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IPSDev

IPSDev

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IPSDev last won the day on September 1 2017

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  1. We're thrilled to announce that Invision Community 4.3 is available to download now. After months of development, over 2500 separate code commits and quite a few mugs of coffee you can now get your hands on the final release. You can download the beta from your client area. If you need a recap of what was added, take a look at our product updates blog which takes you through the highlights. These include: We'd love to know what you think, let us know below. View the full article
  2. To monetize, or not to monetize, that is the question that preoccopies our administrators! Ok, I'm no Shakespeare, but a vital question community owners are faced with at some point is: can we and should we make some money from our community? Let's first look at the "should we?" Absolutely! You don't need to frustrate your users or risk goodwill by starting monetization. Running a community comes with tangible costs in terms of paying for the monthly cloud plans or license and hosting costs. Not to mention your own time which must be factored into this decision. If the community sustained all or part of your income, could you commit more time to help it grow? Now lets look at the "can we?" Absolutely! You made a great choice by building your platform with Invision Community. We have built in monetization tools that allow you to collect micro-payments from third party systems; and we have tools for selling products and services. Advertisements An obvious choice, many sites will turn to advertisements through Google Adsense or a similar service to generate income from their community. Whether this approach will work for your community or not is dependent upon many factors. Do you generate enough traffic that you will actually earn an income from advertisements? Do enough of your audience browse your site without tools such as Adblock installed? Is your site compatible with any of the many advertisement services out there? This is worth checking to make sure. Advertisement services are a relatively easy solution for generating micro-payments. It's unlikely you'll be able to retire any time soon on advertising payments alone though. An alternative approach to using advertisements is to sell advertisement space on your own site through Commerce. This can be an especially attractive option if your site holds a captive audience in a specific niche, as advertisers will be certain their ads are targetting the niche they are aiming to target effectively. Viglink Viglink is a service that looks for commercial product references in user-generated content, and links to those products using referral links that can generate revenue. Generally speaking, there is no real harm in using such a service as the functionality is transparent for most users. Invision Community features integration with Viglink out of the box. You simply need to enter certain account information into the AdminCPand the software will handle the rest. Charging for products If you sell digital or physical products, you can leverage Invision Community to help facilitate the sale of such products through your community site. If you are an expert or leader in your field, then why not write a short e-book on your subject and put it up for sale? Low cost e-books under $10 tend to sell really well and it's a great way to generate some passive trickle income. Sale, renewals, invoicing, shipping, customer support and more are all possible through our Commerce product with powerful features that allow you to easily sell products locally and around the world. Charging for additional access The simplest way to monetize your community is to charge for VIP access. This may be for elevated permissions, such as being able to upload larger files, post more content per day and access specific features like user signatures, special badges and so on. You can also set up VIP forums that regular members do not have access to. In fact, Invision Community can be tailored towards being an e-learning platform simply by setting up a subscription in Commerce and creating a private forum only the VIP group can access. Simply post a new topic with each learning module. Topics can contain embeds from YouTube and Vimeo if you prefer to deliver training over video. Be sure to give previews of such areas if you do sell access to additional areas of the community. For example, you can allow all users to "see" that a forum exists, but show an error message to regular members who attempt to read topics in the forum, while allowing subscribers full access to those topics. This helps naturally entice users into subscribing to gain additional access by allowing them to see what they will gain access to. Charging a fee for facilitation Another possible avenue to monetize your community is by charging a fee for facilitating file sharing between your members. The Downloads application allows users to upload and even sell their files to other users on the community, while also allowing the administrator of the community to retain a percentage of all sales. If your community serves a niche that may see online sales of files in a marketplace-type setting, you can earn some money by administering such a marketplace. As you can see, there are several opportunities available with Invision Community to monetize your community. Do you use any other methods of monetizing your community? View the full article
  3. Invision Community has been going strong for over sixteen years now. Many of those who work for us were customers first before they signed away their souls and became staff. This month, we part the mists of time and ask: How did you first come across Invision Community? Andy (Developer and man of mystery) Way back in 1998 I was involved with an online investment club in the UK (of course you were - Editor) and we set up a directory of national share clubs with a threaded “bulletin board”. This was based on a freely available perl script (as everything was back then (did they claim it would always be free? - Editor)) but it just wasn’t up to the job. This was my first exposure to writing web based software as I started customising it for our needs. Soon after, we switched to UBB which moved away from messy layouts and to a more structured forum, topic, post experience. With the release in 2004 of Invision Community 1.3 we switched again and I’ve been working with Invision Community software ever since (and you had such a promising life planned out - Editor). Around the same time the investment club moved to Invision Community, I also started up two other sites, one for modified cars which was an extremely popular niche at the time and one for my home town of Bedlington which is still running to this date. When developing for Invision Community I find it very useful to have that historical experience and real world insight. A lot of my input when we discuss new features as a team comes as a direct result of this first hand experience. I was part of this Investment Club when I was younger Marc (Support and fan of bouncy castles) My first real experience trying to set up forums/communities for myself was somewhere around 2000 (lol slow down grandpa - Editor). Me and a few friends used to host gaming servers for Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and wanted something for storing stats on, so I set up UBB which I remember thinking was really cool at the time. I never really did much with it other than setting it up for people to use, and remember at the time backing things up on a 1mb hard drive (can't even fit a picture on that these days (need a push on that rocking chair? - Editor)). Over the years, I ran a few more sites and the software at some point became vBulletin (cant recall when, but just seemed to happen) which I ran through version 2 and late into version 3. At that point I was starting to add things for myself, usually learning from other peoples "FIND abc, AFTER ADD, xyz" which is how we all used to add our own modifications at the time. The thought of an upgrade at the time, I know used to make me cringe. At some point during vBulletin 4 release, I was becoming a little disillusioned with the whole community software scene in general (other disappointing platforms are available - Editor), and hadn't really used Invision Community before, but ended up using that for a site for my wife. I was using Invision Community more and more. Purely because it was the site that was most active at the time. This led me to becoming very interested in the new Invision Community 4 release, and was becoming a bit of an social addict on the alpha forum that was released, helping out people who weren't sure of things, and generally asking questions. It was around this point I was asked to join the team here at Invision. And you guys have had to put up with me ever since! My sincere apologies for that. (apology accepted - Editor) This has nothing to do with Castle Wolfenstein but it's late and I need this blog entry done Mark H (Support and keeper of Dropbox) The internet was in its infancy in 1985 (and there goes 80% of our readers - Editor), and I was using BBS's on a dial-up 1200 baud modem. In 1986 I took over a BBS from a friend, running it on a 2400 baud modem and single phone line. It was just a few years later that I got my first look at the real "Internet", using Netscape and now a 9600 baud modem (we just lost another 10% - Editor). At some point I discovered online communities, then only "Forums" with perhaps photo gallery software similar to Coppermine. My focus was gaming at the time, so I gravitated to forums for such things as (like Marc) Castle Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, and the first RPG-type text-based games. I also joined a number of MUD's (multiplayer real time worlds - Editor), and am a (now retired) staff member of the MUD, Ancient Anguish. I've seen the progression of technology and software which, today, we take for granted. But back then if someone had told me where we would be today, (oh boy, here we go - Editor) I'd have been...... skeptical. Over the years, I've used a verity of "forum software" but well over a decade ago started using Invision Community version 1.3a. Today I am a partner with another person running a site using Invision Community software, and it's the highest-ranking result at Google for its (admittedly niche) speciality. Since I was using Invision Community, having purchased it at version 2.3, and given that background, it seemed a natural progression to join Invision Community as an employee when the opportunity arose, and I have never looked back! (must be dangerous when reversing - Editor) Actual footage of Mark listening to an internet podcast back in 1985 Jennifer (Designer and sock fanatic) Communities, for me, started on AOL. The chat rooms was where I started. I evolved to javascript chat rooms later and eventually into Neopets clubs followed by a community software called Avidgamers and eventually stumbled across InvisionFree forums. It was while I was adventuring through Avidgamers that I discovered an art type called "pixel" art which truly explains my passion. I was personally never good at it but I found a community called "Eden Enchanted" where all these really awesome pixel artists were. So I started to develop my own Pixel art community (because back then I thought I might eventually get good at it so I should admin). I started on the free community software of "SMF" but envied the ease of use and the beauty of Invision Community (which this awesome pixel community used (they have outstanding taste - Editor)). After what felt like forever, which mind you was really only like 2-3 months, I bit the bullet and purchased an Invision Community license. I wanted this gorgeous piece of software and I couldn't live with the second rate free stuff anymore (there's our new advert slogan - Editor). So I bought Invision Community 2.3 and delved in (this was back in 2007). I really haven't looked back since. I've been developing skins since I got it and I've made a few mods/applications on it back in the 3.0 days. I've owned and ran many communities, and roleplays, on Invision Community since. My current community, which has officially been running on Invision Community since December 2013, was transferred from InvisionFree (not my choice but god were we happy when we left). Ah the memories. Terrible, terrible memories Brandon (Developer and XP log in screen enthusiast) Back in roughly 2004-ish I got into customizing Windows XP (specifically I created custom login screens (this was actually a thing? - Editor) but knew a lot of people who did the full alternative to Windows Blinds by hacking dlls) and eventually opened a site to host my work and to allow others to share theirs: bfarber.com. I used Invision Community v1.3 which was free at the time (2.0 was just getting into beta testing as I recall) and needed a file manager to share my work and to allow others to do the same. I downloaded a free file manager by a modder named 'parkeet' and after installing it on my site (which required those good ole "find X and replace with Y" PHP file modifications) I found that it was lacking in a few areas, so I set out to customize it. From this desire I taught myself PHP (I was already familiar with HTML, CSS and javascript) and learned how to modify the modification. Eventually, the original author left the mod scene (this was back in the ibmods days for those of you who have been here a while (I have - Editor)) and turned the work over to me. I was hired by IPS back around 2006 and shortly after I came on board I built a new Downloads manager from the ground up as a core offering for the company (Now I know who to assign all Download tickets to - Editor). While I don't run my own site anymore (especially a third party hack site for Windows XP), I do have fond memories of my roots. This was both my start with web development (beyond building a few static HTML pages in the early days of the web) as well as my start with forums specifically. Never used this, apparently it was OK Stuart (Developer and owner of large computers) My story is rather similar to the other ones here (selling this story from the off - Editor). My story starts around 2000 when I started a car club with my brother, being the technical one, one of the first things to do was to set up a forum. We started with Ikonboard (imagine Perl & flat-file databases etc), we swiftly followed Matt over to his new PHP-based project "Invision Power Board" (pretty sure the restraining order prohibited that - Editor). With the introduction of the new licensing structure unfortunately with being very low budget we had to then move over to WBB (er... - Editor). Soon after we moved back to Invision Community (It was the best and totally worth it! (I made him say that - Editor)) and I started to get interested with PHP (up to this point, I had only really used HTML/CSS) and learning how to make some changes that we needed for working with 'members' and tying our website in with our community. -- A really simple SSO type approach where the main website would show the user that's logged in and save data they submit, such as a tech spec and images of their vehicles. That community is still using Invision Community and in the meantime I've also converted (and run) some other car club communities that I've been involved in over the years. From there, I was asked to start writing SSO (single sign on, you're welcome- Editor) integrations in early 2014 for Invision Community and soon after became a full member of staff. I still run a number of communities to this day which gives great insight into how end users interact with the software and generally what their feelings of the platform is. Quite often, I'll deploy Alphas to these communities to gather feedback. Oh, he said Car Club... Jim (Support and his name is a bit like the lead singer from The Doors) The first community I really heavily participated in was around 2003. Being a nerd and liking wrestling at the time (Ultimate Warrior FTW- Editor), I joined a wrestling forum that ran a very beginning version of IPB. A lot of time was spent on this website and after becoming a moderator, I really feel in love with IPB. A sub-forum on this community that was pretty active was around graphic design. Feedback/showcases and competitions with the main point of focus around the wrestling world. This really took my interest and while my interest in wrestling kind of faded, graphic design led to the next step in my life and naturally joining graphic design communities. After being a part of quite a few graphic design forums (that were ran quite badly (honesty is always good - Editor)) came time for me to try my hand at this. Being technically inclined, I thought I could run a better show. We started out on PHPBB due to cost but after some frustrating moments, I persuaded the move to Invision Community. Come sometime around 2008 or 2009 and my new passion around cars had reached its peak, I came back onto the forum scene. In 2010, my favorite brand had become defunct so I decided to open a community dedicated to keeping its memory alive. First and only choice was to come back to Invision Community! (Believe early version 3 at the time) This community is still alive and I still have a lot of fun with it! I've been waiting months to post this GIF Rhett (Hosting and boasting) My time on forums started in the late 90's, with a few motorcycle and photography forums I visited often. During the years as time progressed some of these went astray from what the core members wanted, so I started a few of my own Motorcycle forums with the core members following, that lead to other online communities such as Android (is that the cheap iOS knockoff? - Editor) in the late 2000's, and a few other communities. In about 08-09 I had enough of the main platform we were using and made the move to Invision Community (a man of fine taste - Editor). I started digging in, converting all the sites to Invision and haven't looked back (seriously, how do you guys get out of parking spots? - Editor). It's a great product, a great team, that I'm proud to be a small part of. Instagram in the 80s Daniel (Developer and owner of a shop and spa in Arendelle) My Journey started 2003 at an Austrian electronical music forum which was also written in perl. After years where I was only a member, the owner lost interest and a handful of people(incl. myself) took it over (hopefully you asked nicely first - Editor), but we realized that perl was such a pain to work with (I could have told you that - Editor), so we restarted the whole project with phpBB. This was also the time, where I got really interested into coding and customizing stuff. After a long journey from phpBB, to vBulletin(2006), and others, I landed finally here (the best one of course (someone's getting a bonus - Editor)) The forum doesn't exist anymore , I blame facebook and all the european laws, but TBH, I'm just too busy to run one 😁 Probably not Daniel Those are our stories, but we'd love to hear about your first experiences with Invision Community. Let us know below! View the full article
  4. Are you a member of a busy Facebook Group? Do you find it overwhelming trying to sort through all the posts to find something posted the day before? Are you now missing new posts and only seeing them a few days later? Facebook Groups are tempting to use as they are free to set up but is this the best decision for the future of your business? At the beginning with just a handful of members, things may fun fine. But fast forward to where your group becomes busy with thousands of members posting and reading. Your group becomes overwhelming. You find it hard to locate posts made on previous days and search is of no use. It is getting harder to keep on top of troublesome and spamming members. Worse still, Facebook's changing algorithms mean that your members are not seeing every post you make. You do as Facebook asks and link your page to your group to find that you must now boost posts to reach your members. This is getting to be a very common scenario. Even more worrying are rumours that Facebook is bringing advertising to groups. Will this allow your competitors to target your hard won membership? Will Facebook roll out the "Discover" tab across all continents? This alone has destroyed organic reach for many brands. What would you do if Facebook blocked your account for a week? Would your sales suffer? There is a way to take back control of your membership and secure your business' future. Building your business on your own land is a powerful way of retaining complete control over your community regardless of what happens to Facebook longer term. Created in 2002, Invision Community has always adapted to the changing habits of the internet. Our latest product is clean, modern, mobile ready and equipped to integrate with social media. It can power your conversations, website and shopping cart. It features single click Facebook sign in and tools to promote scheduled content to your Facebook page. We recently wrote why you shouldn't settle for a Facebook Group when building a community. The benefits of an owned Invision Community are: You own your own data. Your data is not mined for Facebook's benefit. Make it yours by branding it your way You're no longer boxed in by the Facebook format Seamless integration to your shopping cart for more monetization opportunities Set up permission levels to better control what your members can see Lets dig in a look at some of the tools you can leverage to make the migration easier. Mobile Ready Invision Community works great on your mobile. It resizes the page perfectly to match whichever device you are using. You don't need to install special apps or mess with themes. It just works out of the box. Facebook Sign In The first thing you'll want to do is turn on Facebook Sign In. This adds the familiar Facebook button right on the sign in page and register form. Clicking this logs them into your new community with their Facebook account. It even imports their profile photo so they are familiar with other members. Make use of embeds A great way to keep incorporating content from your Facebook Group or Page is to use embeds. Post a link to your content on Facebook and it transforms into a rich media snippet. Social Promotions Share your community content with your Facebook Page. Click the "Promote" button on any content item and you can customize the text and images shared. The promotion system offers a full scheduling system much like Buffer or Hootsuite. This is all built in at no extra cost. Find Your Content Unlike a Facebook Group, your Invision Community makes it easy to find older content. A powerful feature is activity streams. These are customizable "feeds" much like the Facebook News Feed but completely editable to you and your members needs. You can even make this the first page your members see for easy content discovery. Use Clubs Clubs allow sub-communities to run inside your main community. Let's look at a real world example. A FitPro has several different fitness products for sale. Each product is a Facebook Group. She posts daily workouts and answers member's questions. Using many groups can be very time consuming to manage. Clubs puts these sub-communities right on the page making it easy to drop in and update. These Clubs can be private and members invited to join allowing full privacy. This is like a closed Facebook group. We're only scratching the surface of what Invision Community can offer you. You can take back control of your membership and be free from the fear that Facebook will change something that will impact your sales. We're experts in this field with 16 years of experience. We've helped grow thousands of communities from the very biggest brands to the smallest of niches. We'd love to talk to you about your needs. View the full article
  5. We're thrilled to announce that Invision Community 4.3 Beta is available to download now. After months of development, over 2500 separate code commits and quite a few mugs of coffee you can now get your hands on the beta release. You can download the beta from your client area. Be sure to read the full information on support and service limits that go along with beta releases. You will see this in client area prior to downloading. If you need a recap of what was added, take a look at our product updates blog which takes you through the highlights. If you you find a bug, we'd love for you to report it with as much detail as you can muster in the bug report area. We'd love to know what you think, let us know below. View the full article
  6. Cue the music; switch on the dramatic lighting, we've got fantastic news! We're now running Invision Community 4.3 on here for some advanced testing before we unleash the first beta release. There's a subtle hint above If you need a recap of what was added, take a look at our product updates blog which takes you through the highlights. As this is a pre-beta release, expect some funkiness as we scurry around and tidy up our custom theme wrapper and other areas as we spot them. If you you find a bug, we'd love for you to report it with as much detail as you can muster in the bug report area. We'd love to know what you think, let us know below. View the full article
  7. We, at Invision Community, love nothing more after a relaxing day writing PHP code, making commits in git and fighting with jQuery to indulge in a little therapeutic "me time". Given that we've all chosen to work in a nerdy industry (nerds are cool now, we checked) it's no surprise that our down time is spent on nerdy pursuits. Here's how our team spent their allotted and begrudgingly given free time. Ryan (Developer who loves of loud noises) I'm an audio nerd. I go out of my way to hand pick each individual component whenever I'm building a an audio system. My computer, for example, currently has 4 satellite speakers (two Bose, two DCM models which are no longer in production - what is a shame, they are better than any I've ever had), and a sub-woofer (Bose). My living room system is my pride and joy - everything currently runs through a Sony 7.1 channel surround sound system, with a Polk Audio center channel, two Kenwood JL series tower speakers (before JL Audio was it's own thing - each contain a 1.5" tweeter, 5" Midrange, and 12" Subwoofer), two side-surround satellites that need replacing, and will soon have two rear-surround Bose satellites. Each system has specifically been fine-tuned and equalized to my specification. (Editor: I'd be happy with a HomePod) The same applies to my guitar amps - I've spent years fine-tuning my amps to perfection, and constantly adjust and tweak various settings to get different sounds. Still not loud enough, we checked Jennifer (Designer who loves board games) As everyone likely knows I do a lot of pretty nerdy things, from cosplaying to video games to play by post roleplaying (collaborative writing) to collecting nerdy-shirts and playing board games but I think one of my more nerdy things would be that I collect socks and intentionally mismatch them (aka I'm Bi-sockual). I collect socks of all shapes and sizes to have for any occasion including socks with capes, leg warmers and more. I have a pretty nerdy collection including a ton of super hero socks, some Power Puff girls and more. (Editor: Socks with capes. What a time to be alive) These are clean, we checked Daniel (Developer who loves amusing English words) It all started several years ago as a present.. I fall in love with this hobby and got some nice trees from my ex-wife. The collection grew and grew. That's my "poor mans" bonsai collection.. I once trashed a 1000€ plant, then I sold all other which were worth more then 500€ except one and now I just have these left, but it's enought to keep me busy... and to not cause any sadness if something happens to them...Now i really enjoy trying to create my own stuff instead of taking care of bought stuff. (Editor: Daniel is hands down the most interesting person I've ever met) These are legal, we checked. Brandon (Developer who loves movies) I haven't done one in a while, but I like to have movie marathons sometimes. For instance, I'll plan to sit down one day and do nothing but watch Star Wars movies (or Harry Potter, or LOTR or whatever) all day in order. You then have to make the ever important decision of putting the prequels first, or after the originals, but otherwise it tends to be a fun experience watching the continuity from one distinct movie to the next (or, alternatively, looking for broken continuity). When I do this, we tend to eat popcorn, milkshakes and candy for lunch and dinner. Most of my family cannot sit still that long and will just bounce in and out during the marathon. (Editor: I'm in, when do you want me to pop over?) Spongebob lives under the sea, we checked Marc S (Tech who loves things that crash) I guess other than coding, the nerdiest thing I do is watch Formula 1 racing. Whilst this doesn't seem that nerdy, I do go a little overboard with it (as my wife reminds me regularly). This should give you a bit of an idea. At present we are approaching pre season testing. For those not familiar with formula 1, this is a testing phase before the new season, for teams to test their new cars. This means that the new cars are just being shown to the world for the first time. I will watch for these to see them as soon as they come out, then will take a look at what new parts I can see on the car in comparison to last year. Today for example saw the first glimpse of Mercedes, and at 3pm Ferrari will show off their new car online. In addition to that, I've been looking at the stats from last year, along with the know changes this year in engines. I have my own analysis of who I think will be the winners and losers, through the changes from last season in drivers, engine suppliers, and even paddock staff. Testing starts on the cars on Monday in barcelona. Whilst this is not on TV, I will be keeping myself updated with the latest events on there. My daily routine whilst testing is on consists of. Testing live stream running throughout the day during testing Teds notebook in the evening - An show which analyses the days testing F1 show - Another show which analyses each days testing Autosport review - Article online with analysis Sky news site - Usually some good analysis on there BBC Sport - Again, some good analysis and different points of view Motorsport.com - Pretty good website for analysis And of course the formula 1 website itself. Boring to many (Editor: yep), but I guess everyone has to have a hobby. For me its formula 1 analysis. Would love to have a go in one, but to do so it hugely expensive! (Editor: given your history with crashing things, you'd never get insurance) John Woo directed this clip, we checked Andy (Developer who loves to follow instructions) Following a recent project we worked on for LEGO, I rediscovered a love for the brick with the Saturn V. Since then I’ve also started a nice little collection of cars including the incredibly geeky 2704 piece Porsche 911 GT3 RS with functional PDK gearbox and the VW campervan. My family bought me a few more sets for Christmas and I’m toying (no pun intended (Editor: Puns are my thing, it's the only job I have left)) with building a city with the larger modular sets. I’d say that was fairly geeky but I really enjoy the downtime of sitting down and building. I’m not terribly creative so following a set of instructions and seeing things come together appeals to me more than free building. Andy did build this, we checked Right, that's enough of that, everyone back to work! How do you spend your spare time? Let us know below! View the full article
  8. There are many different reasons to build a community. It might be based on your business or a hobby. It may be to talk about your favourite sports team. Whatever the content, the key to success is to engage your community. We've been helping successful communities for over 15 years. During that time, we've picked up a handful of tips that we are going to share with you today. Pick one to try this week and let us know how you get on. Welcome every single member A great way to make members feel welcome at your community is to post a daily or weekly topic welcoming your new members. Post a short message asking them to introduce themselves and tag new members. This will encourage them to start a discussion that others can get involved with. It won't be long before friends are made and what may have been a passing member will be part of your core community. Host a "lurker week" Every few months, host a "Lurker week" where you encourage non-posting members to join in. You can explain the benefits of the community and encourage them to say hello. It's a great way to get people to introduce themselves. Suzi Nelson pioneered this over at Digital Marketer. She created a lurker themed week and was able to activate 44% of her previously inactive members in only five days! Spotlight members you want others to model Often you will see a member do something amazing in the community. Maybe they posted a really good question or perhaps they have been very active and helped many other members. Create a topic about it. Highlight how and why they are an asset they are to the community. This sends a positive message to other members that these kinds of actions will be celebrated. You can even turn this into a weekly or monthly ritual where you celebrate the member of the week or month. Educate about notifications The notifications system in Invision Community is the best way to get return visits. Why not put up a pinned topic in a visible area reminding your members how to get the best from the notification system, and asking them to enable them and follow any interesting forums or topics. This way they won't miss out of any discussion while they're away and as a bonus, they're more likely to return to catch up. Regular Interaction This is a very simple but often overlooked tip. As the community manager your purpose is to facilitate discussion. Make sure you show up regularly and create new discussions as well as reply to existing ones. People are more likely to post if they feel they will get a reply. Often your reply will send off a cascade of more interaction as different facets of the conversions come out. Ask for feedback Members love to be involved in brainstorms and to share their thoughts. Asking for feedback works on two levels. You get great ideas on how to improve your community. It is also a great tactic to get discussion going. Taking action on feedback makes that person feel more invested in your community and will champion it to others. Try and be specific when asking for feedback. Try "How can I increase the level of activity" or "Do you need any articles or topics written on specific subjects". The more specific, the easier it will be for your members to narrow down their thoughts. Be persistent These tips might give your community a short burst of engagement. To build a long lasting and highly engaged community, you have to be persistent and keep at it. The key to building a community is simple: put in the work and care about your members. If your members see how much you care and that you are showing up every day, they are more likely to show up too. Which of these tips are you going to try this week? View the full article
  9. As we come close to wrapping up development of Invision Community 4.3, we wanted to let you know of a few smaller improvements we've made to increase engagement to your community. Email Despite fancy new things like social media and push notifications, trusty old email has been proven to be highly effective at getting repeat visitors to your website. It's one of the reasons Invision Community has built in email support for notifications that can be sent instantly, or via daily or weekly digests. Email should form a part of every community marketing strategy but curating content and building newsletters can often be a labor intensive task. With Invision Community 4.3 we have added some additional automated email tools to help your users discover more of your carefully crafted content. Highlight the best content from throughout your community In 4.2 we introduced the concept of curated content with promotions and “Our Picks”. With 4.3 we’ve taken this a step further and these promoted items will now appear directly in your content related emails. This allows for your audience to be enticed back to your community with items that they may not have read but holds interest. Capture return visits with interesting content Social media links in email footers If you look closely in the image above you will also see that you can now optionally include links to all of your social media sites within the footer of all of your outgoing emails. Both of these new features are enabled by default but can be disabled in the email settings section of your admin control panel. Email may be as old as the web itself, but it is a very powerful medium to get your audience coming back for more. Respond to Reviews We added the ability to leave a review to Pages articles, download files, calendar events and in other areas early on in Invision Community 4. The concept was to allow your members to engage in new ways with your content. Reviews on Commerce store items and purchasable downloadable goods is a great way to inspire others to purchase. New to Invision Community 4.3 is the ability for the content creator (be that a download file, store owner, etc) to respond to a review. This is a great way to address reviews that may be considered unfair or extreme. Matt is talking to himself again One more thing... Not content with resurrecting the Subscriptions manager from 2009, we've brought back a small detail from previous versions of Invision Community. The famous "this person is typing a reply" indicator in the online list. We can't wait to release this latest update. With new ways to monetise your community, new ways to engage your audience and better promotion tools, we're excited to see how it's going to benefit your community. View the full article
  10. We've recently spoken about how we've brought our Gallery and Blog apps bang up to date with interface overhauls to bring them inline with the high standards our customers expect. Keeping this in mind, we're thrilled to announce that we've taken Commerce right back to 2009. This needs an explanation. Way back in 2009, Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President. Minecraft was put into beta, Slumdog Millionaire was released to critical praise and we had a product called IP.Subscriptions. IP.Subscriptions was a lightweight member subscriptions manager that allowed members to purchase elevated permissions via a user group upgrade. It was a fine little app. However, on the horizon we had a brand new eCommerce app in development. Then called Nexus, now called Commerce (we took months to come up with that). It made sense for us to merge the products into one app given they both had overlapping functionality. They both could create packages to promote members to a new user group. Commerce was much more developed as an invoicing and billing system. Everyone was happy. Almost. Commerce has grown to be an incredibly powerful app. It can sell anything from physical products like t-shirts, to digital products such as license keys and it can even manage your hosting set-up. We use it for our support and billing systems, so we know how robust it is. While it's an incredibly powerful commerce system, setting up basic subscriptions packages became a little more complex. Over the past few years we've received a lot of feedback on this. We've listened. Commerce Member Subscriptions We've built a brand new section into Commerce specifically for membership subscriptions. Let's take a look at this in more detail. On the front end, there's a very clear and easy to understand page for membership subscriptions. The main subscriptions interface Here you can see all the available packages, which one you're currently subscribed to and the upgrade and downgrade options. A simple way to upgrade There's several choices for costing upgrades in the Admin CP, here we have chosen to charge the difference between packages. Get to your subscriptions easily Your subscriptions are easily found in the user menu. If the Admin allows, the package you're subscribed to appears as a badge on your profile. There's also a little widget showing the packages which you can drag and drop to the sidebar for an additional prompt for non-subscribers. This gives Invision Community a very clear and easy to understand interface for subscriptions which lives outside of the Commerce store and its packages. Now, let's dive into the Admin CP The main engine for this feature is the package list. This is in a separate area within Commerce. The list also shows the number of currently active and inactive subscribers. This links to the list of subscribers. Other than Bob having a total nightmare, you can easily view which members are currently active. The buttons link you to the Commerce invoice and purchase. If you wish to add a member to a subscription without charging them (you generous soul, you), then that is easily possible. Creating a new subscription package is very straight forward. We've built a new form which is stripped down to the fundamental items you'll need for a subscription. As you would expect, there are several settings to control the system. A few things worth mentioning here: You can force new members to purchase a subscription on sign-up You can show or hide the profile badge indicating which package they purchased. You can choose to allow upgrades or downgrades. You can choose how you'd like to charge for upgrades or downgrades Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback over the years. We're really pleased to present this new feature and hope that it'll make your daily lives just a little easier. Let us know what you think! View the full article
  11. This month, we turn sweet sixteen! We made our own card this year. I know, it's hard to believe with our youthful looks and energetic personalities, but it's true. Charles and I have known each other longer than I've known my own children and we still make each other laugh on a daily basis. Over the past 16 years we've seen a lot of trends come and go. When we started, AOL dial-up was the preferred method of choice (and probably the only method of choice). Compuserve were flying high and I think I'll stop this walk down memory lane before I turn into my own grandfather and start talking about how things were better in my day. A lot has changed. We've seen the rise of social media and how it disrupted habits. We've seen MP3 players become iPods, and iPods become iPhones and iPhones become iPads (other digital devices are also available). It's crazy to think that our company pre-dates Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Click on this image to see it unless you have excellent eyesight We're still here because we are always innovating and adapting. The software we're working on right now is vastly different from the one we started out with. And that is how it should be. We listen to our customers and we implement the great ideas. Of course, we'd not have lasted a year without our customers. We're genuinely thrilled to still be doing a job we love and serving customers who have trusted their community with us. Thank you all for choosing us and we're looking forward to the next 16 years. View the full article
  12. IPSDev

    4.3: Announcements

    We have a very important announcement to make! There are times where you need to get the attention of your visitors. You might be closed on certain days of the year, performing server maintenance (if you are consider our Cloud Plans, they're excellent) or running a competition. Invision Community has always had an announcements feature baked in, but we felt it could be improved. Okay, maybe this feature isn't as flashy as some of the others we're introducing in 4.3, but these useful features should make managing your community easier. The new look announcement feature replaces the old widgets enabling you to display customisable announcements in any of the following locations; Top of the page Above the page content In the sidebar The three new announcement locations Each location has some slightly different features; the page top banner is dismissible by the member if they no longer want to see it, whereas the banner above the content and the sidebar announcements cannot be dismissed. Most of the original customisable features are still available, including the ability to select which applications and pages show certain announcements and which member groups can see them. Combining this with the three new locations gives you much more flexibility for different types of announcements and we've also included the option to customise the color of the announcement. New customisable options The announcements have also been improved to contain more information. Rather than showing an unformatted snippet along side the title, announcements can now be tapped to open a modal showing any further details. Modal showing announcement content We hope you'll enjoy these useful improvements in Invision Community 4.3. Stay tuned for further announcements (pun intended)! View the full article
  13. "No man is an island" wrote John Donne. He wrote that a good 200 years before computers were invented, but it rings true for any well written framework like Invision Community. The included REST API allows developers to fetch data from Invision Community and also allows data to be added. This data can be used to power widgets on your website, or to be used within other applications you are already using in a very simple way. Several enhancements have been made to the REST API for Invision Community 4.3 that we wanted to let you know about. These changes are developer-oriented, so if you do not use the REST API with your community please feel free to skip this update. If you would like to learn more about the REST API available with Invision Community, please see our REST documentation. Search capabilities As previously noted, you can now perform searches through the REST API. You can perform searches based on keywords, tags, or both, and you can limit and filter results with parameters similar to when you perform a regular search on the site (e.g. to specific containers, returning only results over a set number of comments, or searching within clubs). Permission awareness Several REST API endpoints are now permission-aware when combined with Oauth functionality built into Invision Community 4.3. This means that many REST API endpoints can be called using a specific user's access token, and only results that the specific user would normally be able to see will be returned (and/or they will only be able to submit to areas they normally have permission to). Ability to search members While an endpoint has always been available to retrieve (and add/edit/delete) members, the ability to search for members has now been implemented. You can search by name, email address, and (one or more) group(s), and a paginated response will be returned. Private conversations You can now start a new private conversation, reply to an existing private conversation, and delete a private conversation through the REST API. Other REST API changes You can now specify member's secondary groups when adding or updating a member through the REST API. You can specify the member's registration IP address through the REST API when adding or updating a member. You can now specify other member properties not directly exposed through the REST API when adding or updating a member by setting the rawProperties input field. You can now specify other member properties to retrieve through the REST API through the otherFields request parameter. The REST API now better logs changes to member accounts (so you will be able to more easily identify how a user's name, email address, password, etc. has changed when looking at the member history). You can now retrieve all content a member is following through the REST API, as well as follow a new container/content item, and delete an existing follow. You can now validate an account through the REST API You can now specify a 'perPage' parameter for paginated responses to control how many items are returned per page. Most of these changes were directly culled from client feedback and implemented per specific requests. If there are other REST API changes you would like to see implemented please don't hesitate to leave your feedback! View the full article
  14. Social media promotion should be a part of any marketing strategy. Curating interesting content from your community and sharing to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter is a great way to drive traffic to your site. Invision Community 4.2 introduced Social Media Promotions to allow this. You hit the promote button, fill out the text to share with each service, click which photos to include and schedule the promotion or send it immediately. We use this feature almost every single day to share highlights to our Invision Community Facebook page and Twitter. This feature has had a significant impact in attracting visitors to our blog. This is now a core part of our marketing strategy. So what's new in Invision Community 4.3? Facebook Groups and Pages A popular feature request was to allow sharing to Facebook groups that you are an administrator of, as well as Pages you own. Not only that, but we now allow you to share to many places at once. When setting up Facebook, you can choose which Facebook properties to be used when promoting. When sharing content, you can choose where to share it to right on the dialog. Here you can see that we're sharing to two of three possible places. "It's a secret" is a Facebook Group (which makes it a pretty poor secret). The "Lindy Throgmartin Fan Club" is my favourite page on all of Facebook. What it lacks in members, it makes up for in enthusiasm. You may also notice that the Facebook box is empty. Facebook have very strict guidelines on sharing content. They prefer that you do not auto-populate the content. You can always access the item's original content on the promote dialog, so you can refer to it. Setting a custom page title When you share to social media channels, you also have the opportunity to add to the 'Our Picks' page. We've made it possible to add a custom title for the Our Picks page so you don't have to use the content item title, although this is still the default. Editing an Our Pick When editing an item shared to 'Our Picks', you now have the option of editing all the data, including the title and the images attached. The Our Picks page showing the custom title Thanks to your feedback, we saw several places that we can improve this already popular feature. We hope you enjoy these changes which makes your social promotion strategy even easier to execute. I know we'll be making good use of them! View the full article
  15. IPSDev

    January Wrap Up

    What an exciting month we've had! The big news is that it's all systems go on Invision Community 4.3, our big update to our apps. We've already talked about Automatic Community Moderation, Emoji, Sign in from other sites using OAuth, blog updates, Scaleable search and interface improvements, Apple Pay (and more) support, Paid club memberships, and other club improvements and massive gallery updates. Our team take a short breather to discuss their hidden talents, including the ability to solve a Rubik's cube in under two minutes. In our community management series, we look at how you can brand your Invision Community in just a few minutes without knowing how to code. This month's featured articles are: You can see our full newsletter here. View the full article
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