The Importance of: Landing Page

Discussion in 'Managing an Online Community' started by fixer, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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    I know what your thinking... you only get one shot to make a first impression, Yep that's true but the hidden importance of a landing page on a community is not about first impressions, Nope it's about engagement.

    [​IMG]

    So what if someone sees your site and says.."well this looks nice" then go back to their normal web use. What we are after is people to be intrigued by our content and how we can deliver it to them.

    So take a minute and look at your site, No really


    Dead Forum
    Dead Forum
    One post a Week Ago
    Dead Forum
    Dead Subforum (that probably shouldn't even be a thing anyway (merge it into parent go ahead no one will care)

    New Photo
    New Link Added

    etc etc.. So look at everything you have that is "Recent" your goal is now to create a landing page that focuses on fresh new content, not dead forums to scroll pass... seriously we are killing ourselves !!!!

    look at my landing page - https://www.mymilitia.com

    everything NEW on my site is shown on the landing page

    This method can even make the most inactive forums appear to be alive and well, if you are not in a content rich environment , you can use RSS feeds to kick start your content and show the world what sort of topics you want on your site...Just be sure to pull the reins back once real user content is coming in because RSS feeds will bury the real people in a hurry and they will never come back
     
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  2. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    That's the way I like it. It's a shame the majority of forum products don't make it easily achievable without add-ons.
     
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  3. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    Landing pages are really interesting, if you're an information nerd. They started out as a way to provide some context and orientation for site visitors. As people started to study and analyze websites, however, they found most landing pages weren't working. Users wanted to get to what they were interested in as quickly as possible, rather than spend time reading what the site wanted them to see up front. So the landing page died out, for the most part, in favour of architectures that reduced the number of clicks to content.

    Now we're seeing a resurgence of the landing page, but this time with a focus on marketing. It's now all about getting key messages and engagement schemes as the first things users see.

    I'm torn when it comes to landing pages for forums. It seems reasonable to want visitors to see all the latest threads and links immediately. That is, as Fixer points out, a good engagement tool. But there's a risk that users will only ever read what's offered on the landing page, without ever digging deeper into the forum. A landing page can give a forum the appearance of being more active but it can also discourage discovery and limit users' perception about the depth of the forum.
     
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  4. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    I agree, users get what they are given by admin which is fine for a new member but becomes less useful as the member starts to navigate the site. What's needed in my view is a page that the user can take control of i.e. give me new content but don't give me profile comments. Or show me threads that I've replied to but I don't need to see site statistics etc.
     
  5. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

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    I absolutely agree with fixer that communities need a custom landing page. The forum index of legacy boards is absolutely terrible in terms of modern UIX. It shows no actual content and it's overwhelming to new users.

    I've tried to analyze social media (to the best of my abilities), which has upended expectations of modern engagement and content discovery. I'm not an expert by any means, but I believe engagement should be measured and populated by three factors:
    1. Relevance
    2. Chronology
    3. Popularity

    Relevance is actually the most powerful, but I personally think it's the one where legacy forums fail the most. Relevance is defined by content that is of interest to the user: either other similar content or content posted by users. Legacy forums don't possess the technology to save user search history and deliver content that's similar to past interest. The most legacy forums do is show content from "followed users", whether or not that content is relevant to me.

    Chronological content and popular content are factors that legacy forums do measure and can show. But I've yet to see any forum platform mix these three in a single feed.

    This is concept that can and should be applied everywhere content discovery is used: on the landing page, in notifications, in the sidebar, and in contextual discovery.

    There's a powerful quote from the founder of Instagram. He says that users only see, on average, 30% of what other users post. Their job is to present the best 30%.

    When I read this quote, I was blown away by how accurate it is. Imagine all of the forum feeds and activity streams you've seen, and how irrelevant most of the content is to you. You're delivered ALL of the content according to the options of the stream, not the best 30%.

    There is a fourth factor that is something new, and that social media is crushing social communities on. It's not applicable to all communities and becomes less important the more technical your board becomes, but I believe it's incredibly critical to nurturing a sense of community: sentiment analysis, the emotive intensity and positive / negative feeling of the text. Humans are naturally emotional creatures. Fostering and offering emotionally-driven discussions are important to pulling on the emotive connection of your users and building a deeper, purpose driven community.

    These are the kinds of discussions that I'm having with my platform provider to move it forward. These are big, heavy questions that won't be solved or developed overnight but that I think we should at least understand why and how the rest of the world moves on. These are discussions that I encourage you to investigate, to analyze, and to present to your provider of choice as well.
     
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  6. palhanow

    palhanow Enthusiast

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    Very good points on this thread.

    Like I always say, Forums system are the real backbone of the internet content until this days, since the 80’s. But we evolved poorly, and social networks with their dynamic approach literally almost killed our business model.

    This thread pointed out a seriously issue: our design changed basically nothing since the beginning, with the proper exceptions of course. The actual landing page of almost every Forum looks like a cemetery, even if we show some lasts posts or anything.

    And that’s one of the reasons that I changed my landing page for Bob’s AMS add-on.

    In this way my visitors will always land on the most important page (and constantly updated), seeing what’s going on in every aspect of my site.

    The index of my Forum is loaded with some widgets showing the most recent threads, the trending threads, threads with more replies and stuff like that.

    The landing page looks like a real showcase for the costumers and we need to take a good care.
     
  7. cornnfedd

    cornnfedd Captain Futurama

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    Very good points made by fixer

    One of my biggest gripes is when you find a great looking forum that you "think" could be of interest there is absolutely zero information about what the actual forum is about, yes you have the title/logo but that is it then all you see is forums listed. I just find it annoying and I dont want to actually have to sign up and dig around for 20 minutes just to find out I am not interested in the topic anyway...
     
  8. cornnfedd

    cornnfedd Captain Futurama

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    I only watched that gif about 20 times and laughed all 20 times.

    there is something wrong with me.
     
  9. palhanow

    palhanow Enthusiast

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    Same here. I feel bad for this. Poor little bird. And he looks like a flying penguin.
     
  10. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

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    fixer how did you made the landing page in IPC
     
  11. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    This is something that forums have been horrible at. We spend a lot of time choosing software, creating logos, and finding a catchy domain, but we often forget the most important information: what the forum is about and who it's for. This is one area where a landing page can make a big difference by qualifying visitors immediately.

    Here, I have to disagree. Not every forum needs a landing page. It isn't a panacea that will make all forums better or more active. It was this very idea that ruined landing pages for websites the first time. Slapping a useless landing page on a crappy forum will only serve to teach users to ignore landing pages.

    As with any information architecture element, the answer to whether your forum needs a landing page is "it depends". You need to analyze and understand your content, your audience, and your goals. You need to address any issues with organization and purpose. You need to ensure your forum is doing everything it should do to reach and serve the audience you want. Only then, can you consider what value having a landing page can bring, and decide if it will outweigh any potential downsides.
     
  12. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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    I use the first party pages app, then all you have to do is choose what widgets you want where or use blocks to put anything you want anywhere you want.

    There is still work to do...

    i am still longing after a condensed true ajax loading activity feed with a list of about 50 things i can pick from to show me and embed it on the landing page... i’m even ok with it scrolling through older data for the guests usergroup like its just happened... think how some webstores pop up and say “Sam in Ohio just purchased this item” it gives you the impression of “live action” and i'm ok with this tactic relating to guests only
     
  13. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

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    Going to look into that its better then a normal landing page.
     
  14. DaveL

    DaveL Habitué

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    I personally don't like landing pages. I prefer seeing the forum right from the off.
     
  15. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

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    This is fairly common for Invision Communities. You will need the Pages app.

    You create a new page, then drag-and-drop blocks into hot zones. There are about a dozen blocks that ship with the software or you can create your own custom blocks.

    Here's another example of a block-style homepage: https://www.nano-reef.com/

    Actually if you notice, I used the word "community" in my original statement and for a specific reason. Usually online communities are more evolved than forums. They usually denote more complex and multi-application platforms.

    If you're a pure-play forum and that's all you have, then sure, maybe all you need is a forum. But if your community has authoritative content in a database, peer support in the forums, guides in something else, guest articles in blogs, resources in a resource directory, then you'll probably need something to bring them together in a cohesive manner.
     
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  16. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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    This is 100% true! Totally on board!

    My community is the authority on my subject matter, the forums are only a piece of it.

    Imagine walking into someones house you enter the house into a little room and there are no hallways or nowhere else to go... they will turn around and leave “nothing to see here” now if they enter a room with examples of what’s in all the other rooms and clear paths of entry they may stay a while which leads to conversions which leads to content and repeat
     
  17. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    I don't think a community is defined by the variety or complexity of the software used. It's a social construct, rather than a technological one. There are plenty of forum only communities out there.

    More importantly, when you build a site that encompasses content from a variety of sources, as you describe, you should already have a unified structure planned, with or without a specific landing page.

    This is a very good point that showcases one of the great weaknesses of a landing page. A landing page assumes all visitors will arrive via the front door, when we know that a large number of them will find their way in through search engines that drop them into specific pages in the site. It is far more important to develop a really good IA plan and navigation scheme that will orient visitors and lead them to useful content from any page.
     
  18. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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    the majority of first time visitors start page is your home page

    a small percent of 2nd time visitors are returning directly to a specific page

    99% of repeat returning users are coming to the site on landing page

    how do you visit your own site?
     
  19. ibaker

    ibaker Enthusiast

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    I have found that around 90% of returning logged in users have set up shortcuts directly to the What's New (IPS Activity) page. With this in mind I am thinking about whether to create this page as the landing page but have not come up with a way to make it a dual purpose page i.e. Whats New and able to promote everything else on the site which is:
    Forums
    Classifieds
    Gallery
    Videos
    Suppliers
    Events
    Aircraft Lists
    Downloads
    Aviation Tools and calculators
    Pilot Shop
    Tutorials
    Articles
    Google Airstrips
    Blogs
    Clubs
    Quizzes
    Aviation News
    Famous Aviators
    Product Reviews
    etc

    It is only having all of the above in an IPS site that has given my site a new lease of life so with so much available there is a line between over kill on the first look but at the same time offer what they want in an enticing way but then every visitor is looking for something different
     
  20. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

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    You can potentially use Social Stream by @headstand to create a feed of recent topics. That feed is a block that can be placed anywhere.

    Conversely, you can add other blocks to the What's New page. If you define the stream to include those items, then naturally it will show those items to users.
     
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