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Learn Chinese in China

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Software Switch Stats

It's way too early to tell what if any impact the change in software will have on site usage. But lets look at some numbers anyway.

First off, early indications are that everyone has figured out how to post - new posts figures for the last couple of days are broadly in line with the same days last week. Subtract all the posts made in the topic about the move (which don't really count as normal posting) and you've got figures down a bit, but not to a worrying extent.

There are page redirects in place to bring anyone attempting to visit old forum content pages to the right place on the new system, so search engine traffic is still finding us. It has dropped by about 10% on the same day last week, presumably as Google and the rest update the index with the new urls. That kind of drop is well within the realms of random Internet fluctuations anyway.

Talking of Google, the changes have certainly been noticed - there's a clear spike in indexing as the new pages are visited to check what if anything has changed. blogentry-3-12735792029_thumb.png

And it's maybe a bit early, but it looks like Googlebot is finding the new pages easier to eat - this shows how long on average it takes to download a page. There's not a lot of value in that information, but it indicates that the new scripts are at least not running any slower than the old ones.


And if anyone wants to do their bit to boost the stats - get posting. Posts generate more posts, and more visitors.


Switching to IPB

As you've no doubt noticed, Chinese-forums.com is looking somewhat different today. We've switched the software used to run the site from Vbulletin (VB) to Invision Power Board (IPB). By the time you read this there'll be a forum post somewhere on any issues you're having using the new system, but I'm going to use this very first Chinese-forums.com blog post to explain the background to the change.

First a little history. When we started off in 2003 (the site is seven years old later this month) we were running on phpBB, a free and very good forum package. After a couple of years (I think it was in 2005) we switched to VB - phpBB was ok, but it was limited in terms of what you could do, particularly on the admin side. VB served us very well and we used it happily up until about a few hours ago.

However the VB project has hit turbulence recently, with a change of ownership, a number of staff changes, delays and negative feedback on the new VB 4.0 product. I'd been waiting for at least a year for a usable VB 4.0, but so far the advice from people who should know what they're talking about has been to stay away.

Hence moving to IPB, the other leading forum product. What this gives us is a similarly robust forums package, combined with a number of other functions. A non-exhaustive list could include this blog package, a better integrated front page view, a content management system I haven't even started to get to grips with yet, and in the near future better links with sites such as Facebook and Twitter (I'm no huge fan of either, but tide of history and all that) and native mobile device support.

I'm hoping the change isn't too disruptive. While I'm not yet fully familiar with the new set-up myself I've very pleased with what have seen - with a bit of luck it'll see us through our second seven years.

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