Avoid Add-on Frenzy

Discussion in 'Managing an Online Community' started by fixer, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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    A common thing for new community owners is to get trigger happy with addons, especially those of the cheap/free nature.

    Ask yourself some of these questions before installing an add on...
    1. Does this addition make my community better, Is this value added?
    2. Is this something my users will notice?
    3. Will it even show on mobile platforms?
    4. Am i willing to not upgrade my site while i wait on the add-on to be updated?
    5. Does the majority of my community even care if i add this?
    If you answered no to any of these ,,, then i would suggest you do not install.

    Addons can be huge security risks, can make upgrading very difficult and can cause multiple issues with the site.

    That's just the obvious... heavier addons like gallery, blogs and CMS can hurt a community because it takes content and hides it on the site, less than 25% of the users on a community even visit these features , they can be heavy, bulky and slow and generally do not take mobile users into account which is a common mistake and when you have site features that have tumbleweeds rolling through it looks bad on the entire community.

    As for the seasoned forum owner i challenge you to audit your own community , does your community really need all them addons?
     
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  2. Steve

    Steve Administrator

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    #6 Does the add-on make the day to day running of the site better/easier

    Maintenance upgrades aren’t so bad but I’ve recently decided core functions and being able to upgrade to major versions outweigh my need for add-ons. We have around 9 add-ons now when before we topped 30ish.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  3. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

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    Point 2 not every add-on is for the user that visit your site sometimes it can be for the moderator or admin.

    Point 3 is not needed for all sites, i had a site that was graphic content and you did not want to use it mobile. So depending on what you’ll need make a choice.

    Point 5 its not always about the majority sometimes when you give to the minority’s it can turn out they post more.
     
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  4. Steve

    Steve Administrator

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    Mobile/responsive has changed dramatically in recent years. What I mean is, people are constantly viewing Instagram and Pinterest on mobile devices. Today you would be doing a disservice not thinking about mobile users.
     
  5. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

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    If i had the same site again no people would not look at it on phone the images posted where just to big px size as mb size.
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Administrator

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    Responsive will make sure anyone can view it in their viewport.

    6000x4000px, looks great on my iPhone 7+

    upload_2019-3-13_20-19-57.jpeg
     
  7. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

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    An actively updated CMS was the single largest attractor of new visitors on my largest site before I sold it, and articles account for good traffic on the 3 others I sold, and continue to be big traffic sources on those I still run. Depending on the niche, my articles have tended to bring in 200-500% higher RPM rates than thread pages. And they look great on mobile.

    Matter of fact, I'm going to be dedicating a couple of hundred bucks a week to article writers soon, as soon as I have my list of articles needed to get them started with a decent selection. It's well worth the investment.

    - edit to correct grammar
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  8. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    These are good questions to ask, not just about an add-on, but with every choice you make, from which software to use, to colour and graphic style, to how you organize and present the content. However, I agree, less is more when it comes to add-ons.

    When it comes to cost, price is no guarantee of quality. We can draw a parallel to this from the gaming world. Many "cheap" titles from small developers offer far better customer support than a lot of AAA titles from large companies. The best way to ensure quality for your forum add-ons is to do a bit of research on the developer.

    Most importantly, have a goal and a plan for your forum. Revisit and revise the plan regularly, and ensure every choice you make and every add-on you use aligns with that plan.
     
  9. Nerdface

    Nerdface Aspirant

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    Must admit I've gone a bit add-on crazy. It's not like I haven't thought about their integration, but that being said I am starting to find that things have felt a little "bloaty" recently and I am starting to cut down on things where I can..
     
  10. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

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    I think this applies to lots of software platforms, whether it's a forum, cms or online shop.

    The more you extend it, the greater the chance of incompatibilities and clashes arising that you might not pick up on for a long time with each core or plugin upgrade.

    I've been thinking about this a lot recently with an online shop I'm building out using WooCommerce. I've got to worry about the core software compatibility with plugins, I've got to worry about the core woocommerce plugin, every single payment gateway that's integrated into the system, the plethora of extra plugins I've added to add product page features, a better review system as the core one sucks, then I have to worry about if the theme and any custom styling I've added on top of it will break with any updates. It can drive you crazy if you're not careful.

    I think this issue really drives home the importance of well designed, and well maintained first party products in any ecosystem. Once the core forum is developed, or media gallery, or plugin system, or calendar, or club system, whatever it is - don't stop re-evaluating if it's the best that it can be and how it can be improved. Look to the plugin community to see if there's any major features you've missed that users are reliant on 3rd party plugins for, then put it in the core so we know it works and we can rest easy at 1 click upgrade time, take inspiration from the 3rd party improvements and run with them They doesn't have to be on by default, so there's no worry about bloat, but give us the options. There's so much competition these days we need great user experience and features across the board, if we're constantly relying on 3rd party plugins to fill these gaps it can hold us back from upgrading when the core eventually catches up, or just drive us to another platform. Whether that's a different forum, cms or ecommerce platform.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  11. haqzore

    haqzore Habitué

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  12. cornnfedd

    cornnfedd Captain Futurama

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    i saw you list of add ons on xenforo forum the other night funnily enough... i was like wow thats a lot to maintain, updating must be a nightmare..

    I think it was your forum anyway.

    I do like you site by the way.
     
  13. Nerdface

    Nerdface Aspirant

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    It probably was, since I publish and maintain the list of add-ons I use in my XF showcase thread.. :)

    Updating isn't too difficult actually - the worst parts are custom bits of code when I'm lazy and edit the template/file directly. ThemeHouse's Install/Upgrade add-on makes the maintenance of 75% of installed add-ons automated and easy.

    (Thanks for your kind words.)
     
  14. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

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    I just updated a plugin in XF 2.1.1 and the author has their own 1 click upgrade system for their add on hosted external from the resource manager, worked a treat. Would be great if there was a framework devs could follow so they could all do that.
     
  15. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

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    I agree with Point 2 . A lot of my sites plugins and apps help ME as admin to be faster smarter better in my administration.

    The good part is that because they're all back-end functions, they can be easily toggled without any impact to the front end experience.
     
  16. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Administrator

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    I have a lot of admin and more addon functionality which makes life so much easier. It simply saves hours a day, For upgrading to a higher version it does mean that I don't want to do without it and I am less flexible in upgrading.
     
  17. southernlady

    southernlady Coder/Designer

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    Many of my addons are for MY use. Not the general user.
     
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