can promote your community to a wider audience. Post great content Do you take the time to create great content and post it to your community regularly? By great content, I mean a piece that encourages in-depth discussion, shows that you are a leader in your niche and sets the tone for the rest of your community. With the rise of social media, we're often fed a diet of disposable content such as "Motivation Monday" which may generate likes, but it does nothing to connect with your audience. You could use the Blog app, the Pages app or post in the relevant forums within your community. Try and encourage discussion and ask them to share their thoughts and experiences too. People love to share what they do and talk about their experiences, so it shouldn't be hard to get people active on your topic. Reward contributors Way back in the dark ages, a high post count was the only badge you needed to show others that you were to be feared and respected. I still remember joining some communities in the early 2000s and was in awe of members with 10,000+ posts. In today's more sophisticated times, we need a little more to keep us involved. There are a lot of tools you can use to reward your members. The simplest is the group promotion tool which automatically moves members based on specific thresholds. You can give your members elevated permissions or special badges to show to others that they are more experienced. If you have a more active community, you could consider rewarding your most engaged users with a prize. This prize could be a free subscription, a discount code for your products or even a small Amazon gift voucher. These are just a few things that you can incorporate into your workflow to help further build your community. I'd love to hear your tips too, please share them below! View the full article
  11. If you're reading this blog, then it's likely you already have a community and have been running it for some time. I'm going to go further and say that you've done all the right things; you've set it up correctly and themed it, so it matches your site. Once you have built your community and watched it spring into life, it's easy to think that you have done all you need to do. However, there are three simple things that you're probably not doing that is curbing your potential growth. Promote your community No matter how well you have set up your community, if you're not regularly promoting it, then you are limiting your potential audience. Look for ways to promote your community to a new audience. If you regularly write blog posts or a newsletter for your existing customers, then make sure you write about your community and encourage people to join. If you have a presence on social media, then share links regularly. Even adding a link to your community in your existing email signature will catch a few more clicks. Get creative! One community owner I know went through Apple's rigorous verification process to post quality articles from their site to Apple's News app. Why not sign up to HARO (Help A Reporter Out). This is a free email sent daily that contains requests from reporters looking for sources to quote in articles. The email is broken up into sections so that you can find relevant stories for your niche. It's a very simple way to get quoted in other publications with a link back to your site. Think about how you can promote your community to a wider audience. Post great content Do you take the time to create great content and post it to your community regularly? By great content, I mean a piece that encourages in-depth discussion, shows that you are a leader in your niche and sets the tone for the rest of your community. With the rise of social media, we're often fed a diet of disposable content such as "Motivation Monday" which may generate likes, but it does nothing to connect with your audience. You could use the Blog app, the Pages app or post in the relevant forums within your community. Try and encourage discussion and ask them to share their thoughts and experiences too. People love to share what they do and talk about their experiences, so it shouldn't be hard to get people active on your topic. Reward contributors Way back in the dark ages, a high post count was the only badge you needed to show others that you were to be feared and respected. I still remember joining some communities in the early 2000s and was in awe of members with 10,000+ posts. In today's more sophisticated times, we need a little more to keep us involved. There are a lot of tools you can use to reward your members. The simplest is the group promotion tool which automatically moves members based on specific thresholds. You can give your members elevated permissions or special badges to show to others that they are more experienced. If you have a more active community, you could consider rewarding your most engaged users with a prize. This prize could be a free subscription, a discount code for your products or even a small Amazon gift voucher. These are just a few things that you can incorporate into your workflow to help further build your community. I'd love to hear your tips too, please share them below! View the full article
  12. Whether you call them Champions 🤩, Advocates 🌟, or Superusers 🏆, every community contains an elite group of members that carries 🏋 the community. They don't just drink the kool-aid 💧. They mix, chug, and swim 🏊‍♀️in the community kool-aid. Learn 🔢 four community management concepts about Superusers in less than 🕓 four minutes. 1. 90-9-1 Rule (aka "1% rule"): The 90-9-1 principle refers to the lopsided inequality of user engagement that 90% of users are lurkers 🙈, 9% of members contribute from time to time 🙉, and 1% of users 😸 account for almost all contributions. Superusers are the 1%. 2. Intrinsic Motivator: Motivation that comes from internal motivation💖, rather than any external rewards. This could be a sense of satisfaction 😃, pride 😤, ownership, loyalty, friendship 🤗, or other emotional and internal motivator. Long-term superusers 🏃 are wired to intrinsic motivation. Tapping into intrinsic motivation is key to providing new motivation for superusers. 3. Spiral of Silence: Be careful ⚠️, however, that your superusers don't overwhelm 🛑 the conversation which can lead to the Spiral of Silence: a theory that as the vocal minority becomes louder 📢, other members adopt the same views or fail to share opposing views. You'll need to privately manage this vocal minority, especially if they're negative 💢. 4. Work Out Loud 💬: An engagement practice for superusers to visibly share 🗣 their work online in your community. It offers opportunities for superusers and members to openly share 👯 their knowledge, generosity, purposeful discovery, and growth ✨. Usually entire point ✴️ of communities of practice. View the full article
  13. Think about all the different touchpoints where you try to connect with members: forum discussions, blog comments, personal messages, email newsletters, weekly meetings, and perhaps offline events. You write witty and clever messages. You dedicate an entire section of your community to welcome and hello topics. You spend enormous amounts of time trying to elicit engagement from members. What if I told you that there’s one touchpoint that you consistently overlook where members reach out to you, some for the very first time? You receive messages every day and every week from users through the Contact Form. It’s one of the most common touchpoints that you’ll ever experience with members. Unfortunately, most admins gloss over messages through the contact form, because we think it’s secondary to the activity in the community. That’s not true! As a touchpoint to your community, the interactions through the Contact Form are as important as any other user-facing activity. In fact, because members proactively reach out – some for the very first time – this is likely one of the biggest opportunities where you consistently under-engage. It’s time to fix this gap. Here are examples on how to effectively respond to 2 different types of messages from the Contact Form. Let’s look at some sample responses with a fictional online community “Toronto Birding Society” (Note: I know nothing of birdwatching or Toronto). Responding to Guidance Questions Many questions you receive through the Contact Form are “guidance” questions. These are questions that ask about function and features such as “how to?” and “how do I?” The tone is usually neutral, and the intent is positive (eg. to learn). These questions are easy-to-answer and the responses usually involve instructions, step-by-step details, and screenshots. If you only respond to the specific inquiry, however, you miss out on all the potential of member growth: to affirm the relationship, recognize his contributions, instill community culture, and ultimately encourage the member to contribute in a more meaningful manner. Example: Responding to Negative Sentiment Questions The next type of question you receive through the Contact Form are questions of “negative sentiment.” These are questions that ask to cancel, terminate, or suppress various functions because the user would like to disconnect from the community. Even though the tone is neutral, the intent is negative. Just like before, the questions themselves are easy-to-answer. However, if you took the inquiry at face value and answered the specific question, you end up losing the member! Your goal instead should be member retention: to investigate why he wants to leave, to re-affirm the strength of the relationship, recognize his past contributions, invite the member to revisit, and ultimately deflect the original inquiry. Conclusion Busy communities receive messages through the contact form daily and weekly. They’re a recurring part of our community management that we consistently overlook. It’s one of the greatest touchpoints you will ever have with a member, since the member is actively seeking growth (or regression) with the community. Your responsibility is to nudge them in the right direction. My recommendation is to write two templates: one for guidance questions, one for negative sentiment questions. This allows you to quickly provide a framework that can be filled in with personalized details. Use your replies to contact form messages as a way to not only answer the specific question, but grow the member and progress them along the member lifecycle journey. View the full article
  14. Security should never be an afterthought. Don't wait until an attack has compromised your site before you take action. All too often, site owners consider increasing their security only when it's too late, and their community has already been compromised. Taking some time now to check and improve the security of your community and server will pay dividends. In this blog, we run down 8 ways that you can protect your community with Invision Community. We go through the security features you may not know about to best practices all communities should be following. 1. Set up Two Factor Authentication Invision Community supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA for short), and we highly recommend making use of this feature for your users, but especially for your administrative staff. 2FA is a system that requires both a user's password and a special code (displayed by a phone app) that changes every few seconds. The idea is simple: if a user's password is somehow compromised, a hacker still wouldn't be able to log in to the account without the current code number. You may already be familiar with 2FA from other services you use. Apple's iCloud, Facebook and Google all offer it, as do thousands of banks and other security-conscious businesses. Invision Community supports 2FA via the Google Authenticator app (available for iOS and Android) or the Authy service, which can send codes to users via text message or phone call. You can also fall back to security questions instead of codes. You can configure which members groups can use 2FA, as well as requiring certain groups to use it. Recommendation: Require any staff with access to the Admin Control Panel or moderation functions to use 2FA. This will ensure that no damage will occur should their account passwords be discovered. Allow members to use 2FA at their discretion. 2. Configure password requirements The password strength feature displays a strength meter to users as they type a new password. The meter shows them approximately how secure it is, as well as some tips for choosing a good password. While you can leave this feature as a simple recommendation for users, it's also possible to require them to choose a password that reaches a certain strength on the meter. Recommendation: Require users to choose at least a 'Strong' password. 3. Be selective when adding administrators Administrator permissions can be extremely damaging in the wrong hands, and granting administrator powers should only be done with great consideration. Giving access to the AdminCP is like handing someone the keys to your house. Before doing so, be sure you trust the person and that their role requires access to the AdminCP (for example, would moderator permissions be sufficient for the new staff member?). Recommendation: Don't forget to remove administrator access promptly when necessary too, such as the member of staff leaving your organization. Always be aware of exactly who has administrator access at any given time, and review regularly. You can list all accounts that have Administrative access by clicking the Administrators button under staff on the Members tab. 4. Utilize Admin Restrictions In many organizations, staff roles within the community reflect real-world roles - designers need access to templates, accounting needs access to billing, and so forth. Invision Community allows you to limit administrator access to particular areas of the AdminCP with the Admin Restrictions feature, and even limit what can is done within those areas. This is a great approach for limiting risk to your data; by giving staff members access to only the areas they need to perform their duties, you reduce the potential impact should their account become compromised in future. Recommendation: Review the restrictions your admins currently have. 5. Choose good passwords This seems like an obvious suggestion, but surveys regularly show that people choose passwords that are too easy to guess or brute force. Your password is naturally the most basic protection of your AdminCP there is, so making sure you're using a good password is essential. We recommend using a password manager application, such as 1password or LastPass. These applications generate strong, random passwords for each site you use, and store them so that you don't have to remember them. Even if you don't use a password manager, make sure the passwords you use for your community are unique and never used for other sites too. Recommendation: Reset your password regularly and ensure you do not use the same password elsewhere. 6. Stay up to date It's a fact of software development that from time to time, new security issues are reported and promptly fixed. But if you're running several versions behind, once security issues are made public through responsible disclosure, malicious users can exploit those weaknesses in your community. When we release new updates - especially if they're marked as a security release in our release notes - be sure to update promptly. Invision Community allows you to update to the latest version via the AdminCP. You no longer need to download a thing! Recommendation: Update to the latest version whenever possible. Remember, with Invision Community's theme and hook systems, upgrades to minor point releases should be very straight forward. 7. Restrict your AdminCP to an IP range where possible If your organization has a static IP or requires staff members to use a VPN, you can add an additional layer of security to your community by prohibiting access to the AdminCP unless the user's IP matches your whitelist. This is a server-level feature, so consult your IT team or host to find out how to set it up in your particular environment. Recommendation: Consider IP restriction as an additional security layer when you are not able or willing to use 2FA. 8. Properly secure your PHP installation Many of PHP's built-in functions can leave a server vulnerable to high-impact exploits, and yet many of these functions aren't needed by the vast majority of PHP applications you might run. We, therefore, recommend that you explicitly disable these functions using PHP's disable_functions configuration setting. Here's our recommended configuration, although you or your host may need to tweak the list depending on your exact needs: disable_functions = escapeshellarg,escapeshellcmd,exec,ini_alter,parse_ini_file,passthru,pcntl_exec,popen,proc_close,proc_get_status,proc_nice,proc_open,proc_terminate,show_source,shell_exec,symlink,system Another critical PHP configuration setting you need to check is that open_basedir is enabled. Especially if you're hosted on a server that also hosts other websites (known as shared hosting), if another account on the server is comprised and open_basedir is disabled, the attacker can potentially gain access to your files too. Naturally, Cloud customers needn't worry about this, we've already ensured our cloud infrastructure is impervious to this kind of attack. Recommendation: Review your PHP version and settings, or choose one of our cloud plans where we take care of this for you. So there we go - a brief overview of 8 common-sense ways you can better protect your community and its users. As software developers, we're constantly working to improve the behind-the-scenes security of our software. As an administrator, there's also a number of steps you should take to keep your community safe on the web. If you have any tips related to security, be sure to share them in the comments! View the full article
  15. Are you looking to launch a new online community or revitalize an existing community, and you're worried about the numbers of users? Gaining members - and retaining them - is always the hardest struggle for new communities. Even if you're an established brand or organization, it can be a challenge to build a core group of members. The problem? Most communities launch too early. The truism "if you build it, they will come" is no longer valid. There are countless online peer and social groups, industry associations, and trade organizations competing for your user's time and attention. You can't launch a new community and passively wait for users to visit. The Internet is too crowded now. Ask yourself the hard question: are you having difficulty attracting and retaining new members? One of the best secrets to launching new communities is to already have a core group of members in place -- all done in advance of launching your community. Follow the CHIP process to generate member demand. Download: IPS CHIP Process 2019-09.pdf Part of the magic behind the CHIP Process is that by reaching out, you build relations with existing members in a meaningful manner. Don't push your community idea at this point. Your only goal is to meet people, build genuine relationships, and understand key themes such as user challenges or industry needs. This dramatically heightens your chance of success when you do launch. You have a known audience familiar with you and your community, who can spread the word. You identified a core group of active users, who can immediately start posting. You also surveyed key themes and business challenges, so you even have a headstart on content will be most attractive. By doing this prep work in advance, you've fine-tuned your community strategy to exactly what's needed and can be successful on Day 1. Building a new community requires prep work. Although Invision Community can empower you with a modern set of features once you launch, you need to pair the platform with the excitement and problem-solving that only your community can offer - and that means taking the time to understand what's needed before you launch. Best wishes on your community launch, and share your community's success in the comments below! View the full article

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Terms of Use Privacy Policy