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ECF InfoPages Goes Live - Wednesday 10th

Discussion in 'Announcements and News' started by rolygate, Aug 9, 2011.

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  1. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers

    The CMS, aka the InfoPages, is going live on Wednesday 10th, late pm.

    The main difference you will see is that the front page of ECF will change to a standard website type instead of the forum main index. The forum will not change in any way, it will stay exactly as it is. In effect it will become Page 2 of the website as newcomers will first see the new front page, if they are new and come to the domain name first ( and not to the forum index or a forum page.

    If people follow a bookmark to the forum, a link to the forum, or a search result from Google to the forum, they will still go direct to the relevant forum page.

    We are doing this for several reasons:

    1. The site has grown at an incredible rate. We now have over 150,000 main pages, with over 3 million pages on the site map. It is not practical to continue with the website architecture the same as when it was smaller and quieter. Traffic doubles every year so this problem will not go away, it will get worse.

    2. ECF is the world center of information on e-cigarettes - but some of the most important info is very hard to find. Even newcomers who look carefully often do not find what they need, when it is right in front of them - ECF is just too big and confusing. We need a simple, well-organized resource section so that people can go directly to what they need.

    3. A large amount of visitors are thinking of becoming e-cigarette users, and they need much better access to basic information. Right now they often go elsewhere, after spending a minute or two trying to find info that is buried too deep.

    4. Many newcomers, especially older people who are among the most numerous converts to vaping, have never used an online forum and do not want to start using one when they are also starting out in the complex world of e-cigarette choice and use. They want an ordinary website, at first, to locate basic information easily. Later, they will be attracted to the forum when they need to know more.

    5. The forum index, currently the website's front page, is now huge - and it will get even bigger over time. A major problem is that it is very slow to load, especially for new visitors and search engines. Google does not like slow sites and penalizes us for this.

    6. Despite the fact that ECF is by the far the largest e-cigarette resource, is the oldest, is the best established, has the most members, has the most dedicated group of communities, and of course has by far the most information of any website anywhere on e-cigarettes - Google does not see it that way. Forums do not perform well in search results because their keywords are all wrong for this purpose. For example, Google sees ECF as being relevant to the words 'post', 'forum', 'username', and so on. This is why instead of being Google #1 for words like 'electronic cigarette', other far less important websites are way ahead of us in the search results. Forums are relatively bad for search, and therefore ECF does not achieve full recognition for its status.

    The practical result of this is that minor commercial websites that have had money spent on links are above us in the search results, since their websites are better arranged to score well in search - and this means that newcomers will go to these other sites first. There are several implications to this:
    a) Beginners do not realize the wealth of choice and information out there, and may buy overpriced under-performing equipment.
    c) They may never find out what they are missing.
    d) ECF does not have its rightful place in Google.
    e) Many never find the campaigning and community resources we have at ECF.

    We could partly fix this by spending a fortune on links, but in essence that is a spammy solution to a basic site architecture issue, and it would not be a complete solution or even a fully ethical response.

    The InfoPages
    The new front page and resource pages should fix all these issues and also give us a very strong foundation for future initiatives. ECF is constantly growing and changing, and in the end a forum by itself does not give us the full freedom to build what we might need tomorrow - easily-found information, a magazine, features, a campaigning section, and who knows what else...

    Starting out
    We'll start with just a few pages, and check it's all going well before expanding it further. Next week some more pages will be added, and new sections from time to time.

    You can ignore the new section if you like, and just use the Forum - it's always going to be the core of ECF. The InfoPages will let us do some extra things you can do on a website but not on a forum.

    The Forum is the core of ECF and always will be. The InfoPages will give us the capability to do more, and do it better - which is what ECF is known for.
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